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6:16 a.m. - 2006-03-13

WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE


Since I got back into the DJ business, I've had this DJ nightmare maybe once a month or so.

This is a literal nightmare. Not a bad situation that warrants being labelled a nightmare. A legitimate nightmare that occurs while I'm sleeping.

The nightmare has never really happened in real life.

...Until Friday night.

Oooooooo!!!

The suspense is killing you, isn't it?

Well read on, dear reader rabbit.


I had this gig in the big college town up north of here.

The one that has students who yell "ROLLLLLL TIIIIDE!" every chance they get.

Yeah. That one.

And it was on a riverboat.

Which will come into play in the unveiling of my nightmare in about 45 seconds or so.

I get to the riverboat about two and a half hours before I'm scheduled to play which I thought was really pretty early but it was a good thing I got there as early as I did.

Becauuuuuuse ... when I got there for my FIRST TIME PLAYING ON A RIVERBOAT I noticed the ramp that goes from the dock onto the boat.

It's about a foot wide.

With spikes all around it.

And a barbed wire floor.

And alligators' mouths a mere inch below the barbed wire floor.

IT WAS A DANGEROUSLY SMALL RAMP.

Now, when I bring my equipment to a party, I have this big handtruck/dolly/whatever the hell you call it in your neck of the woods that makes my life a whole lot less stressful because my speakers weigh about 80 lbs. apiece and the case that holds my CD players, mixer, amplifier, karaoke machine and ample supply of Tic Tacs weighs somewhere in the vicinity of a ton.

Thus, I use the handtruck everywhere I go.

Except here.

"You cain't brang that there handtruck on the boat!" the lady behind the bar yelled at me.

Thanks Darwin. I woulda never figured that out on my own.

So I had to carry everything on to the boat.

This was a bitch in and of itself because not only is everything harder than a drunken child to maneuver, I'm having to blindly carry this stuff over a ramp that's about as wide as a toothpick.

So I'm walking really really carefully as I carry everything over the ramp.

At one point, I'm carrying two lights, my camcorder and my digital camera.

I hear a metallic "clank" as I start to walk across the ramp.

I stop and check to make sure I still have everything, which I do.

I keep going.

I get EVERYTHING loaded on the boat and begin to set up shop.

The bartender speaks up.

"I thank they want you upstairs," she says.

"Huh?" I answer in my always sexy yet confused tone.

"The party. They want you to set up upstairs."

I see a set of stairs leading to the second floor of this riverboat.

These stairs are half the width of the ramp.

I'm wondering just who the hell this riverboat was built for ... very thin midgets?

You don't see anorexic midgets anymore. Most midgets are ... well ... without pissing off the legion of midgets who read this site ... they're a wee bit hefty.

"There's no way I can cart all this stuff up those stairs," I say, while sweeping my arm across all of my equipment Vanna White-style.

"Awwwww, don't be a puss," the bartender said.

SHE ACTUALLY SAID THAT.

Not only am I sweating like a talking pig in a BBQ joint, now the bartender is questioning my masculinity.

I made about a thousand excuses of why I didn't want to have to pick this stuff up and move it again, but she kept saying I HAD to carry it all upstairs.

So in the end, I did.

And I had the rubberiest legs imaginable because ... and this may come as a shock to some of you who have created sexual fantasies starring your ol' Uncle Bob ... I don't work out much.

So I'm upstairs ... my equipment is all upstairs ... my shirt is stuck to my body from all the sweat ... and I can barely stand up.

I make small talk with a young guy who works on the boat. He's a super fellow ... very nice guy.

I get everything set up and decide that I wanna shoot some video footage of the boat before the party gets on.

I go to shoot the footage.

Nothing.

I check the camcorder out.

Oh.

That "metallic clank" from earlier?

Yeah.

That was the camcorder battery.

Retail value ... $75.

So I go back downstairs, through the riverboat and to the ramp where the clank first originated.

Nothing.

Because there's a river directly under the ramp.

Hmmmmmm.

I've now lost my camcorder battery.

I'm now a sweaty freakin' mess with no camcorder battery.

Could this night possibly get any worse??

Yeah.

Because we haven't even GOTTEN to my nightmare yet.



The party people start showing up and the party gets started.

I'm now fairly dry from the pools of sweat that soaked my body earlier.

I've resigned to the fact that the camcorder battery is gone.

We go to leave the dock and get the riverboat on the river.

We stop and go back.

Then we finally leave.

That nice guy I was telling you about?

He comes up to me as the boat starts pulling out.

"What's the reward?" he says.

"Huh?" I said, because by now that's what the boat's crew expects me to say every time they ask me a question.

"The reward," he repeats as he opens up his hand ... and reveals my camcorder battery.

Apparently the battery slipped out of the camera and MIRACULOUSLY slipped under the lip of the ramp that connects to the dock.

Somehow, this guy saw the battery as they pulled the ramp up.

Somehow, the ramp didn't push the battery the one inch that it needed to slip into the water.

Somehow, I had a new hero.

I literally hugged the guy in front of all these college students which ... hindsight being 20/20 ... assured that no chicks were going to be flirting with my big ass that evening.

So we're out on the high seas, I'm rocking them like it's nobody's business and ... and ... and ...

(SPOILER ALERT: HERE'S WHERE MY RECURRING NIGHTMARE COMES IN TO PLAY)

... My CD player on the right just shuts the F down.

It's trying to tell me that there is no CD in the machine when there clearly is.

And it won't eject.

Now, I'm a DJ God.

Everything I play is beatmixed into the next song so I provide a continuous party with no spaces ever in between songs.

...Until now.

"Hi everybody!" I say into the microphone. "I'm having a bit of technical difficulty up here and I've got to shut the system down for just a second."

A very loud groan came back to me from the crowd.

I shut the system down for five seconds and started it back up.

I pushed the Eject button.

The CD ejected and freed itself from my system's evil clutches.

It was as if God Himself reached down from the Heavens and pushed the Eject button on my CD player.

I was saved.

Yeah.

Except the next CD I put in did the same thing.

So now I'm stuck with one working CD player.

Which means ... no continuous mix.

But what it DOES mean is that I'm now a DJ that's found himself on the same level as a six year-old kid with a Fisher Price Boombox.

I can play a killer tune alright.

But then I have to stop the CD, eject it, put another CD in, cue up the track to the CD, wait a few seconds, then push play, THEN the CD will begin playing the next song.

So I've got a gap of about 30 seconds per song.

THIS IS THE NIGHTMARE I'VE ALWAYS HAD.

Facing a crowd with a broken CD player and trying like hell to make the best of it.

After about ten minutes of this, while I'm scrambling to figure out what's wrong with the broken CD player, the broken CD player begins working again.

Hallelujah!!

Thank you Jeebus!!

I play a few songs in it and I'm really on pins and needles every time I cue up another song.

But she's working just fine now.

It's a miracle!!

Put me on that show "Miracle Workers" because this is better than getting your sight back or being cured of Tourette's!

THIS IS A MIRACLE!!

The crowd loves it because now they don't have to find something to do for those 30 seconds in between songs.

I'm happy because I look like a professional DJ once again.

God's happy because he's ... he's ... he's ...

...Well, apparently ... God fell asleep again.

Because BLAMMO!!!

My CD Player went out once again.

I panicked.

And after about five more minutes of fumbling with it, it came back on.

By then, the party ship was docking and the party was over.

The nightmare had ended.

As I began packing everything up to slowly cart it back down the stairs, over the ramp of death and back into my vehicle, the nice boat guy came up and I told him about my problem with the CD player.

"Yeah," he said. "That's happened to other DJs out here before. Has something to do with the moisture from the river air. Gets in the system and shuts it down. It's really too damp down here for CD players."

Oh.

Well shit, Junior.

Why didn't somebody tell me this before I got here?

Sure enough, I cranked the system up yesterday in my garage and no problem.

Still.

I have now experienced the nightmare and lived to tell the tale.

...It's too bad the tale was as lame as you just read, huh?

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