August 27th, 2012 -- Test One Two, Check One Two
This is a test. We’re going to find out how many of you actually read the soapbox, as opposed to just deciding to read it based on the title (which I’ve made intentionally ambiguous this week). If you commit to this column, I promise you you’re going to read something you weren’t expecting. But you have to commit.
We already know that this is one of the most visited pages on our website, and beyond that we know that your loyalty has made our website massively popular with hit and impression numbers that entire radio stations, major corporations and political candidates can only dream about. It truly is extraordinary the relationship we have fostered between the show and you.
In the past, I have written about how the majority of our audience “gets it,” and those few who don’t are the ones we all laugh at, not with. The RAD show and its fans have a complex understanding of what goes on each morning. We entertain, you enjoy (some participate), and everyone goes home happy after we offer you an escape from the rest of the real world. That’s our job, to make you escape. Whether it’s through childish humor, asinine arguments or stunningly serious debates, we’re here to take you someplace no one else can.
With that relationship comes the understanding that those of us on the air will share as much as we can about ourselves and our lives. For the past decade we have offered up painfully intimate details about everything from Arnie’s sobriety and failed marriage to Dawn’s abusive relationships and depressing-as-hell childhood. Two years ago, you came along on the simultaneous journey of the show building its own private studio while I tended to my wife who had nearly died in a car accident in March, 2010. And now it’s time to take you on another journey.
After 12 years together, my wife Janell and I have split up. It happened months ago, and I must say, I’m amazed that we were able to keep it as quiet as we did for as long as we did, but she and I agreed last week that it’s time to let everyone know. So now you know.
While I am aware that splits such as Arnie’s are far more entertaining for all of us to listen to, I’m afraid that I cannot offer much in the way of salacious hate. Neither Janell nor I cheated, lied, stole, or abused one another. There are no great stories of screaming matches, family members interfering, money struggles, disagreements over having children, or even petty arguments about toothpaste tubes or toilet seats. In the end, it comes down to this: When you love someone, you truly want them to be happy, even if it means that in order for that to happen, they need to no longer be with you.
As the product of divorce, I am aware of how toxic it can be for all involved to stay together for the wrong reasons. As a man who has rarely ever in his life quit or failed, I am also aware that you never, ever, ever give up. Those two conflicting realities forced Janell and me to try as hard as we could, and we did. And in the end, we recognized what had to be.
Since we split up, both Janell and I have met dozens of listeners in various situations in which it was clear that I was no longer with my wife. True to the understanding we have between show and maggot, I have been stunned at the level of respect, understanding, decency and kindness you have shown all involved. For a guy who truly believes that this society is too far gone, it has been a humbling few months to see so many people show such grace and empathy in an age when all it takes is one Facebook post, one cell phone camera shot or one call to a local TV station to invade someone’s privacy. Yet not one person even attempted such antics, let alone behaved in any way other than gracious and for that I must say that I most grateful.
From here, we move forward. There will be no snide remarks made towards my soon-to-be ex-wife, nor will seedy details slowly creep out because there aren’t any. Sometimes, great things just come to an end. Whether it be the “funnest” ride at an amusement park, the greatest vacation of your life or the best job you ever had, all of them come with an expiration date, as did my marriage. We’ve talked countless times on the air about never settling, the canard of compromise and the abject stupidity of “’till death do us part,” and if nothing else, I practice what I preach, and insist on nothing less from the people I care about most. Janell and I had an amazing 12 years together, and nothing but even better days lie before us.
And yes, I am still “Doctor Rob,” because in the end only one thing matters. Not only should it be apparent that all of the demands I have placed throughout the years on you have been tended to here, ranging from self-interest to demanding only the best to having the courage to do hard things for the greater good of the bigger picture and all of the rest of the crap I spew daily during the self-help feature that carries my name, but there is a bigger reason why I am still Doctor Rob: It’s my show.