It's a simple fact. People generally like free stuff. And those of us who get to work at radio stations for a living get to give away a lot of free stuff - it's one of the things that make our jobs so much fun.

Photo via JR, Townsquare Media Lansing
Photo via JR, Townsquare Media Lansing

At concerts, it's pretty standard for us to throw radio station swag out into the crowd as we announce who's about to take the stage.

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Throwing Swag Into the Crowd

Over time, we've learned over time that throwing station T-shirts into the crowd is tricky. You can't just wad one up and toss it. The laws of physics take effect - the shirt opens up - and you're lucky if it makes it to the front row.

Ten years ago, I tried rolling some station T-shirts into balls held together with rubber bands. With a good throw, we should be able to get those things several rows back.

All fine and dandy if you have the audience's undivided attention.

If someone's not paying attention, it's easy for them to take a balled-up T-shirt to the face. Which is what one unsuspecting woman sitting way at the back of the track seats at the county fair learned the hard way.

This creates an awkward moment for the person on stage. How are you supposed to not laugh at this - in front of 1500 people? (She was okay; just startled.)

"Knot" the Best Idea

We got away from the rubber bands and went to tying the T-shirts into a simple knot. Shirt would be prevented from opening up and floating onto the first row, but could still get out there a considerable distance.

Again, unless someone's not paying attention. Which is what happened to another poor woman last year at the Jackson County Fair. T-shirt knot to the face. I'm starting to feel like maybe I shouldn't throw shirts.

The Possessed Cow

One of our favorite things to give away to listeners these days are these cute little stress-ball cows.

Photo via JR, Townsquare Media Lansing
Photo via JR, Townsquare Media Lansing

Light and harmless, I took three of them on stage at the Jackson County Fair over the weekend as we introduced the very last act of the night.

I lobbed one to my right, maybe ten rows back - it turned into a little volleyball, bouncing from person to person until someone finally caught it.

I then lobbed one to my left, with pretty much the same result.

I decided to toss the last cow straight ahead before leaving the stage.

Exactly what happened next is difficult to say.

Instead of gently lobbing the little stress-ball cow into the air ahead of me, I fastballed it about 6 rows from the stage straight into the face of a kid who couldn't have been more than 10 or 11 years old.

I'm sure it looked purposeful. I swear on all that's holy that there was no intent.

I've decided that karma must have momentarily overtaken my arm to deliver swift justice to a kid who'd misbehaved earlier in the day.

Photo via JR, Townsquare Media Lansing
Photo via JR, Townsquare Media Lansing

The young man was more startled than anything else, thank goodness.

If you're reading this, little man - please accept my apology. Beaning you in the face with a cow was nothing personal, I promise.

Meanwhile, I now officially have a complex.

And don't tell me "what y'all really need is one of those T-shirt guns". It's probably in no one's best interest. Especially concert-goers at the Jackson County Fair.

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