Archive for June, 2014

Roller Coaster Maintenance

June 18, 2014

Monday June 16th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Life’s roller coaster ride continues, but I’m not sure if I want to be on a roller coaster. It would be nice to get off for a while and get a hot dog or something, and maybe take a leak. The ups and downs are starting to take their toll as I get older. How about a ride on something less violent?

I just experienced a super ‘up’ by patching things up with my siblings this year. It was a major victory to get them to all come out for one meal, but that was just the first step. Everything can’t be ‘fixed’ in one sitting, and just like in any long term human relationship work has to be done.

Getting together with my sister Tammy for our barbecue last Friday was nothing short of a life changing experience in a wonderful way. I’d wanted to air those issues out since childhood, and I finally got my chance. We didn’t leave any unfinished business, and it feels like I’m a new man.

Yesterday I called my brother Larry on the phone, and we had a great conversation as well. We never fought as kids, but we have been apart for too long and it felt fantastic to get back in touch and catch up. He’s going through some problems of his own, and I was glad to be able to listen.

Our other brother Bruce is in Florida, and I wrote him a long email updating him on how it all went at Tammy’s, and went down a list of things that I was truly sorry for. It’s hard to admit one is wrong, but I also feel it’s necessary when it’s true. He wrote back a very short response saying we’re all good and that there’s no need to dig up the past. All he wants is for us to look forward.

That’s three for three extremely positive outcomes with three individuals that could not be any more different. We managed to agree that we all came from a horrible place, but none of us want to stay there. We are all on our own individual roller coaster rides, but we still share blood ties.

It mystifies me how life tends to play itself out. When my career has been at its best, my family situation has been in absolute shambles. Now that my family situation is the best it has ever been my career is in the toilet. I find that part funny and part frustrating beyond belief. But there it is.

I am finding myself really in need of a major vocational change of direction. Being constantly on the road used to be what kept me going and I couldn’t get enough of it. Now, the thought of being more than 100 miles from home makes my poop shoot wink with disgust. I’m SO over it.

I’m also over trying to outshout drunks and deal with lowlife booking agents. I want to do this on my terms, and I think I’ve earned that right. The drunks and the bookers don’t think so, but it isn’t up to them. Neither party will miss me, nor will any of them ever care if I’m happy or not.

The choice is entirely up to me, and I’m choosing happiness – or at least the pursuit of it. I have never been an ass kisser, and that seems to be a requirement in the entertainment game. If I were to decide to acquiesce and kiss an ass, it sure wouldn’t be any of the ones I’ve been dealing with. I’d do it for someone that had real power in the business – not some mediocre gigs in Michigan.

In some ways, I’m sitting in the best position I’ve ever been in. The inner peace I have chased for a lifetime has been caught – just in time to have to find a new way to generate steady income. It’s like I can’t even enjoy what I have waited so long to experience, but right now I can’t. I have to get myself stable financially, and then I need to find a therapist and get myself stable mentally as well. I have put some hard miles on my body and brain, it’s time for a maintenance overhaul.

Life is a roller coaster ride, but after a while we can all use a break from the whiplash.

Life is a roller coaster ride, but after a while we can all use a break from the whiplash.

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Fathering Forgiveness

June 16, 2014

Sunday June 15th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Happy Father’s Day! Those that know me well may think I have finally flipped completely, but I couldn’t be more sincere. I think this is going to be the best Father’s Day of my life, and it once again took me by surprise. At this point I don’t care how it took me – I am just delighted it did.

I have finally found it in my deepest being to forgive my father unconditionally for everything he ever did or said to hurt me. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I know that I have finally gotten over one of if not the biggest psychological humps in my life. It won’t be an issue again.

There have been so many things going on in my life lately, Father’s Day took a back seat in my mind this year. As with all the family based holidays that have been so difficult for so long, some years are better than others. This year Mother’s Day sent me over the edge, and that was enough.

I’ve still got some hurt I need to work through with her, but the old man and I have completed our business as of today. I think it was due to my sitting with my sister Tammy and talking about everything I felt a need to talk about on Friday. As we were looking through family pictures, we ran across his driver’s license and old work ID. Seeing him from a distance changed everything.

As a child, he was a giant fire breathing dragon to be feared. One little mistake or indiscretion could and often did bring the undiluted wrath of hell’s fury. Sometimes it involved beatings, but even getting yelled at with his intimidating snarl would strike extreme fear into every one of us.

He was a bully, and loved to get over by using fear and intimidation tactics. I eventually caught on to his game, and after that I no longer feared him. I learned to despise him and all bullies, and I have stood up to them in all forms my entire life. I’ve gotten some world class ass whippings as well, but at least I went down swinging. He was the inspiration for it, and the emotions ran deep.

For years and years no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t let it go. I read books and articles about forgiveness, and I knew they were correct by saying I needed to do it – but I couldn’t find the button and it wouldn’t go away. I thought I did a few times, but I was only fooling myself.

My step mother was the only person I ever knew that was in his class of evil, and between the two I had more issues than Mad magazine. She was the only humanoid I ever ran across that was in his league of evil, and as a child I prayed for her slow and painful death. Guess what? I got it!

It was only when I heard she had died that I was able to forgive her. My grandmother told me, and Grandma’s brain was in outer space due to Alzheimer’s. She must have told me ten times in two minutes, and when she did I immediately knew how wrong I was for wishing what I wished.

I was an adult by then, and when I heard the witch was dead I was able to see the situation a lot clearer than I could as a child. My step mother was a small town girl from the U.P. of Michigan, and came to Milwaukee the ‘big city’. Then she married Satan, and she had her cross to bear for the rest of her life. I’m not condoning her treatment of me, but I was able to forgive her for it.

I knew right then I was over it, and that it wouldn’t be an issue ever again. It hasn’t been, and it won’t be in the future. The damage is done, and I see things differently now. I don’t want to wish her soul to barbecue or anything like that. I’ve got my own problems, and wasting energy on her is not going to help either one of us. Getting closure on it all has been a huge load off my psyche.

I now have the exact same feeling about him, and I can finally dust off and move on. It used to eat at me from within, and quite often Father’s Day was a major trigger. I’d see my friends with good fathers be able to have someone to go to in times of need, and know I’d never have that. It made me angry, bitter and hurt more than I can put into words. Now, I don’t feel that anymore.

Do I still think he was a butt plug in the poop shoot of humanity? Without question. He was an all out loser that never should have had children, but he had his own problems. He was never that all powerful ogre he portrayed so well all throughout my childhood. He was a scared little boy all along, and didn’t want anyone to know it. He tried to cover it up by pretending he was a monster.

I think the biggest monster of all lived inside his own head. My grandfather used to tell me of how he would try to motivate my father time and time again and was never able to reach him. It always bothered Gramps, but he never stopped trying. When I got to be a teenager we would go out for breakfast once a week and catch up. He did the same with my father. It became tradition.

Gramps told me many times that between the two breakfasts each week I was without a doubt the adult of the two. My father apparently bitched about everything and was still that unsatisfied kid while I was growing into adulthood and maturing. For whatever reason, the old man was not able to figure life out. He told me himself that he was “a major underachiever and proud of it.”

There are a grand total of ZERO pictures of my father and me at any point in our lives. Not as a baby, not as a kid, and surely not as an adult. We didn’t have contact for years, and I talked to Tammy about that. She said he was a huge pain in the ass at the end, and made all of their lives a constant circus. I’m glad I wasn’t around for it, but I’m sorry they had to endure that for so long.

I know I’m not the only one that has had father issues, but mine were pretty intense. My friend C.J. Vincent reminded me that “you don’t forgive your father, you forgive yourself.” I agree with that wholeheartedly, but I think it’s important to be able to see things from the father’s viewpoint to do it completely. I’m not saying anyone has to forgive the actions, but knowing why is crucial.

My father was a coward. He was a social misfit, and had extremely low self esteem. None of it gives him a pass for how he treated us, but it sure does explain why. I looked at his picture on his driver’s license and ID card, and I saw a pathetic lowlife rather than that fire breathing monster.

I should have had Tammy make a copy of it so I could show it, but I didn’t think of it then. All I could do was just look at it with disgust and know with total certainty that it wasn’t any of our faults that we were treated worse than cattle by him. I think that’s what C.J. means by forgiving ourselves. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get to this point, but I can feel that I absolutely have.

That doesn’t mean I’m ‘fixed’ though. There are still a few bubbling issues with my mother to work through, and I’m just not there yet. I know it’s basically the same story and the exact same principle should be used, but I’m human and there’s still some hurt there. I’ll get to it when I do. Apparently according to Tammy she’s still alive, so maybe there will be a meeting in our future.

I have a strict limit of one crisis at a time, so I’ll just enjoy this victory and know that I just got dealt a bad hand in the parental department I’ll have to play out for as long as I continue to draw breath. The only kind of true revenge I can get is to be a father figure and mentor to as many kids of all ages that I can. I was shown kindness from Gramps, and that’s what I am going to use as a model to show others. I feel like I’m finally free from the dragon’s evil grasp. Next crisis please.

Father issues run deep, and unfortunately with many. Forgiveness can be extremely difficult, or even unheard of to some.

Father issues run deep, and unfortunately with many. Forgiveness can be extremely difficult, or even unheard of to some.

Apparently I'm not alone or this poster wouldn't exist.

Apparently I am not alone, or this poster would not exist.

A Rose Knows

June 15, 2014

Sunday June 15th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

This is one more Facebook post I made earlier this week that I wanted to include in my blog update. It was a satisfying experience to make this lady’s day, and everybody won.

* * *

Kindness really does exist! My film director friend Mark Gumbinger pulled off a wonderful gesture yesterday by arranging a double dose of it for a person that really enjoyed it.

Mark lives in Kenosha, WI where I happened to have a paranormal talk radio show for five years. He is friends with a wonderful lady who was one of my biggest fans, but never called in because she was shy.

The lady’s name is Rose, and her 95th birthday is coming up this week. 95! WOW! She’s a super sweet lady, and Mark asked if I wouldn’t mind going to a surprise birthday dinner her family was throwing. How could I say no to that?

Mark stopped and bought a box of chocolates and a single Rose, and we went to a fantastic restaurant called ‘Michael’s On The Lake’ in Kansasville, WI. Mark introduced me to Rose and her face lit up like a little girl at Christmas. To her, I was a big celebrity, and I gave her a hug and told her how much I appreciated her listening to me all those years. She just GUSHED about how much she loved the show and said how witty and funny I was and how she looked forward to Sunday nights and would never miss it.

I had no idea what to expect quite honestly, and when Mark said 95, I expected a basket case frail old lady with a walker and tubes in her nose. I was pleasantly surprised to meet a wonderful lady that if I had to guess her age would have honestly placed her in her 60s. Her mind was sharp as a tack, and she was vibrant, intelligent and funny.

About 20 of her nieces and nephews showed up as well, and it was her night to shine. I loved seeing her beaming face as everyone told her how much they loved and appreciated her.

Then as the main event, WLIP’s star host Lou Rugani showed up in a tuxedo of all things, and planted a big kiss on her cheek. Rose is a big fan of Lou’s show, and she should be. Lou is a star in Kenosha, and one of the most talented radio broadcasters I have ever met. He’s suave and debonair, and very classy.

Rose was the center of attention, and the look on her face made it worthwhile. I would have driven 1000 miles in a blizzard on a riding lawn mower with a bad wheel to see her have that much joy at 95 years old. What a stellar gesture of kindness on Mark’s part to arrange it. All it cost him was two phone calls, and it made a lady’s birthday one she will NEVER forget.

When I think I am a low life maggot with nothing to hang my hat on, I see how people like Rose look at me like a big star and it keeps me going. What a fantastic positive experience all around. Thanks Mark! YOU are behind all this, and I am proud to call you and Lou – and now Rose – my friends.THIS is the kind of kindness I’m talking about, and it’s my new addiction. Absolutely EVERYBODY won, and I am flattered to be part of the mix.

Mark is a very talented director, and has done feature films, documentaries about shipwrecks like the Titanic and Edmund Fitzgerald, and most recently directed a three camera shoot of my one hour comedy live show called ‘The Dented Can Live’. He did a masterful job, and I would recommend anyone check out his work http://www.titanicdisasterdvd.com.

Mark Gumbinger made a lady's 95th birthday special. THAT'S the kind of kindness the world needs more of.

Mark Gumbinger made a lady’s 95th birthday party special. THAT’S the kind of kindness the world needs more of. Kudos Mark!

Untwisted Sister

June 15, 2014

Friday June 14th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

This was my Facebook post today, and what made me decide I should start blogging again:

Yesterday was a rare day all around. Not only was it Friday the 13th AND a full moon, I got together with my sister Tammy at her house to celebrate her birthday which is actually Sunday the 15th. We had not spoken or had contact for a full TWENTY YEARS until all three of my siblings and I got together this past March for a reunion meal.

Family relationships can be infamously and notoriously delicate, and I know I’m not the only one that has been estranged from siblings or parents for years. I will say that our wayward tribe is at the top of the extreme list though, but the crackpots and wackadoos it all trickled down from are now dead and we are left and doing our best to ‘break the chain’.

There was a touch of awkwardness in March, but it didn’t last long. We had a really fun time that night, and it was a tremendous start. Last month I cautiously asked Tammy if I could take her out for a birthday meal, and she suggested we get together at her house to have a barbecue instead.

I had never seen her house, and she bought it with lottery winnings. She won a nice chunk of money 19 years ago – and then paid off the rest of the family so they wouldn’t tell me she won. It was very hurtful then, but we were both able to share a hearty laugh about it in March, and any pain or ill feelings are long gone.

There was also a time when I was 17 and lived with Tammy and her husband Jake when they were newly married and I needed a place to live. The rampant dysfunction in our family made it necessary to leave my grandparents’ house where I was raised because our grandfather had died and our grandmother was an icy cold German who had her own severe childhood issues. She passed a heap of them down to my father, and he in turn passed them on to us. The chain needed to be broken.

Tammy didn’t have to take me in but she did, and it was a very tense time for everyone. I used to bitch about her cooking constantly, but she was 21 and newly married and the last thing she needed was an asshole brother in the mix. I didn’t see that then, but I see it with crystal clarity now. I never felt close to Tammy as a small child, and sure didn’t at that time either.

Last night, Tammy grilled out a delicious feast of steak and chicken, and made a homemade pasta salad and cake that were probably the most delicious home cooked dishes I have ever eaten. The company helped, and I savored every scrumptious bite and every minute of conversation with her and Jake. We sat down to eat and before we knew it five hours had passed.

She hauled out a giant plastic storage tub of photo albums and we looked at all kinds of family pictures I had never seen before – and many that I had. Twenty years away is a long time. There were several pics of all of us as kids, and from the time when I lived with her. It brought back a flood of memories good and bad, but I think we needed to look through them together and just let a healing process take over. There were some deep thoughts exchanged between the three of us about topics that have been festering in all of us for decades – but not ONE cross word. We were intelligent adults discussing painful memories.

Our mother left when I was five months old, and Tammy was 4 1/2. She has her own pain and issues with it, and it’s different from mine. She is the only girl, and has been dealing with her pain the best she can all these years. She and Jake raised two very sweet kids and now they are grandparents of four more. They live a quiet peaceful life, and are doing a great job breaking the chain.

The four of us siblings could NOT be any more different people, but we all came from the same genetic cesspool. Our brother Larry was scheduled to come, but had a last minute emergency and had to back out. Our other brother Bruce Dobrient lives in Florida. I was sorry we couldn’t all get together again as a group, but I think it was important for Tammy and me to get some one on one time after all these years apart. I didn’t feel even a hint of any negative energy.

I never felt close to Tammy as a kid, and it felt like she just didn’t like me. All I wanted was to have a chance as adults to sit and air our feelings intelligently so we could both see where the other was coming from. We totally did that last night, and it went exactly as I hoped it would.There is no lingering anger on either side and I think we can FINALLY start to build a sibling relationship after all the pain and insanity we have both had to face. I know it will end very well.

What a one of a kind surreal day it was on so many levels. If it took a full moon and Friday the 13th to do it, so be it. I know there are others that have been apart from their families for years. I thought I would NEVER get a chance to reunite with any one of my three siblings, but now I am on good terms with them all and I know it’s not fake or temporary. We all realize the delicate nature of life, and despite where we all came from we are solid people and I’m proud of us all.

All four of us could easily have gone off the deep end and been serial killers or habitual criminals and nobody would have blamed us, but we have all chosen to fight it out and do our best. Getting together with Tammy was a highlight of my life, and at the end of the night she gave me a hug and invited me back any time I want to show up. I have a comedy show at the Northern Lights Theatre at Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee on July 19th, and she and Jake are planning on coming out. Larry and Bruce will be invited too. I am just overjoyed to have this happen. Even if they don’t make it out, I’m sure we’ll all get together again.

I have no idea if anyone even read this far, but I had to get it out of my system. I think I’m going to start up my blog again because there is so much happening I can’t keep track of it all.

The point of this post is – patience DOES pay dividends. I will cherish last night’s visit for the rest of my life, and I know Tammy got something from it too. If you have a rotten or even slightly shaky family situation, HANG IN THERE because I am living proof it can totally change – and for the better.

We’re not the Cleavers and never will be, but we’re not the Munsters anymore either. What a relief! Miracles do happen, and this is something I’ve been asking for my entire life. It was without a doubt the best Friday the 13th of all time.

I still have a mountain of problems to climb, but this was a great healer of my inner turmoil.

This was THE best Friday the 13th I could ever imagine.

This was THE best Friday the 13th I could ever imagine. I would love more like it.

The Password Is “KINDNESS”

June 15, 2014

Saturday June 14th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Of all the posts I have ever made and all the writing I have ever done, I’d have to pick this one installment as my definitive work. It sums up who I am and what makes me tick, and when I put it up on Facebook I got unbelievably sincere responses – many from people I hadn’t heard from in years. This is what clicked with me that I am indeed a writer and not some typing schmuck.

It really took the pressure off as well with having to please anyone else with what I’m doing as a comedian. From now on I am calling the shots, and wherever it leads me will be where I go.

– – –

As I get older, I realize that the only thing that really matters in this life is kindness. That’s it. Everything else is pure and utter useless bullshit. We all have hopes and dreams and that’s great, but in the end it’s only what we do for others that really passes the test of time.

I used to think I wanted fame and fortune and all the dreams comedians have when they start out. As time slides away I can clearly see what a waste it is to focus on only that. There’s nothing wrong with wanting – or getting – it, but even if one does it’s no guarantee of happiness or lasting impact.

All too often little gestures or moments are what make the biggest difference, both good and bad. I know the bad side all too well, and there are a few people I have pissed off so badly they want nothing to do with me ever again.

Unfortunately those people are considered big in the comedy world, and it has cost me a lot of work that I could really use right about now. I still don’t know what I did to piss them off that badly, and it was completely unintentional. I said I was sorry, but they wouldn’t hear of it.

I don’t claim now or ever did to be perfect or without fault. My screw ups in life have been many and often. BUT – I like to think there is a heart in there somewhere, and I’m going to spend the rest of my life strengthening that muscle. I don’t know how or what I can do to make people’s lives better, but as long as I’m drawing breath that is going to be my razor sharp focus.

I may not ever get rich, famous or even beloved – but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about the giving. My heart is still aching to the core about the passing of Dan Ronan. That kid touched a lot of people in exactly the way I am talking about. He was far from perfect either, but his core was pure.

I have a lot of contacts, and it’s virtually impossible to keep track of everyone. Facebook makes it a little easier, but there are many more that aren’t even on it. And I’m talking about one on one contact – even if it’s just for a minute or two. Planting those positive seeds every day are what life is all about.

When I told Dan’s parents about our road trip, his mother’s eyes lit up and for just a split second Dan was alive again. She smiled broadly as she told of how much that trip meant to him. Well, it must have meant at least a little because he ended up telling her about it.

Quite honestly it was no big deal to me at the time. Road trips are old to me to the point of being an unwelcome grind, but I knew Dan could handle it and he was thrilled to be asked. I remember fondly and vividly how much I was thrilled for my first road work, so I was passing it forward. That’s the kindness I’m talking about. It was little to nothing at the time I did it, and I forgot about it.

But when it came back from her memory at such a horrific time it was healing and cathartic for us both. Little moments like that are what I want to create more of with as many people as humanly possible until the day when I am in a coffin of my own. That could come at any time, and yesterday drove that point home deeply right through my already downtrodden heart.

If I have pissed you off even a little in our dealings – please accept my deepest and heartfelt apology. I was wrong, and I am very sorry. Dave Stroupe, Colleen Quinn and Al Canal from the Funny Bone chain and Bob and Tom think I’m the devil, and try as I might I can’t change it.

I said I was sorry, and I truly am. Nobody can make anyone accept an apology, but even they can’t change what’s in a person’s heart. I know I have one, and all I can do is move on and do the best I can. I’m sorry they’re so angry, but that’s on them. I’m not the dastardly scum bucket they seem to think I am.

My comedy career is going nowhere, and unfortunately that’s true for a lot of people – many with considerable talent. Talent is never the determining factor. It’s nice if one has it, but not the top requirement. Getting to the top echelon of show business is extremely rare for anybody. Hard work and luck are huge ingredients, and talent and timing are in the mix as well.

I’m really sorry to make this long rambling post, but I have so many raw emotions charging through my veins right now I can’t help it. I am still at the house of my friend Sheri who had a stroke before she was 50. She is alive, but every day is a struggle just to get out of bed and get dressed.

Perspective is everything, and I’m finally gaining some in life. The comedy game is brutal, and I fought through it for thirty years only to learn what’s really important – kindness. I hope I can make the most of whatever time I have left, and that time will be spent following my heart rather than trying to please some idiot in Hollywood I don’t respect. I’m playing a much more satisfying game now, and it’s one that everybody can win.

I’m sorry it took the death of such a vibrant soul to hit me this hard, but I don’t intend to make it in vein. Dan’s life has breathed new inspiration into my own, and has given me a razor sharp purpose I only partially felt before. I don’t intend to make long posts like this often, but I felt I needed to do this one and get it ‘out there’. My mistakes sure are, and those that hate me like to tell it to anyone who will listen. I can’t change that, but I can change my inner source of power, and I am doing that now. It’s all about the kindness. Period.

– – –

It may have taken years for me to find my voice, but after this particular post I think I finally have. It flowed out of me when I wrote it, and it got touched people’s hearts. That’s the goal.

Amen!

Amen!

Preach it, Aesop!

Preach it, Aesop!

Comedian Dan Ronan

June 15, 2014

Saturday June 14th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

This next post ripped my heart to shreds, and I’m still reeling from the loss:

* * *

Sometimes Facebook is the bearer of bad news. I woke up this morning and was slapped in the face with news that comedian Dan Ronan had died over the weekend. I’m still in shock, and unbelievably saddened.

Dan was a bright young kid that totally ‘had it’. I try to help young comics get a taste of the road life when I can, and I took Dan with me on a trip to Minneapolis in January of 2012. He was unbelievably grateful, and told me he wanted to ‘make me proud’.

He absolutely did, and then some. He was absolutely terrific on stage, and adapted to the situation like a seasoned pro. There was a power outage on one of the shows, and he was on stage with no sound or lights but didn’t panic in the least. He was beyond his years in maturity, and his love for the craft just oozed from him. It was a pleasure to watch.

Off stage, we hung out and he told me of his life and how he got into drugs in high school. He was very up front, and just a very sharp kid all around. We stopped for pizza after our Thursday night show in Eau Claire, WI, and there was a hot blondie waitress that he was smitten with. I flirted with her on his behalf, and got her to come to our table as much as humanly possible.

We laughed about it all the way there and back, and we kept in contact after the week. He was extremely grateful, and I really was impressed with his talent. He had huge potential, and hearing of his death has frozen me in my tracks. I don’t know how old he was, but I know he was not close to 30. What an absolute tragedy, and I still can’t believe it.

Why is life so cruel and unfair? Fidel Castro and Charles Manson are alive, but brilliant creative talents like Dan Ronan are not. If you are a praying type, please send one up for Dan and his family. This is not how life should be, and my heart will be heavy for a long time because of this.

Any day could be our last. Let’s live accordingly.

* * *

It’s been about a week now since this news first hit me, but it’s still tearing me up inside. What a waste, and a major tragedy to lose such a bright talent at such a young age. He was loaded with the rare combination of everything it took to hit the big time, and now none of us will enjoy that.

I had a chance to share some of my knowledge with Dan, and it was an honor to have crossed paths with such a high level of natural talent. While I’m grieving at the loss, it also inspires me to keep on mentoring as many young talents as I can. I know I can help young comedians, and I want to do it.

I don’t know how I can do it the best, but I know that mentoring needs to be a part of my life as long as I will be alive. I revere the memory of my own mentors, and see from my side how much impact they can have whether they know it or not. My mentors live on in me, and I want to reach out to as many as I can and keep paying it forward. Dan’s loss will sting for a long time to come.

Chicago comedian Dan Ronan was one of the brightest young talents I've seen in a long time. His tragic passing at only 24 will lay heavily on my heart forever. What a tragic loss for us all.

Chicago comedian Dan Ronan was one of the brightest young talents I’ve seen in a long time. His tragic passing at only 24 will lay heavily on my heart forever. What a major loss for us all. That kid had all the tools.

WMOM Radio – Always Listen To Your Mom!

June 15, 2014

Saturday June 14th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Here is the first of several posts I made on Facebook in the last week or so. I am posting them here for those that aren’t Facebook friends, so please forgive me if you are and it’s a duplicate. I am just trying to get everyone on the same page, and a lot of things have happened of late.

This is one about my radio mentor, and being able to pay back someone who really helped me:

* * *

Everybody has mentors, and my biggest one in radio without question is the great Patrick Lopeman aka Pat Martin. He helped me get my first job at WMMQ in Lansing, MI in 1990. What a thrill it is to get one’s first morning show, and I won’t forget it.

Since then I’ve bounced around and have worked all over the country. It’s an insane business, with ZERO stability – but I still learned a lot about life and had fun doing it. Not only that I met a ton of really creative and wonderful people.

Management at most radio stations are apes, but the rest of the people are almost always great. There isn’t a station I’ve ever worked at where I am not in touch with someone to this day.

This past weekend, Pat hired me to consult his morning show on the station he owns in Ludington, MI. It’s called WMOM or ‘Mom’. They have a GREAT catch phrase in “Always listen to your Mom”. They were are the age now I was when I started, and it was fulfilling to be able to come back for a day and pass on some of the hard earned knowledge I have gotten in my travels – and from Pat.

Pat is in a word brilliant and is still as passionate about radio today as when I met him decades ago. He’s a fantastic mentor, loyal friend and goes out of his way to help others. That’s probably why you may not have heard of him before. Nice people rarely get the recognition they deserve, and I want to do what I can to change that. If you are a fan of CHR radio, listen to WMOM. http://www.wmom.fm.

It sounds as good or better than any other new music station in the biggest markets, and there’s only one reason for it – the great Patrick Lopeman. Thanks Pat! I appreciate you very much. Your kindness lives on in many – including and especially me.

* * *

I wanted to write this mainly because it’s all true, but I also wanted Pat’s friends and family to see it in print. I know it’s only the internet, but these days that’s as good as what it used to mean to get something in the newspaper or a magazine. I’m not a major publication, but I wanted Pat’s inner circle to see this and it totally worked. I know he did too, and he called to thank me for it.

People like Pat are WAY undervalued in my opinion. He’s considered a borderline wacko by a segment of the radio fraternity because he does things his own way. What they fail to give credit for is that his way WORKS. The guy is a brilliant radio mind, and lives and breathes it each day.

I am in that same category with some as well, so I go out of my way to toot the horn of the Pat Martins of the world. May he continue to live his dream, and I will support him any way I can.

WMOM is a radio station in Ludington, MI that sounds as good as any CHR radio station in America. www.wmom.fm

WMOM is a radio station in Ludington, MI that sounds as good as any CHR radio station in America. http://www.wmom.fm

Back From The Dead!

June 15, 2014

Saturday June 14th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Hey blogosphere, it’s me! I thought I was going to be out of commission a lot longer, but I can’t stay away. Old habits die hard, and after years of writing as a discipline I find I can’t live without it as part of my daily routine. Actually, what I need more of is any kind of routine at all. I’ve been all over the place in the rest of my life and anything but disciplined. Writing has been my constant.

The first thing I am going to do is FINALLY admit to myself that I’m actually a writer. For so long, all I ever pictured myself as was a comedian. No wonder my life is in shambles. That’s like trying to complete a marathon on a pogo stick. It seems fun in theory, but not at all practical.

I still love comedy, and always will. I don’t ever intend to stop doing it altogether, but trying to base my entire living on it is just not going to happen for the long haul. That haul is over and I’ve hauled it to the limit. I squeezed more out of goofing off than anyone I know, but it’s time for an evolution. Hopefully it will be an upgrade. Working the road like a gypsy is a real energy sucker.

What stinks is that I am at my absolute performance peak right now. I can rock a room with the absolute best of them, but the rooms I have been rocking are half full or less and in places where nobody powerful will ever see me. If I want change, I have to get myself seen by a gate keeper.

That ship may or may not have sailed, but if it didn’t I won’t be riding in the honeymoon suite. I will probably have to stow away in the guts of the ship and sleep on a potato pile, but hopefully I will still get myself there. Where “there” is, I’m not really sure – but I know it’s not where I am now. I am at one of if not the lowest point of my adult life, and the next little while is uncertain.

I can handle that, as my whole life has been uncertain. I have been stuck in exactly this kind of predicament before, and quite honestly it doesn’t scare me in the least. I’m not thrilled about the prospect of having to start all over yet again, but I can do it. I’ve done it before, and I survived.

In typical Mr. Lucky fashion, this past month that I have not been making daily diary entries as I have since 2006 has been one of the most fascinating and action filled months of my life. I don’t know where to start, as so many significant events have happened I can’t keep up with them all. It’s never been this crazy.

Mother’s Day really sent me over the edge, and I put out a plea for help with some selected friends. Holidays like that have always been torture, and some years are better than others. This year kicked my ass with steel toed boots, and it took me by surprise. I was feeling very low, and needed to get some help.

The result was a series of events that were so both horrific and yet life affirming that I feel there needs to be an entire book devoted to that subject alone. I won’t get into it here, as I just want to move on and be positive. I’m still sorting it all out, and it’s yet another part of my tangled web.

That was the lowest of lows, but there was also a highest of highs. Last night I had dinner with my sister Tammy and her husband Jake at their home in Racine, WI. That meeting was something I have been wanting since childhood, and I got a lot of closure to a lot of issues that have been eating at me since my earliest memories. It took twenty years of us being apart, but the payoff was SO worth it.

I have also been devoting my entire life to the mission of daily kindness. That’s all that matters in this out of control world, and I have experienced some tremendous examples that I will share as I can by recycling posts I made on Facebook in the last few days. I feel I have been on a writing high.

I make no promises (or threats) that I will make daily posts like I have for so long. I’ve proved to myself I can do it, and that’s enough. I will write whenever I have inspiration, and be eternally grateful to any and all who may read it. I feel like I’m back from the dead, and it feels fantastic!

This is the first picture of me taken when I was dropped off at my grandparents' house. I was initially supposed to be sent to an orphanage, but they ended up raising me. I'm not sure if that was a good choice or not, but that's how it went. I thought it would be a good picture to include as I dust myself off and start my diary again. Thanks for reading, and I hope I can make it worth your effort.

This is the first picture of me taken when I was dropped off at my grandparents’ house. I was initially supposed to be sent to an orphanage, but they ended up raising me. I’m not sure if that was a good choice or not, but that’s how it went. I thought it would be a good picture to include as I dust myself off and start my diary again. Thanks for reading! I’ll try to make it interesting.