Thursday, February 24, 2005 | It was an uneasy moment in my life as an insurance agent. I was closing a large life insurance sale when my prospective customer abruptly changed the subject. “You know something?” she asked. “You sound just like that guy who calls Mac and Joe, you know, the guy who lives in a garbage can.”
Hoo boy, just what I needed! Here I was talking to a woman about death, taxes and the need for hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect her estate, her business, and her loved ones. Then she recognized my voice as that of a buffoon character on a drive-time radio show. Surely the juxtaposition of the idea of high finance and a “guy who lives in a garbage can” couldn’t enhance the transfer of thousands of her dollars to my insurance company – with a hefty chunk coming to me.
But I really couldn’t expect to remain anonymous. I was Dipsey Dumpster, a regular caller for more than two years to Mac and Joe on KFMB’s Hudson & Bauer show. It started with a whim. I once called claiming to be a guy who lived in a dipsey dumpster in Horton Plaza. “Dipsey dumpster” was sailor slang for Dempster Dumpster, a large refuse receptacle.
The call went smoothly and Mac and Joe seemed tickled at the idea of talking to a guy who lived in a trash receptacle. The next day I called again, then again, and again. They started calling me “Dipsey Dumpster.” I ladled out skewed advice for most anything that struck my fancy.
After a year I dropped the character of Dipsey and ended up pretending to be whoever or whatever were in the news, or ought to be. Pete Wilson was senator, I’d call as Pete who thought he was still mayor and wondered, “Who is that woman in my office down there, Mac and Joe?” I was also Shamu the whale, Soviet Premier Gorbachev, Hurricane Bob, Noah from the Bible . . .
San Diego’s early 80’s were great for satire. Roger Hedgecock had been deposed as mayor and was still fighting some 23 criminal charges. Naturally that made him invaluable as a radio talk show host. He held forth on a competing station. Mac and Joe were obviously constrained to little more than throwing making a few barbs his way, but a call-in guest could get away with a lot more. Some of it got a bit raunchy.
Both Hedgecock and his successor, Mayor Mo, had promised, on separate occasions, to save the cross on Mt. Soledad by lying down in front of any bulldozer trying to raze the thing.
That brought forth Dipsey’s comment, “Hey, Mac and Joe, the thought of those two lying down together boggles the imagination. I hope they don’t do to each other what they’ve been doing to the city.” That got a laugh – and a quick exit from the program that day.
I pushed pretty hard, I suppose – sometimes a bit too far. One day I called and claimed to be a famous basketball referee: “Hey Mac and Joe this NBA refereeing job ain’t easy.”
“It isn’t?” asked one.
“Heck no Mac and Joe, I can’t tell one white guy from another, so I just call all the fouls on Larry Bird. He doesn’t think that’s fair Mac and Joe.” Neither did the station. The next day the producer told me they couldn’t put me on the air again.
My stint as Dipsey Dumpster et al was over. It was fun while it lasted, but I’m wondering if he could make a comeback, perhaps in an online paper? With characters such as Dick Murphy, Mike Aguirre, Donna Frye, Bruce Henderson, Richard Rider, and Arnold Schwartzenegger around, could someone cast a wry comment at them now and then?
I once told Mac and Joe that, contrary to their actions, Mayor O’Connor and Hedgecock, were really best of friends. Hence, “Maureen does dumb things so Roger has something to carp about on his radio show.” I would think that comparison might be stretched to work with Dick Murphy and Mike Aguirre.
And Donna Frye, her bubbles and three thousand vote lead! She still sits down at the table with the guy she outscored. Or Bruce Henderson who wants professional sports teams but who thinks billionaires should have to build their own stadiums. And the millionaire players hunting for sympathy from us folks who are asked to pay big bucks to watch them scratch themselves while waiting to strike out with ducks on the pond.
Ohh the possibilities. Stay tuned folks.
Keith Taylor is a retired Navy guy who lives in a pretty nice house in Chula Vista.