On previous pages, I have been demonstrating my ability to write in different voices and styles. Here, however, I am cornered. The chameleon must be himself.
I was born and raised in Chicago, so I have a reverence for thick pizza, an acquired tolerance to the Cubs and a mischievous pride in the Capone Gang.
I attended the University of Illinois, where like any liberal arts student I majored in my hobby. In fact, history proved to be a practical choice, giving both anecdotes and perspective to my writing. While at college, I was a features reporter and a film critic for the Daily Illini.
The first practical application of my degree in history was world travel. I actually knew something about the places I was touring. The footloose kid spent 1974 and 1975 seeing America and Europe. (You could get by in Spain, Italy and Greece on ten dollars a day!) Returning home I began my apprenticeship as a writer, working in politics and advertising. Yes, there is a shameless similarity. In 1980, I earned a Master’s degree in advertising from Northwestern University.
So, how did I end up in public relations? You might consider it a tribute to my stamina. A 30-second message is advertising. A 30-minute message is public relations. In addition to my verbosity, I had the versatility and humor that are valued in speechwriting.
And how did I become a free-lance writer? That was my most profitable application of my degree in history: playing Jeopardy! I love that game show and even arranged my college schedule to watch every match. I thought that I would be a good player, so I decided to test my wits against my vanity.
In 1987, I earned $70,000 and my probable epitaph: He was a champion on Jeopardy! With that small fortune to subsidize me, I quit my corporate job to pursue a career as a humorist. I thought that it was just a matter of time before The New Yorker discovered me. Unfortunately, I seem to be harder to find than I realized.
Although my stories and satires have been published in The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, and TheStreet.com, the financial rewards do not support a middle-class standard of living. I still hope for literary acclaim but I suspect that it might be posthumous.
While awaiting that immortality, I have resumed working in public relations. I write speeches, annual reports, booklets and brochures. And this website is a good way to introduce me, my work and availability.