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Fact.  I used to have a shoe contract.  Yeah, that still sounds every bit as absurd to me as it does to you. But, yeah. Mid-80s. I was living and working in St. Louis as a television and radio sportscaster. I was approached by a representative of a newly-launched athletic shoe company named “Kangaroos.”  They were sharp enough kicks, especially for the era. White, with red ‘Roos on both sides of the heels.

Enter Big Money. Rep tells me Kangaroos will pay me fifteen dollars a week to wear their shoes. I asked my tv station management if they were ok with this.  They were. (It was a different time.)  So I’ve got some sharp (and free) shoes on my feet and fifteen bucks a week in my pocket. Life is good!

‘Roos were headquartered in East St. Louis, Illinois, just across the bridge from my office on the Missouri side of the Mississippi. One of the leading investors in Kangaroos, and the face of the company’s marketing campaign, was Walter Payton, who was nearing the end of his legendary NFL career. Part of my commitment to ‘Roos was that I played on the company’s traveling summer basketball team. Lotsa high school gyms, and lots of fun, too. In addition to Walter, the team had several other active or recently retired NFL players, most of them from the St. Louis Cardinals. Guys I knew and liked. Let me state for the record that Al “Bubba” Baker could have played in the NBA. Easily. For a long time.

But I digress. I was introduced to Walter, who worked me over unmercifully about being a tv foof and questioned whether I was worth 15 bucks a week to the company. (I was questioning the same thing.) But, hey, I’m on the same basketball team with Walter Payton! Two games a week. Team ‘Roos had a “platoon” substitution rotation.  Five guys would go out. Five guys would come in.  I was in Walter’s platoon. So we were on the court together when we weren’t on the bench together. Always.

Here was the greatest thing about Walter.  He was never childish. But he was always child-like, and just loved having fun. So here was the deal.  Walter would sit down next to me while we were on the bench. He would try to distract me.  And then he would attempt to tie my shoelaces together. No stretch. He must have done this two dozen times.  I would just turn and look at him. Really?

I cried when Walter got sick. I lost it when he died. I’ll never forget his answer to a reporter who asked him if his cancer diagnosis had made him afraid. “Of course. Wouldn’t you be?”

That was a man.  Sweetness.

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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.