I thank the Lord every day for my blessings. Like many people, a lot of hard work, sacrifice and smart investing have given me a really great life. In the early 1990’s, when a lot of my professional peers were buying McMansions and expensive cars, I was satisfied with my converted farmhouse and 10-year-old Toyota in Pennsylvania. (I did buy a couple of “mid-life crisis cars,” but never went into debt to do it.) I was using almost every spare dollar to buy all the stock I could. Luckily I found a great investment counselor (I’m still with him over 30 years later). It paid off.
I have two fabulous dogs and a cat who love me, (well…maybe not love from the cat, but he has stopped running away from me and hissing), a great house in a wonderful part of the country, relocating soon to be an even nicer part of the country, and more good friends than anyone deserves. It’s a fine epitaph for anyone.
I never forget the New Jersey farm boy who was driving a tractor by the time he was 8. There was the angry young college student who was going to change the musical world with his “revolutionary” compositions. And the devastated man who lost his wife and unborn son to a drunk driver while he was still in college.
More often than I would like, I think back to the times after I was widowed in 1976. I went back to school as I didn’t know what else to do. Unfortunately, I forgot about earning a living and soon found myself broke and in serious debt. I was so broke that I went on regular “change hunting expeditions” in the sofas and chairs in my house. I paid for a lot of groceries with pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters back then.
When the 1978 release date for the first Superman movie was announced back in 1976, I started what I called “The Superman Fund.” It was a cleaned out mayonnaise jar with a colorful hand written label emblazoned with the title of the movie and “December, 1978.”I knew I had to see the movie, but the daunting $5.00 ticket price was a ton of money for me at that time. After bills and living expenses, I rarely had more than a little change in my pocket. Spending $5.00 all at once on a luxury was out of my reach.
My Superman Fund grew slowly. The total once topped $3.00, but dropped to less than a dollar when I used it to buy food. My chances for decent employment were slim. I was a music major and nobody was hiring a mediocre guitarist and wacky composer. I was able to survive by getting a couple of different part-time jobs. One of them, a warehouse job where I had to scour the shelves in a huge, hot dirty warehouse, ranks as the hardest work I’ve ever done. Since I’ve never been afraid of heights, I was the official “monkey boy” who had to take the scissor lift up to the top shelves about 50 feet from the floor. I would later reprise this role when I worked for QVC during an inventory.
One fateful day I answered an ad from a local advertising/marketing company looking for a writer/producer. My unorthodox credentials impressed the owner of the company and I was hired. I later became their Creative Director when the company split. Our half of the company went to Atlanta. It was the greatest job of my life. I learned so much from the company’s owner, Harry Hallman. It really prepared me for my career as a TV host/salesperson and talk radio host, two positions that set me up financially for the rest of my life.
With all the blessings in my life, I never forget “The Superman Fund,” which became moot when the advertising/marketing agency hired me. I went to the opening of the Superman in 1978 and even spent what would have been a fortune just a year earlier, $12.00, on drinks and treats. Thinking about my Superman Fund reminds me that life can change in an instant, for the better or worse. How we deal with those changes defines us.
For me, The Superman Fund has become a metaphor for a lifetime of goal setting. While going to the new Superman movie was a minor goal, it gave me something to shoot for. That little fund helped me realize that goals were an important part of a successful life. Every milestone in my personal and professional life is the result of setting and achieving a goal.
I still set goals. The most recent is to get one of my songs published and recorded by a major artist. Every successful goal quest requires action, which I am taking now. It also requires focus, which is the one thing this goal has lacked over the years. While I have taken steps in the past to get one of my songs recorded, it was never a primary focus for me. It is now. I’ll keep you posted about my progress. It’s been 7 long years, but I’m still learning and pitching.
If you had some kind of Superman Fund, I hope it worked out as well for you. If not, I hope you clean out a mayonnaise jar tonight and start. I’ve found that sometimes in life it’s too early but it’s never too late. I wish you good health, happiness and success. God bless!
© 2020 Steve Bryant – No portion of this or any blog can be reproduced or copied and posted on any online site or read aloud on any audio or video media without the express permission of the author.