I honor holidays-but I celebrate victories. One of the best ever was when I was taken to the top of the heap. KTTR 99.7FM made the 10th year of my radio show something to be reckoned with, making me the lead-in to Rush and Sean.
This will sound self-serving. But, I'm gonna gamble on older people who feel that they are frittering away their last years.
My father, Mel Weinbaum and I talked by phone from his condo in Pompano Beach Florida. It was two weeks before he died of prostate cancer in 1993.
He told me that he could have done so much more with his life.
My immediate response was to say he'd done plenty. He was brought up by his single mother in the back of their candy and school supply store on Austin Street on the West Side of Chicago. I don't think he graduated from high school.
In his 20's he opened a chain of stores--grocery, liquor, bars, electronics and several combinations of such on the South Side of Chicago.
He did well --- until his partner robbed him blind.
Several years later, I brought him into my flourishing restaurant business in mid Missouri. He was the best promoter I'd ever seen.
He was also funny and sarcastic. I made him my partner in several stores.
Mel had done the Jewish thang and bought himself and my Mother a condo in Pompano Beach. He played golf and went to the pool, socialized and went to senior early dinners. His biggest adventure was to sneak into Embassy Suites for free breakfasts with the other ORFS. (Old Retired Farts)
After his death, I pondered what more he could have done. I concluded, PLENTY.
Victories often occur when you see no way to succeed but refuse to give up anyway
That lead to an inner discussion of what I would think of my life when my time came near. I was 44 years old, successful in business, unlucky in marriage.
Right out of college I sold for Aetna Life and Casualty in Denver. I was in the top ten of first year agents in the country. But I accepted the generous offer of my then father-in-law to go into the McDonald's Hamburger business.
About a year after Dad's death, I started writing quotes and jokes. On a whim I sent 52 to the National Enquirer. Much to my shock, my first published quote appeared in those pages about a year and Â½ after Mel died.
Soon, I was published in Reader's Digest, Forbes and other publications. Websites picked up on my sayings and I started to be listed with famous people throughout historyâ€”in 25 or so different languages. Currently I'm up to 46,000 original quotes and jokes.
You won't get over the hurdle if you refuse to jump
Being a news nut all my life, I began arguing with anti-Semites and Liberals on Yahoo Business Message Boards. Soon, I was forced to do research for my responses. As I reread them, I realized they looked like op-eds.
After many rejections, I emailed the owner/editor of The Jewish World Review and asked what I needed to do to be published in his prestigious site. This was 2 AM. At 2:03 I receive an unsigned email. "Just send something."
Since then, I've been published thousands of times there. My fellow contributors to the JWR included Pulitzer Prize winners Charles Krauthammer and Paul Greenberg.
Another lightbulb exploded. I asked to do a radio talk show -- at age 60 -- with no measurable broadcast experience in my life. I inherited the deadest time during the week-9:05-9:30.
After a slow start, I got better each week, periodically getting time added to my show. Soon I ran out of room for new sponsors.
The temporary solution came last Friday. Management gave me another half hour. Already the most profitable show on their station, now I have bragging rights to being the opening act to the talk bros-Limbaugh and Hannity.
New Year stats showed that my show was listened to in all 50 states and 98 countries in 2017 and that from the show podcast on daveweinbaum.com.
I never expected my "waning" years to be so exciting. Now my children and grandchildren emulate me. It just goes to prove:
The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings
I'm most grateful to Mel. He taught me that the best inheritance you can give your children is the example you set in life.