Some years ago a daughter approached me. “What do you think I should be?” she asked. “Do you think I should go to law school?” My response was immediate, if not quicker. “I don’t care what you do,” came my counsel, “So long as you have a passion for it.”

I spoke from experience.

It’s not that I dislike what I do. I don’t. Indeed, some days it’s —dare I say — fulfilling. But I never…really…set out to do what I do. And I rarely…very rarely…wake up in the morning and think “I can’t wait to get there!”.

The story’s apocryphal. We were in Columbus back in ‘70 when my first love made our future contingent on me in either law or med school. Me…this phlegmatic kid from South Euclid? What did I know from those things? At that point I’d devoted more thought to the Mets of New York than I ever had to a career in Cleveland. I just didn’t care.

(Ed. Note, semi-confession, and stream of my conscience): Never, up to that point, had I led the league in ambition. Al Bogart, a salesman by trade, thought my future lay there. He’d never given me a “bum steer”, so I just figured it made sense; I would sell. On the other hand, I didn’t want to lose the girl friend—Lord, it had taken me two decades to get one. On the other hand, I couldn’t stand the sight of blood. On the other hand, my dad would be supportive of any decision.  So send in applications I did, but my heart wasn’t in it. And did I come to think that acceptance at OSU would keep me in Columbus with my Dad, and that this was a good thing?  Yes.  But when The School rejected me I knew it would be my Dad I’d miss, not the law school.  On the other hand, there was one more chapter to be written. I was playing gin with my Dad the last week in August, ’72. Mail came: there was an opening in Cleveland; school started that week. Me? I stayed true to form. Did not, in my less-than-industrious mind, three years of classroom trump three years of working?).

I went to law school and the rest is history. The passion I honored was not toward career, but toward her.

My buddies were purer. Three of the Big Four had passion—

Bobby? His dream was to broadcast and he did. A pioneer doing play-by-play for professional softball, he followed his dream. It was a fervor resurrected more than once by my pal, climaxed by his thrust to get “The Fabulous Boomer Boys” on the air in the ‘90’s. (Query: Was it not this fire Bob felt that Stuart so lacked, as the latter withdrew after thirteen strong weeks on the air)?

(Ed. Note Two: Stuart’s desire, indeed his passion, was sales. One hundred units (3 year subscriptions) in a week got him a new car. Indeed, my brother still recalls being wakened for a week in Roselawn, Michigan at what my H could only perceive as the middle of the night. “Cmon Nemo,” Stuart would shout, “Time to Sell Sell Sell!”.

Even Wieder had passion…young. (Not for work, mind you, but for not working. The very first recorded uttering of the phrase “pushing the envelope” came one fall Saturday in Columbus when H, Stuart, Randy and I each sold magazines but miraculously it had rained on the few streets Alan had leads).

Ah, but Alan did have a passion—for softball. (Ed. Note 2: Some would mistake the fire in Wied’s belly for anger. Not always the case. According to SABR (Society For Baseball Research), Wido, in a stellar career, threw his mitt to mound 2.4 times per game. Further stats revealed that while half the glove-slams were from pure passion for the game, the genesis of nearly 48%, however, was Arthur having missed a cutoff man).Al played the game as

Bobby announced, and Stuart sold with an intensity—with, as my Dad would say: ”Piss and vinegar”.

I may be paraphrasing, but perhaps Eugene Olivier in “OJ- The Musical” that said it best.   “You teach a lot of things in this world,” he noted, “But you can’t teach passion.”

How true.

Are not the most attractive, enticing, appealing things about people their attitudes and focused zeal for that they cherish? Is it not what makes us tick that makes us click?

I face my todays with a zest for family, a love of theater and a perseverance in recovery through the best of my times.  I walk with a passion for life today, and live in a zone where even the bad times are good.

A piece of Eugene Olivier lives within each of us.  I don’t know about you, but for that I’m grateful.

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