Sunday, June 19, 2005

Father's Day

Conan O'Brien: On Earning Success

When I started to write and perform comedy in college, my dad was very supportive. Many people have assumed that because my father is a research scientist and a medical professor, he would discourage a career in television. On the contrary, he has always encouraged me.

I have a theory that any anxiety your parents may have about your career evaporates the minute you can pay your own rent. I sometimes think that if I had called my dad after moving to Los Angeles in 1985 and said, "I'm strangling railroad tramps and stealing their cash," he'd have said, "Well, as long as you're working."

I remember my Dad wanting the best for me. I had a dream of "working on the air"; in other words being a full-time radio disc-jockey. My entire senior year of high school was devoted to getting a radio job. I only took 5 classes (7 were offered) so I could leave early and do my job search. My parents never knew at the time that I would drive to neighboring towns, even across state lines knocking on doors of radio stations for that big break. When I graduated and didn't have that job, I'm not sure what they thought. Heck, I didn't even apply to any colleges, I was that sure of myself.

Well I started working at a record store after I graduated from high school along with being a disc jockey at the local Roller Dome. One of my co-workers told me about a job at a Roller Skating Rink out of town that played Disco Music on Saturday nights for the under 21 year olds. I got that job and was told by someone there about an opening at a radio station about 30 miles away. I applied and Got IT!

I moved out and was living on my own and I remember my Dad being proud and assurd that I really could make some money talking on the radio. A few years later I returned to my hometown and my parents were probably the leaders of my unofficial fan club.

As parents, we worry about our kids only because we want them to become the best they can be. With my own kids making progress in their lives with school, marriage, new jobs and the like, I will continue to pray and rest assurd that God is watching out for them, just like he is you and me.