The Artist - Part Two
Suzanne threw out ideas for a radio show with Darby and Jackie.
"How about 'Happy Homemaker'," Suzanne said sarcastically. I have so much experience around the house."
"You said you wanted to revolutionize the country," Darby reminded her.
"Oh right. Like my voice on a dinky country radio station will make anything happen?"
"It might. What were you thinking of doing? Maybe advocate that they should put prayer back in school," Jackie suggested.
"I don't believe in God, but I believe in morals."
"Why do you do good if there is no God?" Jackie asked.
"Well I can't just murder anyone I want or the government would lock me up. I can't be a jerk to my fellow man or I'll earn no respect from them."
"Ah, so it's about conventional morality," Jackie said, who was studying Kohlberg. "If you want to revolutionize America, you'll have to go post-conventional, because then people are more concerned about doing good for the sake of society, and not just for themselves."
"So are you saying you do good for the sake of society, Jackie? Where does God fit into the picture?"
"Well you see-"
"No I don't see," Suzanne interrupted.
"Wait a second, you said you didn't believe in God. So at least you could try to help society by coming from the viewpoint that people's actions should benefit everyone at large and not just themselves."
"Get his idea of me revolutionizing the world out of your brain. I was exaggerating. I think I want a show exactly like Dr. Laura's, only I'll give my advice.
"Well that's OK," Darby said, "but it's not unique. You need to do something different. And Dr. Laura has a couple degrees or something."
"A degree in gossip!" Suzanne said. "Anyone could do what she does."
"You could fight for the working class person," Jackie said.
"Well how do I do that?" Suzanne said. "I'm just an ordinary person."
"Well you have the potential to become a celebrity in this town if you can just get your act together," he said. "And if you have something really interesting to offer, you could get nationally syndicated."
Suzanne decided to call her show "Pieces in History" with the motto: "History Repeats." She would read what was going on in the news and compare it to events in the past. Sometimes she would commend elected officials for their bravery and their uniqueness and for solving political situations. But sometimes she would condemn them for making the same, tragic mistakes as for back as Hannibal. She was doing pretty well for someone who was no history major.
"You're fired," Mr. Jenkins the station manager said.
"What! I was doing good. I had a letter from a gentleman who is a retired college teacher and he said he loved my show."
"Two things," Jenkins said. "Make your show more interactive."
"I'll give people the number and tell them to call in."
"No. As a college-educated man myself, I find your show mentally stimulating. But you receive one letter and you're on cloud nine! The bare minimum fan mail, faxes, or phone calls you have to receive to stay on the air is twenty-five a week at this station. Otherwise you're fired."
"Point number two. You live in a town of country bumpkins. No one cares if you're the smartest person in the world. This is a business, not a fun-filled hour designed to inform one retired history professor."
"Well that's pretty harsh to fire me."
"Well I'm sorry. I meant your show is off the air. I'll give you one more chance, cause you're bright. But if it doesn't go off well, we're going to have to boot you."
"One more chance?"
"You got it. And make sure that show is more interactive."
Suzanne related the situation to Darby, when Martha was at the house. "Well it was unique, but it wasn't exactly a crowd drawer."
"You could do a movie facts show and interview stars and go over every single movie they've been in," Martha suggested.
"Well, no, it has to be interactive," said Suzanne, "and it has to make people call me and write furious letters!"
"Why do you want people to write mad letters? Would that get you fired?" Martha asked.
"Well apparently not. As long as they write letters it shows they're listening and that keeps the sponsors happy."
"Maybe you should just have a show where they call in and tell you their problems," Darby conceeded to her mother.
"Well what I need is something unique and stirring like you said," Suzanne said.
"You quit your administrative job because the pay was low," Darby said. "You said you made a lot in tips, so does radio pay more?"
"Not really. Radio pays lousy, so I'll keep on at the cafe part-time. But being a talk-show host is really interesting and what I love, so I don't care about the meager pay. I just need to work."
Suzanne finally decided to have a show where people called in their problems, but with a twist: you had to report back the following week to expound on the progress you were making. Jenkins loved the idea, and soon the phones were ringing off the hook.
"You're a star. I knew we could work this out!" Jenkins said.
"Well good, but I'm quitting."
"I'd give you a raise." Jenkins sounded worried.
"I don't think you could do that. One of the big networks in New York picked me up and they're offering me twice the salary."
Jenkins looked dubious. But he said, "I'll match it."
"I don't think so," Suzanne said. "They're letting me host 'Pieces in History' my original show for all the intellectuals around New York and Chicago where the show is broadcasted.
"Then, I suppose we can't match your pay for something that our sponsors can't make good on. I guess we'll have to let you go.
But Suzanne couldn't move out of state, as she soon found out. Her ex-husband has as much right to custody as she had and Suzanne would have to leave Darby with Roane if she moved to New York.
"If this happened only four years later," she murmured. "Darby would be free to live wherever she pleased and I wouldn't have to give her up to that jerk. And I hate to go crawling back to Jenkins for the job.