Memory is an acute thing. It can baptize you, take you over, reflect on where you’ve been and, in some extreme cases, incapacitate you. Memory can also warm, warn and welcome you — and this story is a matter of the latter in the name of one my earliest mentors and influencers, Rick Alloway. Yes is hard. No is easy. Rick Alloway was always a Yes Man in the most honorific possible way.
Rick gave me my start in radio at KFOR 1240 and KFRX 103 in Lincoln, Nebraska when I was 13-years-old, and he helped correct me, win me and convince me in every single way of the world. He was never harsh or cruel or condescending — even when you earned such treatment. His greatest talent was simply listening and being infinitely patient. In the radio advert below, Rick is in the front row wearing a mustache and I’m right next to him sporting the sun-sensitive hipster glasses.
There’s an old, weary, chestnut in the theatre — that deserves to be burned alive, eaten whole, pooped out and buried in the deep blue sea and then never spoken of again — that goes a little something like this, when directors say to Playwrights: “Never Speak to the Actors!”
A long time ago, in a lifetime far, far away — when I was still eating flesh and muscle — there was a grand tradition during Summertime in Nebraska for family and friends to get together and eat outside under the sun, moon and stars. BBQ was a rite of passage and to get there, you not only had to learn how to BBQ, you also had to be a master eater as well.
If you’re a Cub Scout, there’s a yearly reckoning waiting for you — the Pinewood Derby — where you get to build your own race car out of wood and plastic and nails and race it down a track to see how fast your mind and hands are in the creation of something separate and spectacular that you cannot control. You build it and let it run away from you. I had some success with the Pinewood Derby, as I share here:
As a Cub Scout in Lincoln, Nebraska David Boles entered, and won the Pinewood Derby. In 1973, igniting the fighting Fireball #8, he came in second place. In 1974, riding The Phantom, he did not place, likely due to the air-sucking quality of the jaw-like bat mouth. In 1975 — flying the Spirit of ’76 — he won First Place as the Grand Champion, even though race officials drilled out an ounce of golden lead weight from his undercarriage! Here are the requisite beauty shots of those historic racing fascinations.
The year was 1987 and Lincoln, Nebraska was still fresh off its Oscar-winning buzz for “Terms of Endearment” in 1984. The new high was a 14.5 hour, seven-nights-in-a-row, mega-miniseries called “Amerika” to be shot on location around the outskirts of Lincoln and aired on the ABC Television network.
There is a fun old saying — “You’re One in a Million” — that is meant to convey a specialness using data-driven facts. What I find most interesting in the million specialness is how absolutely non-special you are depending where you happen to live in the world.
For example, in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska — with a population of 160,000 while I was growing up — I was super-extra-crispy special, because it would take 6.25 times my city’s population to make me unique one time in a million tries.
In New York City, the story is different. There are currently 8.3 million people in The Big City — and that means my specialness is drained in the larger lake from my small pond pool of the Midwest.
Instead of being “One in a Million” in NYC, I’m now, actually, eight in 8.3 million — and that’s a pretty sobering number.
Yesterday, I participated in an odd, one hour, “web session” with the Twitter Small Business advertising team where you submitted questions beforehand in anticipation of getting real world answers you could use to promote your small business on Twitter.
Instead getting helpful, direct, answers I was pricked back in time to the beginning of my blogging life and the excellent startup FeedBurner service.
Do you remember this fiery, iconic, logo?