This evening I was reading an amazing piece on the late George Carlin in Sunday’s edition of the New York Times magazine.

Very early in his career he got himself suspended for using the word ‘ass,’ then cursed again and got fired; which ended his run as a “people pleaser.”  Carlin created his own rules for the next 40 years.

The kid (Carlin) who’d been ejected from summer camp, the high school dropout, the Air Force demotee,  “I’ve spent the first 45 years of my life trying to figure out who I am,” Carlin said.

Sound familiar?

I don’t know about you, but over the years I’ve fallen into the same trap.  Always trying to please others; started way back in the day, when I was young. Once I broke away from that epidemic, my life changed for the better.

And as for hardships, please!  That’s my middle name.  Father leaving at the age of 5, dropping out of High School at 14, falling in love at 15 and not knowing how to treat a great girl; thus losing her.   Failing a road test when I desperately needed my license, finally getting into college at 33 only to fail out not once, but twice!

But it’s all about what Sly and The Family Stone said in their hit song, ‘STAND!’

I recall sitting on the floor of my living room in front of our stereo listening to their Greatest hits album when I was 10 years old.  The lyrics came with the vinyl so I always sang along with Sly Stone. ‘Stand’ was by far my favorite song.

In the end you’ll still be you.
One that’s done all the things you set out to do.

Lifting yourself after falling down.  Never staying down, always getting up and giving it another shot.  Working hard, helping those who need it most, chasing your dream, sticking to your life’s philosophy and most of all, being true to yourself.

For the things you know are right
It s the truth that the truth makes them so uptight
All the things you want are real
You have you to complete and there is no deal

Like Carlin said, “Spending all these years trying to figure out who I am?”

It took a while, but I think I’ve finally figured out who I am.


Back in 1979, my girlfriend Maureen bought me a FM-AM cassette Walkman.  Fast-Forward 29 years and I’m sitting here listening to an i-pod. Technology is unbelievable!


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10 Responses to SO CLOSE BUT YET SO FAR

  1. Kenny Whelan says:

    Went to see the move Doubt the other day. Lots of memories of going to Holy Name and being an altar boy. Meryl Streep catches one kid listening to a tranistor radio (with the one earplug) during class – remember those? I use to listen to NY Ranger games on those.

  2. hoopscoach says:


    That’s what I heard. Transistor radios; wow! Wonder if they still make ’em?

  3. Lineman says:

    Coach, yes they still make transistor radios. Had to pick up a new one up for my 90 yr old mom ! Radio Shack sells them . Big selection……. only 1. To the Whelans, did you have a family member who worked for NY TEL in the 1970’s ????

  4. steve whelan says:

    Lineman, That might be Kenny who worked for NYNEX after my mother told him that she would not accept him taking a job as manager of the bar he drank at throughout college at Cortland State, and he needed to get his butt back to B’klyn and get a real job. My mother did not want him to graduate and not do something with it. My mother was a very nice woman but you knew when she meant business.

  5. Lineman says:

    Steve ,maybe that was Kenny. I remember a Whelan in the garage I worked out of in downtown Bklyn (Fleet St garage). Thanks for the reply.

  6. Kenny Whelan says:

    Wasn’t me. I didn’t start working for NY Tel until 1982. I started out as a customer service rep on Lexington ave. and then I got into programming at 1166 Ave of the Americas.
    My brother is right – I knew my mother meant business. She was going to hound me until I got a “real” job.

  7. Lineman says:

    Thanks Kenny , just thought we might have crossed paths .

  8. Kenny Whelan says:

    We may have – you never know.
    Steve and I (and our brother Al) grew up on 8th avenue between Windsor and Prospect.

  9. Lineman says:

    Kenny, I lived on 15st & 8th ave. Worked in Hymies grocery store on that corner ,late 60’s with John Young.

  10. Betty T.B.K. says:

    Joh Young a real nice guy!!!!!!!

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