Just as we were about to tape our segment for the Joey Reynolds Show I noticed that Joey's script said I was from St. Louis. So I leaned forward and tried to tell him in time. He waved a hand dismissively and said, "Don't worry about it."
We started taping at a little after ten. The show's producer told us to put on our headphones and suddenly we were listening to the show's theme song, a white doo-wop number that repeats Joey's name over and over and says he's from Buffalo and that he was doing this talk radio thing before anybody. Then Joey started talking. He said there was a beautiful woman banging on his apartment door earlier today, but then he let her out. He said something about Barbara Streisand sleeping with Bill Clinton, and singing songs for George W. Bush, like "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" or "You Don't Bring Me Napalm." Which reminded him of the dictator in North Korea with the bomb, and why do we even care about those people? why don't we just let them bomb themselves? Finally Super Principal George Albano jumped in and mentioned there were other people in the room, me and Joe Williams, and that we'd written books Joey's listeners just might like to read.
So Joey went ahead and introduced me as being from St. Louis, and when I corrected him he told me that he was in KC a couple of years ago for a wedding in Emanuel Cleaver's church and he went shopping on the Plaza where it was $10 for each shoe at Prada, and, by the way, top-40 radio was invented there by a man who brewed beer, and of course there was that great song about going to Kansas City.
The topic of the night was education, and we learned, by and by, that Joey didn't much like school, that he had it rough, truth be told, that it was hard for a fat white kid because at least the blacks had basketball, or they could sing and dance.
But good old George Albano kept us all together, repeatedly bringing the conversation back to the things we were all there to promote -- my book, Joe Williams's book, the amazing job George has done at his school. And at one point I think I actually got Joey to notice that I was a real live human being sitting across from him when I said, "You know, Mark Twain said never let school get in the way of your education."
He smiled at that. He let his smile be his umbrella. And he didn't get a mouthful of rain.