I am writing this on my flight home from Chicago. If you’re reading it, then it means I made it. I have my doubts today. There is no evidence this is my final destiny except that also on board this flight, sitting four rows in front of me, is the legendary former Chicago Bears head coach, Mike Ditka
. This is the second time I’ve run into Da Coach on this run. The first time I had the same fear, which goes basically like so: At this point in my career, after grinding my name and voice into America’s heads one commercial at a time for the past 20 years, I’ve got a fair shot at maybe a 3 line obituary in the New York Times. Nothing they have on file in advance -- like Henry Kissinger or Ike Turner -- but at least one where the junior copywriter will be compelled to Google me and check the spelling of my name.
But. Here’s the thing. If I were to meet my end while on a flight with a person more famous and accomplished than myself -- statistically likely and certainly the case today -- I will only be remembered for having had the misfortune to die within the same news item as the more deserving party. The crawl on the bottom of CNN will read “Former NFL coach Mike Ditka, 40 others, perish aboard tragic flight 666. The New York Times will say nothing about me in the obit section, but I will factor into the last line in the second-to-the-last paragraph of the news story, “Others killed or missing include folksy pitchman Don Burdett.”
That would suck. So. I hope you’re reading this.