On Air

by Tom Swift

5:39 p.m.
You’re nearly done making dinner. You’re favorite radio talk show is on live in the background.

You check the steak. They go to commercial.


5:40 p.m.
You set down the oven mitt and pick up your phone.

In the segment before the commercial break the host of the show[1] had summarized a football game played on January 9, 1988.[2]

You thumb an e-mail to the booth, asking a question about that football game played on January 9, 1988.[3] You know the answer to your question.


5:42 p.m.
You put the steak on your plate. The potatoes need another couple minutes.


5:44 p.m.

The show comes back from commercial. The host says, “it just shows you how smart our listeners are …” The host then reads, word for word, the question you had e-mailed to the booth.

“The answer,” the host says, “is yes.”


5:45 p.m.
The potatoes are now ready. You grab a steak knife.


*          *          *

[1] The top-rated talk show in the Twin Cities.

[2] The Minnesota Vikings upset the San Francisco 49ers in a divisional playoff game that day. Among the key plays for the victors, Reggie Rutland (who later changed his name to Najee Mustafaa) intercepted a pass thrown by Joe Montana and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown.

[3] You recall a story about what took place in the press box the moment Mustafaa intercepted that pass. Specifically, you ask whether this was the moment longtime Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman stood up in an otherwise quiet press box and yelled, “go baby, go baby, go.”