Sunday, October 28, 2012

I'm (not) an Anchorman!

I am used to embarrassing myself. In fact, I do it quite regularly and, of all the things I do well, making a fool of myself is something I do with aplomb.

However, today I did it again, but completely unintentionally and entirely quite professionally.

Yep. Today I was the world's court jester. The only thing missing was the funny harlequin costume with the little bells on my curled-toe stocking feet.

What did I do that was so embarrassing?

Spoke in 2-minute increments (more like 30 seconds, actually) to a video camera.

And I did this twice. Once each for competing trade journals.

Oh sure, they say it's easy. Just "act natural and pretend you're talking to a customer."


It ain't as easy it looks.

The videographer would say, "3. 2. 1 and ... Go!" and I would announce myself like this:

"Hi! My name is Gore Snooklocker and I'm bergenfletzer flatzenkatz to be here. Our thingy here does things exceptionally gooder than the other guys, umm ... Did I say my name already? Can we try that again? Dang. This is hard!!"

No kidding. Every time I tried I failed. My brain and my mouth were completely out of sync. Why does this happen? I talk all the time and, usually, quite sensibly, but turn the camera on and I become a blubbering idiot.

Stop snickering, some of you that know me well. You know who you are. You're the ones saying, "Sensibly talking usually? Right. More like blubbering fool all the time!" But the truth is, once the camera is turned on, I can't even blubber well. Nerves take over and I freeze.

Dang it. I did this, too, right in front of a bunch of people and now I'm told these 2 videos will be distributed tomorrow or the next day to at least 100,000 potential viewers!

I hope those video editors are gifted. Maybe somehow they can take that jabbering incoherence and turn it into something useful.

At least I said, "Hi!" well.

I think.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oh, Life's Changing Priorities

I never thought this would happen. I am going to miss a Packer game. I am going to miss a Packer game to do something I'd prefer to do more.

Since about 1977, I've only missed Packer games due to work or travel. I'm guessing here, but that's probably between 10 and 15 games, and definitely less than 20 (yep, including Super Bowl XLV -- I missed the darn Super Bowl!). However, as I age and my free time has become even more valuable, I've decided that there are actually better things to do on a lovely Sunday October afternoon than sit in front of a TV for 4 hours.

This assessment was fortified two weeks ago while watching the Packers lose to the Colts 30-27 on a gorgeous sunny Sunday afternoon that took 3 hours and 45 minutes from kick-off to conclusion.

Throw in a little pre-game coverage and my butt and the couch were inseparable for nearly 5 hours!


Today we have the fortune to golf one of Wisconsin's great courses: the Jack Nicklaus designed The Bull at Pinehurst Farms. My wife won a round for two at "The Bull" during the 2012 season at a golf outing earlier this year. Our busy weekends have ticked by and the available golfing weekends are soon coming to a close. Today is finally the day. We're going to say "The heck with the Packer game, let's go golfing!"

Last night I told my wife's lifelong Sconnie cousin that we were going to go golfing instead of watching the Packers game.

You know what he said to me after that?


Regardless, GO PACK!! Albeit, from the golf course. ;)

Monday, October 8, 2012

The McDonald's Mentor

What an inspiring, awesome and incredulous lunch I had today ... and at McDonald's, too.

Who would have thought that was possible?

No, it wasn't McDonald's food that inspired. You know that -- it's just the same old burger, fries, and a Coke. Which, by the way, I had an enormous craving for today. (Criticize if you will, foodies, health nuts and anti-corporate types, but a Big Mac every now and is just the cure for what ails ya!)

What inspired was a conversation that I could not help but overhear. There were two guys having a loud conversation that rivaled the vocal volume of any 3-piece suit wearing, cell phone yappin', I'm-closing-the-big-deal-and-I-think-everyone-in-Concourse-C-waiting-for-a-flight-to-Poughkeepsie-should-hear-about guys (Gosh, I hate those guys). I passed quick judgement at first glance and thought they were a couple of ne'er-do-wells that one would be wise to avoid in a dark alley, but as the moments passed and their conversation proceeded, it became clear to me that one was the mentor and one was the protégé.

The mentor spoke loudly in slow, carefully measured words. A few sentences in, I figured he was a simple man, but as he continued, I could see he was more wise than his tone indicated.

During the course of my lunch and their conversation, he urged the youth (about 20, I'm guessing) to take control of his life, modify his environment (get a home -- he had been sleeping on "friends" couches for the last two and half years), remove himself from bad influences and become accountable for his actions.  "Be a man. You're not a child anymore; no one will look out for you if you don't do it yourself," was one statement I recall. It didn't just end with words of encouragement -- the next stop he would take him was to an "Italian lady's place" where he could get a bed, fresh laundry and a new start on life. The Mentor said, "She's good people -- the kind you need right now in your life." Also, "You won't be able to pull anything passed her. She's wise and seen it all, so don't even try."

Unavoidably, I heard every word in this 15-minute conversation. As they were walking out the door, I had to do all I could to not jump up and shake the Mentor's hand. His direction was firm and definite and clearly something the younger adult needed to hear.

It was an amazing act of selflessness, commitment and caring. I was inspired and, so often when we hear bad news committed by even worse people, I was happy see such people still exist.

Even though I never formally met either of these fellows, I wish them both well. I hope the younger takes the older's advice and becomes a stand-up citizen and that kind fate shines upon the elder.

That's why I like to leave the office at noon. You never know what  adventure or experience awaits!