- (You may want to go back and read former blog posts to catch up.)
The title got ya didn’t it? Well stay with me and I’ll explain, but let me remind you that almost 24 hours prior to this moment I had sent up a prayer of desperation, “God, I can’t take anymore, I need your help.” And there I was in the same spot when I looked down at my phone and saw a number from Portland.
I honestly thought, “Probably a collection agency” and for some reason still answered. In radio there are a group of leaders that many of us refer to as “The radio mafia.” They are the men and women who can make or break a career. After President Bill Clinton deregulated the radio industry the “power players” and companies have gotten smaller in number. And in my small world he was one of The Godfathers. And he was about to make me an offer I could not refuse.
As soon as I heard his voice I knew who was on the phone and he quickly asked, “How would you feel about doing a little radio show in Portland?” I don’t want to type what went through my mind, but let me paraphrase it, “There is no freaking way I am moving that far away from my kids after telling them their parents are getting divorced.” And in less than a second a loud voice in the back of my head asked, “What else ya got?” I had just started selling insurance, and as you’ll see in a moment…I was not making any money selling cars. So I said, “Sounds amazing!”
When I told my sales manager at the car dealership that I was likely getting a new job offer he practically drove me to the interview. And thats because it would save him the stress of firing me! I was the worst car salesman ever! I would literally negotiate better deals for my clients! They would make an offer and I would say, “Ya know, I think we can get it for less.” I want everyone to like me!
A friend loaned me his car to drive to the interview, because he was afraid mine would break down before I drove the 3 hours to Portland! He was also excited about the possibility of me moving out of his spare bedroom.
Now, I loved radio, but I knew there was no way I could “put all my eggs in that basket” so part of the deal was that I would work for 98.7 The Bull, but I would continue to sell insurance. I am licensed in several states, and they agreed and signed me for an amazing three year deal. On January 3rd of 2018 (my birthday) I launched www.TonyRussellInsurance.com, but I need to backup after that shameless plug!
In February of 2017 I relocated to the city known for being the home to Nike! I found a two bedroom I could barely afford in Beaverton, Oregon. I could barely afford it because my child support, alimony, and agent fees came to about $3,000 a month. Now, I will never regret the child support, because my children needed it, but the agent fees were killing me and the agency would not renegotiate. I would eventually be forced to file bankruptcy to get out of my agent fees, and on top of that, the court made me trade cars with my soon to be ex wife. Mine was paid for and she was about $10,000 upside down. And since the payment was ridiculous, I had to do a voluntary repo! You talk about humbling!
A friend followed me to the “bank” to turn in the vehicle. I will never forget the kindness of the man who took the keys. He showed no judgement, and simply wished me well. I walked back and sat down in the passengers seat of my friend’s car, and began to cry uncontrollably. All I could think was, “You are the son of Bill Russell. Your father was a bank president, man of integrity, and a business owner.” Even though I was on the other end of the map from West Virginia…I felts as though I was tarnishing the family name. I was 50 years old, getting divorced, and about to file for bankruptcy. I kept waiting to wake up from the nightmare.
And what should a man do when he is broke, busted, and disgusted? Well, start dating of course! I was sitting at a bar about “10 minutes” after moving out of the house when some friends said, “Tony, you need to get on Plenty of Fish!” And they helped me setup my very first dating profile. I kid you not this is the first two pieces of advice I got on dating at 50 years of age (2017):
- Lie on the dating app so that your age shows 49, because even women our age will cut it off at 50.
- You know that everyone shaves all their “hair off” right?
Yes, the first pieces of advice I received about dating was to lie about my age, and to shave my balls. Now, while that is not the best dating advice it does tell you a lot about dating in the new “swipe right” world. Over the next few blog posts I want to talk about dating after 40, dating apps, and my goal will be to help you not make many of the mistakes I have made in the past 5 years. And I made them all! However, I did get a great deal on a VW Bug ($1,500) from a lady I met on Bumble, and she let me make payments! I’ll tell ya more in the next post.
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