Back in 1986 Norbert Hopfer used to ask me that question almost daily. "I can't imagine you'll accomplish a thing today without it."
When I first got into radio sales at KFMZ in Columbia MO, I used to carry this ridiculously huge briefcase which made me an easy target for ridicule. Norb was the station's general manager and one of the good ones - a very warm, personable guy that made you want to work hard for him... but he always gave me shit about the case. All in good fun, of course.
He retired soon after I started at KFMZ, but we worked together long enough for me to learn a lot. Over the past 22 years, he has crossed my mind frequently but honestly (and I feel major guilt for saying this) I thought that, considering average life expectancy, he had probably died.
Like, 10 years ago.
So it was a really cool surprise when I took a last minute detour through the McDonalds drive-thru this morning and saw him walking to his car. I thought I was seeing a ghost, so I rolled down the window and asked if it was him.
"Hey, Dave! Where's your briefcase??" That dude has a great memory.
It made me wish I had looked him up years ago. We stood there in the parking lot and caught up on each other's goings-on. He's 85 and hasn't changed a bit.
Out of interest, tonight I googled Norb Hopfer. Nothing. By the time the internets became popular, he had retired.
It does my heart good to know that now when someone searches Norb, they will see this story. Norb is a good man and deserves to be googleable.
I think we should take an hour or two every month and look up an old friend. Do it now and drop them an email. You might be surprised at how many are still alive! (wink wink - sorry Norb)