Thursday, July 31, 2008

Never Say "No"

My parents taught me that. They also taught me to say, “Why not?” instead of “Why?” when an opportunity came along. Well, they didn’t say it in so many words, but more by their actions.

Grab the moment. Why? Because it’s there and even if you think you might not care for it, you may not get the chance when you do. Chances often come around only once and you don’t know if this is one of them. Go for it.

The Conrail train, for instance. When I was in Indiana, a friendly engineer asked if I wanted a cab ride; he would return me to where I was. Didn’t take me but a few seconds to leap up there next to him. I was supposed to be somewhere else, at a meeting, but eff the meeting; this was far more important. There will always be meetings, but this might never happen again – and, so far, it hasn’t. (I was asked later where I had been and I said, “In a Conrail locomotive, riding around; you have to go with what’s important at the moment.” They all smiled and agreed, probably with jealousy.)

The local newspaper had significant labor problems and all the unions walked. Even started their own paper, which goes strong to this day. Why should I write for the strike paper? Why not? I’ve been there 29 years now, almost since Day One, as their music columnist. It’s been a great experience, both having a column and seeing a strike paper, good days and bad, from the inside. Music, Dance and Theater Critic, big band writer, radio/tv column, and more. Why not?


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