Drifting And Drafting


Thursday June 24th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

Boy, do I have a lot of work to do. The more I get done, the more that needs to be done. I sure wish I’d had better vision years ago, I’d be a powerhouse by now. But I didn’t. And I’m not. On second thought, my vision was ok. It was my follow through that was weak.

For whatever failings I may have experienced in life, looking back on it I think it was an absolute lack of leadership that really caused me to drift. My grandfather was a wonderful mentor, but he died six months after I graduated high school. That’s probably the time for the most need for a father figure, but I was all alone in the world and made weak choices.

Granted, sooner or later the blame has to stop about where a person came from, and I’m not going to harp on it any more than I have to. Yeah, I had a few bad breaks, but I had a big hand in blowing a lot of other opportunities all on my own. Part of it was because of a burning inner rage I really didn’t know was there until years later. It affected my choices.

I was always trying to get back at someone or show someone I was good for something, and all that was a gigantic waste of productive time. Nobody cared. Had I been smart and spent my time focused on good things rather than sticking it to others, I’d be a big success rather than sitting here wondering what went wrong. I know I’m not alone in that either.

A lot of people screw up in life, but I think the real trick is how to bounce back and get a second chance. Maybe that’s all part of what we’re here to learn, and if it is I think I am finally discovering my purpose. I really AM learning, even if it comes with a major price.

The only thing that concerns me is if I have enough time left to make any real difference in anyone’s lives. I sure hope so, but I keep seeing all the time I wasted trying to figure all of this out and it crushes my hopes. I feel like I’m just getting started now, when in reality I should have been at this point about twenty years ago. I’m starting the race way too late.

I thought about that as I watched the NBA draft on ESPN tonight. I’m a sucker for those things no matter what the sport. I see all these young kids with high hopes and dreams get their name called, knowing they have NO idea what’s in store for them in the real world.

Most of them have been pampered since grade school, and think the pro career is going to work out without a glitch and they’ll be happy ever after. There have to be thousands of stories of kids that lost it all in just a few years or fizzled out and never made it at all.

Pro sports is probably the only thing even more brutal than show business. Well, it IS a form of show business but it’s different in that once the skills are gone, they’re absolutely gone forever. Comedy and music and acting at least have a little more margin for error.

Some of those kids tonight will get cut or traded or have to play in Europe or get caught up in drugs or booze or who knows what and look back when they’re my age and wonder what they should have done differently. I wish them well, but I‘ve got my own problems.

I thought about that too as I sat around sorting out boxes I’ve been meaning to sort for a long time. I’d been planning on this night for a while, knowing I needed some time alone to just think my life through. I tried to throw as much away as I could, and I’m glad I did.

A lot of it was paperwork and notebooks with unachieved goals written in them. I threw all kinds of papers out that had headers like ‘Goals for 1997’ with ambitious projects that I never got to, and part of that really made me feel like a failure. That time is gone forever and whatever I did instead sure didn’t make up for me not achieving what I had intended.

Part of the reason was that I was either getting fired from radio stations across America or having to testify against my best friend in a bank robbery trial. All of that put a damper on life and clouded even more what was already a blurry vision of what life was about. If I had the clarity of thinking I have now back then, I would be in a totally different place.

But I’m sure a lot of other people say that too. Too bad. We didn’t have that clarity then and that’s why we all did what we did. I for one regret it horribly, but what can I do? Who do I blame besides myself? I can’t blame my grandfather, I’m sure he didn’t want to die.

In a perfect world, he’d have been my mentor through my turbulent twenties and helped me get a grasp for what both the real world and show business were all about. I needed an experienced guide to coach me through the difficulty of getting established, knowing that I had some actual talent that could go to a higher level. I would have had a different life.

C. Cardell Willis was a wonderful showbiz mentor, but no offense to him he wasn’t the big time guy I needed. He gave me all he had and I appreciate it beyond words, but as far as helping me take it to the big time, he couldn’t help me after a certain point. I was once again all by myself, and there’s no way anybody can do it alone. I lacked a higher mentor.

It’s extremely disappointing to think about all this, but it’s true. The only good I can see coming of it is that I’ll hopefully get to be a super mentor to some bright kid coming up in a new generation. I know now what to do, but it took way too long to learn it. Some kid is out there in the same position I was, and if I can offer even a bit of wisdom I‘m happy to.

That kid may not even be born yet, OR, he or she could be reading it right now without me even having a clue. I surely hope so, even if I never know it. That’s the right thing for anyone to do – pass good energy forward. If I can help someone else, I’ll always make it a point to do so. That’s what real giving is all about. I hope others can avoid my mistakes.

I would LOVE to have had the chance to be drafted by any big time pro sports league so I could have felt the thrill of hearing my name called by the commissioner and walk down the aisle smiling from ear to ear with camera lights flashing and TV analysts touting me.

That’s not going to happen, at least in this life. Maybe in a parallel universe I’m a Hall of Famer with a drawer full of championship rings and a fat bank account, but in this life I’ve got to worry about paying rent every month. I hope I learn whatever lessons I need to.

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