While preparing myself for retirement, I have been diligently passing the torch to one of my colleagues to better prepare him to take over my position. I realized it’s times such as this that one finds it difficult to give the reins to someone, then stand back and allow them to succeed or fail, not at all unlike the days someone did the same for me. As I stepped back to observe, I began telling myself, this is just like coaching a rookie driver. “OK, I showed you how to get through the corner, let’s see what you’ve got.”
During a few moments of observing, I received a text message from my son, Will Faules, inviting me to watch a video of colorful commentator, Joe Rogan, interviewing Dale Earnhardt Jr. As soon as I clicked on the video, Dale Jr.’s voice came on and an elderly lady sitting beside a priest in our front lobby asked, “Is that Dale Jr.’s voice? I just love that guy! He’s my favorite driver.”
Having a few moments to spare, I asked if she would like to watch the video, to which she was quick to invite me to sit beside her. With my iPhone in hand, I squeezed in between her and the priest and hit resume. Joe Rogan began by saying, “Dale, I think that what you do is one of the craziest, wildest, most demanding things anyone could possibly do for an occupation. Other than being a soldier, a cop or a firefighter, it’s right up there.” Dale Jr. replied, “Or bullriding or boxing, perhaps.” Rogan replies, “Yes sir, that’s another level of crazy.”
“It takes a certain mentality to climb on top of a bull. They have a certain energy about them,” Dale continued. This is where I was blindsided. With the priest listening on one side of me and the little old lady intensely leaning over the other side of me, Rogan said, “They got that, I don’t give a f*#! attitude!” Not exactly language fitting that of a priest or an elderly lady. I just froze, not having a clue what to do or say while nearly dropping my iPhone and bumbling around trying to shut it off. With a blushed face and sitting between the two of them, asking myself how I’d gotten myself into this mess, I said, “Forgive me father. Believe me, I didn’t know that was coming.”
The little old lady leaned over me, patted the priest on the arm in a comforting way and said, “It’s OK, father … Dale Jr., didn’t say that. He would never use such language.” Then, as if nothing at all had happened, she said “Turn it back on. Let’s watch the rest. I loooove my Dale Jr.!” The priest just smiled as if to say, it’s OK. Thankfully my colleague asked for some assistance, thus giving me the out I so badly needed.
Isn’t it funny how no matter what a driver does, either on or off the track, his or her fans are quick to defend them? Yet I can’t help but remember those times when other drivers, possibly even a friend, did something stupid on a racetrack causing me to spin, lose a position or worse yet, wreck my car, that I wanted to do bodily harm to them or at very least buy a voodoo doll and make them pay. You just have to collect your thoughts, take a deep breath and thank God we have fans.