Who’d’ve (pecksniff grammarians be damned!) anticipated this? Certainly not I. Truth be told, even after a Dennery fan had called to offer his effusive congratulations I remained convinced he had been inhaling some kind of mind bender, whether for reasons medical or religious. Not even Linda Daher’s reassurance was enough to convince me my Dennery caller was not altogether out of his gourd. It took Timothy Poleon to set me straight. Let’s agree: when Tim speaks you know you can take what he says to the bank. Never mind what certain other TV presenters and sundry party hacks might say to the contrary.
Of course he did not answer directly. Tim never does. After years of swimming with sharks in the infested waters of Newsspin and Newsmaker Live he had learned a lot about self-preservation. In his line of work you can never be certain who’s trying to set you up, who’s not. Friends turn overnight into frenemies. Time had also taught Tim that even paranoids have real enemies. Yes, so in answer to my question, he said: “Gassa, I thought you always watched DBS News!”
“Well, I do,” I stuttered, feeling inside like I’d betrayed the memory of Derek Walcott.
“So how come you didn’t catch the item? We made a big thing of it on the news. DBS emerged top of the list yet again and . . .” By this time my eyes were more than a little watery, thanks to Tim’s tone. I had more than a dozen times in the past assured him his was the only news program I ever tuned in, other than CNN and Fox.
I decided to come clean. I explained that I’d recently acquired from ace photographer Bill Mortley a contraption that allowed me to view several of my favorite American programs, not locally accessible. Alas, the promo’s fine print that I hadn’t bothered to read before my purchase demanded I get acquainted with three or four remotes if I wished also to tune in FLOW (another headache we need not get into at this time).
Tim laughed as he alone can and, as usual, I couldn’t tell for certain whether it meant I had tickled his funny bone or that I merely had confirmed his suspicion that I’m not nearly as clever as I sometimes imagine. So he repeats himself: “Man, you should keep it locked to DBS. We blew away every station for the most important morning and evening slots. HTS came in behind us and Choice behind them.”
Totally distracted by now (and not a little kerfuffled), I went with the flow: “What about MBC? What about . . .”
“Gassa, Linda eh tell me about them fellas. If you’re not first, not second and not third, then you’re nowhere. It’s just a matter of better luck next time.” He had a point.
“So where did Newsmaker place this year?” I asked.
“Right behind you. TALK was first by a wide margin. You also got Best Show Host.” He neglected to mention the survey proved yet again he is still the nation’s best-loved news presenter. “You should check the survey out online.”
I still have not gotten round to that, and I doubt I will. But I must admit in our peculiar circumstances to feeling somewhat absolved, despite that I don’t do what I do on TV with awards in mind. Getting folks mad at you for what you say is certainly no way to expand your booze-buddies list. Evidently, more and more Saint Lucians are learning to cope with inconvenient truth. I wish now to thank all the nice folks of Talk City who obviously know truth does in fact set you free, however difficult to swallow. My thanks to all of you who refuse to miss TALK, even those who like nothing better than going to bed upset at least once a week. At least, I never serve your favorite poison without a few stress-relieving bellylaughs. Here’s to more of the same in 2018. Special thanks to you, Linda Daher, for permitting me the opportunity to host TALK unchained. Hey, and thanks, too, for the upgraded coffee! No, I’ve not forgotten my main man, without whom we’d have a show with no glitches whatsoever. Thanks again to my favorite producer, Junior!