In The Abstract

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.”
– Elwood Blues

I don’t know that I laughed any harder than anyone else at that classic line from “The Blues Brothers“ when I first saw it, back in high school.

But if I had known how important the idea of “Taking absurd, improbable chances that, in retrospect, seem completely crazy“ would be in my life, I might’ve laughed even harder.

I had no plan for my life when I got out of college – so I moved to the Twin Cities on a drunken whim.

Once I got here? Nobody gets a job in major market radio by just walking up and asking for one. I ‘d been in radio for six years by the time I was 22 – even I knew it was delusional. I hadn’t even moved to the Twin Cities with getting back into radio in the back of my mind. But I did it anyway.

And it worked.

No 23 year old gets a talk show on a 50,000 watt station by nagging his boss into putting them on the air. But I did it – and he did.

Nobody builds a career by teaching themself something that (at least at the time) most people had a masters degree in psychology to get into. But I didn’t know any better – so I did, and it worked out.

Nobody gets a major market talk show by gathering a bunch of bloggers together, walking into a radio station and saying “ mind if we do a show on your station?“. But here we are.

It doesn’t always work – that’s kind of what my marriage was, too; “what the heck, who says it couldn’t work out ok?“. But that’s where my kids came from, so I can’t say it didn’t work, either.

No question about it – I’ve been blessed, and lucky, to turn a pattern of scatterbrained opportunism into a career and a life I enjoy.

And every once in a while, I hit one of those restless moments when I think “what’s my next opportunity to grab half a pack of cigarettes, put on my sunglasses, and drive off into the darkness looking for my next questionable decision?”

I’m kind of having one of those moments now.

8 thoughts on “In The Abstract

  1. Mill out an 80% lower to build your own ghost gun. Learn to fly an airplane at Fleming Field in South Saint Paul. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane in osceola. Take a helicopter discovery flight in Eden prairie. Take 2 weeks to walk the first half of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Save airfare by substituting the Appalachian trail. Get your scuba diving certificate. Read all the great books you never read in college except James Joyce’s Ulysses which sucks. Make every recipe in a 1960s Betty Crocker cookbook. Learn to juggle a three ball cascade.

    Other than that, I got nothing.

  2. When I was thirty I was unattached, so I moved to Hawaii with a stake of $10,000. That would have been my house down payment if I had stayed in MN.
    Within a week I found a job that satisfied my meager needs.
    Within a year I found a much better job.
    Within two years I found the best job I’ve ever head, with a 2:1 403b match. Stayed there until early retirement.
    I’m back in the states now because my folks are getting on in years and could use my help.
    But all it takes to move someplace more exciting and with better weather is guts & enough bucks to get you by for six months or so. Make connections in your new environment, pick out some savvy people & make friends with them, and they will help you out with tips about where to live and where you can find work, if that is what you want to do.

  3. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 12.27.22 : The Other McCain

  4. Drive the complete I-35 or US-61. Top to bottom, then bottom to top. Turn off news talk radio. Every day a new genre or musical artist. Find an AM station with farm reports and small town high school basketball scores. Eat only in small town diners. Stop and read the historical markers.

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