An A-Hole Aspect of Capitalism

Posted on August 28, 2012

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My boss kicked me off the radio on the afternoon of September 11 2001.

It was around 3pm and I’d been on the air since 6 o’clock that dark and dreadful day.

I was scheduled to finish my show at 10am as usual, but like most of America that day, my plans were shot to hell.

After the second plane hit the World Trade Center followed by news of a plane hitting the Pentagon, I just sat there in the studio, stunned as the realization set in, the impossible was happening – America was under attack.

From 8am on I’d simply open up the microphone every thirty minutes, give a brief update and direct listeners to our AM news stations for continuous coverage, then go back to staring at the TV in shock and disbelief.

The radio station was next door to a BP station and around 3pm I noticed the clerk changing the gas prices on the outdoor sign, I watched as the price for a gallon of gas climbed by a dollar. 

Incredibly, this was something being repeated all over the USA, gas stations were jacking up the prices as the nation held it’s breath and wondered if the attacks were over… or just beginning.

The next time I went on the air I gave the same spiel and then added, “If you’re one of the gas station owners in Searcy and all over White County who’ve jacked up the price of gasoline to take advantage of this unfolding horror I’d like you to know I think you’re not simply a terrible person, that you lack a conscience and have a defective soul, I really think you’re UN-American.”

“As survivors and dead bodies are pulled from the rubble in New York and Washington DC, as thousands of your fellow AMERICANS are murdered, you, Mr & Ms Gas Station owner have decided to make a buck off their suffering.”

“You sicken me, you vampires, you horrid unpatriotic bloodsuckers.”

The studio ‘hotline’ was ringing before I turned the microphone.

“Are you outta your f@%king mind?!?!?” – *Radio station owner and my boss.

*My little FM station had recently been bought out by the competition and we were preparing to move into our new location, that is why the boss called me, he was at the main location a few blocks away.

I gave as good as I got that day, refused to back down or apologize, even got a few licks of my own by reminding him we had an obligation to our listeners, not just our advertisers.

The screaming accelerated and he hung up on me.

A few minutes later the owner’s son showed up and made me go home.

And that is how I got booted off the air on 9/11.

Stories of price gouging in Florida this week in the wake of Isaac brought those memories back… and I still say business owners who use a tragedy as its unfolding to line their wallets are unpatriotic, UN-American, bloodsucking vampires.

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