On An Upswing


Tuesday March 5th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   The entertainment business – and life itself – is a constant series of upswings and downswings. It’s a roller coaster ride, with the only constant being change. I remember meeting Kenny Rogers years ago when I was living in Salt Lake City, and he had the best attitude I’ve ever seen. He had been in the business for decades and learned to keep an even keel no matter what was happening.

“I’ve been around so long, I’ve experienced every possible kind of up and down anyone could ever imagine,” he said. “I never get too cocky when I’m up or depressed when I’m down because I know it never lasts either way. Sooner or later the tide will turn, and change will come again.”

I never forgot that, and meeting him was a real thrill. We got to spend time with him backstage, and it was very educational. I was working at a country radio station then, and we had the typical backstage meet and greet for listeners who had won tickets. Kenny handled it like the total pro he is, and made everyone – including my co-host and me – feel like we’d been his friend for years.

I’m on a major upswing now, and it couldn’t come at a better time. I haven’t experienced all of the amazing ups a Kenny Rogers has, but I’ve had some and they were fantastic. The times I had a radio job and was able to do comedy along with it were the best, as I had plenty of money to go around and that alone has a way of making life better on all levels. I could get used to that again.

I’ve had my share of down times too. Sometimes it seems like more than my share, but that’s a part of life as well. Bad breaks happen to everyone at some point, and it’s how a person reacts to them that determines how life will turn out in the long run. I’m seeing that now, and after all this time I’m finally feeling like I’m at least starting to have a clue as to how this big game is played.

This next little while is going to be crucial in determining how the rest of my life works out. If I play the game correctly – and I think I can – I’ll be able to finish strong and win. All of the ugly mistakes I made can be turned around, and rather than blame them I will use them as education.

Quite honestly, I did a lot of stupid things through the years and most were deeply rooted in my anger and need to ‘get even’ with the hand life dealt me. I was determined to show everyone who doubted (mainly my father) that I was indeed worth something and would show them in person.

What a waste of time and energy that all was, as my father died and never did think I amounted to anything that pleased him anyway. I could have gotten The Tonight Show instead of Jay Leno, and my father still would have thought I should have gotten a tattoo and been a biker like he was.

If there is any real ‘secret’ to life, I think it’s that we all have to please ourselves and hope that at some point we catch that lucky break everyone hopes for and our dreams come true. I’m about to do a run of ‘Schlitz Happened!’ shows in my hometown at the nicest venue there is. I am also going to get to be ‘The King of Uranus’ at a hockey game next week. If nobody else likes any of that, too bad. I’m ecstatic, and I think I can parlay both into more fun and income in the future if I handle myself correctly now. It’s taken a lifetime to get this far, I want to enjoy every minute.

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