My Dad and Merv

When I was a kid, I watched a lot of television. After school, especially on days when the weather was not especially inviting, I would sit down and tune in to one of the three channels available. Since the public television station didn’t come in as well, that meant we really had two choices. One of the talk/variety shows airing at that time of day was the Merv Griffin Show. Merv’s was one of the first of this style of shows, and he became quite successful with it and the game shows he produced, like Wheel of Fortune. I believe his style of interviewing was one of the reasons he did so well. He had this way of leaning toward the person he was talking to and looking at them as if they were the most fascinating person in the world. It was almost, but not quite, as if he was a scientist peering through a microscope, discovering a previously unknown species. He was probably able to get more out of the celebrities he conversed with than he otherwise might have. Later, during my journalism training, I think this helped me when I interviewed people for various stories.

Also, when I was growing up, our family owned a service station in our small town. My grandfather owed the business, my grandmother worked in the office, and my dad managed it. As a boy, I spent a lot of time cleaning up and seeing how my dad worked with his customers. Like Merv, he was also a good listener. Often, the customers who came in weren’t very knowledgeable about their automobiles. Like many of us, they simply knew when they weren’t working or when they were doing something out of the ordinary, like making an unusual noise. At this point Dad would become a detective. He got as much information as possible and gradually narrowed down the list of possible causes and remedies for the various issues until he had a direction to go toward solving their problem. He seemed to enjoy this part of his work. People trusted him to take care of their issues. There were many aspects of his job that I know were frustrating, but I think this part made made his job more rewarding. I think watching him work made serving people later on in life more enjoyable for me as well. It also helped me listen for important details.

When I speak with you,
I hope I
pause
often
during our conversation.
I hope
if only for a
moment
to make what you say and think the
world.
It may be the only time today that anyone does that
and there is always a chance
when we will part,
we will each be the richer.

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4 thoughts on “My Dad and Merv

  1. Yes yes yes!!! The world needs good listeners, and I can tell from experience that you and Lori are certainly among those who listen well. Life taught you some great lessons. Thank you for the very cool post.

    1. You’re welcome. I guess if we were to expand it some, there are whole groups of people who feel they have no voice. As far as they can tell, no one is listening. One on one is a good place to start.

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