In one of those rare cosmic coincidences I was granted my fondest wish – to appear on TV and Radio – on the same day.
This Monday morning I was on TV. And on the Radio three hours later.
I am one of those rare (?) people who loves public speaking. I enjoy having an audience. In another life, perhaps, I would have been a stand-up comic or a morning talk show host on the newsy first hour of the Today show rather than a lawyer.
And have I mentioned my own, yet unfulfilled, second career idea for a radio talk show aimed at an all-women-of-a-certain-age demographic – tentatively titled “The Post-Menopause Hour”?
Where I plan to offer my own insightfully entertaining thoughts on getting older but better, and have guests on to talk about such fun topics as women’s health and caring for elderly parents while at the same time parenting our adult kids.
(If any radio or online show programmers are reading this post and think this is an excellent idea, please get in touch. My tentative show title – the “Post-Menopause Hour” is entirely negotiable.)
Radio station KPCC, the NPR station in Los Angeles, asked me if I wanted to be interviewed as a guest on “The Brood” segment of their “Take Two” show this Tuesday to talk about my recent blog-post-turned-Washington-Post article asking whether the lessons of failure should apply to our adult kids too.
Why yes, I said, very calmly as if being interviewed on the radio was a regular gig for me, I’d be delighted.
The good thing about radio is that it is just that – radio. No visual element. No one to see that I was overdue by a week for my regular gray-be-gone hair coloring process.
Note: I practiced communications law for 33 plus years, talking daily to radio general managers, on-air talent and producers at stations all over the country. I often felt I was on the wrong side of these phone calls – that I should be the one doing the creative part, appearing on air rather than giving legal advice.
Just as I was getting excited to be on the radio for the first time…
I was asked, at the last-minute, to appear on a local CBS affiliate WUSA TV talk show – “Great Day Washington” – to talk about Mental Health Awareness Week on behalf of my NAMI chapter where I am on the board of directors. I jumped (literally) at the chance.
As soon as I hung up the phone after agreeing to show up at the TV studio early the next morning, I thought, my hair! Radio may not be a visual medium but TV certainly is.
Luckily, my handy aerosol can of an extremely useful product that sprays dark brown temporary color onto those pesky gray/white/whatever roots came to my rescue.
I showed up at the TV studio on time. I wore a TV-friendly solid blue shirt and black pants that were mostly clean. The co-hosts introduced themselves to me, they were irrepressibly bubbly.
Who wouldn’t want to talk about the myths of mental illness (how common it is, 1 in 5 adults, treatable) with two hyper-cheerful talk show hosts??
I had my talking points prepared. Confident, ready to go. Until I saw the stairs.
The new-ish TV studio for Great Day Washington was constructed to resemble a living room, with the requisite talk show white couches, coffee table, bookcases and color-coordinated plants.
I was told I would be introduced by the hosts, and then would have to enter the set through an opening at the rear, walk across the floor – then down three stairs to take my place on the white couch#2 while the two show hosts sat at a right angle from me on white couch #1.
Stairs. What if I tripped? I am rather clumsy, not wild about stairs in the best of times. Having to walk down them on live TV? Scary. But at least my hair looked good.
Here is the link: You can see from the short video that I DID NOT FALL. I walked down the stairs with ease and joined the hosts for my 3 minutes of sound bites on a complicated subject that cannot be easily covered even in 3 hours.
After my TV stint, like any media person (so I imagine), I took a short break to re-caffeinate and drove to the NPR radio studio on the other side of DC where I donned headphones, followed the producer’s instructions (“hot” mike?) and talked for a full 7 minutes with a gracious host in Los Angeles (NPR hosts are gracious, not bubbly) about parenting adult kids through their own life crises.
Phew, came home, pretty darn pleased with myself, ready to settle in for a lovely fall afternoon on our small deck with our dog, my laptop and the newspapers when –
I FELL. Yes, I tripped on a 4-inch step from the door of our house, landed flat out, splat onto the wood deck, feeling as I went down my left ankle twisting at an odd angle.
Let me spare you the anticipation. X-rays. Broken ankle. Fibula bone to be exact. (“Really, broken?” I asked the ortho doc. “Are you sure? Not just a sprain?”. Ortho doc not amused. How they hate to be questioned by lawyers.)
Now sporting a large, unlovely gray air-cast “boot” up to my knee. Told not to put any weight on my left foot at all. Have never broken a bone; many things to do and places to go but now Totally Immobilized.
Was it hubris that caused me to fall? So overly pleased with my brief brushes with the media on the same day that I did not look where I was going in my own house on a step I have safely taken a million times?
Irony that it is fall – and I fell when no one was there to see it happen? My 2x media day was going so well until it wasn’t.
A life lesson on not getting ahead of yourself from me where I sit with my left foot elevated on my non-white couch in my own family room where I remain available 24/7 for all media interviews. Gray hair, gray boot and all. Call me.