Satisfaction Not Guaranteed

Friday August 31st, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m still thinking about the untimely passings of fellow comedians Wild Bill Bauer and Byron Beck. They are sad events for completely different reasons, and it all adds up to a big fat flaming downer. It’s tough enough to have one of these to deal with, but two in one week is a bitter pill.

If there’s any upside at all, according to the article in his hometown paper Wild Bill passed away peacefully in his sleep. At least he didn’t suffer, but it sure leaves an extra hollow feeling because none of his family and friends will ever get to say a proper goodbye. He will be missed.

He was just on the radio with me as a guest when I filled in on WNTA in Rockford, IL a couple of weeks ago, and now he’s gone. He said he wanted to book me for a New Year’s Eve show this year in Minnesota and would get back to me when he had something solid. He thanked me for letting him read some of his tweets on the air, and said he wanted to come on the Mothership too.

Why would either of us have any reason to think that would be the last time we’d ever speak to each other on this earthly plane? We both assumed we’d be able to keep doing what we’re doing indefinitely, and we were both wrong. Now all I have is an empty feeling of considerable loss.

Byron’s story is completely different. I hardly knew the guy, but that doesn’t mean I’m not sad to hear of his passing. He was a very young man of 41, and I had heard he had been ill for a long time. I don’t know the details and they’re none of my business, but the end result isn’t pleasant.

The biggest regret I have is that I didn’t know of his illness. I would have tried to take the time to reach out as a friend and human being first and comedian second. It’s a shame that we require something like a serious illness to get to know someone better, but I guess that’s human nature.

Now Byron is gone, and we never had an opportunity to bond as friends. We crossed paths yes, but only a scant few times. We had no cross words or even the slightest disagreement, but we did not dig deeper than surface pleasantries. From all I gather, I missed out. He was very well liked.

I’ve heard it and said it myself countless times, but I’ll say it again – there are absolutely NO guarantees at anytime about anything or anybody. Ever. Every single time we interact with someone in this life could quite possibly be the very last time we ever do so. That’s pretty deep.

I for one feel a strong inner need to become nicer. We’re here to help each other as much as we can, but sometimes it doesn’t play out that way. I’m sorry it takes drastic events like these two to get that message across, but I’m hearing it super loud and crystal clear. We all have limited time.

Life is a numbers game, and it’s up to each of us to notch as many marks on the good side as we can. I have always tried to do my best, but today it feels like I’ve fallen painfully short. I need to spread more good vibes while there’s time. We all do, but I can only control my own choice of actions. I’ve screwed up badly many times, and I really regret that. Some of those things I won’t ever be able to change what people think, but I can change how I act in the future starting today.


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