The start of my farewell tour
This week’s column marks the start to my farewell tour.
That doesn’t mean I have plans to stop doing what I do anytime soon. It’s a tour, albeit one you experience in print on paper. I don’t know how long the tour will last. What I’m really doing here is generating a lot of excitement. Then, maybe in a few years, I’ll take another farewell tour.
When I was a handsome young man (it’s my column and I had good selfesteem), I lived a rockandroll lifestyle. I never really rocked or rolled myself. I was steered clear of anything that involved singing or making music at a young age. In fact, one of my claims to fame as a third grader is that the piano teacher asked my mom to not bring me back for any more lessons.
“Am I that good already mom?” I asked, with visions of Beethoven swirling through my mind.
She didn’t answer. Down deep, I knew I wasn’t musical material. So, as a youngster, I decided to channel everything I had into sports. About a month later, after a grueling tennis lesson, the coach suggested to my mom that maybe a different pursuit would be more suited for me.
“I’m not coming back tomorrow?” I asked. “Geez, I even hit every single ball over the fence today.”
With piano and tennis off the table, I channeled my time into writing. Other kids were fishing and collecting frogs, and I was doing the home row drill on a manual typewriter. Despite not having a real strong personal relationship with the typing teacher (he actually slapped me once), he still let me come back day after day because no one else wanted to be there at all.
I’ve been typing ever since. For nearly 50 years I’ve been pounding out letters on various devices, from a manual typewriter to electric and upgrade after upgrade of computers. You think it’s something that Tiger Woods is golfing again? I have broken multiple fingers and kept on typing. I had an incident with an electric sander once that sheared off one finger. I didn’t spend months and months rehabilitating. I got home from the emergency room, sat down at the keyboard and went to work.
Back to that dashing young fellow: I went to a lot of concerts in my younger years, and I have the hearing loss to prove it. One band performance that sticks in my memory was a summer night seeing The Who perform in 1982. I wrapped up my day of typing, took off my tie and transformed myself into my rockandroll persona, because remember how handsome I was? I had to see The Who. After all, it was their farewell tour.
Farewell, alas, obviously doesn’t mean final, because I saw them again in 1988. I just read a review of a recent show they did. Farewell must not mean what I thought it did. These guys were going to quit 40 years ago, but they saw how much money was rolling in because everyone thought they were calling it quits.
That’s the kind of farewell tour I want a piece of, and mine starts this week. I don’t think it will last 40 years after living the lifestyle of a rebellious typist for as long as I have. I guess it depends how much money rolls in after this news hits the streets!
BY JOHN McLOONE