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Gettin' Out of the Funk

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Release Date: 06/02/2023

Persevere show art Persevere

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's KIR, Cam Marston wonders if he could do the same thing for fifteen years and know, just know in his bones, that it would pay off. ----- I’ve just watched the documentary on Steve Martin called "Steve! A Documentary in Two Pieces." I’ve always liked Steve Martin. What caught my attention the most is that he did his standup act for fifteen years. The vast majority of that time, his audiences were very small. In one video clip, he’s counting the number of people in the room during his act – there were fifteen people there. He got what he thought were big breaks that bombed,...

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April's Fool show art April's Fool

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston hypothesizes on what a parenting podcast from him and his wife would sound like. ----- My wife and I sat together at the beach last week laughing as we retold stories and reminded ourselves of the humor of parenting. Especially as Gen X parents. We decided to compose a social media post together. The date was April first, and that date matters. The post read the following: We are frequently asked how we’ve raised four perfect children. Here’s our response: We are excited to announce our new Parenting Podcast called Gen X Parenting Tools. Go check...

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Workplace Veterans show art Workplace Veterans

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston has some observations about the NCAA tournament. The old guys are winning, and he likes that. ----- Someone in my family is not pleased right now. As I write this Wednesday, I don’t know who. Last night the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team took on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the NCAA tournament. My wife is a Carolina grad. I was unaware people could like basketball that much until I met her. My son is a Freshman at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He was an avid sports fan moments after his birth. One of them lost last night and is...

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Need A Message show art Need A Message

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam is searching for a message and if he hears one, he WILL obey. ----- I think there is someone or something out there trying to send me a message. A few things have happened lately that seem, well, like there is a message coming or attached but I don’t know what it is. First, storms rolled through a few months ago knocking out the power. Fortunately our house has a generator attached and it kept a few rooms running for a little while. My friends began texting about their power being out. I proudly texted a photo of my comfortable and well-lit kitchen that...

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Tell Them Both I Said Hello show art Tell Them Both I Said Hello

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

There's a grocery store Cam goes to when he's in a hurry. It's NOT the one closest to his house. That one is full of memories. Full of roots. ----- I saw him see me. He turned and headed my way. “Cam,” he said. “How’s you mother?” “Well,” I said. “She passed away two years ago.” I saw you at her funeral, I wanted to say. I remember talking to you. “Oh. Yes. That’s right. I’m sorry. Well then, how’s your father?” “Dad’s wonderful. He plays pickleball five, sometimes six days a week. Sometimes twice a day. He’s eighty-seven but I don’t think he knows it....

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Parent's Weekend show art Parent's Weekend

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On today's Keepin' It Real, Cam shares something he saw last weekend that made him feel a little bit better about things. ----- I'm in Starbucks. It's Saturday. It's Noon. I'm in Tuscaloosa at the corner of Bryant Drive and 8th Avenue. Sororities across the street disgorging young ladies for their morning cups of honey-dew latté with extra chai, extra vanilla essence and a dash of bumble bee eyelashes or something like that. Yoga pants as far as the eye can see. One girl wearing a T-shirt reading Don’t Date Frat Boys. Parents here for fraternity and sorority parent’s weekend. Dads wearing...

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Forgiveness show art Forgiveness

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam shares a story he's kept quiet for fourteen years. It's time to get it off his chest. ----- I’ve just boarded my flight. I’m headed home. Sitting here, a memory has resurfaced. Many years ago, deplaning in Chicago, I took a call from a young man. He’d studied my work and asked me to mentor him. He wanted to travel and give speeches. He wanted me to refer him when I was too busy, and he’d pay me a commission. He loved my topic and said he could represent me well. I was deeply flattered. He charmed me. A few months later, we sat at my dining room table...

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Squeezed show art Squeezed

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Cam's phone has been ringing. It's a lot of his small business friends and they're experiencing similar things. They're feeling pressure. They're feeling squeezed. ----- When an orange is squeezed, orange juice comes out. We know this. We know that sun and good soil and water and maybe some fertilizer help that orange develop that juice. We know the ingredients, we somewhat control the ingredients, and we know the goodness that comes from a squeezed orange. What happens, though, when you and I are squeezed? What happens when life puts pressure on you and me? What ingredients are we drawing on...

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Lent show art Lent

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Mardi Gras ended Tuesday for Cam. Immediately following Mardi Gras is the beginning of Lent and Cam struggles with what sacrifices he should make. ----- Lent. I struggle with Lent every year. How much suffering is enough to prepare my soul for the Easter arrival of the Lord? Is there enough? Who knows. There’s always someone suffering more; someone taking it to the next level. As a child it was ice cream. I gave up ice cream every year and dutifully reported it to my religion teacher as the assignment instructed. I love ice cream, vanilla especially. In fact, I’ve created an association...

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Dry January show art Dry January

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' it Real, Cam Marston has thoughts about this upcoming weekend. Mardi Gras is on us down here in Mobile, and that leads to some tough decisions. ----- Dry January ended last week. Dry January followed soaking wet, sodden to the bone December. I’ve never done Dry January before and after sodden December, I needed to give it a try. Aside from one small drink to celebrate my daughter’s twenty-first birthday, I drank no alcohol for thirty-one days. I’m not sure I’ve done that since I was a teen. The net result? I lost nine pounds. I slept very well every night for a...

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I had a tough day the other day. Thankfully, I know a recipe that gets me out of them.

-----

My eighteen-year-old son is headed to Tuscaloosa next week for his Bama Bound orientation. My wife and I are going, too. I’m wondering why the parents need a college orientation so I’m tagging along. It’s about a day and a half worth of stuff. As a student, my Tulane orientation was this: “Don’t mess with the New Orleans police department during Mardi Gras,” some guy said from the stage, “or you’ll likely never be heard from again. Good luck at college. Don’t forget to study.”

Thursday my oldest daughter left for a month abroad as a part of her college studies. We dropped my youngest daughter off at Camp Mac near Talladega this week where she’s now a worker – she’s a counselor in training. We are paying for her to be there to work, by the way.

She and her twin brother turned sixteen on Tuesday. Long ago in a moment of parenting bravado, my wife and I promised our four kids we’d help them buy a used car when they turned sixteen, but they’d have to save a good bit on their own and we’d be a multiplier for whatever they saved. Today we are on the hook for two cars.

Suffice it to say it’s quite expensive around here right now. I knew these days were coming and…they’re here. However, there are moments of doubt when I wonder how this is all going to work, how it’s all going to get paid for and I get, well, a bit anxious.

And I’m certain there is no parent that hasn’t experienced something similar. Regardless of the size of the family or the size of the income, parents wonder how they’ll make ends meet. My father sure did. He’d walk through the back door of the house at the end of his workday and we’d ask how his day was and he’d say, “slow” with an uncertain look on his face. Standing in front of him was my mother, my two young brothers and me. Mouths to feed. Clothes to buy. College tuitions.

And I had one of those moments this week. In times past those moments immobilized me, but trial and error has taught me a recipe for getting through them. The key is to recognize what’s happening and get started on the recipe.

First, I remind myself that I have a perfect record for getting through difficult days. I’ve had many before and yet here I am. One hundred percent perfect record. Two, I need to get outside. Something about being outside. I can’t explain it. Three, I need to do some exercise. Any exercise. Get the blood pumping. And at this point I usually feel the stress dissipating. Four, have a good conversation with someone. Anyone. It gets the focus off of me and gets me out of my head. And five, reread the good books and relisten to the good stories. I just jump in and out of the books and stories randomly to remind myself of the messages. And I did all of this. Every bit of it earlier this week. And it worked. It usually does.

I love my recipe. I hate that I have to use it. But I gotta be honest, thank goodness it’s there.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep It Real.