Whenever a vow is taken there are always skeptics. In the universe, when we – as evolved beings – attempt to take on a challenge or chart a course there are those within said universe (and voices within our heads) that are understandably unconvinced. Losing weight for sure this time? Right. Sure. Going back to school to become a nurse? Come on. That trick never works. Blogging again after a sustained break?
Never gonna happen. I know you too well.
But I made a vow on Sunday (or was it Saturday? Some days the beers run together). And this right here is proof that I mean it. This is to show the skeptics are wrong! So, each and every one of you who said to me, here in my own head, that Tom will never stick to it this time, get ready for … the Q&A!
Tom, in the last 12 months you’ve posted on your mostly-weekly blog exactly nine times. Only twice in the year 2021. What kept you? What kept you away?
No, really, hear me out. It’s silly and troubling, to be truthful. In November of 2020, when the surge of the pandemic began to peak in what we all knew would be the worst of it (winter months, indoor activities, close quarters, no vaccine yet), I decided to give myself a hobby to while away the hours normally spent outdoors working in the yard or drinking on the deck. Now, mind you, one of my all-time favorite hobbies was once playing video games – specifically simulation football games – but it is a hobby I mostly gave up years ago.
I have an addictive personality (surprise!) so when I immerse in something it can be all-encompassing. If I can combine strategy, creativity, character development, and endorphins into a hobby – like by, say, building a simulation football franchise that spans decades – well, then, all my spare moments soon become dedicated to such a thing. It’s fruitless. It appeases me and only me. It’s addictive and I quit doing it years ago because #life. Don’t get me started on my City of Heroes years.
So, when it came time to put pen to paper I generally chose, say, the 2027 draft process instead. Levone Otis, by the way, is a stud. Just got him to a 99 overall rating at RB. And he’s only 24.
Was that admission therapeutic?
Absolutely. But wait’ll I tell you about the development of Super Bowl winning QB Branch Solomon.
We can’t wait.
How did you break the spell?
I read “A Promised Land,” by Barack Obama.
Whoa! I thought you hadn’t read anything in a while? That’s a heavy book. 700 pages or so?
701. After reading “Born to Run” last year I took 6 months to read Kurt Andersen’s “Evil Geniuses,” which was a good book. I just didn’t make the time. So, when I opened “Promised” I told myself “Tom, you’re gonna read this in 30 days. Go!” I did. Well, 35 days. It did two things: it reminded me that a good man with a great heart and solid commitment to principles and work can get far, and it showed me again that I can do anything if I make the time. So, I decided to make the time to read again. And write.
What did you pick up after “A Promised Land”?
I have a bunch of books I downloaded last year that I still want to get through. “Start With Why,” about leadership. “Democracy at Work,” by Wolff. Pinker’s “Better Angels.” “One Summer” and “The Body” by Bill Bryson. “The Uninhabitable Earth,” which I haven’t gotten around to yet. And Michelle’s book, too. “Becoming.”
Are you sticking with your reading schedule?
Mostly. Not today. Not on Saturday. Writing instead.
How’s the workplace?
The busiest 12 months in our 21-year history. Our best 5 or 6 months, ever, have happened since last September/October. There are the usual challenges, and a labor shortage, but we’re rolling and, I think, we’ve hit a tipping point.
Still planning to take the store over?
Yes. We’ve targeted next June. All things are subject to change, and I love being the #2 man in the organization, but I’ll be ready when the owner is.
Anything else new to report?
Sure, life is always moving. I recently returned to church after taking the pandemic off. Like most people we’re experiencing the hottest summer we can remember, and that presents physical challenges in the swamp-cooled showroom. I’ve been trying various powders to combat that. The bank my wife works for got bought out. What she does there – handling core hub stuff for all the branches – is already centralized and automated by the parent bank so she’s about to be let go from the best job she’s ever loved. My closest friend was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of June so he’s in a daily battle with that (and winning, in my opinion). And I lost Spencer Carter for the ’34 season with a broken collarbone, so we’re thin at WR for the playoff stretch.
You really need to put that game away, Tom.
I really do.