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Thirty Years

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Release Date: 08/04/2023

Staring At the Clock show art Staring At the Clock

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, what was Cam doing today at 4:59am? Well, he wasn't getting out of bed. That we know for sure. ----- Most mornings I’m staring at the clock about 4:30 am waiting to get up. I won’t allow myself to get out of bed before 5am. Getting your day started at 5am means you’re aggressive. You’re eager to get going. Getting out of bed before 5am means you have a problem. They’re slight gradations. Minutes matter and 4:59am is a good bit different from 5am. I stare at the clock until it turns 5 when I feel like it’s ok to jump up and get the coffee started....

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Don't Get Sick show art Don't Get Sick

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam has seen much more of the healthcare world these days than he would like. His advice: Stay well. ----- I’ve been given an up a close look at our health care system over the past several months. It’s been, well, disappointing. And this comes after hearing a remarkable speaker discuss the importance of customer service on company culture. I made a reference several months ago to the pain I’ve had. It’s finally been diagnosed as polymyalgia rhumatica, or PMR. It showed up around February first and has been a part of every day since. It’s a sickness...

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He's Not Roscoe show art He's Not Roscoe

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Each spring Cam sits in his morning reading chair and see's a friend just outside the window. But Cam won't give him a name. He absolutely won't. ----- My lizard friend is back again. He shows up on the air conditioner every spring just outside the window. He stays there quite a while each morning, arriving about half an hour after sunrise. I sit each morning in my reading chair and keep an eye out for him. And suddenly, he’s there. I grew up calling these things chameleons. Wikipedia, however, just told me he is a green anole and he is often mistakenly called a chameleon, likely started by...

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Talking in the Locker Room show art Talking in the Locker Room

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam Marston takes a moment to observe the fingerprint of time. And wishes he hadn't. ----- Talking to a naked man is awkward. It’s just…awkward. There are men that have come my gym at the same time every day for decades. And their work in the gym may have kept them alive but it has not kept them from aging. There is nothing firm on them. There’s nothing taut. Age plus gravity has left a sagging fingerprint. And talking to a naked man, especially one with some age on him, is, well, awkward. They’re standing there, towel over their shoulder, not around...

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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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After thirty years of the same family tradition - I give some thought to the future.

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For the thirtieth year in a row my SUV left my garage headed for the North Carolina Coast the second to last Saturday in July. If we weren’t in it, it would go by itself. It’s what we do. It’s what the car does. And it was packed tight with everything from fishing gear, to bed sheets, to food, to 150 oysters in the shell on ice, two cakes from Bake My Day, and a case of get-along juice, also known as wine. My in-laws have rented a house on Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina every summer and we are all expected to be there – there were sixteen of us.

Question for you – Name one spouse you know or have ever even heard of that’s vacationed in the same place, in nearly the same house, with the same people, on the same days every summer for thirty consecutive years. Unless that person is me or my sister-in-law, that person doesn’t exist. I can’t speak for my sister-in-law, but it makes me… Well… I don’t know what it makes me. Honestly, it makes me afraid for my life to declare that having vacationed in the same place, in nearly the same house, with the same people on the same days for over half my life that I’m now ready to do something different. It wouldn’t go over well.

It's this week at the beach every year plus a few weekends in the fall at my father’s camp in Clarke County, Alabama that I’m reminded of the great disparity in penalties for loud noise in the nighttime versus loud noises in the morning. This does require some explanation:

I go to bed early. After about nine PM, I’m useless and am eager to get to sleep and start again the next day. However, some of my family like to whoop it up at night and at 9pm they’re just warming up. They make lots of noise. They’re having a ball. But little consideration is given to those of us that retire early. There’s little penalty applied for keeping us from getting to sleep or waking us after we’ve fallen to sleep.

However, the reverse is not the true. I’m an early riser. And early risers must tip-toe through the house, careful to not make a sound or else face the wrath of the late sleepers. Their being inconveniently awakened by the early riser’s God-awful sounds of the unloading of the dishwasher or the brewing of the coffee are intolerable fouls against the family’s 30-year-old tradition. I’ve come to live with it. It’s a small price to pay. It’s not a big deal. But there’s some sort of economy that needs to be flushed out regarding penalties for preventing sleep versus penalties for awakening sleepers. Small penalties are applied for preventing sleep. Large penalties are applied  for awakening sleepers. Its’ not fair but we live with it.

How long will this yearly tradition last? I don’t know. My children have grown such that we now need two cars to make the 22 hour round trip. And if we decide stop one year, we’ll know when that week comes because the SUV will go anyway. It’s simply what it does.

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