My Power Base
So once again, as I’m sure you noticed, I did not make the magazine’s list of the 50 Most Powerful People in Orlando. I was sure this would be my year—weren’t you?
At first I thought I was left off on a technicality: I don’t actually live in Orlando (though darn close in the fashionable suburb of Edgewood). But then I realized that can’t be it since there are lots of people on the list who don’t reside in the city limits of Orlando.
No, the brutal reality is that I don’t belong on the list of the 50 Most Powerful People in Orlando—or in Edgewood—because I’m not even one of the 50 Most Powerful People in my own life!
Aside from saluting the people who get things done to make Orlando a kinder, gentler, more dynamic, humane place to live, the 50 Most Powerful list is an exercise in humility and perspective for those of us born with egos larger than our brains.
Going down the list of luminaries made me think of the many people whose names will never appear on the list, but are most powerful in my life. It takes a village to keep Greg a happy—and sane—camper.
As they say at the Oscars, I have so many people to thank. I wrote them all down on this piece of paper. Please don’t start the music until I get done!
Heriberto Gonzalez and Israel Gerena: These guys pick up my garbage twice a week without fail. There is nothing they won’t take, and they never abuse the cans. If not for them, I would be schlepping to the landfill with stinky cargo.
Rick Eakins: For most of my adult life, I was gator bait for fast-talking auto mechanics who used me to pay for their kids’ college education. Then I found Rick. I almost have to force him to take my money.
Humberto Herran: The mystery man who delivers my morning newspaper. In 10 years I have never laid eyes on Humberto. He has never missed a day or the driveway. If there’s even a hint of rain, he double-bags.
Angie Kovach: She has been cutting my hair and lying to me for 25 years. She calls me “handsome” and pretends not to notice that I’m morphing into Keith Richards.
Chris Brant: My next-door neighbor and partner in endless sports chat about topics like the third round of the NFL draft—the male equivalent of window shopping.
Bruce Blakeman: When attempting home-improvement projects, I always turned the Hippocratic Oath on its head: First, do incredible harm. Then the gods sent Bruce, a handyman who can fix anything on short notice for a reasonable fee and does not charge extra for his stand-up comedy shtick.
Rob Gaynor: Our wise GP and friend of many years. He and his office staff put the “family” in family doctor.
Mark LaFountaine: Our reliable, genial mail carrier—a daily reminder that we’d miss the U.S. Postal Service (Wake up, America!). I would miss the sight of the boxy mail truck with the steering wheel on the wrong side coming ’round the bend.
John Franko: The UPS man always rings twice when he has a package to deliver. When he’s just passing by, John smiles and waves like I’m an uncle who left him a fortune in my will.
Jon Scholtens: The dry cleaner with a dry wit. Who knew that dropping off dirty laundry could be so entertaining?
Scott Dowdell: He expertly edges our lawn, keeping me from being charged with first-degree herbicide.
Soyar Kaya: My chiropractor. He’s got my back. Thanks to Soyar, I’m not a total stiff.
Cheryl Jenkins, manager, and the entire wait staff at Daybreak Diner where everyone knows our name and order, and they’re always glad we came. And our meal is comped (without asking) if we have to wait too long.
Finally—I hear the music starting!—my family, the lights of my life. Son Chris, my daily exercise partner. Daughter Aimee, my shameless partner in punning crime. Candy, my wife, creative partner and technology tutor.
And Pepsi—the unanimous MPP: Most Powerful Puppy.
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