There’s little worse than waking up to learn that someone you’ve known for more than half your life is suddenly gone. That’s what happened on April 4th, when I found out my friend Pete Meyer had passed away.
What a nasty punch in the gut, followed by an inability to breath for a few seconds and a sense of panic. Panic!
Sitting back and thinking about him, I wish I had asked more questions about his life growing up, how he got into radio, his thoughts and beliefs. But here’s the thing about Pete – he was a ‘at this moment’ sort of fellow – no future and no past, jus’ ‘now.’
When I first met Pete, I was a ‘wet behind the ears’ radio wanna-be. He set me straight one afternoon, as I sat in on his program (then on KATA in Arcata,) telling me that there are no real rules to radio other than being yourself and ‘never saying no to a gig, unless you were ready to suffer the consequences.’
As for ‘being myself,’ he let me know that if I continued in the radio biz, there would be a bunch of people who’d try to make me ‘be myself.’ “Listen, but don’t let’em,” he advised.
“‘Being yourself,’ is a journey you have to take BY yourself,” Pete added. “And it’s very rare that anybody gets to know their real selves until they drop the pretenses of being perfect. Know what I mean?”
Vigorously, I nodded my head, though in all honesty, I had no frigging idea what in the hell he was even talking about. I was into the mechanics of the job, the format, the music, the girls – everything but what he was telling me.
But at least I listened – I heard what he was saying and remembered it. Pete was right!
And while I still wish I’d spent more time asking him about his personal life (perhaps the journalist in me,) I know he was real all the time, from the on-air stories to the humor to his hard work. And those are qualities that cannot be taught.
Pete, you’ll be severely missed on this side of life’s curtain. And don’t worry, for the moment, we’re all still breathing.