Lights! Action! That’s almost a wrap

David Swan
3 min readNov 24, 2023

November 24, 2023

Film director’s slate or clapper.

My wonderful wife, who doubles as my muse, is a morning person in a way I’ll never be. While I’m drifting around in a pre-caffeinated haze, her mental and creative powers hit their peak around the time she rises to start the day.

This energy often produces epiphanies, like the one she recently shared with me: Imagine your life as a streaming movie. If you hit Pause, you’ll see how much of the film is over and how much you have left. If you were born in this century, you’re in the first act. If you’re a millennial or Gen Xer, your time in the spotlight still has a good while to go. However, seniors like me are getting uncomfortably near the closing credits.

My wife says this insight reminded her not to waste time on things that don’t matter, which is most of them. I’m working on it; for starters, I just ignored a news article about how us boomers have “wounded the world.” But in case my last scene comes sooner than I expect, I’m going to show those credits right here. Besides my wife, without whom the film would be missing all the best scenes, these are some of the folks who made it happen.

  • My parents. They gave me a loving, secure home, which my mother preserved after my father died suddenly.
  • My teachers in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Except for a couple of screamers, from first grade through high school they were skilled, dedicated, and fair. Along with English, science, and math, they taught me to be resilient and love life.
  • Everyone at WCBN, the student / community radio station at the University of Michigan in the 70s. I had a ball working there and got the experience I needed to start a broadcasting career.
  • The great journalists in the newsroom at the Voice of America, where I spent seventeen years reporting on the Washington circus (which wasn’t nearly as unhinged as it is now).
  • The hardworking employees of the Taxpayer Advocate Service, my last stop before “retirement,” who perform the herculean task of helping taxpayers deal with the IRS.
  • The staff and regulars at Flanagan’s Irish Pub in Bethesda, Maryland in the 80s and 90s. Of all the gin joints I’ve been in, this was where I felt most at home, lively yet always relaxed and friendly.
  • All the jazz musicians from Atlanta, New York, London, and elsewhere who played at “house concerts” for the jazz society my wife and I used to run. There’s nothing like hearing world-class performances in your living room.

My apologies to all the people I’ve left out. I should mention Steve Case, who ran America Online when I met my wife through her AOL personal ad. If not for that, I wouldn’t be sitting here now. I’d probably be sitting on my keister somewhere, but not nearly as happy as I am.

Originally published at on November 24, 2023.

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David Swan

Writer, editor, ex-journalist, all-around communicator. Comfortable in real and fictional worlds. Always on the lookout for a great story.