High School Confidential


Sunday March 16th, 2014 – Petersburg, IL

By all that is logical, I should have gotten up early this morning and driven home to get at least a little work done on at least one of the too many projects I’ve got going. It’s not all that long of a drive from Springfield, IL to Island Lake, IL but I decided to veer off course and take a detour.

My friend Max Bumgardner’s son Dustin landed the lead role in his high school musical called “Back To The ‘80s”, and the last performance was this afternoon at 4:30. Max and his family are based in Petersburg, IL which is about 30 miles from Springfield. His wife Chris was born there, and went to the same high school Dustin and daughter Skylar now attend. Dustin is almost done.

Max and I have been friends since we worked in radio at 97.9 ‘The Loop’ in Chicago in 2004, and since then we have transitioned from friends to virtual family. I’ve watched both of his kids grow up from cute little tykes to now high school students with bright futures. He and Chris did a terrific job as parents, and both Dustin and Skylar have paths of ripe opportunity ahead of them.

I have watched them both grow up, and couldn’t miss the chance to watch Dustin’s moment of glory in high school. He graduates in June, and this was his finest hour. He’s always been a super sweet kid, but he’s very sensitive and shy to the point of appearing distant. I was thrilled for him.

Max has always been concerned that Dustin might have a challenge finding his stride because of his low key demeanor, and I can see a parent’s concern for a child. It’s only natural to want to protect one’s flesh and blood, but after seeing Dustin on stage for his big showbiz debut, I know beyond certainty Max and Chris have nothing to worry about. That kid has a glowing hot future.

It sure doesn’t hurt that at 18 Dustin is 6’2” and has movie star good looks. He and Skylar both hit genetic grand slams, as she is a stunning blonde beauty herself. It’s one thing for parents to be proud of their kids, but I have nothing at stake here. Max and Chris are both good looking human specimens in their own right, but their kids are off the charts. Both of them should be in movies.

According to Max and Chris, Skylar has no interest in pursuing anything in show business. She is an athlete all the way, and loves to play basketball. I’ve seen a couple of her games in the past, and I cheer loudly and proudly for both of them no matter what they do. They are family to me.

Max always tells me how big of a fan of mine Dustin is, and he plays my CDs and DVD all the time and can do my routines by heart from memory. Last time I was in town he was finally of the age where he could sit in the audience at Donnie B’s and he had a blast. It was his first live show and he really loved it. The least I could do was support his show in return. This was his big day.

I arrived at Max’s house right at 3pm. Dustin and Skylar happened to be leaving, and their faces lit up upon seeing mine. It immediately told me I made the correct decision, even though it ended up using an entire day I could have used to work on my own stuff. I’m glad I went. Dustin was a smash, and I was just as proud as if he was my own son. Skylar too. This is what life is all about, and I’m especially proud of Max for breaking the chain. These two kids are SO not dented cans.

My friend Max Bumgardner and his wife Chris are breaking the chain with their two children who are not dented cans.

My friend Max Bumgardner and his wife Chris are breaking the chain with their two children who are not dented cans.

Their son Dustin had the lead role in his high school musical 'Back To The '80s'. I had to be there.

Their son Dustin had the lead role in his high school musical ‘Back To The ’80s’. I had to be there.

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