I arrived in Los Angeles on this day in 1999. It was a very long drive from Fort Lauderdale. Florida didn’t want to let me go. A massive thunderstorm forced me off the road on the first day. New Orleans was a nice stopover. Mississippi smelled awful. Texas felt like it was interminable. It took forever to get through. New Mexico and Arizona made me thirsty.

The first night in L.A. was a blur. I crashed exhausted at a friend’s home. Then a blur of hotels, the first of which was dark and foul. I abandoned it after a few minutes. I have no idea which one it was because I didn’t know my way around. By the time I could lie in a bed, I only knew I was somewhere near LAX. I spent other nights in the homes of friends in the hills. I squatted for a few days in a friend of a friend’s apartment while they were away. That was my exposure to Bel Aire.

The money was all gone—a mountain of bills piled up behind me. I smelled like desperation. I had no job lined up. All I had to go on was, “I don’t know if I have anything for you, but call me when you hit town.” A casual promise from an old program director friend of mine. Why sure, I had upended my life on a flimsy gambit, but that was plenty of hope!

Right about then was when I finally understood that the little friend who’d been in my head all along had a name. Anxiety Disorder. Hi, nice to meet you. Guess what catastrophe is coming for you next!

And there were catastrophes ahead. A double-fisted one almost killed me, but I got through. Once, a tuxedo cat and a small Maltese kept me from killing myself. That one is a long story.

There have been dark, dark times. And there have been glorious times. Twenty-three years here and on the bend. I found someone who loves me for inexplicable reasons, has seen me naked, and still hasn’t left. Figure that one out. I have a great job doing what I love. I’ve worked with the best and the brightest in broadcasting. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting behind a microphone and being heard worldwide. I’ve punched a clock at some of the country’s best radio stations. I’ve met some of my heroes.

I think this means I can put my desperate, dumb drive to the City of Angels and Potholes in the win column. Hooray for Hollywood!