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Selections

Prologue

I faked having polio when I was five, a remarkably strange thing to do but an act that set in motion a life of confrontation, provocation, and making trouble when I thought it needed to be made. I attacked a racist high school librarian at sixteen, threw a bag of dog shit into the living room of the American Nazi Party headquarters, plotted to oust a family member from my home, trespassed on the property of a convicted Watergate felon to get an interview, and shoved aside two Secret Service agents to get to Richard Nixon. If I wanted something, I usually found a way to get it. I survived rape and cancer and, at the age of sixty, left a career in television news to manage a horse ranch.

After working more than forty years in the television business, I met or interviewed at least thirty thousand people, everyone from the Dalai Lama to Oprah, from John Wayne to Paul McCartney and JFK Jr. I had a very special moment with Chuck Berry, who offered me cash to give him a blowjob before a performance. Along with the rich and famous, I encountered a sordid collection of killers, rapists, and child molesters—the famous and the infamous, the whole spectrum of humanity, including an entity claiming to be thirty-five thousand years old.

I also helped a lot of people. My trigger was injustice, wherever and whenever I saw it, and the trouble I made was typically on behalf of others, those unable to stand up and fight for themselves. I had no obvious innate gifts. I could not sing, dance, or play an instrument and was not a great student. I did have other natural talents. I was born with a big mouth, a brave heart, and no tolerance for taking abuse from anybody. For most of my life, I fought for other people. But for one terrifying year when I tried to take my own life, I was forced to fight for myself and battle the television station I loved that fired me, defamed me, and took away my good name and reputation.

Along this tumultuous and thrilling journey, I learned how to write and tell a story. As a journalist, I had to remain objective, meaning I should not and could not share my personal thoughts, emotions, or experiences behind the scenes of the stories I covered. On these pages, I am no longer bound by those constraints.

Whenever I shared my adventures, people often said, “You really should write a book!”

Finally . . . I did.

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Photo by Laddy Kite