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North

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Release Date: 09/01/2023

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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My wife and I were headed to a cocktail reception where we knew no one. "This is an opportunity," I said.

-----

My wife and I were driving to a short cocktail reception full of people we’d never met. Most of them knew one another. Us? Not a soul. This is an opportunity, I said. Let’s run with it.

I proposed that she and I create a story for ourselves. Pick a personality and a background and a job. We’ll create something bordering on sensational and come up with a few very specific details that will make whomever we talk to truly wonder. About us. About whether we’re telling the truth. They don’t know us. It’s a short event. Let’s see if we can pull this off. Nothing to lose. I used to do this on blind dates back in the day and I got pretty good at telling long haul truck driver stories.

A glance at my wife in the passenger seat and I saw what I’ve come to expect. A roll of her eyes. A shake of her head.

“I think I’ll go with having invented the direction North,” I said. Prior to my invention, no one knew where anything was. People were getting lost in round rooms. I gave them direction. Today I get small commission every time a new compass is printed. And this younger generation today - they use Waze and Google Maps and Apple Maps all the time and North is usually on every screen. I only get a fraction of a cent each time that happens but the money ads up. Each day I spend a lot of time promoting North as very popular direction and I feature it in a lot of my social media. Two other guys came up with East and West and we split commissions on directions when we collaborate. And I have a new direction being released soon but nondisclosure documents prevent me from talking too much about it right now.

Sideways glance. Silence from the passenger seat.

How about I was the original voice artist for the beeps trucks make when they back up. Today they’re electronic, but in the good ole days when they beeped, that’s me. Age has made it hard to recreate that sound any more but… beep beep beep. Can’t you hear it? The recording came down to me and this little pre-pubescent teenaged girl, but she suffered an awful blow to the throat by a masked man outside the studio after her audition. They called me back because I was the only candidate remaining. I’m not exactly famous, but you’ve probably heard me.

Nothing. Time to go for it.

How about we’re royalty from a small principality in Europe called Genovia. People won’t remember the Princess Diaries movies. They’ll have heard of Genovia and maybe think it’s a real place. We’ll tell them it’s similar Lichtenstein but smaller. And near the edge of Austria. Our citizens there are not known as Genovians, by the way. To us Genovian royalty, they’re actually known as our Genotail…

“STOP,” she said. “Just stop. Who we are is plenty. It’s actually more than enough.”

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