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This would have been the mid-1980s. My agent got me a gig doing two weeks of promotional work for Miller Lite. The star of the promotion was retired NFL Hall-of-Famer Deacon Jones.  The co-star was another unforgettable retired NFL defensive lineman, Ben Davidson.

So on the first Monday morning of the gig, I walked into the coffee-break room of the production studio, where I was told I was to meet Deacon and Ben, aka Mr. Jones and Mr. Davidson.  I entered the break room and tried to stay as inconspicuous as possible.

But suddenly, The Voice of Thor rang out.  “PAUL ALEXANDER!”  I smiled thinly and waved. I was terrified.  Deacon looked down at a piece of paper and took a sip of coffee. The Voice boomed again.

“PAUL ALEXANDER!  ARE YOU PAUL ALEXANDER?  IT SAYS HERE YOUR NAME IS PAUL ALEXANDER!”  I could almost feel Deacon head-slapping an offensive tackle and drawing a bead on me.  

“Yes, sir, Mr. Jones.  I’m Paul Alexander.”  But at the moment I would have much preferred to be Joni Mitchell.

“ARE YOU A GODDAMMED QUARTERBACK?”

No, sir, Mr. Jones.  I am not a goddammed quarterback.”

“ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE NOT A GODDAMMED QUARTERBACK?”

“I’m sure, Mr. Jones.”

“GOOD! BECAUSE I HATE GODDAMMED QUARTERBACKS!”

“I understand, Mr. Jones. Quarterbacks can be very hateable.” My knees turned into over-hydrated oatmeal.

“PAUL ALEXANDER SOUNDS LIKE THE NAME OF A GODDAMMED QUARTERBACK!”

I glance at Ben.  He’s loving this.

“No, Mr. Jones. It’s just my name.”

“YOU EVEN LOOK LIKE A GODDAMMED QUARTERBACK!”

“Mr. Jones, please believe me, I am not a goddammed quarterback.”

“IT’S A GOOD THING!  BECAUSE IF YOU WERE A GODDAMMED QUARTERBCK, I’D HAVE TO STUFF YOU IN A GUNNY SACK AND BEAT ON YOU WITH A BASEBALL BAT!”

“Understood, Mr. Jones.  That’s the biggest reason I’m glad I’m not a goddammed quarterback.”

Long pause.  Followed by big smile.  Deacon gets up from his chair and motions me forward.

“Then come over here, Paul Alexander, and shake the Deacon’s hand!  We’re gonna get along great and have a lot of fun!”

We did.  And we did.  And Ben was a hoot, too.

Sometime during the next two weeks I summoned the courage to ask him why he went by Deacon.

“’CAUSE AINT’ NOBODY AFRAID OF DAVID JONES!”

I told him I could dig it.

I asked him about the most horrendous shot on a quarterback I ever saw. It was the time he impaled Craig Morton in the 1969 “Runner-Up Bowl.”

“I DAMN NEAR KILLED CRAIG MORTON!”

Years later I asked Craig Morton about that play.

Pause.

“Deacon Jones damn near killed me.”

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.