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FROM THIS EPISODE

Do Not Resuscitate

This is Rob Long with Martini Shot on KCRW.

For years, I have wondered about the huge numbers of people that throng the city in the middle of the day -- driving around, shopping, lingering over lunch, playing tennis, hanging out at the beach. This city is jammed in the middle of the day with all sorts of layabouts and lazybones. This is not Manhattan, whose downtown streets in the middle of the day are neutron-bomb quiet. LA is busy all day long, the golf courses and tennis courts and gyms and supermarkets and shops filled to capacity by mid-morning. Who are these people? I have wondered. I have finally figured it out. They are all television producers, waiting to hear from the network.

One year, while waiting, I somehow became horrendously ill. Hard to do when you-ve barely left the house in weeks. My agent called.
MY AGENT (O. S.)
How are you feeling?

ME
Well, I-m running a fever and --

MY AGENT
That-s terrible --

ME
And I-m dizzy and --

MY AGENT
-- but it sounds a lot better than what I had last week. I was dizzy. I ran a fever. Have you seen a doctor? You should get some Percocet.

ME
What-s Percocet?

MY AGENT
It-s a powerful painkiller. It freezes out the pain receptors in the central nervous system and floods the cerebral cortex with neurological impulses that create a completely restful, drowsy state.

ME
I don-t think I need that.

MY AGENT
I wasn-t saying get it for you.

ME
Um...any reason why you called?

MY AGENT
Of course there-s a reason I called. Your show was canceled this morning.

ME
You-re kidding.

MY AGENT
I am? I don-t think I am.

Later that day, I spoke to an executive at our studio. He had heard something different.
ME
So we-re canceled?

STUDIO EXEC
Unclear.

ME
Really? STUDIO EXEC
Listen, who knows, really? Canceled? Not canceled? Maybe a mid-season back order for 13? I-m not in the predicting business. I was in the predicting business, but then, know what? I got out of the predicting business.

ME
I think there-s something wrong with this phone. I couldn-t quite understand a word you said.

STUDIO EXEC
Listen, I predict they order 13 episodes as a back-up.

ME
When?

STUDIO EXEC
I predict in two weeks.

See, that-s the great thing, and the awful thing, about the television business. It-s hard to know when things are really done. If two weeks go by and the network doesn-t call, you can be pretty sure it-s over. But then, sometimes, they call and say -we-ll let you know in a few months,- and so you-re back by the phone, spinning day dreams about a hit show on the air, about success, about revenge on your enemies.

In my wallet, stapled to my driver-s license, I have an organ donor-s card, which means, in the clearest possible terms, that if I-m in a hideous car wreck (which in Los Angeles is a matter of living here long enough), the hospital personnel are empowered, upon my death, to scavenge my body for usable organs. There-s also a box marked DO NOT RESUSCITATE which instructs the hospital personnel on what to do if I-m brain-dead but still clinging to life. I have checked the box. DO NOT RESUSCITATE is my motto, in life, love, and business. It isn-t much, but it-s mine. If I knew Latin, I-d have a coat of arms made up.

Anyone know Latin?

That-s it for this week. Next week, we-ll hire a day player.

For KCRW, this is Rob Long with Martini Shot.

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