Take that, you hucksters! This month, as I thought about trying to come up with something remotely scintillating to say about BORDER RADIO, I had trouble generating much enthusiasm.
Don’t get me wrong: my problem wasn’t because of the book. BORDER RADIO is a great read—and certainly a perfect choice for a RADIO Readers book club pick. The writing is fun and fluid and interesting and entertaining. The information is perhaps fairly new to many of us, but it might also bring back long-lost memories of hearing Wolfman Jack in the middle of the night, most of us probably not even knowing or wanting to know much about where he was broadcasting from. We just enjoyed listening to him talk and play music.
The information about Dr. Brinkley, the goat gland man, and other hucksters may have lurked in the back of our memories too—especially if we were from Kansas. Learning about Brinkley’s weird science is both laughable and horrible at the same time.
No, what bothered me so much was that I suddenly found myself bogged down in news stories about the corona virus. It was hard even to think about BORDER RADIO while I watched or listened to broadcasts about the spread of virus around the world and death tolls rising every day.
However, it wasn’t long before the news brought other news: stories of con artists, modern-day hucksters rushing into prey on the old, the weak, the fearful. Using social media, these disreputable people set up Go Fund Me pages and post false stories of need, or, perhaps even worse, offer to sell magic virus “cures” to the old, the weak, and the fearful.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
So, whether we use Border broadcasting or something more modern, it seems, there are among us opportunistic entrepreneurs ready and willing to cash in on everyone else’s misfortune. It doesn’t matter what time period or what means of communication, we just can’t keep a good con man down.
Thinking about that made me even more depressed—and unable to create a book byte for BORDER RADIO.
But then…. Then I started hearing stories about the other side of humanity. Let me share some:
We have city librarians running to the curb outside their buildings, delivering books to people who call and ask.
Most of us probably saw news footage of people in Italy---a country so very hard-hit by the virus. We watched and listened as an entire neighborhood sat on their balconies, playing music and singing together, in spite of isolation. So beautiful it made me want to cry.
Then there are those Facebook posts, saying, “Hey, I’m running to the grocery store today. Anyone need me to bring them anything?”
And the mom who brought her children over to the porch of a next-door neighbor, who watched and listened to those kids play their musical instruments for her.
And the owner of my town’s grocery store who today told me about two teachers from our school bringing a few teenagers by to help unload a supply truck outside his store and stay to restock all his shelves. He said it took most of the day, but no one complained. One even said, “You do things for the school all the time. We thought we could do something for you.”
So, take that, you hucksters—both on the border and on the Internet! There is still good in the world, and that makes me feel pretty positive about everything, including writing a BookByte about BORDER RADIO.
This is Lynne Hewes in Cimarron, feeling much better about the human race today than I did yesterday.