Jewish World Review Jan. 12, 2004 / 18 Teves, 5764
When the applause stops
It was one of those chance meetings. I'm heading to a luncheon appointment in Manhattan the other day,
and along the way, I bump into a guy I used to cover in the news. I wasn't the only guy covering him. He was big,
really big, often quoted, often sought after. There was a time he made the covers of business news magazines
and led business news broadcasts, sometimes general news broadcasts, as well.
Little more than 20 years ago, he was the "it" guy.
But on this day, he looked older, lonelier. Gone were the hangers-on I remembered from years past. No
press aides. No assistants. No mob of reporters. No mob, period. No, this man who used to move worlds
seemed on this day out of step with the rest of this world. In New York, yes, but quiet now, almost shuffling now,
definitely slower now.
"Hey, Neil," he blurted out as I walked passed. I almost didn't recognize him. Then I stopped. And I
focused. And I examined the aging hand thrust out in my direction.
"Hey, there," I responded, as I momentarily tried to collect my thoughts and my memory.
Eventually, I did. I remembered him, but it's not important that I relay his name, only that he is still alive,
but sadder now. "Remember the days when you used to chase me around with that damn microphone?" he
"Yes, all too well," I answered.
"I miss that. I even miss you," he added.
We tried to catch up, as much as one can on a crowded city sidewalk, about the years that had passed,
the press conferences that had been so frequent, the big mergers and deals of which he was a part. The stuff I
covered. The stuff he did.
When he was doing those deals, getting those headlines and garnering that publicity, he was like a
general. Now he was a retired general, but with none of the medals and none of the badges. He was an older,
still relatively distinguished-looking chap, probably in his 70s or so, just a passerby now to the life he once
seemed to dominate.
He talked of missing the fight and even the obnoxious reporters like myself. He even poked fun at his
successors, how he "made 'em all, and not a one calls me now."
"You take care of yourself, Neil," he said. "I always liked you."
"Same here," I said. "Where are you off to?"
"A friend," is all he said. "Another old-timer just like myself. . . . We'll swap war stories for lunch. I like
Oddly, this scene has passed before for me. It's a big city I work in. I see a lot of people. People I talk to
now, people I used to talk a lot to before.
Chief executives who were once all the rage, then not the rage. Writers and editors and producers who
used to enthrall with their words and broadcasts, now fired or demoted from those publications and
The world is cruel, but it is predictable.
My father used to tell me to stay humble, that in my case it would come in handy . . . that we all have our
day, and then we don't.
Looking at this aging but kind man I used to annoy, it brought me back to reality. Hang on to what you've
got and enjoy it, because there is no guarantee you will always have it.
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Neil Cavuto is managing editor of Business News at FOX News
Channel. He is also the host of "Your World with Neil Cavuto" and "Cavuto on
Business." Comment by clicking here.
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12/08/03: The day I realized my daughter had grown up
12/01/03: Let's give thank$
11/24/03: Camelot . . . not
11/17/03: Cordially speaking, I hate you!
11/03/03: I can't "wait" to get back at you!
10/27/03: What would we die to know?
10/20/03: Smile while you work
10/13/03: Dull man walking: Why Gray was too gray
10/05/03: Who says we're so depressed?
09/29/03: Thanks, but no thanks
09/22/03: Big Companies vs. Big Government
09/15/03: Terrorists and idiots: Financial lessons learned
09/08/03: Watch out, Mr. President
09/03/03: Tips for Empty Nesters
08/25/03: Friends and hypocrites
08/18/03: When good news goes bad
08/11/03: I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER!
08/04/03: PHONY BALONEY!
07/28/03: The meaning of a pin
07/21/03: We are what we eat
07/14/03: Don't like it, don't keep it!
07/07/03: The check, and the recovery, is in the mail!
06/29/03: Who says Al's our pal?
06/23/03: The big pitch for the "big get," no big deal!
© 2003, Neil Cavuto