It feels that, between my father's 100th birthday and the passing of my father in law in recent weeks, I have been writing a great deal about personal things in my life. You will have to forgive me as I seek your indulgence one more time.
After all, it is not often Al Roker truncates your eloquence.
Last November, as my father's 100th birthday was approaching, I took a few minutes to submit his information to NBC's Today Show. For many years, Today Show Weatherman and Anchor Al Roker has publicly acknowledged Centenarian birthdays on the show. I thought it would be nice if we could get a mention for my father.
The show asks for at least 6 weeks' notice for submissions, and advises that they get hundreds of requests so acceptance is not guaranteed. I recognized that it was a long shot. Submitters are told that someone from NBC will contact you to confirm when your birthday will run if it is accepted. I was somewhat shy of the six-week requirement but figured I would give it a shot.
A recent picture is required, so I uploaded the best one I had at that time. It was taken last April at the Texas Roadhouse in Farmington, NM. In the picture my father is enjoying a rather large mug of beer. Submitters are also asked to provide brief bio information, and answer several questions. One of the questions was, “What do you attribute your longevity too?” I remember looking at that picture, with him smiling and holding his beer, and quickly typed out a short answer.
I don't remember the exact words I used, but it was something along the lines of, “Good laughter, good family, and good beer.” Like I said, not sure of the exact words, but I am sure it was poetically eloquent. In his bio I also included facts about him being a D-Day veteran, and a businessman who worked and drove up to the age of 99.
All of this seemed moot as his birthday came and went, and we did not hear anything about our submission being accepted. I just thought that we didn't make the cut (despite my poetic eloquence).
Then, unexpectedly, we started to hear from people on Monday, January 13th that they had seen my father featured on the Today Show. None of the family had been watching. It wasn't until later that evening that the network released streaming versions of the show, so we were not immediately able to see how it had been presented. When we were finally able to see it, we found it pretty funny despite it being a little different than originally suggested.
My father was last in the presentation. The picture had been cropped to where the beer was no longer evident (although you can see the very top of the mug in the shot). After giving his name and describing him as a retired businessman from Farmington, NM, Roker paused and said, “He said the secret to longevity is, Carson, listen up…. BEER!”
So, millions of people were told that the only thing my father attributed to his many years of life was beer. No D-Day, no working till the age of 99, no laughter, no love, no family, just beer. All that poetic eloquence, shot to hell.
Oh well. It was funny, and fortunately my father has a really good sense of humor. And we appreciate the shout out, even though it came as a complete surprise 3 weeks after the fact. On the positive side, as a writer I can say that I've now been quoted on national television.
Even if Al Roker truncated my poetic eloquence and only used one word.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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