Few people with children, and especially with grandchildren, can listen to the song Sunrise, Sunset from the musical Fiddler on the Roof without getting a bit choked up. It sings of getting older…you and your offspring. “Swiftly flow the days.” Yeah, I know all about that. I think I was 26 or 27 when I got my first job covering the coin machine business for the old Cash Box magazine. I’ll be 80 next May!
We once had a lady named Ruth Walker doing what used to be called “photo offset stripping” for RePlay back before everything in printing went digital. A guy named Greg Toomey who owned the company that printed our magazine, used to laugh about that, and loved to tell people about Ruthie when I was around. “She’s 80, right Eddie?” he’d say. “Yeah, Greg, she’s 80,” I’d say, “but a young 80.”
Like Ruth, I’d think I’m pretty active for my age and sincerely believe that’s one big reason my health is quite good and my mind about as alert as a guy who scored a 69 grade in geometry back in high school could be. I’ve also got a small avocado grove that helps keep me in decent physical shape on a part time basis, though far more of my waking hours are devoted to RePlay.
Before the “big buzz” in the amusement game industry was about the FEC, most of the news in what we now call “coin-op” came out of the route business. Lots of printer’s ink was spent writing about things like jukebox music royalties, video game kits (especially counterfeit ones), dollar coins and exclusive distribution. Not much to say about those things anymore, is there? Problems come, problems go. Sunrise, sunset.
This is our last issue in 2018, and yes, swiftly flow the days. Some people love to say it’s time to make new year resolutions. My only resolution is never to make new year resolutions. Many folks I personally know follow the one-day-at-a-time view. But when you’re in the business of making a monthly magazine, somehow you run your life in segments of the number 12 rather than 365 and a result of that is that time goes quicker.
One of the best friends I ever had in this industry was the late Florida route operator Sol Tabb (if anybody reading this remembers Tabby, they should retire, although he never did and made it into his 90s before truly slowing down). I once asked him at what age you have to hit before days quit speeding up and he said: “I got a hot flash for you, they keep getting faster and faster.”
So, before I burn up any more of your time reading this, let me just say I intend to work for RePlay a bit longer, but with fewer hours. I think it’s time to do more “retirement stuff” before I get any closer to that “sunset.” I hope you take some time to enjoy the holidays with your family and friends, for reasons hinted at above. The business will be there whether we are or not.