Between you and me, time management has been a serious struggle lately. I’m coming to the realization that all the coffee’s and lunches I so leisurely took in-between my assorted work duties will need to be cut back to better accommodate my little return-to-radio dream. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and while I’m having a blast, in order to be at my best in everything I’m involved with, I’ve really got to slow down and focus.
To that end, I got that wonderful “caught up” feeling the other night and decided to celebrate by going through the piles of papers that had collected beside my desk. The piles were made up of things I wanted to take a closer look at, when I ‘had time’. So, Tuesday night, I made time.
I followed up with some emails to people that I had promised to get back to, sent out some monthly invoices and found a few mementos I had fished out of one of the boxes under our house. I have several of those boxes and when recently rummaging through one of them, I yanked a couple of fun things out.
The student ID was from my Junior year at Torrance High School, the Mighty Tartars. (that was our mascot) The hair was getting longer than I’m sure my parents preferred and I started parting it in the middle. (what a goof!) Just to the right of that is a KQOT car window sticker, from my first professional radio station, a daytimer over in Yakima, Washington. After unsuccessfully trying to land a job working in Seattle radio right out of college, I opted to move to eastern Washington to cut my radio teeth. I remember that job interview to this day. I sat there with the owner and office manager, talked for a while and then they said, “Let’s hear how you sound.” We walked into the control room, the owner told the guy to get out of the way so I could take over for an hour. They then went out and drove around, listening to me on a car radio, deciding if I was the right fit for the station. I was nervous as hell, but somehow, they liked what they heard. I got the job at Q93 for a whopping $350 a month to start and then, if I worked out after a couple of months, it would get bumped up to $400. Who said a college education wasn’t worth something?
But the item in the upper right corner was a surprise. I didn’t even realize I had pulled it out with the other things. That’s the inside of a Thank You note from the Student Activities Director at Torrance High, Mr. Tryon. During my terms as a Senior President and A.S.B. Vice-President, I’m sure I gave him many gray hairs. Those years grow more distant by the day, but I seem to recall that I irritated him a lot. I was a goofball and probably not what he thought of when he thought of student leadership.
But on my way out, he gave me a Thank You note. I probably haven’t read it for over 40 years and I actually didn’t intend to pull it out of the memory box, but I accidentally grabbed in with the other stuff. The picture above is a little blurry, but here’s what it said:
“June 12th, 1973 (probably a high holy day to him, as I was finally graduating and leaving campus)
Who says vaudeville is dead? Just that you have such a perfect sense of timing is no reason to believe your (sp, and he was an educator) destined to become a second Harpo or was it Groucho? Keep yourself well, OK.
Respectfully, Mr. Tryon”
Here’s a guy that I thought pretty much was annoyed by me (and he still probably was) but he saw that whatever I was going to do in my future was going to have to do with making people laugh. There is not a greater high for me. When I ran for Senior President, I actually had a script that was one-liner after one-liner, including such groaners as, “My opponent has the face of a saint!” after which a friend in the audience yelled out, “Yeah, a St. Bernard!” That incident pretty much sealed my deal. Over the years, hearing the comedy roar of a joke that works, creating jokes for my various comedy clients and those 8 years of actually selling jokes to Jay Leno and hearing them delivered on the Tonight Show, all combine to make me remember I’m one lucky guy.
Life is not about the accomplishments, but about doing what you love to do and then, oh yeah, it happens to be your job, too.
Each week, as I sit down to write one of these blogs, I seriously never know where the muses are going to take me until I start tapping away on the keyboard. Occasionally, there are weeks where I sit down with an agenda. But in this week’s case, I took an accidental stroll Memory Lane and what a fun little stroll it was.