32 And Real Life
Those of us in broadcasting joke a lot about how fake the business is. I wear makeup. Often. I use product in my hair. Often. I worry about the Midwest winters ruining whatever white-boy tan I have. Does this suit make me look fat? Does my analyst make me look like a midget? Sounds silly, but we think about this stuff.
So, you could imagine the thoughts racing through my head the last couple of weeks after it was discovered that I had a tumor growing inside my jaw bone. After today, I am one step closer to being rid of it. But, there is no good way for a person who makes a living off his face/voice to tackle this problem. Scar on the face, swollen tongue, hot pink hair, all but one of those are possible end results of this.
All signs point to this being a benign growth, but how do you look your doctors in the face and say, “Yeah, we need to handle this, but I need to be on camera next Tuesday?” To me, broadcasting is life. It’s what I do. To my nurses and doctors, it almost sounds foreign. I thought about the CPAs, lawyers, servicemen and others who could easily return to work and deal with minor discomfort and some swelling. I hate the fact that my job can literally be inhibited by (almost) superficial byproducts of the body’s healing process.
So, here I am pondering the harsh realities of family, health and career. I’ve been on this Earth for 32 years and only thought about the day in front of me. Then, you lay there with a sexy hair net and a gown that ties in the back and you see your future. (Speaking of which, is there anything more cruel and unusual than the hospital gown? ‘Hello, we know you are a little concerned about today and perhaps not feeling well, so here is a human Rubik’s Cube of dress. You wanna tie it in a bow? Hahaha, good luck. The nurse will be right with you.’)
As I have grown older, I’ve learned to rally around a few key philosophies:
1) Life takes care of itself. If it weren’t for a recent move and the need to get my 2-year-old to a dentist, I never would have used a coupon that led to the X-Ray that discovered my ailment. Call it divine intervention or what you want. I call it a Master Plan. Respect life (and others) and trust its course.
2) Recognize what is important. I am broadcasting the Presidents Cup next weekend. I’ve booked some solid work through 2013. Last night, I read my son two books and fell asleep holding his little hand. Two of those points are irrelevant and one is everything in the grand scheme of things. And, hugging my wife this week has never felt better.
3) Don’t complain and kick butt. Nike got it right with the “Just Do It” slogan. It’s weird. This recent diagnosis has actually made me realize how blessed I really am. Not unlucky. Not damned. Lucky.
I’ve got one more procedure to go, and perhaps some treatment. And I won’t miss a beat. Why? Because life is too short and I’ve been given too much in 32 years not to repay life by taking full advantage.