Tom Terrific and Forever Young.


A few days ago, a very old man named Tom did something spectacular. At the advanced age of 43, he won another Super Bowl. Well, I did something spectacular that same day and I’m 81. I stayed awake through the entire game to watch Tom play.

For centuries, people have talked about, but never could prove, the Fountain of Youth actually exists in a real place for all to experience. Well, it’s real and it has a home. The Fountain of Youth is located in Tampa. No doubt about it. I saw it that Sunday night with my own glaucoma-restricted, cataract-corrected, old eyes. I frequently miss fixing typos in my blog drafts, but I didn’t miss a thing in that game. Tom was Tom Terrific...again. He showed his young whipper-snapper competitor a thing or two, or perhaps a thing or 43.

What keeps running through my mind is how many similarities there are between Tom and me.


Perhaps most obvious is that we both married terrific women. Gisele is dazzling, sensational, smashing, divine, exquisite, heavenly and independently wealthy. Wow! Just as there is a Fountain of Youth, she is a Super Model. Not to be outdone, Karen was a Super Social Worker who was (and is) kind, thoughtful, grounded, intelligent, helpful and someone I am proud to claim as a tax deduction.

Another similarity between HOF-bound Tom and me is that we each took the opportunity for a mid-career change after spending many years working for just one employer. Neither of us lost a step. In fact, making that switch recharged our batteries. There’s a lesson in that and it’s this. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and do something new. Today, as a world-class blogger I am actually in my third or fourth life form and looking forward to becoming a zip line instructor next. The absolute worst that can happen to me is a line will snap and I’ll fall a couple hundred feet into a remote forest where I will remain undiscovered for thousands of years just like the Fountain of Youth. But, I’ll show up again somewhere up the road, likely in Tampa.

Tom is known far and wide for taking good care of his body. You need to do that when your occupation may lead to being planted upside down under artificial turf in a nearly empty stadium by some 337-pound angry giant. Like me, Tom does a lot of stretching. He has a nice outdoor office in Tampa. The only real difference between our routines is that I do my stretching in my indoor office in Cleveland. But, make no mistake about it, my workout buddy Tom and I are stretching all the time.

Which gets us to how similar our diets are and we all know you are what you eat. Tom Terrific eats lots of veggies and grains and avocados and fruit smoothies. What I focus on is to make sure I consume all of the essential food groups. On any given day, those include wine, chocolate, mac and cheese, fries and ice cream. I do confess to hating string beans. Like Tom, I look just as I did as a college student. My weight never varies unless I eat a little too much pepperoni pizza. Think about that. Put it in the category of food for thought.

Soon, Tom and I will both be inducted into the Fountain of Youth Hall of Fame. I am 81. Tom is 43 going on 81. Once in a while, I aspire to be 43 again. I suspect when Tom thinks about being 81 - and that will happen sooner than he imagines - that he aspires to be me. There are so many similarities with us. It’s just amazing.


When Tom gets to be 81, I will be moving right along at 119, very likely the oldest person in the world. He’ll still be playing football and seeking his 33d Super Bowl ring while I’ll be the executive director of the Fountain of Youth Museum.


I’m going to make only one change as I think about 119. I’m going to change my first name from Davis to Forever. That way, I’ll be Forever Young just like my hero Tom.

See you in Tampa Bay.

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!

I was one of the cool kids, right?


I started smoking when I was about 15-years-old. There was a dirt road alongside my high school’s athletic fields where some students would be running around getting exercise over lunch hour while a group of us would stand on that road and have a smoke. I don’t recall we had much respect for anyone dumb enough to be exercising when they could be smoking. Nothing cool about that. Who wants to hang around with those kids?


I would bring two Pall Malls stuck in my wallet to school every day. After sitting on the wallet until lunch, they would become very flat, but would still be smokeable. One was for after lunch.


The second one was for right after school. One afternoon when it must have been raining, I joined a friend for a smoke in the basement of the Presbyterian church in our town. This was an historic structure first opened in 1766. We jammed cigarette butts into a very narrow space in the basement wall similar to putting notes into the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. My guess is that if you go to that basement today, the evidence of our smoking could still be there - a couple of butts from 60-plus years ago, perhaps some burnt match sticks.


I’m sure people saw us entering that church and thought how refreshing it was for nice young people to be so engaged with God that we would go there in mid-afternoon. In fact, I was confirmed in this church which was also the first place I ever became a member. I am forever grateful we didn’t burn it down by accident. Pews from that church were burned as firewood during the Revolutionary War and this church did suffer terrible fires in 1813 and 1835.


Over time, my bad habit steadily increased its hold on me. I smoked more and more on weekends and vacation days. As I became 17, then 18, I got bolder and bolder. Although I never kept my weeds in the cuff of a rolled up sleeve, full packs did get promoted to my shirt pocket for everyone to see. And, why not? I was a proud smoker.


Fast forward to adulthood. What’s better than a cigarette first thing in the morning? Well, perhaps the one right after breakfast is better. But, not by much. Then off to my downtown job having one in the car at the halfway point every day. Roll into the office, grab a coffee and smoke another one followed by group smoking in a meeting.


One-by-one, colleagues stopped smoking and we needed fewer ashtrays in those meetings. About that time, my kids started getting on my case. Dad, you should quit smoking. Increasingly, I came to grips with the fact that if my kids had gone to high school with me they would have hung out with peers who were exercising at lunch, not the cool kids inhaling on the dirt road. That was one of the few times in my life I haven’t been proud of my kids.


Fast forward again, this time to 1984. The pressure from my kids was burning a hole in our relationship. My wife and I were now buying two cartons of Winston’s a week at the grocery store and augmenting that with additional purchases as-needed. And, there were plenty of augmented purchases. An average pack of cigarettes at that time had risen to an astonishing price of nearly $1.00 or about $10 for a carton. Just the two cartons in the grocery store were $20 per week, or more than $1,000 a year. I was consuming more than two packs a day and my wife was over one pack.


Something had to give. We decided to target January 1, 1985 as Quit Day. Could we pull it off? We shared our last cigarette sitting up in bed New Years night 1985 watching the Orange Bowl game.


Neither of us has ever had another one. The only way to quit is to quit. Period. None of this cut down gradually nonsense. It was far easier for me than I dreamed possible. Four or five days of being a little spacier than normal, then it was over. No craving. No dreams about cigarettes. No chewing gum as a substitute.


A carton today is roughly $75. That would be $7,800 a year of after tax money before we augmented with additional purchases beyond the grocery store. If we were still smoking at our 1985 rate, our grocery store tab per week would be $150 just for cigarettes.


In my old age, I have gone back to my Presbyterian roots, but I have never gone to the basement of the Presbyterian church I attend today for a smoke. In fact, I don’t even know if we have a basement.


It’s been 36 years since my last drag. Once in a while I fall in behind someone smoking just for a little secondary smoke, but that’s it. Today, it’s really all about clean living.


If you’ve got a bad habit, you might want to think about what you just read. I never had a cigarette I didn’t love, but I quit cold turkey. If a dedicated smoker like me can do that, you can, too.

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!

Pretty sure I handled myself well, but I'll let you decide.


Chris Wallace came to Cleveland last fall to moderate the first of the Presidential Debates. This debate (many call it a debacle) occurred at the Cleveland Clinic, a client of mine for a number of years. The debate brought back into focus my experience with Chris’ father, the legendary TV journalist Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes fame.


If you Google the late Mike Wallace you may see this reference: .....interviewed a wide range of prominent newsmakers. Perhaps 25 years ago give or take a little I was in Boston at a conference and I was interviewed by Mike Wallace. I guess that qualifies me as a prominent newsmaker.


I media-trained prominent newsmakers including more than 100 administrators and physicians from the Cleveland Clinic. If you’re not familiar with media training, participants are taught different techniques to take control of interviews.


· Have a clear message.


· Get to the point.


· Prepare for likely questions.


· Keep your cool.


· Above all, take the interview process seriously.


Journalists – especially TV journalists – are famous for the so-called ambush interview where an unsuspecting target is surprised, indeed shocked to suddenly find a journalist in their face asking tough questions.


One day at the Boston conference about 7:40 in the morning I got on the elevator heading to the opening session. A couple of floors later, the elevator door opened and Mike Wallace got on. The ambush interview began immediately and without warning when he opened with the type of difficult question prominent newsmakers like me fear most.


Wallace: Have you had breakfast yet?


Me: Yes. (What was his agenda? Was he going to invite me to have a second breakfast? Did he want to know if I thought I had been poisoned?)


Wallace: What did you have?


Me: Some orange juice, a couple of eggs and wheat toast.


Wallace: I had room service breakfast, just toast and coffee. That’s all. They charged me $24 and I think that’s outrageous. What do you think?


Me: Yes sir, that sounds like a lot to me.


The interview ended abruptly as the door opened to the lobby. To his everlasting credit, Mike Wallace respected my time as a prominent newsmaker and did not ask me for an autograph.


Fortunately, I remembered all of the media training counsel I had provided others and I think I acquitted myself well. The interview did not air. It was a busy news day, lots going on. But, we all know it’s not unusual for shows like 60 Minutes to reach back in time and air at least a snippet of a long ago exchange. That may happen yet. Stay tuned.


Some people think Mike Wallace was an overly aggressive journalist, but my experience with him was just fine. I’m proud of the way I stood up to him that day. Others might have folded. Not me. What has become widely known as the Boston Exchange was a career highlight for me and I hope for Mike Wallace as well.


That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!

Complete the information below to get an email when new blogs are posted.

You only need to subscribe one time to be added to the list. Thanks!

  • LinkedIn Social Icon

© 2021 by DY Author & Speaker LLC