I can appreciate awful people.

Without them I wouldn’t know how thankful I am for wonderful people


This story is about a butt-head, a dinner plate, and a night at the theatre.

A butt-head is someone who isn’t very nice.

When I add up my blessings, I always add the butt-heads of the world to my list. They are great teachers for how I don’t want to be and act.

A dinner plate is most often 10 inches in diameter and used for the main course of a meal.

I enjoy eating and especially eating off a plate.

A theatre is a building or outdoor area where plays are performed.

Watching a good play has always been fun.

And so two of my favorite pastimes, (eating and watching a play) came together long ago at a place called, The Country Dinner Playhouse.

The third part of the equation, watching the butt-head perform, was an unexpected bonus I call The Second Act.

This drama took place over forty years ago but the lesson it taught me remains steadfast in my memory – especially at dinner time when I have a plate in front of me.

Let the show begin.

My Mother won four tickets to a play. My Father, a truck driver, was on his way to Chicago. I was conscripted for the job of chauffeur. My Mother, my wife, my Aunt Lucy and myself were set for a night on the town. We were going to see Sheila MacRae starring in The Owl and the Pussycat.

But first, dinner.

And here comes the butt-head.

Before the play begins there is a large dinner buffet set up in the center of the room surrounded by tables. When the meal is over the buffet is wheeled away and that space is used for the show. A waitress moves from table to table letting people know when it’s their turn to visit the buffet.

About a dozen tables from where we sat the butt-head in our story decided he and his friends were not being served fast enough. I couldn’t hear what was being said but after a short visit with the manager, the butt-head and his guests headed to the buffet. Butt-head stacked his plate with food three times higher than a normal serving. His guests slowly followed. It didn’t take an Einstein to read their embarrassment.

And it didn’t get any better. Butt-head made two more trips to the buffet, using his fork like a bayonet. His friends made only that first trip and slowly ate their meal with heads down and no conversation. During the show, while the rest of the audience was laughing, they didn’t respond. With gloom, they made a slow exit at the end of the evening.

What happened next?

We’ll never know.

My prayer is that butt-head apologized to his friends, changed his attitude, and found some joy in his next trip to the theatre.

And I apologize for calling him a butt-head.


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“It behooves every man to remember that the work of the critic is of altogether secondary importance and that, in the end, progress is accomplished by the man who does things.”

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

Just suppose the Beatles believed what the man at Decca Records told them after they auditioned for him, hoping to get a recording contract.

“Sorry boys. We don’t need you. Groups with guitars are on the way out.”

Just suppose they put away their instruments at that point and signed up for a cooking class.

Just suppose Elvis believed what the manager of The Grand Ole Opry told after he auditioned for him, hoping to be on the show.

“Son, you better go back to driving a truck.”

Just suppose he followed that man’s advice.

How sad would that have been?

Just suppose you and I have a dream or talent that as the saying goes – gets us up early and keeps us up late.

Chances are you’re going to have your critics, people who are going to tell you it can’t be done.

My first suggestion is get fitted for a good pair of ear plugs.

But when you see me headed your way –  you can take them out. Because when it comes to living your dream, I’m your biggest cheerleader.

The famous film producer Samuel Goldwyn said, “Don’t pay any attention to your critics – don’t even ignore them.”

Advice for the dreamer soon to be achiever doesn’t get any better than that.

Remember when you get discouraged, you’re probably not far away from an Elvis or Beatles tune. Pop one in, turn one on, or watch them perform on YouTube. Get some inspiration, fuel up, and make another run at your goal.

Self help author and speaker Tony Robbins talks a lot about the importance of role models. Who are already doing what you want to do and being successful at it. These are the people you want to pay attention to. What are you going to learn from people who deride your efforts? They bank on you quitting, all for the privilege of saying, “I told you so.”

I agree with the legendary Frank Sinatra who said, “The best revenge is massive success.”

Recalling a radio interview with singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka who hit the big time in 1957 –  he talked about his mother’s disdain for Rock and Roll, worse yet her son taking part in it. She began to come around and changed her opinion when Neil sold 75 million records.

Hang in there dreamers, your critics may one day become your biggest fans.

February, 1964.

The Beatles are blasting out a tune on the radio.

“They don’t amount to much,” my father said. “All their songs sound alike.”

Fast forward twenty years. My daughter and I invite my Dad to watch a video of the Beatles performing.

“Hey, they’re pretty good.” he declares. “Can you turn up the volume.”

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