And it allowed me to recommit, if you will, to the work I was doing. Or do you crawl under the covers and hope the world goes away? I actually, luckily, got a fire in my gut because it was: Now, this is your chance. So, if you want to continue to do the work and you don't want to work in that situation then all you can do is start your own company, create a program and try and sell it. Grade nine was the last time we lived in the same city. And a friend of mine that I'd gone to university with called and said that the host of his radio open line show had fallen ill and was taken to the hospital. I can trot out every cliché in the world: You don't judge the book by the cover. And it may be because we're weak and we're trying to avoid confrontation that we make a choice or it may be because we're strong. I think I can find a point in somebody, almost anybody, a point of connection because I truly like people and I'm genuinely curious about them. And I had a few symptoms and I ignored them and finally went in and when I finally got to my doctor she said: You need a colonoscopy right now. I had never even contemplated in my life ever having a colonoscopy because they don't sound too pleasant. So, I just feel that, obviously, there are other things for me to do. Because you go home after that and you've got nowhere to go the next morning. If you really want to go and sell shoes at The Bay or become a floral designer or whatever it is, this is your chance because you're free. I think you have been more successful since then, have you not? I'd always worked for someone and so I went about talking to people who I knew had run businesses and said: What do I need to know? But she's just part of me and that connection just stays and, obviously, you meet new people in the course of work. These people are murderers and killers and have created some horrors in their wake but there's usually a reason they're there and, to me, that's always been interesting. We met in Argentina while we were covering the Falklands war. We spent 10 years together and had very different careers and I was doing Canada A. and getting up at in the morning and I defy anybody to sort of survive that, never mind a relationship. We only come to learn that after we can see the patterns because individual cases are hard: Only you know in your heart why you did something and only they do. But that's not to say that it's going to make you some expert in relationships. That's really all that matters is our relationships and you can't have a relationship if you can't listen: if you can't hear what the other person is talking about. So I went in and I asked him to be as frank with me as he could, you know, whatever he found. And I'm just going to carry on and maybe one day I'll even figure out what I'm supposed to do. And I have a sense that in the last few years you've kind of been becoming Canada's Oprah. I've had many conversations with him and in one of them I asked him if he could go back to that night when he got in the back of the truck and they all went off and thought it was going to be a party and the rest is history.And he said he wouldn't change it for a moment because of the person that he's become as a result of that.Little did I realize that two weeks after finishing the book I would then be diagnosed with cancer and, in a way, this book is now even more meaningful to me than it was then. My parents came to stay with me and be with me through the course of the surgery. On the Tuesday morning the television was on, as it always is in my house, and I saw the first event. And I think that overall the kind of response we're seeing is a really positive one.
Of course the recipient benefits, but all of us who give -- who do things, who give of our time or write a check or whatever the case may be -- we're the ones that secretly feel really good when we go home at night and say: I did do something. I think we all want to feel as if we've made some contribution in some way. I think my two most successful -- the indicators of success that are important to me -- are my ability to reinvent, regroup when faced with some kind of crisis or problem. Getting fired, for me, was absolutely the best thing that ever happened. I was fired from the CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation], I don't know, seven or eight years ago. But the really important one and it's been reinforced 100 times, 100-fold since the cancer is really that I do judge my success by the company I keep and I've got the most amazing family and I've got the most amazing set of friends. Well, actually, what I'm trained as is a psychologist. And he said: Can you get a couple of weeks off just to help me out? I don't suppose I was in the building 24 hours before I realized that this was where I was meant to be. You're not in the mix of the newspaper where the person reading the newspaper may actually only want the sports. People never really believe that television is an intimate medium, but it is. I always want the show that I do to be a place like the post office in Wadema, Saskatchewan where people come and talk and meet each other and people who wouldn't necessarily know each other or have supper together or be friends still meet and still come together and have a conversation.
What I have of found is that it's made people much more willing to be risk takers and to be givers.
And you just hear that from [prominent Canadian wheelchair hero] Rick Hansen, who is, of course, somebody familiar to all of you.
We all have to test our own character and find out what's there: you know, what's our mettle? And we've seen how people have responded helping each other in just unprecedented ways. [Laughs] Yeah: Don't try this at home but if you have to deal with this you will be better for it.
And cops and firemen are now the heroes again and not the guys on Wall Street. So I think something good will come out of that and I feel that way personally too: that sometimes you need to confront your own mortality and I don't recommend this... And there are a dozen stories, if not more, of people in [Speaking of Success] who have told me precisely that.