What a strange title for a blog. Maybe so, but many parents try to decide what careers their children should choose.
My father was a barber and, naturally, my mother and father didn’t want to persuade me to become a barber. Having said that, my mother always told me that ‘because I have an outgoing personality, being a lawyer would suit me fine’. She continued on that path, always telling me to become a lawyer. My father kept telling me to be sure that I choose a trade, any kind of trade; a barber, doctor, lawyer, businessman, engineer – anything that was a specialty.
Instead of choosing any of the above trades, I knew I liked children. And so I chose to major in Educations at UCLA. I wanted to be a 4th-grade elementary school teacher. On the other hand, I was a good salesman. I had been selling products since I was twelve-years-old, whether it was newspapers on a corner in Los Angeles where I grew up, or as a peddler – door to door - selling perfume or jewelry. Even when I was still at UCLA studying to be a teacher I longed for a part-time job selling, and that took me into selling encyclopedias.
While I had classes in the morning, I was on the phone making appointments with families in order to see them at night with my bag full of Encyclopedias Britannicas. I was quite successful doing this, and that job lasted almost two years.
As stated earlier - my father was a barber in Hollywood, and one of his customers was a man named Ralph Wonders. Mr. Wonders had a talent management firm, and one of his clients was Spike Jones who had his 1949 musical depreciation show about to go on the road for six months - a perfect time for me to get out of the house and be on my own.
Spike Jones needed a young assistant to do an assortment of things that the members of the show needed. I took the job right out of high school, and went on the road with Spike Jones and his troupe of strange musicians and dancers. Six months of experience travelling around the United States makes a young man grow quickly. I am happy in one respect that I took that job, and sad because I grew up too quickly.
When I decided to go back to college (UCLA) I immediately wanted to be a fraternity guy, and I did rush the ZBT fraternity. I tried to catch up with all the other guys who went straight to college after graduating high school, which I chose not to do. After selling books for almost two years I took a job at NBC television in Hollywood. I started as a paige, which is the bottom of the ladder for a young man wanting to get into the broadcasting business. Yes, that is what I wanted to do; sell commercial time for NBC television. Sweet wishes!
Before I began there, though, I found out that NBC television didn’t hire young, inexperienced people for their sales department. I had to get out of Los Angeles, so - instead - I started my broadcast career selling commercial time for a small 250-watt radio station in Palm Springs.
No, I wasn’t going to be a lawyer or a doctor… or an engineer. My father and mother didn’t object, although they had no idea why I took this starting job with NBC. They were not going to complain; they were against objecting to anything that I thought I could be successful at. The job in Palm Springs led me to a job with an FM station in Los Angeles in 1958, and then led me to ABC where I spent the next thirty-eight years doing what I wanted to do. I ended a thirty-eight year career at ABC - the last seventeen years as the president and general manager of KABC radio.
One of the reasons for my success was because my parents never tried to force me into anything I didn’t want to do. I had a goal and I pursued it without any pressure from home. I have a strong belief in young people doing what they want to do, without having making money as the first criteria for making the decision to do what is loved. I was taught to focus on the love of a job.
Money will usually follow if a person does the job that he or she loves. Not all the time, but it certainly did for me and most successful people that I know. One last piece of advice for my friends reading this… Warren Buffett, one of the most successful people in the world, personally taught me if it is not worth doing it is not worth doing it well.
In short - Follow your dreams!
…going after Moby Dick in a rowboat, and taking Tartar Sauce with you!
When I saw this in an email to me I thought, Wow - what a great subject to write about.
The opposite of optimism is pessimism. It is hard to write about one without talking about the other. Sure, if we want to think about being negative, about the bad things we are seeing in the world, or about all the no’s that we get when wanting to do something, this writing could go on for hours.
Although I must admit that there are many times when I am not sure about being positive about my world, I feel blessed to even be here at the age of eighty-five.
I remember a song that began with…
“You have to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-between. My last remark… Jonah in the Whale - Noah in the Ark… what did we do just when everything seemed so dark? We had to… (repeat of the first few bars).”
Talk about old people losing their memory! I haven’t lost all of mine, and that song might have been in my mind for at least seventy years. The words are as true today as they have been from the beginning of time.
Early man had a lot to be happy about. I guess Adam and Eve were the first two people to be optimistic about their world. Now, please let’s not get bogged down in the discussion about the beginning of our world and how it got started - that would be way off course. I prefer to talk about today and how blessed I am to be here today - happy in my house, my city and - of course - my country. And on a bigger stage, I’m happy that there is a world for me to be in. That may be stretching it, but I do believe that most people don’t think about their world or how blessed we all are to be able to live, to breathe, to smile, to laugh and enjoy so many of the good things that we can enjoy every day.
At this very moment - as I’m writing this - the lady I hire to clean my house once a week has come into my office. She just had tears in her eyes because her world is not a happy one. Her son is in jail on some minor offense. Her husband doesn’t have a regular job, and maybe has a drinking problem and some other things… too many negative things to talk about now.
Telling her to be more optimistic about her life would be like telling someone who is dying from cancer to get off their bed and be more optimistic about their life.
We should all realize that some of us can afford, so to speak, to be optimistic because we don’t have children in jail, we are alive in a free country, and we can afford to live in nice houses, eat the foods we want to eat, go to restaurants that we want to go to, and watch the television programs that we want to watch.
Let’s remember that, in some countries around the world, the people do not always have the same freedom that we enjoy in this country. So, for one, let’s be optimistic about our lives, because we live in a country that allows us to easily be optimistic about where and how we live.
Then, perhaps the most important ingredient for happiness is dependent upon our health. If we are healthy then we are wealthy! If my mother and father were alive they would appreciate what I just wrote, because those words - although heard all the time - were first heard by me, as they were often preached to me by them.
I have had a good life. I was raised in a good family. I’ve lived in nice neighborhoods. I was instilled with good moral input. I had a good education. I was married to a wonderful lady for forty-seven years. I am fortunate to have a significant other whom I live with now, who also is optimistic about her life and her future with me. My children are happy with their own families.
This country that I live in is at peace, at least, now with the world. That is not the case in so many other countries in the world, where people live with turmoil and so many other obstacles to overcome in pursuit of their own objective to be happy and optimistic.
While writing this I realize that being optimistic is easy to write about and easy to say… but it’s not so easy to be what the words say. Being optimistic is a goal, and unless we reinforce the sense of being optimistic we run the risk of having the feeling of optimism turn to the feeling of pessimism. I prefer the former!
Bottom line - if I am going after Moby Dick, I am going to go out prepared to get him. I will have the right boat with the right equipment, and my knowledge of how to achieve my goal will be with me, because I approached the task with intelligence and - of course - with optimism!
Don't worry - be happy!
George has always loved dogs. GiGi, whom he writes about in this blog, is a rescue adopted from a shelter near him. His book GiGi – If Dogs Could Talk – A True Story is based on their initial meeting at the shelter, and tells of how things unfolded throughout her first few days in her new home with George and Myrna.
He strongly supports rescue/shelter programs, and urges anyone looking for a forever best friend to consider adoption over purchasing from breeders. With neglected, abandoned, and abused dogs being dumped daily at shelters all around the world, at no fault of their own, let’s give them a home – a second chance at life with a wonderful family.
Here’s George’s short blog about his best buddy, GiGi.
In my life there are many faces to look at. First, there is the beautiful face of Myrna Odwak who I live with, and have lived with for more than eleven years. For writing purposes, I don’t want to start naming faces of family and friends. My gosh - there are so many beautiful faces in the world that I would need forty or fifty pages to name all of them!
There is another face other than Myrna’s that I see in my house, and I tend to stare at her face more intently - I think - than I do at Myrna’s or anyone else’s. That face - and her eyes - belong to my dog, GiGi.
Yes, I know - everyone who has a pet dog or cat… or horse or any other animal can say the same thing. But, I am mesmerized by GiGi’s eyes.
She is really my dog, not Myrna’s. When I am home she is mine. Wherever I go, GiGi goes. She follows me around like a magnet. I wish I could talk to her. I would ask her if she is following me around only because she thinks I will feed her, or take her with me when I leave the house for errands.
I don’t know, but when I look down at her large brown eyes we seem to talk to each other. I wrote a book about GiGi. The name of the book is GiGi - If Dogs Could Talk. I know that in past writings of mine I have often stated that I wish our pets could talk. They do talk - with their eyes and their expressions of happiness or sadness. GiGi’s tail gives her away. When that tail is wagging I know she is one happy dog, no matter what we are doing!
I play a lot with GiGi. I have a white and orange plastic throwing stick; in the end of the stick is room for her little plastic ball. As soon as I go to her portion of our closet, and as soon as I put my hand on the stick, she knows that we are going to play catch.
You all know what she immediately does, don’t you? GiGi barks for joy and continues to bark until we get into the car. And even then she continues to bark until we get to the open field where we can play! You would think she’d stop barking - no, not GiGi! I need to get out of my car and make the first throw of the day. Her barking then stops, and she starts running after the ball in order to retrieve it and bring it back to me for another throw!
I think GiGi can count. I throw the ball out in the field about eighteen or nineteen times. I keep counting, hoping she gets to twenty. But, by eighteen or nineteen throws she is tired. Her first retrieval is quite fast. My, oh my - can that little white poodle of mine run! But by the eighteenth or nineteenth throw, she is breathing hard. She comes back toward me and then, with the ball in her mouth, heads for the car. She is done! She wants to get home, jump out of the car and into the house where she will race for her bowl of water. We have all heard the term ‘dogs are creatures of habit’ - yup, that is my GiGi… a creature of habit.
As soon as we get up in the morning, Gigi waits for me patiently at our bedroom door. She knows I have to get dressed, brush my teeth, and all the rest. She is ready for her walk, and her eyes talk to me again. “Hurry up, George, I have to pee and poop!” She reminds me with her eyes that, like me, there are body essentials that need to be taken care of!
Gigi is about six-years-old. I feed her twice a day; in the morning and at night when we are ready to make dinner for ourselves, or if we are going out someplace for dinner. Lately, she hasn’t been eating in the morning, at least not when I put her food bowl in front of her. She always jumps at her food at night. But my little creature of habit knows that her food bowl will be there when she is ready to eat. Her eyes and her face tell me ‘thanks’ for feeding her!
My little story about GiGi’s eyes was not written to be a book, only written to get a small smile from readers. And along with the smile comes an understanding that - yes - all dog lovers, as well as owners of other pets, have the same experiences. I was in the mood to write something about GiGi’s eyes, so I did!
Please remember: Adopt – Don’t Shop!
Copyright George Green © 2016 Rancho Mirage, CA, USA