October 2010

Musin’s and Thinkin’s

A Monthly Stroll Down Folksy Byways

with Jack Pendarvis

I will never forget the time I left my bucolic home for the big city. I got a job as a receptionist at a radio station. Slim pickings, I suppose you would call it, but through a bunch of zany misunderstandings I ended up giving out advice to the lovelorn on my very own radio show.

My brusque superior, Griffin Dunne, didn’t care for my homespun style at first, but there was no arguing with ratings, and it turned out that a populace overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the urban rat race was craving my unspoiled brand of simple country wisdom.

One catch: station owner Philip Bosco wanted nothing less than a certified doctor in the job, so Griffin Dunne insisted that I pretend to be one. That’s when all the trouble started. I resisted at first on principle, but have to admit that I finally caved in and went along with the charade. After all, I was helping people!

All the same, I thought my goose was cooked when I appeared on a local TV show with fellow radio psychologist Spalding Gray. He boasted that he had gone to Harvard and then grilled me about my own credentials. I don’t have to tell you I was pretty nervous! In fact, I was briefly flummoxed until inspiration struck, and I came back hard and fast with the answer that I had gone to “Screw U.” I soon won over the audience, who clearly loved my down-home ways more than they cottoned to the stuffy platitudes of the elitist egghead Spalding Gray.

Yes, my wonderful new life was just rolling along, or so I thought. The last thing I needed was hard-nosed Chicago newspaper reporter James Woods exposing me as a fraud—and the last thing I expected was to fall in love with him.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Jack Pendarvis has written three books.

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