Jim Rome, sports radio talk show host, is a controversial guy. I expect this column will be too.
A few years ago, I was driving in my car, turning the dial to the Jim Rome Show on Sports Radio 610 (back when the station still aired it). I didn’t understand a lot of the lingo used by Rome nor his callers but I was a big enough sports fan to get the gist of the conversation.
I usually tuned in hoping to hear Rome’s opening remarks or rather, his “take” on the latest in sports. If I missed this part, then I hoped to catch one of the interviews, which are always informative. Direct too.
His take on adults in Halloween costumes was one that I related to, and in all honesty, totally agreed with.
When Rome interviews an athlete, there’s zero fat in his questions. Whether you’re a Jim Rome fan or not, all could agree that the often so-called “brash sportscaster” comes to his program prepared, passionate and certainly opinionated.
This particular day also happened to be Halloween. I was to hear Rome's take all right, but this time, not a peep about baseball. Nada football either. In fact, at the moment I tuned in, the subject of sports, seemingly, had suddenly gone poof! Rome was on a tear.
Rome: Memo to adults . . . Halloween is for kids. YOUNG kids. It’s NOT YOUR holiday.
I leaned in, feeling curious.
Rome: In fact, let me be VERY specific. You wonder what the cutoff age is for costumes? The cutoff age for costumes is 10. TEN, unless at 11 you’re a short kid and you look very young for your age. Then I’ll let you rock that costume one more year.
Here’s when I cracked up and almost pulled over:
Rome: If you’re right now in your car or at work and you’re wearing a costume, I’m going to put this very delicately (pause) you’re a loser. It’s harsh. It’s rough. Somebody has to say it. I am paid to say the things that other people think but can’t say or don’t wanna say.
I am paid to tell the truth and the truth is, if you’re over the age of 10, unless you’re short and you look young for your age and you’re wearing a costume err . . . right now . . . err . . . right now, you are a loser.
Truth hurts, but not as much as the rest of us having to look at YOUR costume.
At this point, I was howling so hard my stomach hurt. Rome continued, using the right pitch and pausing perfectly.
Rome: . . . and just because you have a clown suit on today doesn’t make people around you suddenly start to like you. It’s not going to make you popular. If they didn’t want to talk to you yesterday, they’re err . . . really not gonna wanna talk to you in a clown suit, today.
Rome took no prisoners. He trounced on a few teenage trick or treaters too, but his take on adults in Halloween costumes was one that I related to, and in all honesty, totally agreed with, although, not nearly so passionately. Animals in costumes trouble me. Halloween or otherwise.
To those whom Rome quoted as having said, “Hey Rome, way to go. You’re a bad guy. You’re a buzz kill. We’re just having fun,” his response was . . .
YOU are. (Pause) I’m not a bad guy and I’m all for having fun. I’m just an adult and I’m not a chump, nor a child. Seriously. Nobody thinks that’s funny. Nobody thinks that’s cool.
I’m with Rome.
Never mind that I make one hell of a Wicked Witch of the West. Flew from Crawford Elementary School to a law firm downtown donned in wig, warts, broom and all. Few thought it was funny, but the witch had a ball.
Hear Jim Rome on Halloween for yourself: