I’m a pretty lucky guy. I’m fifty-six years old and my mother is still alive and well. I found out today we will be together for Christmas and that’s the greatest gift I could ever ask for. Mom lives in West Palm Beach and is in the process of moving back here to Cleveland. A lot of people do that when they have the gift of time. They finally figure out what truly matters in life…..and that’s family.
I was like most kids. Christmas is a day of gifts. Christmas is fun. Christmas is a bunch of free stuff that I will probably break in the next two weeks. As an adult I wasn’t much better. Christmas was stressful. Lists to fill. Gifts to buy. People to impress. I threw money at these problems. They were solved. I still felt empty and alone.
Let’s fast forward to today as the reality of life has begun to set in. Christmas is a celebration of life, opportunity and salvation. Of course my mother drives me crazy and raises my blood pressure. That’s what mothers do. They know how to hit your hot spots because THEY installed them. We both made it another year. There will be a Christmas one year when we won’t be able to say that. It is my greatest fear my friends. As I said at the beginning….I’m a pretty lucky guy. I don’t need a gift. I don’t need a fancy meal. I’m gonna have a Merry Christmas. I hope you do as well.
I give nicknames to everyone. The greatest I have ever bestowed was “The Freckle.” That was reserved for a freckled female that was my General Manager for my final years in radio in West Palm Beach. I walked away back in 2011 and “The Freckle” was a big reason why I did so and have not come back since.
She was an interesting character. First time as a General Manager and always sticking her nose into things she had no knowledge of and if her friends from church would say anything about the station during Sunday services it would be on the agenda Monday morning. We were on a collision course. Me and “The Freckle.”
I don’t play games. I work hard and made the mistake of letting a job define me. Some have called me “difficult” but that is a mask for someone that doesn’t appreciate anyone that is lazy. I have no room in my life for lazy people. If that makes me difficult then I will proudly wear that crown. “The Freckle” did not like to be questioned. You had to kiss her ring or you weren’t part of the tribe. We were on a collision course. Me and “The Freckle.”
I don’t like bullshit. When it became clear to me that the Sheriff was corrupt and the TV/gossip columnist was an ass I took them on. I have a big mouth and I really don’t care what people think. That’s not how it was done in West Palm Beach. The more you shoot your mouth off the more you become a target and I found that out the hard way. The vermin came out of their holes and came after me. One day I was falsely accused of something and of course all charges were dropped. That didn’t matter to “The Freckle.” Even though I was innocent and was basically a target of retribution by the Sheriff, she never stood by me. I was off the air and banned from the station and all events. When the truth was told, all charges dropped, I could see “The Freckle” steaming. She had no choice to put me back on the air and why not? I had solid number one ratings in all key demos. The irony was that I was making “The Freckle” look good. We were on a collision course. Me and “The Freckle.”
Back in 2010 I told “The Freckle” the days of music are dead. We need to do podcasts after the show. It’s the biggest threat to commercial radio. We need to drop all music in the morning and work harder on compelling content. What did “The Freckle” do? Ignored me and demand I play more music. This arranged marriage was nearing the end. “The Freckle” started to eliminate those that questioned her and wouldn’t kiss the ring. The mental games had taken their toll on me. My health was suffering and I had lost my edge and my confidence. Long story short, I walked away from that toxic situation in early 2011.
Funny thing about history. It will make you look like a prophet or a fool. Today that morning show that replaced me is doing well. They have a podcast after every show and they don’t play music. I look at those days with “The Freckle” and I wondered why I waited so long to walk away. I have so much more to share with you about “The Freckle”, but those stories will have to wait for my book.
I used to be a yeller. I would yell at just about everyone and everything. Someone would disagree with me and I would raise my voice. Someone would yell at me and I would be sure to yell back. Someone would cut me off in traffic and I would be sure to yell in anger (now I just flip them off). Recently I had an epiphany: yelling really affects your credibility.
There are three good reasons not to yell:
It takes too much energy. I look at energy as fuel in your tank and yelling just burns too much gas.
If someone yells at you and you take a deep breath, pause and respond with “I’m sorry I didn’t realize what you were saying because you were yelling.” That makes them look like what they truly are; an asshole.
Yelling leads to anger. Think of all the times you made bad decisions in your life. Chances are it was preceded by you yelling and then followed by making a bad judgment. The only exception I can think of is years ago doing too many shots of patron and waking up to see two female tundra twins making ham sandwiches in my kitchen while passing a crack pipe.
When is the last time that yelling lead to a positive result? Yelling at a loved one makes you feel bad afterwards. Yelling at your spouse or better half usually leads to a slap in the face or at the very least a slamming of a door. Yelling at a cop will never get you out of a ticket and yelling at a water park while making balloon animals and wearing clown makeup will get you arrested. Perhaps the latter was not the best example.
Life is too short. Realize there are a lot of stupid people in this world and try laughing at them instead of yelling at them. I may not be the smartest person in the world but it’s amazing how people will suddenly view you as a superior intellectual just because you don’t react to adversity by raising your voice. So this week try to remain calm, cool and collected or I may just have to yell at you.