in my humble opinion

Turning the tables

Posted 5/26/20

I suppose it was only a matter of time. With millions of folks observing stay-at-home restrictions, everyone and their brother is suddenly an “entertainer.” Whether they’re reciting …

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in my humble opinion

Turning the tables


I suppose it was only a matter of time. With millions of folks observing stay-at-home restrictions, everyone and their brother is suddenly an “entertainer.” Whether they’re reciting poetry, dancing a jig, or breaking out the ukulele found under the Christmas tree 30 years ago and never once played until now, people are not only seeking attention but also looking for a captive audience that was too busy to be bothered before.

While I’ve been on the radio every Thursday with Thunder 102’s Paul Ciliberto for more than 10 years, our early morning banter has changed over the last two months. He’s in the studio maintaining a safe distance from me and my big mouth, and I’m at home watching him on my computer, still in my pajamas, making coffee and checking my email, paying as little attention to Ciliberto as humanly possible. “Can you hear me now?” has replaced “Good morning,” as we check in over the internet before going live on the air, and it’s worked out pretty well—until recently. There are not-so-subtle visual cues when we are broadcasting. I can see that he’s wearing headphones and there’s even one of those keen old-timey lights that blinks on and off, indicating when we are actually live on the air. Again, I’ve been doing it for 10 years. That said, I was so distracted while dramatically regaling Ciliberto with my foiled attempts to catch a mouse that had invaded my pantry, I failed to pick up on any of those not-so-subtle clues. I rambled on, ignoring him waving his hands, and concluded my diatribe (on the air) with the words “damn mouse.”

We had a good laugh at my ineptitude before Tannis Kowalchuk called in for a few minutes to discuss her plans to chat with me later that same day. “I will have the pleasure to interview Jonathan Charles Fox today at noon,” Tannis shared with Ciliberto. “Please tune in by checking out Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre (HPAC) on Facebook. This is going to fun!” she enthused. “Turning the tables on someone who has been photo journalizing and writing about the things I do for some time now. Can’t wait to dig in!”

As predicted, I found myself being the one under the microscope (live) on HPAC’s ongoing “Art on Art” virtual series, but Tannis is a pal and always well prepared, so I felt safe in her capable hands. I managed to escape virtually unscathed, and although I strayed off topic repeatedly (like a kitten with a ball of string), Kowalchuk gently guided me back to the subject at hand and I didn’t curse once (damn mouse) or come off like a complete fool.

I called Tannis the next day, afraid to look at the final product, which is archived online for your viewing pleasure at “I didn’t look at the one I did either,” she said referring to having had the tables turned on her just the week before. “But I know you were super honest, charming [and] entertaining and you said important things about art and passion and community. You done good kid,” she concluded. Not my worst review, and (trust me) I’ve had my share. Thanks, Tannis.

Still at war with the mouse, I doubled down and lovingly (don’t call PETA) placed a snap-trap behind the toaster oven, fingers crossed for a swift and painless transition (uh huh) to that great pantry in the sky. “Rainbow bridge my ass,” I muttered while Dharma wagged in agreement. “Get the hell out of my house!”

Bolstered by my less-than-horrific HPAC interview with Tannis, I confidently allowed the tables to be turned again last Saturday night, having agreed to be the featured “entertainer” (there’s that word again) for the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA) weekly “Live @ Home” series with viewers at home looking at me for a change, rather than the other way around.

The DVAA’s promo was impressive. “Award-winning River Reporter columnist, author, photographer and self-proclaimed ‘Bon Vivant,’ Jonathan Charles Fox will share his unique blend of humor, pathos and self-serving ingratiating joie de vivre and interact with you, the virtual audience,” it read in part. “Well, of course it’s impressive,” I mumbled. “I wrote it. But can I live up to the hype?”

Ostensibly created to celebrate my quarantined birthday (live) online, DVAA Performing Arts Director Matt Carpenter had reached out following the pandemic-induced cancellation of my previously scheduled one-man story-telling event to be held at the Krause Recital Hall in Narrowsburg, NY. After turning him down no fewer than five times, I finally gave in and went live last weekend, flop-sweat coursing down the back of my neck. I prattled on for an hour from my office/kitchen at home. psychotically zooming (literally) from one subject to another, with no Tannis in sight to keep me on point and no Paul Ciliberto waving his arms wildly at distracted old me. I was slightly unnerved under the scrutiny of so many pairs of eyes on me and babbled like an idiot while keeping one eye on my cellphone, one eye on the computer commentary and one eye on the toaster oven behind me (wait, what?) waiting for the sweet sound of surrender. “Might as well have been playing the ukulele while dancing a jig,” I said to the dog following my disastrous (IMHO) turn at the live-streaming bat. “Guess we should turn in girl. That trap ain’t gonna snap itself. There’s always tomorrow,” I sighed. “Maybe the tables will finally be turned. Damn mouse.”

To view Jonathan’s “disastrous” live stream “Live@Home” Quarantined Birthday Party, visit the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance on Facebook or go to

  • Turning the tables.mp3


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