I miss Ray Taliaferro. I know a lot of you think I'm nuts for saying this, but I do.
I miss the theatre, the distinct Ray-ness, for Ray was like nobody else. Literally and figuratively.
Ray was serious. Ray was unique. Ray was crude. Ray was funny. Political, hell yes, of course, but that was the least of the brilliance of Ray Taliaferro. Moved the needle? Damn right.
NOW SIR, HOLD IT!
Actually, Ray at his worst, was really, in essence, Ray at his best. The capacity to make a very mundane-sounding racist caller hilarious takes a lot of talent and patience. One time, in the really wee hours in the morning, I heard Ray being Ray with a certain caller, bigot really, and I literally laughed myself crazy out of bed. You had to, uh, be there. There were many situations like this--far too many, and you know what? It was highly entertaining and borderline insane genius.
UH, SIR, YOU'RE A DAMN RACIST!
Ray was an acquired taste. He drove you crazy. He made you feel, uh, uneasy. Ray again, being Ray. I miss him because he was a character without trying to be a character. Oh sure, it was dumb at times, but damn, it was funny, whether he intended it to be or not. It sure as hell beats the heck out of wannabees like Tim Montemanor, Monte-whats his name? See, that's the point, who cares. Who exists over there now?
HOLD IT HOLD IT HOLD IT HOLD IT
Stop me--I mean, dang, stop me--am I really saying this? Yes, of course I am. Ray pissed me off a lot of times and yet, I still loved listening to him. A slight addiction? Yes. For all the wrong reasons? Well, no really, for there was the political Ray that said a lot of curious things, but, dammit, he got me. The bastard! I mean, get a load this: It's 3 o'clock in the morning and I'm seriously laughing my ass off listening to an insane man do radio with an insane guy in some rural town in Washington state who sounds as if he's in a truck and saying really weird, bizarre, racist stuff and Ray goes, what?, about 20 minutes with this guy and makes him sound like an idiot, which he is, but it's funny. There's a point here, somewhere. Those of you that listened to Ray know what I'm talking about and therefore can explain the deliciousness of Ray Taliaferro.
I say this now because of what I hear on the radio. I've gone to satellite, the Internet, and continue to torture myself with terrestrial because someone has to and yet, Ray, still manages to move me, stop, I'm really being serious, quit trying to nag me and say move on. I have, and that's just the point.
UHH, SIIIIIRRRRR, YOU'RE JUST A BIG ASS!
You miss the stories. The monologues were mostly classic. The politics? Come on, right-wingers, lefties, whoever, whatever, did it really matter? Hell no. I'm not trying to undercut Ray for there were times he was serious and damn, pay attention, SIR!, ya damn idiot!, and well you listened. He drove you nuts, sure, again, but he had you, admit it, moron, (a little LOL is inserted here). He had you mostly because it was brilliant radio, yes, brilliant because it was unique, (again), it was effing, matter-of-fact, distinctive and stand-alone. So perfect and apt in the middle of the night. So classic, old-time KGO before KGO went the way of KGONE. Ray transcended satellite. Who the hell needed to listen to anybody but Ray.
He had shit like "Poetry night" which didn't do anything for me. I'm not that much into people doing poems on the air, but he had me when he did his rants on racist guys in Idaho. Or the crazy woman in Foster City who said some really wacky things and then Ray went into Ray-mode. I think the laughter began when Ray asked if the woman made love recently. It was crude, it was sort of mean and it was funny. Original too. Better yet, what made it funnier was that it was not an act. Come to think of it, that's what was so good about Ray.
Now I'm sure there are many of you who thought/think that Ray is a complete a-hole. Fine. I get it, but really, I don't. Admit it, even you guys miss Ray now. You do. And if you don't, fine, but he had you. He did. He had you many times even at the moment when he was acting like an ass, but even then, he had you and that's what makes it all the more nagging. Call it the Ray addiction.
The Ray addiction is hard to kick. We miss the zany, the bizarro in the middle of the night. We are a special club. We could care less about the politics. That's just the opening act. We're waiting for Springsteen. I'm not comparing Ray to Bruce, obviously but I think you get my point. It was damn compelling radio--OK, maybe I'm going overboard here, (NOW SIR, GET YOUR DAMN HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS AND THINK FOR A MOMENT!--SIIIIR?)
Ray, my e-mail box is loaded with where-is-Ray? notes. I know you're on Facebook now. I know you were writing a book and I'm hoping as a critic of the craft, you can resurface somewhere. Even if you don't I know there's a helluva lot of people out there who miss you, part of the Ray addiction club.
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