Well, this wasn’t the easiest one to share, but I think it will be worth it. Here is my transcript for this week.
Jean: Hello! This is Jean Collins with the PIC Newspa–
Screwdriver: Hello hello hellooooo, you’re on the air with Kat Cameron and Screwdriver McGee, coming to ya live from WQBJ 96.6, the best and only radio show in Fishtown, Philadelphia. [Air horns play over a track of the National Anthem] What’s your name, caller?
Jean: I’m Jean Collins, from the PIC Newspaper, and I just wanted to ask you some–
Screwdriver: Jeanie the Meanie! The Lean Green Jean Machine. Jean, welcome to our little slice of the airwaves. Why don’t you tell ol’ Screwdriver a bit about yourself?
Jean: Oh, um. Ok. Where to start? Well, I’m a journalist. I was named one of South Delaware’s “40 Over 40 Names to Watch in Journalism” in 2017. And I’ve recently taken a national reporting job with the PIC Newspaper.
Kat: Ah, a fellow media personality! Always good to meet one of our own. What do you write about, Jean?
Jean: People. American people. People with heart, and soul. People who the glitzy hot-shot New York City publications might think don’t deserve to be interviewed. People like your mail carrier, your next door neighbor, or even you, Mr. Screwdriver.
Screwdriver: Well well well, Jeanie, today it looks like the tables are t-t-t-turned!
Jean: Is this—you said we’re live? I’m on the air right now?
Kat: Jean, you have over 800 Fightin’ Fishtowners listening in right now, and that’s not the only good news we have for you. You were our 1776th caller today, which means that you are the winner of two seats to tomorrow’s Phillies game against the Minnesota Twins. [cheering sounds]
Jean: I… I won?
Screwdriver: That’s right! This weekend, Caffeine Jean—Jean the Mean—will be ballin’ at Citizens Bank Park, along with one guest of your choosing. [cannon sounds] [fart noise]
Jean: Screwdriver I… I don’t know quite what to say. I don’t have anything prepared.
Kat: That’s okay, Jean. You didn’t know you were going to win.
Jean: I suppose I’ve… I’ve never quite taken the time to wonder about my own American voice.
Kat: Well it’s been a pleasure having you on the air! Congratulations again on winning today’s ticket giveaway contest. Now we’ll pivot to our next topi–
Jean: I just… I work every day to take humble American voices and elevate them. And for you to give me that same opportunity… It means the world to me. My dear friends, Kat and Screwdriver. Thank you for your service.
Jean: I hope that the two of you know that what you do is just as important as what I do. Because what you’ve done for me today… The joy you’ve brought me… It’s truly special. But I can’t accept this. Kat, Screwdriver: I have something to confess.
Kat: Uh, Jean, we’re all friends here at WQBJ 96.6, but let me remind you that we are live on the air right now, and that we also don’t actually know you, and that anything you say is going to be heard by a bunch of strangers who will probably judge you pretty hard.
Jean: I was born in Ottawa.
Jean: Kat, I love this country, and I owe it to every single American who’s ever read my work—who’s ever seen a conversation with someone just like them in a national publication and realized that they matter—to admit that I wasn’t born here… I’m not American.
Kat: Alright WQBJ listeners this has been today’s ticket contest winner Jean Collins!
Readers, friends, compatriots (by love for this country if not by origin): I chose to share this raw moment with you because it renewed my love for the people I share this beautiful nation with. Kat and Screwdriver are two of the most extraordinary people I’ve come across in this wonderful country—equaled only by every other American I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with. And they raised a question I hadn’t thought to consider: What do I have to say? What is unique about this American?
For now, I know this much: I am Canadian, I am ashamed of it, and I won’t lie to you any more. But I will be at the ballgame tomorrow, and I hope to see some of you there!