Archive for retirement

Off The Grid

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 13, 2013 by davegerry
Run silent, run free

Run silent, run free

Two years ago, when I moved to Toronto for a job, I was mandated to carry a cellphone for the first time in my life. Prior to that, it had become a personal challenge (and no small point of peculiar pride) that I was able to live without this most intrusive of technological crutches for as long as I did.

My sons did not understand my reluctance. ‘How can you work in broadcasting and not have a cellphone?”, they’d ask. “Are you Amish?”

After I was given a company cellphone I fought the almost inevitable reliance..the addiction…that comes with feeling constantly connected. I did not want to be one of those guys you see texting on a beach in Maui. I did not want the gnawing anxiety that comes with cyber-separation.

At the end of last month, after giving notice at my job, I left Toronto and returned to my family home on the west coast. And I have yet to reconnect the cellphone. I don’t miss it. I really don’t.

I don’t expect anyone who has grown up in a world that now operates by its thumbs to want it any other way. But there are some of us who savour a memory of a life free of sudden vibration and irritating ditties. When you went home from work…you actually went home from work. You didn’t carry it with you. You were not always available to the boss…and if you happened to be the boss, you were not always ‘on call’. Frankly, no one has ever paid me enough to command my attention (even remotely) for 24 hours a day. On the other hand, I’ve never been the boss.

I will probably have to fire up the cellphone again..perhaps, sooner than I’d really like. I may not quite be done with the workaday world. We’ll see. But the last couple of weeks have been consumed with toiling around my home…including long hours spent in the garden. There are only humming bees and gurgling fountains out there amid the roses and calla lilies and delphiniums. It’s hard to imagine that just two weeks ago the cellphone was the first thing I looked at when I awoke and the last thing I saw before sleep.

You tell me what’s the better way to live.


The Devil on Your Shoulder

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 14, 2009 by davegerry

Before we go any further with this blog there’s something we have to talk about.

the tap 004

It’s The Tap.

It’s just a gentle touch on the shoulder but if it comes in the wrong place at the wrong time from the wrong person’s digit  it has the potential to change your life.

I got The Tap in August 2008.

I had just finished co-hosting a four hour morning television show, the lights on the set, though dimmed,  still had a certain rosy hue and, by God, there it was….The Tap!

My lovely, talented co-host and a few other individuals got The Tap too. I believe it was very likely an SCT…a simultaneous cluster tap.

I want all television viewers out there to know that the reason why some of your favorite people suddenly and mysteriously vanish from the screen is undoubtedly because they just got The Tap.

Sometimes it’s very much like that scene in the movie Goodfellas, when Joe Pesci’s character has that momentary, awful revelation that his number is definitely up.

The Tap can be that quick.

But I actually saw it coming. I thought all the signs were there. When you witness enough people lose their jobs in one building over 23 years, you don’t need to be psychic to spot a tap-ripe environment.

When broadcasters get The Tap it’s as if aliens have instantly uploaded them to a mother ship. You’re gone.  If you’re lucky,  you’re gone with a severance cheque in your back pocket but, make no mistake, you’re not on television (or radio) least not at that station.

There are very few long goodbyes for broadcasters..maybe if you’re Walter Cronkite you might be allowed to look into that lens and thank all the people watching at home. But even Uncle Walter got shuffled out of there in fairly short order. Dan Rather was still pulling on his sweater.

Broadcasters know all about the unwritten protocol of dismissal. We know that when it does come it will be a ruthlessly efficient and surgical strike.

I can understand why an employer doesn’t want to tip his hand.

You can’t let someone back on the air once they know they’re going to get The Tap because they’re liable to say anything. There could be some sizeable parting shots. So the end must truly be the end and the lights must, quite literally, go out.

The next morning there are happy new people in your chair. These are your new tv hosts, folks. They are not imposters. They are not pods. (Okay, most of them are not pods) You might as well welcome them. Warm to them. But don’t get too comfortable because, alas, The Tap is out there waiting for them some day too.

The timing of my tap did not prove to be fortuitous. In September the stock markets crashed,  advertising sucked back like a fetid tide and hiring freezes became the order of the day.

It was beginning to look like it might be a long road back. Frankly, it still does.

What did I do? Well, first I tried to apply a thick coat of soothing balm to my ego which, after several aimless weeks, began to look like it had gone 12 rounds with Jake LaMotta. We all have an ego but if you earn your living on television your ego has probably grown to a sizeable entity. In fact I know some tv egos that have taken on the breathtaking scope of Devils Tower in Wyoming.  Funny how these often belong to the least talented people. I’ll let you do the psychology.

My battered ego told me to get out-of-town. I believe it spoke to me in Spanish. So I grabbed my willing wife and headed for Mexico, a country I truly love and a place where I have produced two documentaries. By the time we had spent three weeks in Mexico I was so relaxed that I could no longer tie a shoelace. It was time to come back. But to what?

I preoccupied myself with constructive distractions. I painted. I renovated. I got back to doing some sculpting in stone. I tried to write something every morning, just to keep my mind active.

Eventually I had about forty thousand words of a book that recalls my more than three decades of meeting the most remarkable people. (I plan to offer excerpts from that project on this blog every month.)

This summer my garden looked the best it has ever looked. I have pruned, shaped, watered and fertilized every strand of greenery to within an inch of its life.

Hummingbirds and goldfinches have grown so used to my presence they all but alight on my ears. I feel like Snow White.

Much of this has been good, restorative stuff.

But I still feed the need to communicate. I have a couple of extremely slow burning irons in the fire but I think the fish in my aquarium may grow legs and crawl out of the tank before it all comes to much.

So we’ll talk in this blog.

And remember…if you’re crying for custom cabinetry, a stone bear or if your daisies need some deadheading…I’m your man.

The Cabinet

The Cabinet

The Bear

The Bear

The Garden

The Garden