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My role as America’s Turnaround Man

Lately, the airplane has moving about more per day than usual. I try to keep it on the ground for a couple of days at a time to maintain some sanity and then I’m back out flying again. In the meantime I’m in the helmet and on the back of the Aprilia, an Italian three-time world champion super-bike, on my way to work. It’s my company car and it navigates through Los Angeles traffic giving my mind time to go over clients, life, politics, and religion. It seems that about every 20 years or so there is a convergence of sorts where all three seem to collide. End of the world stories on this or that, blah, blah blah… we’re all going to die, nobody gets along, and God is a concept.

Over the last 20 years, human beings have borrowed more money than the world could actually create and failed to pay it back more times than all the people in the entire world. As it happens, I ask myself:

  • Why do we still try?
  • Why do I try?
  • What will the end be like?
  • Why bother with living if we’re all slated for extinction by either the hand of God or man?

I’ve been contemplating such situations while shifting gears, dodging traffic, splitting lanes and checking my gas tank constantly as to not to exceed 120 miles (the top end of a race bike’s fuel capacity). It puts me into a truly multidimensional state of mind. I’ve been doing this while listening to the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament, preparing for Sunday’s service, and the songs I will play for the congregation.

As a piano player since the beginning of my time on this Earth, I’ve looked across those keys and seen many people, suffering, loving, dancing, drinking, singing, playing, finding lovers, breaking off affairs, jeering, applauding, enjoying, judging, and many other human acts. However, over the last decade I’ve watched them pray inside a church. As a church deacon, my role as America’s Turnaround Man are really not of interest.

Frank, my brother, preaches his best incarnation of God’s written word and calls to order all of our carnal tendencies. We bow our heads and ask forgiveness. Oddly everywhere else in my past is the experience of playing music to patrons who leave the bar drunk and stupid. I’ve noticed here in church we may still be stupid, but we have hope. And therein lies my thoughts.

How did I arrive at the the title, “America’s Turnaround Man”? Something reached in and interrupted my life, my bad choices, and my ridiculous behavior. God, perhaps.

Well, possibly, but God came to me in the eyes of my first born child, Brianna. In her eyes, I could see the man I clearly wanted to be: A man, a father, a hero. So I went about the business of finding life. I became more helpful, more diligent and learned to negotiate compromise into a win-win situation for all parties. Along the way I became America’s Turnaround Man.

When Brianna was growing up, we didn’t have much time to visit Disneyland. I was busy about the business of building a life so that she could have a good start. In the process, my life improved, obviously. Because of her, I’m still here, on this Earth rather than a victim of whatever ‘bar life’ would’ve served up for a mediocre rock n’ roll piano player.

Back to the my question: In a world surely failing miserably, why do I continue to try? In my helmet, as I drift through traffic, I answer the question: I do it so that if, God willing, the world is allowed to continue yet another day, I will see Brianna and I will be with her. She’s in her late 20s now and, because I was so busy when she was little, we’ve made a promise to see each other at Disneyland, every Friday at about 9:30am, eat a little brunch, ride a ride or two and go to work.

God is good all the time and I am not, so I continue to try harder in the hope that I will be a hero in my daughter’s eyes. Because of her, my clients couldn’t be in better hands.