One evening several weeks ago, Rene and I had just finished watching our evening episode of House of Cards from Season 5 (we are years behind on TV entertainment) and had 30 minutes to spare before our 9 p.m. bedtime. So, for fun we watched MTV, which was playing music videos from the 1980s.
For the next 20 minutes, we watched Blondie’s The Tide is High, Invisible Touch by Genesis and Kyrie by Mr. Mister. Blondie’s video, in particular, was grainy, had no theme, and appeared to be scraped together by combining still photographs that flew in sideways, then twirled. Midway through, the video switched to Blondie lip synching, and eventually to footage of the entire band playing their instruments. It was vintage music video, and the experience reminded me of playing a Pong video game.
Cheesy, yes, but I loved it. Why? Because I was mesmerized, time-warped yet again to a simpler time. To a time when Phil Collins looked young and indestructible, and nonsensical music videos made sense. At 8:50 p.m., I turned to Rene and asked, “What just happened? Why are we watching old music videos?” He just shrugged.
I am a junkie for simpler times, for television shows I can understand because they are predictable. The good guys always escape some form of capture to take the bad guys down and lead them away in handcuffs. I try to catch episodes of M*A*S*H whenever I can, because the show in all its comedic brilliance (at least until Frank Burns was written out of the show) reminds me of my mother, who used to sigh every time the theme song came on before another episode.
House of Cards is brilliantly disturbing because it is crude, unpredictable and disconcerting. The show explores and exposes political life in a frighteningly and (potentially) realistic way.
Am I disturbed by House of Cards because my entertainment is crossing the line to reality, which I prefer to keep light-hearted and grateful, not tainted by power-grabbing, narcissism, and self-absorption?
Probably. Okay, yes. Without a doubt. Truthfully, I would live in fantasy land if I could, which for me was sometime in the early 1970s. My favorite television shows during childhood then were The Brady Bunch, Little House on the Prairie, The Partridge Family, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.
I will likely regret admitting this, but I still watch The Lawrence Welk Show on PBS. Why? I enjoy the musical orchestration, the cheesy costumes, the way Bobby dances, and the way Mr. Welk loved his job and his performers. Like watching an automobile race and secretly hoping for a crash, I wait in anticipation for the men to sing while wearing lime-green leisure suits. Now that’s some priceless entertainment!
Back to today. On April 24, I was asked to fill in at the last minute for my business partner, George Bye, to give a speech during Colorado Christian University’s (CCU) annual Values-Aligned Leadership Summit. The conference theme was “Overcoming Disruption and Chaos as Threats to Business: A View Through the Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity Model.”
Fortunately, the summit was not nearly as technical as it sounds. Before the program started, I chatted with some extraordinary CCU business students who told me they dress in professional business attire every day—just to attend class.
During my speech, I shared details of Bye Aerospace’s eFlyer electric airplane project, and how the aviation community was laughing at us a decade ago for believing electric aviation would someday be “a thing,” and how, today, they suddenly want their electric airplanes NOW. I also shared how my faith blends into my business life and how my faith also helped me endure cancer treatment and ultimately helped me achieve unprecedented self-discovery four years ago.
Before the lunch break, I was honored to meet a dozen attendees who patiently stood in line to say hello and share their cancer experiences with me. One female student shook my hand, then burst into tears and grabbed me in a bear hug because her aunt had passed away from breast cancer 10 days before.
Those are powerful moments that affirm the importance of calling attention to the psychological impact of cancer on caregivers—in this case someone who already has emotional cancer scars at the delicate age of 22.
During lunch, I sat with Karl Mecklenburg, former all-pro captain of the Denver Broncos, who was the after-lunch keynote speaker. Talk about a versatile player and all-around class act! Plus, he is the only NFL legend to earn the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association. Impressive, indeed.
The moral of this rambling post is that there is still peace and greatness and humility and love all around us, however difficult they can often be to find.
I am on a quest to surround myself with individuals and entertainment that embrace those attributes.
When I find them, I find my true self.
Warm wishes and bountiful blessings,