Jimmy Jam Johnson, the Classic-Rock DJ Sufferin’
a Nervous Breakdown!

(Originally appeared on McSweeney’s, December 2 2008)

5:45 AM

“That was Boston, ‘More Than a Feeling.’ Fun fact: they say that Tom Scholz, the creative force behind Boston, took anywhere from five to six months just to record one guitar lick. You want to hear another interesting fact? I hear that goddamn song one more time I’m gonna do something I might just regret. Saw a heavenly light above the house again this morning. Was in the shape of a giant heart. This is Heart, ‘Magic Man.'”

6:13 AM

“Kansas, ‘Carry on My Wayward Son.’ Do you know what happened when I rose above all the noise and confusion? More headaches. Met a young woman once who later became my wife. She had a tasty mole above her right nipple. Used to make me do all the right things for all the wrong reasons. Made me lettuce sandwiches with just the thinnest layer of heartbreak. You never tasted heartbreak so tangy. Didn’t need mustard or ketchup, that you can believe. Lord almighty, I do still love her. Why did she leave? Did it have to do with the lasers that shoot out of my eyes? Uh oh! My toes are hot. I just lit them on fire. Van Halen. ‘Hot for Teacher.’”

6:45 AM

“Okay, okay, we know already! You’re a toker, you’re a joker. But are you a hero? Need a hero, people, a savior of sorts. After the divorce was finalized, I gave myself a little bath in the office’s kitchen sink. Washed away my past. Then left accounting and, like a butterfly, molted into Jimmy Jam Johnson, the DJ suffering a nervous breakdown! This ain’t shtick, ladies and gentlemen. 6:45 AM. Wake up, people! Sixty-six degrees, with just the slightest chance of rain. Zip zip! That’s the money sound! Be my first caller on the Z-106 hotline and you’ll find yourself winning a little trip to my private lair. Found a dead giraffe on my lawn again. I love animals! This is ‘House of the Rising Sun.’”

7:23 AM

“Was that just Pink? Or was that Floyd? Whoever it was, tear down that goddamn wall already! Going on around town: it’s ‘Lady’s Night’ at Hammerjack’s. ‘Popcorn Shrimp Night’ at Maxes. Spoke to my ex during the last commercial break. Seems that she was none too pleased that I called collect. Who is this elf standing on my palm? I like his mustache. Can’t move my arm to save the Ball of Life Fire. Still can’t. It’s ‘Buffalo Wing Night’ at Shooter McGee’s. She just bought a house in Tallahassee. It appears that the grad student is moving in. And guess what? Zang-zang-zang! That’s the Z-106 party siren! My wife just sent me an invitation. You like weddings? How about white weddings? Billy Idol on the Z-Rock!”

8:14 AM

“Foghat. It’s 8:14 on a Monday morning and I’m taking a ‘Slow Ride’ to the end of my shift. Or to hell. Or to my town home off 1-95. My lady and I once made love in a back booth of an Arthur Treacher’s. My lady and I once watched a sunset while doing it in an alley behind a Dollar Mart. ‘We Are the Champions.’ I’m a puma, all proud and powerful, scanning the serengeti for a purpose in life. Queen.”

8:25 AM

“Hey, Jack. You really wanna forget about Diane? Stay up all night playing Parcheesi alone. Works for me.”

8:57 AM

“Alice Cooper. ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy.’ Last song of the day, folks. Y’all think I’m a nice guy? You won’t after this story: Gonna show up at my ex’s wedding and punch the grad student in the nose. The spray of blood will be ferocious. Yours truly gonna be arrested. The Big Dawg is up next to take you into the noon hour. The Big Dawg is gonna play that rock and roll music nice and loud. So, until the morn, keep it on the up side but don’t keep it down your pants because it could bite a leper. That phrase is trademarked. Just performed a somersault in my mind! You like gymnastics? I don’t. Hey, what can I say? ‘Life’s Been Good.’ You think so, Joe? Gotta disagree. Take it away, bro . . . .”