Alone Again, Naturally

Here we go again. That lonesome, misunderstood and bewildered feeling is back.

I have always said that when you are so far ahead of the pack, you may as well be behind. Because nobody’s listening.

When you have ideas that are outside the norm, get ready for isolation.

When you have tried and true approaches to getting the one thing a starving organization desperately needs, ATTENTION, you’re thinking they will embrace your company saving solution.

And you would be wrong. For the moment. If history is any indicator.

I pitched my creative ideas to the big guy yesterday in the men’s room of all places.

The desperately needed messaging coming out of his team is third grade level at best, and downright laughable at worst.

I thought the timing was right, I was wrong.

The response was underwhelming. The only thing missing was the crickets.

You could see in his eyes that he wanted to be anywhere but where he was at that moment.

Standing in front of me..

I was waiting for the long “Anyway” they usually interject mid sentence when they’ve had enough.

I’ve been here before. Many times.

It’s part of the process and I understand it.

They thought I was bat shit crazy before I created my own position in Dupont and Bristol Myers Squibb as an E-Strategist and video producer.

They told me to get back on my meds and fade into the crowd.

“Don’t push your luck, Bobby”

So this is the isolation part. This is where they tell you to go back to work and do what you’ve always done because you’re making people nervous.

You’re pointing out glaring communication failures and that’s the not the “going along to get along” attitude they’re looking for in their stale little organization.

Nobody wants to get uncomfortable. Not until the wolf comes knocking at their door.

And they reach out in desperation.

Until then, I will remain alone again, naturally. 🙂

Welcome to the Middle Ages

Ah, the middle ages. I’m not talking about medieval times, I’m talking about the ages of 40 through 60 when your middle starts to age.

I am way past that.

All that excess fat and flabby stomach muscle is giving you “chest ‘n drawers” syndrome, where your chest starts sliding into your drawers.

An expanding waistline is sometimes considered a price of getting older. For women, this can be especially true as body fat tends to shift to the abdomen after menopause.

That extra belly fat does more than just make it hard to zip up a favorite pair of jeans, though. Research shows that belly fat carries serious health risks. But the threats posed by belly fat can be lowered.

We need to be mindful of what we’re putting in our mouths and keep track of how much we’re moving.

All this nonsense about our metabolisms slowing down with age is hurting us because our metabolism doesn’t slow down…we do.

I’m one of the first baby boomers, and I will challenge any teenager to try and keep up with this 77 year old guy with a 33 inch waist. 🙂

I won’t go into all the gory and unhealthy details of carrying around an unsightly “Dunlop” but you should know that you can do something about it and enjoy the years you’ve worked so hard for.

And let’s not forget that we can still look good in all the the latest fashions.

Come out of the dark ages.

Come to the light. 🙂

Forty four years ago today.

On this night I had more chemicals in me than any human should.

I had just mistakenly snorted heroin, which I thought was cocaine, and I was, as usual, thoroughly intoxicated to boot.

I was at the end of a fifteen year drunk and I was only 32.

This gig, at “The Club” in Cambridge was a disaster because I couldn’t remember the lyrics to songs i had sung hundreds of times before.

I don’t have any recollection of what was said by my disappointed band mates, or remember leaving the building.

I never found out who slipped me the smack.

I woke up in a seedy motel on Route One in Saugus with someone I don’t remember being introduced to.

On the nightstand was the empty film case I used to keep my speed in, and a drained Southern Comfort bottle.

I could only open one eye at a time, so I couldn’t tell who I was in bed with.

When I stood up to use the bathroom, the girl whose name I still don’t know, gasped and told me I was turning blue.

I was.

She dropped me off at my mother’s house because I didn’t remember where I left my car.

She kept telling me I had to go to the hospital.

When my poor mother saw me, she broke down in the kitchen.

I didn’t go to the hospital, my sister called AA and they said for me to wait up on the corner.

This was Sunday, May 20, 1979. The first day of the rest of my life.

That night I ended up at an AA Meeting in Medford with Arthur Keenen, the guy who took the call from AA to come and get me.

God Bless you, Arthur, wherever you are in Heaven.

I was given a choice of Mount Pleasant rehab where I would be in a Librium induced haze for a week until the physical effects of the drugs and alcohol wore off or “sweat it out like a man” as Arthur suggested.

Against my better wishes, I went home to sweat it out. Ugh!

I thought I was having a heart attack from all the drugs in my body.

I spent that night on the floor next to my mother’s bed, trying to stop shaking.

I hallucinated and vomited all through the night.

Then, after weeks of sleepless, sweaty nights and recurring nightmares, the sun started to peek out from behind the clouds.

Life became interesting again as I regained my health and my enthusiasm.

I got incredible opportunities and took full advantage of them. I did incredible things with my new lease on life

I always remember and respect this date because it was the day I started living. Again.

I am one grateful guy these days.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Skit!

I remember where I was when Cardiolite was approved by the FDA in December, 1990.

It was a voicemail from Sue Nemetz while I was having lunch with a customer, and she said the Cardiolite approval would be the biggest thing in nuclear cardiology.

And it was.

To kick this puppy off, Ken Kasses announced that the next National Sales Meeting would be held at the Hyatt Regency on the island of Kona, Hawaii.

They spared no expense. It was incredible. The towels were so fluffy, I could hardly close my suitcase. 🙂

Back then, sales skits were in vogue, and they were both feared and loathed by salespeople.

If you didn’t know what you were talking about, it would sure as shit show up on that sound stage for everyone to see.

Surely, a career limiting move for someone like me.

Districts had to team up to perform challenging sales scenarios on stage at sales meetings.

Cringeworthy is a perfect description of this mostly embarrassing ritual.

Kona would turn to be different, as we will see.

Even though we hadn’t been selling Cardiolite yet, we were charged with presenting skits that would help us overcome initial reluctance to switching from Thallium 201.

The Western District, of which yours truly was a member, chose “Cardiolite On Trial.”

This was during the Clarence Thomas senate approval hearings.

All districts were assigned to large suites in the morning, and were expected to hit the stage with a skit that afternoon.

I wish I had a recording of what went on that room.

I took the team to a new level of raunch, and tears flowed freely down everyone’s face.

When we realized we wanted to fly home still employed, we decided to tone it down. A lot.

When me, Steve Epstein, Rick Graham, Mike Komosinsky, Gwenn Hays, George Glatcz and Mike Levesque, previewed our (toned down) presentation for the only sane person in the room, Debbie Elliot, she said without a scintilla of reluctance “You can’t do this. Are you crazy?”

But…it was too late.

We took the stage at 2:00 pm still buzzing from all that Kona coffee and the rest is history.

I was dressed as a judge and directed most of the dialogue. Any lines I forgot, I improvised. This has always gotten me into trouble.

The jokes went out like depth charges. The sequence was: Line, silence, gasp, roaring laughter. Line, silence, gasp, roaring laughter.

We were on a massive sound stage and were blinded by klieg lights, but we could hear the rolling thunder in the audience.

The loudest laughter came from our very high pitched president, Mr. Ken Kasses himself. Of all people.

The last line I remember saying would attest to how long Cardiolite would stay in the heart after injection, when I asked the audience, “Have you ever had a gamma camera go down on you?”

I thought Kenny Boy would never recover.

In spite of all that laughter, I remember leaving the stage with a feeling of impending doom.

Bob Sullivan looked like a stage mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown as Debbie Elliot was shaking her head in condolence.

Then George Jones solemnly took the stage and gave us a lecture on values and company conduct.

It seems some bible thumper from Georgia crawled all over George’s sense of decency.

And they didn’t come more decent than George.

He gave it to us good.

At this point, I am almost passing blood in the audience.

Now I’m worried about how I’m going to get home. I went back to my spacious room and crawled under my spacious bed and waited for the phone to ring.

There would be no consoling me. Me and my big mouth.

That night there was a huge luau on the beach with a band and food and torches and everyone wearing flowered shirts.

I was reluctant to go because I was considered the instigator behind that whole mess on the sound stage.

But I amped up my courage and after a few failed attempts, left the room.

As I was walking down on the beach crowded with hundreds of happy Duponters, crowds were parting like the Red Sea in avoidance.

Friends looked away for job security. Now I knew I had troubles.

I knew I was in sales because George was only placating Sully, and he told me so on March 12, 1990 as he symbolically washed his hands at my interview in his Billerica office.

George didn’t know how a chef, a musician and a comedian could sell a radiopharmaceutical.

Either did I.

Just as I was turning to go back to my room to await my fate, Peter Card, who is not know for his loquaciousness, sidled up to me and said out of the side of his mouth, “That was the funniest fucking thing I have ever seen.”

It was then that I decided to accept responsibility for my transgressions, and still do to this day.

And thanks to my lack of taste and judgement, there was never another skit performed on any Dupont sound stage of any kind, ever again.

You’re welcome.

 

The Difference

When I entered the Dupont Medical Imaging sales force, I was forty four years old.
Too long in the tooth I thought , to be considered anything else than a temporary placeholder for a company that just launched a revolutionary new technetium agent.
After years of FDA wrangling, Cardiolite had finally launched and they needed positions filled.
I got a late night phone call on June 19, 1990 and the die was cast.
I went from loading dock to radiology reading room almost overnight.
Of course, I had none of the skills necessary to manage a large territory like Arizona and New Mexico. (Vegas would be annexed later)
I found myself in meetings nodding like I understood and trying not to panic as the technical jargon washed over me.
I didn’t know the difference between a technologist and a janitor. If you had scrubs on, I bought you lunch.
I couldn’t even fill out my own expense reports.
On the long plane rides back and forth while trying to get settled, I would wrestle with my decision to just up and move out west with no family and no support.
What would become of me?
I didn’t know anybody out here and I was suffering from imposter’s syndrome big time.
And I was terrified of being exposed by some condescending cardiologist.
I remember the night I sealed the deal with myself.
I was on a dead eye coming back from Boston and as usual, I was overwhelmed and anxious.
I may never understand this business like most of my educated counterparts, but I did understand people.
I had the emotional intelligence you get from the streets
I’ve had to survive in jail, in war and in detox. I survived in a family of twelve and learned to take a beating in Catholic school, of all places.
I figured if I had the street smarts to survive all that, I had a shot here.
Albeit a long one.
When I confided to my manager, Bob Sullivan about my fears, he told me, “Bob, sales is about people. We’re in a people business and you’re going to do great.”
And I did. 🙂

In my opinion…

 

I’m an alcoholic. They say it’s a disease. I say it’s a choice.

It’s a choice I make to live one day at a time.

Maybe what happens to you when alcohol gets in your system is a disease, but I choose not to let that happen.

I nip that decision in the bud everyday if I want to live my best life, or even live at all.

In my opinion, once you label something a disease, you mitigate responsibility and prescriptions started getting written.

NOW they are trying you label obesity a disease.

NOW you will see more and more people taking less and less responsibility for their weight and their overall health.

NOW big pharma doesn’t just have to target diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

NOW they can just target one big FAT disease.

NOW the drugs will flood the market and once again we will have a portion of the population who will label themselves victims instead of irresponsible and careless.

By that act they will be disempowering millions of overweight people.

THEN, they will wait a year and drop the threshold for what constitutes obesity.

Like dropping BMI from 30.0 to 25.0.

The same thing the CDC did with blood pressure ranges, they changed 140/90 to 120/80.

Do you know how many more hypertensive patients that produced?

Cha ching!

Soon, we will have a drug for everything but stupidity.

And they’re probably working on one right now.

I can’t weight.

CVS, Comedy Versus Sanity

The VA was supposed to ship me a prescription for the plantar fasciitis I got from running too much.
 
They dropped the ball and offered to have it filled at a local CVS in a few hours. I agreed.
 
That was my first mistake.
 
As soon as I got in the CVS building I got a bad feeling.
 
For the record, I am never wrong.
 
There were at least ten people behind the counter bumping into each other.
 
It looked like a Fellini movie. I never saw such human wreckage.
 
They looked sloppy and unprofessional and were all grousing about how busy they were.
 
The kid at the counter lost me at “Yuh, need something?”
 
I told him I was there to pick up my prescription.
 
After he asked me last name, first name date of birth…twice, he looked at his computer and said, “Sorry, there is no order, call your doctor.”
 
I tell him the nurse at the VA said she called it in two hours ago. He ain’t budging.
 
I’m getting flustered so he directs me over to the consultation window.
 
There, I am greeted by what can only be described as a lab experiment gone wrong.
 
She is pierced to the gills and has half the side of her head shaved. She is pale as milk, which makes her look like she just had a lobotomy.
 
Where of course, she had her manners removed.
 
Before I can speak, she holds her finger up to signal me to be quiet.
 
She knows what’s going on because it got loud at the pickup counter.
 
Just to placate me, I get an additional request for last name, first name, date of birth. Twice? Really?
 
She looks at her computer and repeats what the other dipshit said, only louder, which would only serve to put me in my place in front of the other customers.
 
“Mr O’Hearn there is no record of your order so please go home and call your doctor.”
 
Go home?
 
As soon as she yelled my name, the pharmacist yells, “O’Hearn? I’m working on it.”
 
Now my two goal tenders have egg on their face and I express my indignity.
 
They have a quick defensive huddle while giving me the evil eye, and tell me it will be at least an hour before it’s ready.
 
They are messing with me and they don’t care what I think.
 
They have me by the short hairs and all I can do is go home for awhile, because if I stay there, I’m going to jail.
 
On the bike ride home I remember I used to work for CVS at their customer service facility on the other end of town.
 
How could I forget that? Easy. Very easy.
 
So I go in my closet and find my old CVS Headquarters name badge. I wait the hour and head back.
 
When I finally have my goods, I hold my badge up to let them know I am legit, and I tell them I am going to report them when I get into work today.
 
They weren’t ready for that. Fuckers.
 
They looked like they saw a ghost.
 
I want names and I want numbers.
 
I asked for the name of the pharmacist in charge and the location number so I sounded legit.
 
I held my interrogation in front of a very amused group of abused customers.
 
Oh, and I was sure to demand, “Last name, first name and date of birth….twice. 🙂

Your New Fitness Identity

Somehow, you got the memo. Whether it was frustration, rejection, or doctors orders, you got with the program and started your journey to fitness and health.

Over the years you watched your body change and your outlook brighten. You no longer jumped out of bed, you sprang.

You taught yourself how to eat properly and avoid the diet du jours that are commonplace today.

You started to handle situations differently because of your new found confidence.

With confidence comes grace.

There’s no more tightness at the belt buckle and your clothes are snug in the right places.

You actually like to socialize now and get dressed up again. Whodathunk?

You got used to compliments and learned how to handle them.

You noticed you have expired antacids in your medicine cabinets and there are no orange bottles anywhere in the house.

You embrace rigorous work now because it feels good to you.

You’ve grown accustomed to seeing perfect blood pressure, glucose levels and getting that handshake from the doc.

You grew into an entirely different person and he’s smiling back at you in the mirror.

Yes, you are a brand new you, because your alter ego, Clark Kent……is dead. 🙂

The High Cost of Low living

I am a 76 year old fitness professional and a dual licensed insurance agent. I live in a retirement community in Sun City, Arizona.

For the past six years I have been preaching about the dangers of crossing over into retirement physically unprepared.

As I have often stated “Ageing ain’t for sissies”, because this is when all the bad habits we failed to ditch in our early years come home to roost.

The years you worked so hard for will now be spent in hospital beds, wheel chairs, doctor’s offices, or stuck in a tiny, smelly and lonely back room of a nursing home where you’re at the mercy of a casual, indifferent and forgetful, minimum wage staff.

Gruesome enough for ya?

I talk about the guilt associated with burdening your loved ones because you can’t pull your own weight, participate in family gatherings, or even mow your own lawn.

Now let’s talk money. How do you feel about going broke from crushing medical expenses?

Like, financially wiped out. Cancer will do it. Heart disease will do it.

Once you go on Medicare you might think you’re mismanaged body will be totally covered by the government.

Medicare is a broad program of health insurance designed to assist the nation’s elderly to meet hospital, medical, and other health costs. Medicare is available to most individuals 65 years of age and older.

But there are huge gaps.

Some of the items and services Medicare doesn’t cover include:
• Long-Term Care. …
• Most dental care.
• Eye exams (for prescription glasses)
• Dentures.
• Cosmetic surgery.
• Massage therapy.
• Routine physical exams.
• Hearing aids and exams for fitting them.

You can purchase extra coverage like Medicare Advantage to hedge your bet, but they still don’t cover everything.

And they cost money.

Bottom line
With the average price of a three-day hospital stay hovering around $30,000, Medicare can be a massive help to many people dealing with medical issues.

While the program can help you with hospital stays, treatment, and general routine care, there are many things that it doesn’t cover, and you have to be ready to fill in those holes with your hard earned savings for unexpected costs.

The down and dirty: If you smoke, stop now. If you are sedentary, get moving. If you drink too much, get help. If you are overweight, start trimming down.

Unexpected illnesses, especially those from neglect will wipe you out financially and drive you into poverty in a heart beat.

Start training your body today. It’s never too late. I got religion at 70.

Teach yourself to eat right and exercise. Drop that extra weight.

I say, live like you’re gonna die tomorrow, train like you’re gonna live forever.

Take some time to educate yourself on how your body works.

Otherwise, you might not be able to afford these wonderful years.

Marvelous Marvin

On July 23, 1963, I was surrendered to the Mass. Division of Youth Services by the dishonorable Judge Joseph M. De Marco.

Dishonorable, because he squeezed a $250 dollar bribe from my mother to keep my brother from rightfully going away…again.

It took three years to pay that Household Finance bill off.

I was already on probation for breaking into parking meters and owed the commissioner of lights and wires $300.00.

I knew I would go away at some point, because I could never pay that money back.

What I ultimately went away for, was accepting a ride in a 1955 Chevy Impala that was stolen by my next door neighbor, Johnny Silva, a rat of notorious distinction.

When Johnny was finally caught with the car, he negotiated the ultimate prize to the Somerville Police…an O’Hearn. Oh, they drooled with delight to get one of us.

They arrested me coming out of my house. While they were locking me up, they told me Johnny spilled the beans on me about stealing the car.

I laughed because I knew that was total bullshit. Even at 16, I had been arrested so many times, I knew how the game was played.

At the police station, they told me they had Johnny downstairs and they would bring him up to confront me if they had to.

I called their bluff and sure enough, they brought that sniveling weasel in, cuffed up with his head hanging down.

I was shocked when he said, “C’mon Bobby, tell them the truth, you stole that car.”

They had to pull me off him. It was no use, they had their prize. He walked, and I went away.

By this time, the family dynamic was such, that when a court summons came, my mother would put it on my father’s chest just before he was to get up for work.

On the very day of the proceeding. Not good.

They could go years without talking. It was Irish Alzheimer’s, they forgot everything but the grudge.

I would usually show up at the court house just in time, to avoid a needles trip to the hospital.

Of course, this tactic only served to further enrage this extremely violent man.

When I showed up late for the sentencing, my father caught me between the first and second floor of the Somerville Court house.

For once, I could have used a cop.

He dispatched me with his usual, brutal efficiency, only this time he used the conveniently located radiator to show his displeasure… with my head.

When I finally managed to hobble into the packed court room, everyone in attendance gasped.

I looked like I was hit by a bus and dragged for miles.

When the judge was comfortable that it wasn’t police brutality, he finally sentenced me.

I was a juvenile, so all sentences were indefinite.

I was handcuffed and brought to a holding cell the size of a water closet.

While I was licking my wounds and tending to my injuries, my peripheral vision picked up a fist coming through the bars towards my left eye, I quickly moved my head to discover it was him…..again.

Seems Dad wasn’t through with me.  But he wouldn’t get another chance…..that day.

He would have to wait a whole year. When he almost took my head off with a door knob he had concealed in his fist.

I spent the next few months in maximum security while the state gathered a home report to add to the sentencing guidelines the Mass Parole Board would use.

When I was formally sentenced, I was told I would be assigned as a “mess boy” at the State Police Barracks in Middleboro, Massachusetts.

I was thrilled. I had heard good things about these barracks gigs. I heard the food was great and they even paid you $50.00 a month. But you worked. Did you ever.

You cooked, cleaned, shined shoes, washed police cruisers and mowed the lawn. You washed the kitchen floors with ammonia twice a day.

You waited on troopers while they ate and cleaned up after them when they were done.

I could have been sentenced to Bridgewater Maximum Security, or Shirley Industrial School for Boys. No, thanks.

On October 4, 1963, my parole officer, Robert Fitzgerald, picked me up, took me to Robert Hall’s to get a white shirt, a tie and a sports coat. Then we headed off to Middleboro.

Once there, I was presented to Captain George Luciano, an impeccably groomed and well spoken professional.

He was bigger than life. He could have been in the movies.

This was the happiest day of my life…I thought.

My joy would soon be obliterated, because little did I know, someone was laying in wait for me.

His name was Trooper Marvin Pratt. He looked Scandinavian with a blonde crew cut, rosy cheeks and a soft, harmless looking face.

We would have labelled him a “fink” on the street.

My sleeping quarters were on the top floor of the barracks. It was a wide open space and empty. Probably meant for storage.

It had a bathroom and a locker to put my belongings in. It was sparse but clean, and to me, a whole lot better than home.

On my second night, while laying in bed after an exhausting day, I heard the door creak open and I saw a trooper in a t-shirt and those funny riding pants they all wear with his suspenders dangling at his sides.

The trooper’s off duty sleeping quarters were right below me.

As he walked toward me, he was eating a bowl of Cole slaw and had a magazine under his arm.

He casually sat down at the edge of the bed, introduced himself and flipped the magazine onto my chest.

It was pornography the likes we never saw back in those days.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Within seconds, his hand went up under the sheets and my heart began to break.

Oh no, I thought, here we go again. I was always getting approached at that time in my life by priests, teachers, softball coaches and Larry Mortell’s perverted uncle Bud.

I begged him to stop and told him I was very uncomfortable. He just waved me off and told me “all men do this.”

He described it as a man’s rite of passage.

I got away that night, but the chase was on. He would be relentless.

One bad word from him and I would immediately end up back where I came from for another re-sentencing.

And at least another year added on.

He did everything to get me. One time, in frustration, I broke down crying. It infuriated him and he would storm off.

Now I had a weapon…tears. My tears were like garlic to a vampire. After that, I could cry on cue.

Didn’t stop him. He would stick his finger up my ass while I was cooking or washing dishes. He had no fear or trepidation.

Toward the end of my sentence, I was allowed to go home once a week to look for a job, so I would have something to go to.

They wouldn’t release me with out a job.

In my time there, I saw President Kennedy go out, and the Beatles come in.

On a day off, as I walking toward my house in Somerville, I saw him sitting on my front porch with my mother. There was no level he wouldn’t sink to.

She was thrilled that I was doing so well, even the cops liked me.  She thought. If she only knew.

You can’t tell your mother stuff like that. It would have broken her heart.

Then, on my way back to Middleboro on Tuesday nights, if he was on duty, he would lay in wait on Route 44, and officially pull my Trailways bus over.

He would stomp to the back of the bus where I usually sat, pull me out of my seat, handcuff my hands behind my back and take me off the bus.

Then he would put me in the cruiser, still handcuffed, and drive 120 mph while grabbing my crotch and telling me no one would ever believe me.

He did that half a dozen times and no one ever reported it. I will never get over that.

By the time of my release date, he was my frustrated sworn enemy and made no bones about it.

On that release day, without me knowing, he asked the desk sergeant if he could drive me to Middleboro Center to catch my final Trailways bus ride home.

We didn’t speak all the way into town. We got there just as the bus was ready to leave. After my stuff was stowed in the belly of the bus, he followed me on.

With a booming voice he said “And don’t ever come back. If I ever see your ass anywhere in the vicinity you’ll go back to jail where you belong.”

I was stared at all the way back to Park Square.

Years later, when I was working on the dock for Dupont in Billerica, I had a conversation with a “spare” driver who retired from the Mass. State Police due to a back injury.

There were about a dozen of us in the break room when I asked if he knew Marvin Pratt.

His whole demeanor suddenly changed and he asked me why I wanted to know.

When I told him, he told me Marvin went to prison for abducting a 9 year old boy and was abusing him at a motel in the area.

He told me his own guys at the the State Police surrounded the motel and took him at gun point.

Marvin was gone forever. He had a wife and three children.

I called Mass. Public Safety in 2008 inquiring about him but they wouldn’t release any information.

That was almost 60 years ago and I still have dreams about him.

And Marvin, if you are still alive and reading this in your prison cell……fuck you!

 

Hello and goodbye, Dolly

I was telling someone recently how much I was enjoying producing my podcast “The Enlightened Rogue” and mentioned it was almost like free therapy.

When that person asked me if I ever had therapy, I remembered an occasion in 1994.

At that time, I was in sales for four years and I let my guard down. What an understatement.

I let one of those Scottsdale barracudas move in with me. I must admit, I was alone all the time and the road was getting to me.

She was a looker and I took the bait. That lasted exactly 87 days. More about her later.

Long story short, she moved out while I was at a meeting in Las Vegas. I told her to get out and not be there when I got home. She was pure evil.

Not only was she not there, as was most of my furniture, she even took the dishes.

When I pulled into my drive way, my neighbor ran up to my car and told me he thought I had moved because of the moving van. Moving van?

This woman came with nothing and left with everything. Never to be seen or heard from again.

Now I am not a guy who gets easily depressed, but this got me. I couldn’t function. I couldn’t even get out of the bed I had to replace in a hurry,

Someone told me that Dupont provides counseling for field based employees.

I called and they set up an appointment for me with a local therapist. What a great benefit, I thought.

My first appointment was in Phoenix. The office was upstairs from a Border’s book store.

My therapist was a short, chubby, wildly animated red haired lady who looked like she could use a few sessions herself.

She told me my company would pay for the session, but there would be a 35 dollar co-pay.

Fine with me, but I didn’t know she was one of those “inner child” therapists.

As most people know, I had a wild upbringing. Leslie Greenfield, who worked in HR and who I used to date, called it tragic.

Only a few minutes in, this little lady starts talking to me like I’m a baby.

She starts calling me “Little Bobby.”

I’m getting the creeps.

I’m thinking to myself “what a ridiculous looking woman.” Wild hair, too much make-up and perfume that smelled like RAID insect spray.

Not only that, she’s twitching and making squeaking noises while I’m attempting lighten my existential load.

I’m thinking Dupont must have got her at a bargain when she blurts out, “Let’s stop here, I’m going to get little Bobby a doll.”

A doll?

At this point I’m stunned, but I ain’t no fool, and as soon as she is out of sight, I go for the door.

I am down the stairs and in my car in seconds.

Twenty minutes of that and whatever brought me there has completely vanished. Like me.

A few months later, I’m at that same mall having lunch with a radiologist from Good Samaritan hospital.

As we’re leaving the restaurant, he tells me he wants to pick up a book at Border’s.

I’m browsing the books while waiting for my doc, when I hear, “You! It’s you! You owe me money. I remember you. Where’s my co-pay?”

Oh no, I’m not having this. I can’t let her embarrass me in from of a customer and I act like I don’t know what’s she’s talking about.

She looks completely disoriented and disheveled. Which would work in my favor in a few minutes.

I’m like, get away from me lady.

This drives her even more shall I say, batshit? I quickly head for the door while she’s still screaming about her 35 dollars.

At this point she’s drawing a crowd and she’s acting like a drunk who got kicked out of happy hour.

Now we’re out on the sidewalk and there’a cop taking this all in.

I quickly tell him an abbreviated version and he starts laughing. Whew! My stand up experience always saves my bacon.

He tells her to take it upstairs and I get out of there in a hurry.

I complained to Dupont human resources and they told me not to worry about it, they would take care of it. Which they did.

So in the future, if I need therapy, I will get it on my podcast.

Be sure to tune in. 🙂

Calories Count

 

My name is Bob O’Hearn aka The Enlightened Rogue

And I want to share my story and what has worked for me to get into the best shape of my life starting at 70.

I’m am an entrepreneur, a content creator and a compulsive communicator. I have been sharing my forward thinking ideas and solutions in social media for decades.

I developed most of my online skills in big pharma sales and marketing while acting as a territory manager in the field.

I developed and managed web sites and newsletters for nuclear cardiology customers of Dupont and Bristol Myers Squibb.

I was soon promoted and brought in-house to run my own multimedia department.

I am an idea generator. I write books, music, articles and blogs. I have been posting “The Enlightened Rogue Blog” for ten years as well as Enlightened Rogue Fitness.

I script, produce, edit and deliver professional corporate video to train, communicate and enlighten.

I am an accomplished writer, video producer, editor and graphic designer.

I studied music at the Berklee College of Music for guitar and piano and also at the Chef’s Training Institute to be a professional chef. I spent 25 years in busy kitchens.

I have taken the stage at Catch A Rising Star and Stitches comedy clubs. Fearless or foolish, you be the judge.

I am also a passionate health and fitness writer, certified in personal training, weight loss, nutrition, and senior fitness. I train most of my my clients online.

My fitness journey has been remarkable in that six years ago I was severely overweight and addicted to prescription meds and alcohol. I had to go into a VA rehab to shake my demons.

I call the process from “Detox to Reeboks.” I am currently writing that book.

All of which I share with my clients to help them to reach their goals.

The Voice of Reason

In the spring of 1980, I had barely a year of sobriety under my belt. And I wasn’t happy about it.

I was still in my band, Skidder Munrow, working in a restaurant, and trying to chase the babes around.

None of these activities were appealing to me sober. The guys in the band were still using, and the gig profits went up everybody’s nose but mine.

Work sucked when I had to do it sober, and it seemed I didn’t have the same nerve with the ladies without my bottle of balls.

So I slipped. Big time.

There was a big party on a Saturday night and I was determined to be the life of it.

I drank a half a bottle of Jack Daniels before leaving the house and continued into the night with, as Jack Kennedy would say, “great vigor and aggression.”

That evening was shithouse crazy. All through the night I was rethinking my new life with my old friends, drugs and alcohol.

Oh, happy days are here again…..I thought.

The next morning I felt like I had contracted malaria. I was sick all over. I was shaking and puking while trying to stand up straight. And I dare not fart.

I had to go to work, so I had no choice. I had to have some “hair of the dog.”

I grabbed the half empty Jack Daniels bottle from under the sink and it was “over the lips and across the gums, look out belly here it comes.”

It burned so good. I immediately felt my composure start to come back. Then that old evil grin came over my face.

Then I vomited, lit a cigarette and headed out the door for work. Just like old times.

The ten hour day in a hot, noisy kitchen was a feverish nightmare. I couldn’t stop shaking. I was terrified to pick up a knife. What’s this all about?

Luckily, I discovered an unopened quart of Seagrams V.O. the band left in my trunk, and when I felt I was getting sick, I would step outside for some “Dog.”.

That happened every fifteen minutes.

How I got through the day, I will never know.

That night, after a nightcap or two, I passed out. In less than an hour, I shook myself awake. I thought I was having a stroke.

I got violently ill, and in front of my bathroom mirror that night, I vowed I would never go through that again.

That next night there was an all men’s AA meeting at a church in Woburn center.

It was a smoke filled auditorium that wreaked of body odor and heart break. The stories they told were terrifying.

Drunks only go to AA after they’ve lost everything.

These were 200 of the toughest, meanest, and orneriest men I have ever been around. Everyone was there but the warden.

They were convicts, construction workers and miserable losers. And they did not suffer fools. At all.

Physically, I was barely hanging on. I stopped drinking, but my nerves were so shot, I was laughing and crying uncontrollably for seemingly no reason.

I could have gone to detox but I was determined to tough this one out.

Just as the meeting was ending, I raised my hand to speak. Big mistake.

I decided to tell my tale of woe to the group and how quickly alcohol can take hold of you after you slip.

Well, I know how to dress up a story, and the way I described my downfall, the group started laughing. Oh, I love this, I’m thinking.

So I continue to regale these guys with all the ups and downs of my big slip. Which were actually a comedy of errors.

Now I have a couple hundred natural born killers rolling on the floor. I could hear gasping and choking through the gales of laughter.

At the end, the whole room broke out into applause. I couldn’t believe it.

As the meeting was getting ready to close with the Lord’s Prayer, this little old man raises his hand.

He stands up with his tattered scally cap in his hand and says, “Shame on you. What the hell is wrong with you people?”

Then he proceeds to take the whole room down for encouraging a moron like me.

“He could have been dead or killed somebody while driving, and there you are applauding him.”

“That goddam fool will go out and do it again just to make you laugh. Shame on you all.”

I was mortified. The room went dead. My face was burning. I could have slipped through a crack in my chair.

As we were all filing out in silence, a hand touched my shoulder and a voice said, “Hey, kid, that’s still the funniest fuckin’ story I ever heard.”

But It was too late, the voice of reason was still echoing in my ears.

Thank God .

Weighing In

Remember what life was like when you were fifteen? Remember all the silly hang ups? The childish rivalries? All your real or imagined imperfections? Being ostracized in school?

In my day we had Elvis, Rickie Nelson, Fabian, followed by Paul McCartney and Jim Morrison. Who could compete with that?

Oh, the adolescent angst we suffered through.

But young people today have it even worse. They are blowing up to twice our size and are twice as inactive.

They have phones and computers, video games and fast food that is so calorie dense you could fatten up a cow for slaughter in days.

I recently worked a quinceañera at the country club.

A quinceañera is the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday, marking her passage from girlhood to womanhood.

There were about 150 attendees and of course, there were many fifteen year old girls there.

These girls were extremely overweight trying to squeeze into the latest fashions.

The anxiety in that room was palpable.

These young ladies were wearing, (or trying to wear,) a type of sarong wrap around dress that opened in the front. (What do I know, I’m a guy.)

This was painful to watch. They did not look comfortable.

I was wondering which dress would explode first.

Very few attendees were normal weight. The woman who threw the  quinceañera for her daughter was so big, it looked like she was fitted at the Navy yard.

Today we have fat activists and fat liberationists telling these young people that they should love their size, and be happy shopping in the Junior Moose Department

I study people and at one point in the festivities a slender, lithesome young lady sashayed her way by a bevy of these heavies and if looks could kill.

Life is tough enough at that age and these poor things have a long, hard road ahead of them.

Seriously, something needs to be done.

Less food, more exercise, more information.

My opinion.

“Formal education? Not enough to hurt me!”

In 1990, I went into sales totally unarmed. I had ten years of sobriety under my belt and an “eked by” G.E.D.

I knew nothing about sales, marketing, or business in general. Not enough to hurt me, anyway. 🙂

My lack of business knowledge made me get outside the box forever.

The plan was to last long enough in this position before I was exposed as an incompetent, to be able to use it on my resume for a less challenging position maybe selling Amway.

Little did I know I would come to be a sales leader in my burgeoning territories of Arizona, New Mexico and Las Vegas.

Through grit and street savvy, I made a name for myself that I’m still proud of today.

In sales, sometimes you have to provide more than products and service.

You have to provide things that nobody else is thinking about.

You have to get inside. You have to be listening with a musician’s ear.

When I was selling nuclear medicine for Dupont, and me not being a Rhodes Scholar, I had to really be on my game.

For instance, if I had a meeting with a physician and they told me to wait in their office, that man or woman was gonna get thoroughly investigated.

I would scour the walls looking for clues about what they might be up to, and anything we might have in common. Anything to make that connection.

Like anything. If the kid was a football star, or he had a particular passion, or an award he might have received.

I did not suck at small talk because I could always lift the tone with humor. Carefully.

It was nights, weekends, holidays and nasty weather. The post office had nothing on me.

I had to bail rowdy customers out of jail on more than one occasion. I was also there when the baby arrived and the boyfriend was nowhere to be found.

If a tech got kicked out of the house, he headed straight for mine. That’s just the way it worked.

I was purely a relationship guy, and seeing I didn’t have much technical expertise to put on the table, this was how I ran.

I built a bond you couldn’t break.

In the mid-nineties, the main competition for our Cardiolite imaging product was launching, and by some ridiculous miscalculation, the reimbursement for their drug was at least three times what customers were getting for Cardiolite.

The way the government works, that particular boo-boo had to be in place for a year. Money talks, right?

Now selling a product based just on reimbursement is not totally illegal but you should be selling based on the merits of the product. You could get your hand slapped.

So we were keeping our eye out.

Then, one Saturday morning at a Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting held at Mayo Clinic, a product specialist from Amersham takes the stage in a garish yellow dress and did the unthinkable. She thought she was shitting sherbert.

She was rubbing that miscalculated reimbursement money in everyone’s face. She had her face in the trough and she wasn’t pulling her head up for anyone.

Unfortunately for her, I just got into video and I had a small camera with me. (This was before smartphones)

I got everything. I even made her repeat things. (She didn’t know who I was)

Everybody in the room got a huge kick out of watching this dipshit hang herself.

Back at Dupont, I am a national hero. The company lawyer told me I was doing the Lord’s work.

So they confront the head of legal for Amersham and they apprise him of my handiwork. They even play some of the audio over the speaker phone.

That, set him back apace.

In defense, the other lawyer starts weighing in on me and my specious business tactics. Gulp!

He says, “Well, if you think that’s unfair, who brings food over to a cardiologist’s house and cooks dinner for the family?

Who’s does that? Seriously? That’s not unfair? My rep is just doing her job.

Who teaches customer’s kids how to play guitar? Really, who does that? What does that have to do with nuclear medicine?

Who goes away for the weekend with ten female techs? Unheard of, who does that?

Who goes to the courthouse when a tech is getting a divorce? We don’t do that. Who can compete with that?

Who takes customers to AA meetings? You ever hear of such a thing?

Seriously, who does that?”

Well, I have to plead guilty as charged. I was using the skills I learned banging around the mean streets of Boston back in the day.

Sometimes people make decisions on more than just a package insert.

I thought about all the things he said as I was spending my bonus.

Epilogue: When Cardiolite first launched there was a bailment on it. Because the product was so hearty, you could pull hundreds of doses out of one vial that was supposed be limited to six. The bailment, if they signed it, would have them agree to just the six doses.

That went over like a fart in a space suit. Nobody wanted to sign. New Mexico was laughing us out of their labs.

So I visit the radiopharmacy in Albuquerque with my boss, Bob Sullivan. Things got tense in a heartbeat. I didn’t know what he was going to say and I was bracing. He says to Paul Gotti, if you don’t sign the bailment you don’t get him, pointing to me.

They signed. (My face is still red over that one.)

“Let ’em know”

B.B.King was a consummate performer. He was also a master communicator.

He was clearly one of the hardest working people in show business.

He was always in constant communication with his audience. Whether he was using “Lucille”, his guitar, or a microphone, he could work a crowd like a Baptist preacher.

After every song, when the audience was cheering wildly, he would keep it going by standing to the side to highlight his band and saying “Let ‘em know, they love it.”

Then he would introduce each member and tell a brief story, while the rest of the band vamped.

The audience loved it and you can be sure the band did too.

Businesses should do that. They should always find ways to tell stories and make a fuss over their people.

Like B.B., you should point your employees out, tell a story about how you acquired them and how they work hard every day for you, the customer.

By doing that, you’re showing your customers and your employees how much you care.

You’re also showing people that your company is a wonderful place to spend a good chunk of their life.

Instead of desultory trade show line-up shots, introduce your employees one at a time. If there is a landmark event going on in their life, all the better.

You are also finding a good excuse to constantly communicate with your audience instead of “interrupting” them all the time with annoying messages about how great you are. 🙂

These days, we need to keep the conversation going with our customers. We need to always let them know how hard we’re working for them.

We can’t take for granted that our customers are satisfied just because we haven’t had a complaint in a couple of weeks.

Keep the lines of communication open. Always.

So… let ’em know.

Carma

As many of you may remember, I rode a bike out here for three years. I traded my Lexus GX460 SUV in for a Walmart special. You don’t miss what you don’t have, so all was well.

I was just grateful to have a roof over my head and my Social Security.

Through winter and summer, darkness and light, there I was, peddling what was left of my ass off.

A few months ago, a snowbird from Canada, who I became quite friendly with, (I even named my dog after him) offered to sell me the car he was using down here while he was escaping the harsh, Canadian winters.

This year, he told me he was going back up north and not be returning.

It was a little out of my range, so I took a grueling, 10 hour night shift job at Amazon for six weeks. (Ugh)

And when a gracious soul helped me with the rest, the deal was done.

I didn’t drive it much because I was working within walking distance at a place I really enjoyed. The biggest kick I got out having a car again, was taking my pooch for our evening rides.

What happened yesterday caused me to break out the bicycle pump. Again. Everything that could go wrong with a car, went wrong. The engine noises even scared my pooch.

Lights started flashing, strange beeps and a nasty smell.

When I finally limped the car home and into my garage, I rummaged through the glove box and found a service receipt from September 2021.

I called, and was there in 30 minutes.

After a quick inspection, the owner, a guy named Kyle, put his hand on my shoulder and asked me what I paid.

When I told him, he grimaced and said he was sorry, but my little Canadian friend was well aware of the terminal issues with the car.

So it looks like I’m back in the saddle again, older but no wiser. And soon to be a lot skinnier.

The one I really feel bad for is my dog, who not only lost his evening ride but has to have his name changed on Monday.  🙂

 

Passion Comes Later

“There he goes again” my family would say after I would make one of my life changing announcements.

I was always tilting at windmills and off on my next big adventure.

I was really full of passion until the work began.

First it was the Chef’s Training Institute, then it was Berklee College of Music, then it was computer programming, then I thought I would be a personal trainer.

Which felt to me, like I was going after a medical degree.

And these guys seemed like such dopes at the gym. How did they do it?

All these lofty goals seemed wonderful when I announced them, but when the work started, well, not so much.

I had more stress studying music than my whole year in Vietnam. I was getting shooting pains in my head.

You would think cooking, music and exercise would be…fun. Wrong!

To this day, I don’t know how I hung in at any of those professions.

But I did.

If the G.I.Bill wasn’t paying for Berklee, I would have been gone in a week. That was crazy.

It was like learning another language backwards.

You had to sing, play, write and conduct music in front of fucking virtuosos. Yikes!

When I got the training package for my fitness certification, I tried to get my money back immediately.

This wasn’t exercise, it was science. I don’t want to be a doctor, I want to be a gym rat.

What I’m trying to say is, passion on it’s own isn’t going to get you anywhere unless you put the work in.

Passion and a dollar won’t get you a cup of coffee.

Usually, once I got over the shock of what I had gotten myself into, I had to buckle down and get serious.

That ain’t fun. I would sometimes grumble my way through.

And I was very passionate about all those things…in the beginning.

So I say, passion, smassion, dig in and get to work.

Passion only comes after you get really good at something.

Trust me.

 

How my sense of humor saved my life in Vietnam.

Isaac Jackson and me got off the USS Geiger troop ship on the same day, April 22, 1967. He was 21, and drafted out of Philadelphia. We were also assigned to the same tent.

With all the drugs over there, Jack went down quickly.

He started doing those drugs immediately, and was always duking it out with somebody. He was constantly on punishment and would have to fill sandbags until the wee hours.

He stopped bathing altogether and sometimes his friends would come into our hooch and drag him to the showers. It was messy and embarrassing.

In six months, Jack was a changed and deranged man. This father of two was a pariah to his own race in the 557th Light Maintenance company.

You could smell him coming. You always knew when he was in the area.

He was constantly up all night getting high and he seemed to be laughing to himself about something.

He usually had a weapon close by and was always threatening to use it.

One day he was supposed to ride with me to Phan Rang. A sixty mile run through a place called Coconut Grove.

Coconut Grove was a stretch of road where the enemy would sometimes lay in wait.

Jack starts telling me he’s gonna stash weed all over my 2/12 ton truck to make his ride more enjoyable.

I did not want to ride with him like that and told him so during lunch in our makeshift mess hall.

When he started talking shit, I told him he was ignorant.

A bad choice of words.

He walked up behind me and broke three glass sugar shakers on the back of my head.

I was so stunned I hardly felt the impact.

I picked his scrawny ass up and heaved him over the mess hall serving line where he landed on his back.

I unassed the building quickly so I wouldn’t have to fill sandbags in the dark. With the enemy watching.

When I threw him over the serving line counter, I forgot all about the knives back there.

Just as I breached the mess hall door, he was on me. He pushed me up against the wall and stuck a huge kitchen knife right in the base of my Adam’s apple.

The smell of him filled my nostrils as I looked dead into his red, crazy eyes.

I was frozen, I had absolutely no idea what to do.

In the commotion, all 200 members of the 557th fell out into the company area.

Some are yelling for him to drop the knife, others are telling me to run.

Jack is loving this. He would love to go out in a blaze of glory. At my expense.

And with all his boys looking, he’s gonna have to do something.

Then he yells, “I’m gonna kill you, you motherfucker.”

I don’t know where this came from but I returned, “Go ahead, I have guard duty tonight.”

The place collapsed. Laughter like I have never heard filled the company area.

Confusion splattered Isaac’s face, and after what seemed like an eternity, he dropped the knife and ran off.

I was left dazed and confused.

For that, we both got an Article 15 for fighting and two weeks of moonlight sandbag filling, together.

Jungle justice, I guess.

During that time we actually became very close.

Isaac ended up in the stockade two weeks later for another offense and I became a comedy legend.

Me, to be honest, think that line I chose was a case of Tourette’s. 🙂

Embracing Your Masculinity

I just read an article titled “90% of men are unattractive to women.”

I agree. It looks like we’re not trying anymore.

Most men are carrying too much body fat and it makes us look weak, soft, and undisciplined.

Either we are carrying our bellies around in a wheelbarrow, or we have the body of a twelve year old boy.

Add to that an unkept, Moses looking beard, with the wardrobe of a homeless person and you end up with the sex life of a Tibetan monk.

Only 24.2% of men participate in daily exercise like sports and recreation. Walking doesn’t count.

Only 8.9% of men train their bodies with weights.

Only 1% of those men train using progressive overload to increase strength and hypertrophy (muscle growth)

Only 1% of men prioritize nutrition and follow a dedicated meal plan. And it shows.

Most men aren’t trying to build a masculine frame. That’s too bad because having muscle makes you more attractive.

You can’t fake having a good body. We need muscle. It affects your bearing, your posture and your confidence.

Muscle growth is an evolutionary survival mechanism to adapt your body to the demands of the environment. To hunt, to gather, to protect and to nurture. Right, I said nurture.

Women still want to feel protected and cared for by someone who is bigger and stronger.

A great physique is appealing in more than romantic ways. It shows discipline. It makes you stand out as someone who takes themself seriously.

The last three jobs I’ve had, the interviewer brought up my body composition. “You look like someone who takes pretty good care of themself.” Right before they offered me the job.

I’m 75 years old and still swinging for the fence…because I can.  🙂

Men, we also need to be doing deep work. Deep work is also attractive.

Deep work is work that is meaningful and done with purpose and rigor. Being on a mission makes us more attractive and also less available.

Trust me, that’s attractive.

No woman wants a man who hangs around the house all day playing video games.

Write a book, start a business, join a group.

Have a plan. Always.

I have two books in the works and two businesses, Enlightened Rogue Fitness and Double O Creative to fill out my dance card.

There aren’t enough hours…..

Look, it was the luck of the draw, you drew the “man card” and despite all our imperfections we can change the world for the better.

That is, if we’re strong enough and disciplined enough.

Embrace it and be that one percent!

Learning To Suck!

“I can’t do this, I’m outa here.” If I had a nickel every time I’ve uttered that phrase over the last five years, I would be in a different tax bracket.

Nobody likes to suck.

Nobody likes to have to start from the bottom. Nobody likes to be clueless.

Nobody wants to feel stupid.

Nobody wants that groundless sensation when you finally “go live” on your new position.

Such a humbling, soul crushing, experience.

All the new systems, the new hours, the strange people, the layers of passwords, workarounds and steps.

They pelt you with new jargon, new rules, and after they think they’ve got you, new penalties.

You are having your brain rewired and it hurts.

At this point, onboarding feels like waterboarding.

Right now, everyone is smarter than you. That’s different.

Even the mouth breather who couldn’t pass a random drug test is dazzling you with his casual, effortless grace at the very thing you find impossible.

You stare at him and wonder what special qualities he must have been endowed with at birth.

Even though your new employer is patient and confident that you have the right stuff, and are the right person for the job, all the mistakes and fumbling around in the dark can wear you down.

You come home beaten and discouraged some days, and you don’t want to go to bed because more of the same is waiting for you when you wake up.

This is the time to be extra good to yourself and let patience be your guide.

Find something to enjoy in the process. Focus on the new, interesting people.

And don’t forget the folks who were kind to you and took the time to help you in your time of need.

Everyone else had to go through it, even that idiot savant who wreaks of the devil’s lettuce.

Yes, it sucks. And at this point, you suck.

My advice: Suck harder, and the joy, ease and lightness that comes from mastering a difficult skill will soon be yours.

I’ve found from my own experiences that the tougher the job is to learn in the beginning, the more rewarding the job will be down the road.

It’s called mastery and it feels wonderful.

Ask me how I know. 🙂

P.S And don;t forget to help that poor schlump who follows you in.

Skill, minus ego, plus determination, equals success.

On June 19, 1990, Dupont took a huge gamble on a 45 year old dock worker and offered him a sales territory encompassing all of Arizona and New Mexico.

Selling, of all things, nuclear medicine.

I was told later, that the two things I had going for me was my attitude and my personality.

But that was about it.

The VP of Sales at the time, told me upfront, personally, and without hesitation, he didn’t think it was a good idea. At all.

He washed his hands.

But Cardiolite would soon be launched, and they needed warm bodies in a hurry to get the word out about this revolutionary new technetium agent.

I think it was six months before I fully grasped the concept of what I was selling. Scary.

As I caught on, I realized Bob Sullivan was right, “It’s all about people.”

As the years went on, I became a force to be reckoned with. I ate, slept and drank my new career.

I knew everyone personally, professionally and some, intimately.

I could have run for office.

I was in on all the rumors, upheavals, gossip, competitive information and new business plans.

And if you even so much as flew over my territory, I knew about it.

The rep from my main competition became unglued and started seeing a therapist while bemoaning the fact she had to go up against a “wild man.”

I was doing so well, upper management was starting to worry about who might take my place should I leave, or get promoted out of the territory.

I was delivering product, speaking at local SNM Chapter meetings, and hosting lobster dinners at customer residences. Stuff they don’t teach you at Wharton.  🙂

I was setting precedents nobody wanted to attempt.

Then, after a chance meeting with two Aetna nurse reviewers, I secured the first reimbursement approval for Cardiolite at $110 per injection for two injection.

As Aetna goes, so goes the nation. Now we’re playing money ball!

Ken Kasses, the president of the company, called my house that night.

In 2002, I met with my manager, Karen Randall, in a Las Vegas restaurant and we were having our annual career development discussion.

Karen, a sweetheart if there ever was one, listened intently as I told her I was frustrated “just carrying the bag” and had other ideas about how we could be doing business.

Yeah, me, of all people.

You see, I started shooting marketing videos of all my biggest customers. They were actually branded patient education videos featuring Cardiolite.

This idea started as a lark, but got serious in a hurry after the word got out.

The customer got to tout their practice, and we got to tout our product, Cardiolite. It was a win-win…I thought.

I produced a script heavily laden with the features and benefits of using Cardiolite that the cardiologist would have to say on camera.

Now, I started gaining business at a very fast rate.

Pretty soon, I was venturing into other Western District territories to help reps secure business with this value-added benefit.

I thought this should be part of our business strategy and started getting vocal about it. I was sending CDs, DVDs and video tapes in every week.

The idea of shooting customer focused videos was shot down immediately and…repeatedly.

Karen agreed with my concept and thought they should at least hear me out in person, so she set up a meeting back in Billerica.

That first meeting was a “pat on the head” and I was told (gently) to get over myself and go back to doing what I was paid to do.

Disappointed, but not to be deterred, I kept at it. By now, my numbers were veering into screech region.

Some customers were buying Cardiolite just to get the video. Some bought Cardiolite just to get me.  🙂

Dr. Nathan Laufer, the cardiologist in the photos, offered me my own office.

After much back and forth, and with a lot of help from Wally Smith, another meeting/presentation was set for October 25, 2002. My 56th birthday.

I was told to watch myself on this one because the daggers will be out, as Bristol Myers Squibb just bought the company.

No more warm and fuzzy mother ship.

Bob McBrier, the new VP of BMS Sales, told Wally, “We got some clown out there running around the desert with a camera and we need to throw a net over him.”

On the morning of the meeting, in a marketing room in Bldg. 600-2, I showcased my ideas.

I handed out a permission based marketing book by Seth Godin and showed customer examples of patient education videos.

But when I slapped a VHS tape of “Taking The Test” in Spanish, into a tiny portable TV set, you could hear the suction break.

I had ’em. .

Peter Card, the VP of Global Marketing, jumped out of his chair, pushed me into a corner and said, “You have to come back in house. We’ll create a position for you and we’ll build you a studio.”

I called my wife, who was shopping at the Burlington Mall. She thought we would be flying back that night. I told her, “You’ll never guess what just happened.”

Needless to say, my life changed after that, and I had many creatively enjoyable years producing content for sales, marketing, human resources, manufacturing and the executive office.

I produced digital signage, introduced permission based e-mail marketing, streamed company meetings around the globe, and even produced national sales meetings.

My ego survived through it all and I am still grateful for that wonderful opportunity.

What a ride!  🙂

Destination 80: My Five Year Plan

It’s 4:00 am. I’m running down Broken Arrow Drive and into the full moon. I am not surprised, but delighted, at the way my body is responding.

Here I am, 75 years old and moving like a teenager. I am gobbling up road tar and celebrating every heart beat.

I’ve been doing this since my unceremonious arrival to the desert in August of 2017.

I am on no prescription medications and I have no physical limitations. So far.

I’m thinking that if I’m in such good shape now, chances are great that I will survive until my eightieth birthday.

Which raises the question: How do I want to do it?

Do I want to limp over the finish line, or run right through it?

No question there.

So what’s my plan?

First, I want to make sure I get enough exercise in my daily regimen.

That includes resistance and cardiovascular training. Strong bones and a healthy heart.

Can’t go wrong there.

My program will need two components to be successful: adherence and sustainability.

I will do my cardio, running, biking, first thing in the morning as I have always done. It will wake me up and clear my head.

I will do my resistance training later in the day after my body has warmed up and I have had adequate nutrition.

I will train upper body one day, lower body the next and take the third day off to recuperate. No “Gym rat splits” for me, I want to look like a man, not a bouncer.

Nutrition is key. You can run and jump all day, but if your nutrition is off, you’ll be wasting a lot of your time.

Maintaining my current weight (170 at 5’11) is critical for obvious reasons: diabetes, heart disease and blood pressure. Cancer, of course, is a wild card.

Sleep. This is a head nodder to most, but critical to the success of any sustainable program.

When you don’t get enough sleep, you feel weak and tired and you make bad decisions.

Plan your sleep like you plan your taxes.

Try to include some form of meditation or relaxation techniques. The world is crazy and you need to be present and accounted for. Ooooohhnmmm!

Flexibility: Staying loose and limber will keep my back spasms at bay, and avoid possible headaches from over training. (To that, I plead guilty)

Balance exercises : This is something older folks especially have to start to focus on. As we age, we start to lose our balance and when we fall, a cascade of terrible things can happen.

Our brittle bones betray us and we become dependent on mechanical devices and other people. Pain is bad enough but who needs the guilt?

That’s my plan. If I go tomorrow, it’s been fun, but if I get the chance to hang awhile, I want it to be on my terms not the staff at some nursing home.

If you have any questions or need some advice, reach out I’ll be glad to help.

Can you spell octogenarian?  🙂

Denying The Body

Why do we deny our bodies?

As a corollary to my recent “You Are Your Body”,  I came to the conclusion that:

We are ascetics. We willfully torture our bodies like we’re settling a score.

We try to disassociate from it. We think if we ignore it, we won’t have to listen to it.

Our body, the critical engine of our survival, and we don’t even bother to read the manual?

We skip the maintenance, pour on the mileage, and void the warranty.

We starve it, stuff it, sit it, sleep deprive it, and over stimulate it.

Like going cross country without filling the tank or getting a tune-up.

Still, we rely on it to provide sustenance for our journey.

We are ashamed of our bodily functions and change the subject quickly when they come up.

We all want the shiny new object and miracle transformations from a social media influencer.

We watch it atrophy and wait like sheep for the inevitable slaughter with a world weary sigh.

We settle in to a life of limitation and misery as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Your body and your mind were alloyed at co ception for a reason: so you can fully experience this thing called life.

Your pilot is in constant contact with your cabin.

We shouldn’t have to get our marching orders from someone in a lab coat. Someone who was taught to prescribe and not proscribe.

Someone who received fifteen minutes of nutrition training out of eight years of study.

We should understand our bodies innately, for it is a work of magnificent art.

You can’t deny it. So don’t.

Denial is not a river in Egypt.

No balls, no blue chips!

When my father would say I was an alcoholic, my mother would say I had a “good constitution.”

When my father would say I was “all balls and no brains”, my mother would say I had “gumption.”

I will always have a special place in my heart for her. With ten children, she was living vicariously through me.

She lived through all my hair-brained schemes and tacitly encouraged me to take huge risks.

And I always obliged.

I was always up to something. Every time I flopped, I would turn it into a funny story. Sometimes I was the only one laughing.

At 25, after learning to make a G chord on the guitar, I asked “Who wants to be in a band?” Talk about high hopes.

I often walked on stages totally unprepared and bombed unmercifully. I always shook it off.

I was always providing entertainment to my family and friends.

My brother says the saddest day in his life was the day I stopped drinking.

Having gumption, or the courage of my convictions, has taken me places I never would have dreamed if I had been the least bit rational.

I fronted bands, ran big kitchens, had my own business and even sold radiopharmaceuticals with nothing but a G.E.D.

When I was in sales, I bought a cheap camera and started shooting marketing videos for Cardiolite with my more than willing customers. The home office didn’t know how to respond.

I ended up inventing my own in-house position. Nobody did that.

It took a lot of gumption to walk away from that cushy job in Billerica and start my own business. I left a lot of money on the table but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I went out the back door and came in the front as a high dollar consultant. Needless to say, I was a hot topic at financial meetings.

After getting detoxed from drugs and alcohol in 2016, I wasn’t satisfied with just being sober. No, I had to become a bodybuilding track start with a fitness certification.

I run Enlightened Rogue Fitness, have a YouTube channel, write a blog and run five miles every night.

Anything worth doing, is worth over doing.

You can be anything you want to be in this crazy world, but it takes a little gumption. 🙂

A Funny Thing Happened…

 ….on the way to the poor house…. I started to enjoy the ride.

When it comes to going down, I don’t take the elevator, I take the laundry chute.

I went from two huge homes, a beautiful wife, three cars, a million dollars worth of video production equipment, a horse, six dogs and a big fat 401K.

Needless to say, I like to take chances. I thought my winning streak would never end.

But it did. I think they call it entropy.

I was on the phone with my Fidelity broker one afternoon looking to withdraw 400K to buy a big spread with a pool and a Casita in Cave Creek, Arizona.

He tried to warn me that the immediate penalty would be 170 thousand dollars. I said, “Just do it.” (I honestly hate telling that story)

Not long after, I started losing big clients and life began to have its way with me.

It was time to start un-assing my properties. I was imploding.

Then I picked up a drink after almost forty years and found myself at a VA hospital in a ward full of screaming, moaning, men.

My health was rapidly deteriorating from my overly helpful, overly prescribing, internal med doc.

I took a crappy apartment next to some railroad tracks for a year and planned my move out west.

I was getting broker by the second.

Just when I thought I hit the bottom of my bottom’s bottom, the excavation began.

By the time I reached Arizona a year later, I was looking in gutters for change.

I couldn’t even afford to feed my dogs.

I once made a grocery purchase with eighty dimes, much to the chagrin of the moody cashier.

I used to groan myself awake those days, but somehow, I stayed sober.

Soon, my car was gone, my dogs were gone, and down went my credit.

They say, whatever doesn’t kill you.

Then one day the lights came on and my attitude changed.

It was a game on, from then on, so bring it on.

I cut coupons, followed supermarket sales, bought a rice cooker, soaked my own beans, cut, cut, cut.

I worked retail, sold insurance, became a personal trainer and stashed my dough. Yeah, I was getting good at this shit.

I was running at a high idle. I grew more cunning, agile and alert.

My eyes even got bigger, if that’s possible.

My many years of slaving away in hot kitchens was paying off.

I was eating sumptuously for pennies on the dollar. Burp!

I traded my Lexus SUV in for a Walmart bike and a Goodwill knapsack.

I skinnied down to fighting weight and grew more muscular by using what I learned as a trainer.

Not bad for a man society considers elderly.

I still live this way today. I am hipper, happier and healthier.

The moral of the story? Every belt can use a little tightening, if it happens to you….enjoy the ride. 🙂

 

Tenacity, veracity, audacity.

Fifty years ago, in 1972, a friend of mine at work invited me to Fresh Pond Park on a beautiful Saturday morning to show me how to play guitar. It was a red, semi-hollow Gibson rip off without a case.

When he launched into “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” the hook was set.

We jumped onto a bus headed for the North End and picked up a cheap acoustic guitar at a pawn shop on Hanover Street.

Little did I know how my life would change that day. I remember the goodhearted ridicule from my family at the unboxing in the kitchen that afternoon.

The only one who wasn’t laughing was my music loving mother. That lady thought I could do anything. She was my wind.

Like anything I do, and over do, it became my life’s passion. At 25, I had no time to lose.

In less than a year, I was auditioning with local bands and failing miserably.

If they didn’t want me on guitar, I tried vocals, and when that didn’t work, I asked to be a roadie…for free.

I sucked and I knew it.

Then, I had a brainstorm. I went into Wurlitzer Music on Newbury Street and bought a public address, or, P.A. System.

Then, the phone started ringing. They were taking the bait.

I knew why they wanted me and I didn’t care. Nobody had a P.A. system in those days, so if they wanted a P.A., they had to take me. Ha!

I started gigging way above my pay grade. It was terrifying. They used to turn my amp down so I couldn’t be heard, but I didn’t care. I was progressing.

Very long story, extremely short, I became a journeyman.

I went to Berklee College of Music on the GI Bill, learned harmony, arranging, and picked up piano along the way.

I had no idea how those skills would benefit my later professional career in Dupont and Bristol Myers Squibb.

But they did.

I took the lead in “Radio Daze”, an on site recycling production, and wrote safety music for the sales force that was distributed to the whole company on CDs.

I wrote and performed music all over the country. I played original material at national sales meetings and trade shows.

I played for customers and anyone who would listen. When I traveled for business, my Martin was always in the overhead.

Later, I wrote jingles, commercials, and catchy openers for corporations and small businesses.

In Dupont, I had a corporate web site (nobody had one of those), wrote newsletters and started an e-mail marketing program.

When I got into video production, it was a marriage made in heaven.

But music was the catalyst. It got me noticed and allowed me a creative voice in corporate America.

Who knew?

I still play and practice every day. My guitar has gently weeped through heart break, loss, drug addiction and destitution.

I developed my skills through tenacity and veracity, (being honest with myself), but without the audacity, or nerve, it wouldn’t have happened.

As my mother used to say. “No balls, no blue chips.”

It was worth the bet.

Roll ’em.  🙂

 

 

“Hey, knock it off up there.”

I used to date a girl back in the 80’s, who was determined to hear her favorite song every time she got in my car. To make it worse, it was a sappy Willie Nelson song. I didn’t have a tape deck.

If we were in the car for an hour, it was an hour of non stop channel scanning and sudden volume changes.

It was maddening.

Sort of like our thoughts. If you were to monitor your thoughts all day, and notice how all over the place you are, you would know that the mind can be a terrible thing.

Usually, your mind is not your friend. Most of the time, you’re not using your mind, it is using you.

It can take you places you’re not prepared to go. And you will suffer.

Enter conscious awareness.

Consciousness refers to your individual awareness of your unique thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations, and environments.

Essentially, your consciousness is your awareness of yourself and the world around you. This awareness is subjective and unique to you.

I learned to meditate back in 1979. In desperation.

I was desperate to kick drugs and alcohol. I lost my job and my band had kicked me out. I had no income and was terribly ill from all the chemicals still circulating in my body.

As you can imagine, my nerves were shot from years of alcohol and amphetamines. I was sitting alone in my little apartment chain smoking, shaking, and crying.

I remember some nights, sleeping on the floor next to my mother’s bed, just to make it through the night. Sober.

To darken my thoughts a bit more, the Jonestown Massacre was crowding all three networks. It was bleak.

I was not in a good place, to say the least.

Then someone gave me a meditation tape. I always thought that stuff was foofy. Like something someone from Harvard Square would do. I can smell the incense now.

Slowly, I learned to become still. I learned to breathe and focus on my body.

I would sit in a straight back chair, drop my right arm and cradle my left arm in my lap. Then I would start to focus my attention on each one of my fingers until I felt a tingling sensation.

Over time, things started to quiet down.

When you become quiet, you start to notice the ridiculous thoughts coming at you from every direction. Scary.

Then I knew why I drank and took drugs. It was to numb that noise upstairs.

My life so far has been a roller coaster, and learning to meditate or “quiet the mind” has most likely, saved my life.

When times get tough, as they always do, I roll my eyes upward and say what the lady downstairs used to say, “Hey, knock that racket off up there.”

Oh, does that feel good.