Archive for October, 2012

 

We all know what it’s like to get that phone call in the middle of the night. This night’s call was no different. Jerking up to the ringing summons, I focused on the red illuminated numbers of my clock. Midnight. Panicky thoughts filled my sleep-dazed mind as I grabbed the receiver.

“Hello?”

My heart pounded; I gripped the phone tighter and eyed my wife, who was now turning to face my side of the bed.

“Daddy?” I could hardly hear the whisper over the static. But my thoughts immediately went to my daughter. When the desperate sound of a young crying voice became clearer on the line, I grabbed for my wife and squeezed her wrist.

“Daddy, I know it’s late, but don’t…don’t say anything, until I finish. And before you ask, yes, I’ve been drinking. I nearly ran off the road a few miles back, and…”

I drew in a sharp shallow breath, released my wife and pressed my hand against my forehead. Sleep still fogged my mind, and I attempted to fight back the panic. Something wasn’t right.

“And I got so scared. All I could think about was how it would hurt you if a policeman came to your door and said I’d been killed. I want…to come home. I know running away was wrong. I know you’ve been worried sick. I should have called you days ago, but I was afraid…afraid…”

Sobs of deep-felt emotion flowed from the receiver and poured into my heart. Immediately I pictured my daughter’s face in my mind and my fogged senses seemed to clear. “I think…”

“No! Please let me finish! Please!” She pleaded, not so much in anger but in desperation.

I paused and tried to think of what to say. Before I could go on, she continued, “I’m pregnant, Daddy. I know I shouldn’t be drinking now…especially now, but I’m scared, Daddy. So scared!”

The voice broke again and I bit into my lip, feeling my own eyes fill with moisture. I looked at my wife who sat silently mouthing, “Who is it?”

I shook my head and when I didn’t answer, she jumped up and left the room, returning seconds later with the portable phone held to her ear.

She must have heard the click in the line because she continued, “Are you still there? Please don’t hang up on me! I need you. I feel so alone.”

I clutched the phone and stared at my wife, seeking guidance. “I’m here, I wouldn’t hang up,” I said.

“I know I should have told you, Daddy. But when we talk, you just keep telling me what I should do. You read all those pamphlets on how to talk about sex and all, but all you do is talk. You don’t listen to me. You never let me tell you how I feel. It is as if my feelings aren’t important. Because you’re my father, you think you have all the answers. But sometimes I don’t need answers. I just want someone to listen.”

I swallowed the lump in my throat and stared at the how-to-talk-to-your-kids pamphlets scattered on my night stand. “I’m listening,” I whispered.

“You know, back there on the road, after I got the car under control, I started thinking about the baby and taking care of it. Then I saw this phone booth and it was as if I could hear you preaching about people shouldn’t drink and drive. So I called a taxi. I want to come home.”

“That’s good, Honey,” I said as relief filled my chest. My wife came closer, sat down beside me and laced her fingers through mine. I knew from her touch that she thought I was doing and saying the right thing.

“But you know, I think I can drive now.”

“No!” I snapped. My muscles stiffened, and I tightened the clasp on my wife’s hand. “Please, wait for the taxi. Don’t hang up on me until the taxi gets there.”

“I just want to come home, Daddy.”

“I know. But do this for your Daddy. Wait for the taxi, please.”

I listened to the silence in fear. When I didn’t hear her answer, I bit into my lip and closed my eyes. Somehow I had to stop her from driving.

“There’s the taxi, now.”

Only when I heard someone in the background asking about a Yellow Cab did I feel my tension easing.

“I’m coming home, Daddy.” There was a click and the phone went silent.

Moving from the bed with tears forming in my eyes, I walked out into the hall and went to stand in my sixteen-year-old daughter’s room. The dark silence hung thick. My wife came from behind, wrapped her arms around me and rested her chin on the top of my head.

I wiped the tears from my cheeks. “We have to learn to listen,” I said.

She pulled me around to face her. “We’ll learn. You’ll see.” Then she took me into her arms, and I buried my head in her shoulder.

I let her hold me for several moments, then I pulled back and stared back at the bed. She studied me for a second, then asked, “Do you think she’ll ever know she dialed the wrong number?”

I looked at our sleeping daughter, then back at her. “Maybe it wasn’t such a wrong number.”

“Mom, Dad, what are you doing?” The muffled young voice came from under the covers. I walked over to my daughter, who now sat up staring into the darkness. “We’re practicing,” I answered.

“Practicing what?” she mumbled and laid back on the mattress, her eyes already closed in slumber.

“Listening,” I whispered, and brushed a hand over her cheek.

Irving Azoff: It’s “Way Different, Way More Difficult Now” for Musicians…

Thursday, October 11, 2012
by  paul

Add Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff to the list of people who think it’s harder, not easier, for artists to make it in the music business these days.  And according to Azoff, part of the problem is that it’s easier to make music than ever before, with less monetization, a stark contrast to the ‘golden age’ of the 60s and 70s.  “Basically then versus now, you’d have one hit record and you could come to Los Angeles and sell out three days at the Staples Center – then it was the Forum, but now it would be Staples Center,” Azoff recently told interviewer Jude Apatow at the ‘Grill’.  “Now, one you can’t get a hit but if you do get a hit, you get to open up for somebody at a club.”

And instead of getting signed, the new lottery card is… the Voice?  “In those days, no one would consider going on a competition music show,” Azoff relayed.  “Now you watch the Voice and hear all these kids say, ‘this is the greatest opportunity of my life,’ and yet, you’ve got 64 contestants on the Voice.  We’ve had 10-11 years of American Idol, so you’ve had 100 or 110 top ten people, and you can count on your hand the number of careers that have sustained off of that.”

Another bright new idea from the younger generation

We’ve heard some great stories about smart kids building cool things, but here are two teenagers building a business. Tyler Simpson and Brandon Keller launched a startup called OrbitFront that’s designed to connect companies with people who will review their products and get a commission when their reviews generate a purchase. The two founders are just 14 and 15 years old.

Their thought is that customers are more likely to be swayed by a personal experience than an advertising campaign, so OrbitFront gives retailers a place to find those reviewers. The duo is hoping to list 20 partners and 50 products on their fledgling site by the end of the year. They’ve been selected to launch at VentureBeat’s DEMO Fall 2012 event for new startups, and startup events like that one often generate serious money and publicity for cool ideas.

[Image credit: Satoru Kikuchi]

This article was written by Anna Washenko and originally appeared on Tecca