40th Birthday party

In 1991, I was fired from a major NY publishing company. The boss called me in and said, “don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out”.

I had a wife, a 3 year old daughter and a mortgage. I determined that I was not going to be in a position when my daughter is ready for college that one person could pull the financial plug on me.….so I decided I was going to try it on my own.

I sent out 2500 cards announcing that I was starting my own professional consultancy, specializing in computer training, public relations, marketing …plumbing, electrical work and picket fence painting. At that time, I could have called the business “anything for a buck incorporated.“For eighteen years, I have been successfully running ProLine Communications, a successful marketing and public relations agency.

At the time, my wife was planning a surprise 40th Birthday party.
We get to the restaurant; balloons are flying, the DJ is going. I’m thinking to my self, how am I am going to pay for this?

At the end of the party (having little or no tact) I asked my wife, “How much did the party cost?” She told me that Miss Manners would not approve of my question. After all, you don’t ask how much a gift or party costs . I said to my wife, what’s the difference…I’m going to get the credit card bill at the end of the month…My wife then says, “Well, the party cost about the same as one of our monthly mortgage payments.”
“So?”, I replied.

So she said, “What’s the difference if the sheriff evicts us now or 30 days from now. When he carts our furniture to the curb, I’ll have one hell of a party to tell him about”.

Moral of the story: My wife taught me an important lesson. You are not the definition of your last job— you are husband, father, friend. Keep your perspective and maintain your balance.