Morning Call columnist Paul Mussik’s last column

I never thought I’d compare myself to Lou Gehrig, but today I know how he felt when he gave his famous “Luckiest Man on Earth” speech.

On July 4, 1939, two weeks after retiring from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the baseball great addressed a sold-out crowd at Yankee Stadium. Today the disease is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Gehrig considers himself blessed because he was able to spend a lot of time doing what he loved and playing baseball with so many great people, with the support of his family, teammates and fans. He told the crowd that he was there.

“For the last two weeks you’ve been reading about bad breaks. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the planet. has received nothing but kindness and encouragement,” Gehrig said. “Looking around, don’t you think it’s a privilege to be with a good-looking guy standing in this ballpark today in uniform? I’m lucky, sure.”

With that in mind, I say goodbye to wake-up calls.

This will be my last column. I resigned from my role and went elsewhere outside of journalism.

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a journalist. I studied communications in college and started my first job a few weeks after graduating. It’s everything we’ve been doing for 30 years.

I don’t know many people who have been lucky enough to realize their dreams for such a long time. People change careers and jobs frequently these days. Many people struggle to find what they are passionate about. not me.

Like Gehrig, I’ve had endless support so far.

I’ve worked with great editors at Wake Up Call, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and Greensboro, NC News & Records. They encouraged me to write more authoritatively, explore more complex issues, and ask tougher questions.

At times it made me uncomfortable. But that’s how you grow.

I also learned from smart and experienced colleagues. I often absorbed their knowledge simply by observing. I saw them talking to people on the phone and on the street. I saw how they stood their ground when they were criticized for doing their job. I learned how they found a good story.

During that time, I have had a lot of support from my family as well. My parents paid for most of my college education. And my wife and sons put up with my work schedule.

Journalism is not a 9 to 5 job. While on duty in Pittsburgh, he hardly saw his wife for three years, as he worked his 3 to 11 shift, including Sundays. Holidays, night shifts, and weekend shifts prevented me from attending many family functions.In my years in Pittsburgh, I worked nearly every vacation.

I spent 19 years at Wake Up Call. His first four years were as a reporter in Beats covering the Northampton County and Allentown governments.

Then I took a big break.

Seeking to expand its role in community service, Wake Up Call created a new title: Watchdog Columnist. The editors wanted someone to be a troubleshooter for people who have been abused, deceived, or gotten away with by corporations and governments.

I never wanted to be a columnist. I’m not looking for the limelight. But the role was a perfect fit for my skills and a great opportunity to grow.

Just as Gehrig’s ballfield prowess wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Yankees fans, this column wouldn’t be as successful without your participation.

By having readers share their problems publicly with me, not only did I solve many of those problems, but I was able to spread the word and prevent others from running into similar problems. .

I’m proud of the success of the Watchdog column.

Over the past nine years, I have helped consumers recover approximately $467,000 in eligible payments, goods, and services. Other successes couldn’t be measured in dollars or cents, such as repairing cables and phone services that weren’t working and stopping annoying telemarketing calls.

Saving veterans and their families trapped in a bureaucratic black hole while seeking profit was particularly satisfying.

My term as watchdog ended in December 2017, and a wake-up call asked me to take on another role as an opinion columnist. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone.

I never liked politics. It made me a perfect fit for the job.

I wrote it from a common sense point of view, not claiming a left or right position. At times it aligned me with liberals. At times, it aligned me with conservatives. I didn’t really care.

Because of the many positions I took, I had a target on my back. I have thick skin. Blowback reinforced that I was doing my job well.

Writing about politics was a big part of my job, but I made sure my column was more broad. I used this platform to share stories of good things happening in the Lehigh Valley and promote activities like donating blood.

I’m normally a cautious person, but it was nice to share my personal experience.that’s why i wrote about mine fighting skin cancer (still in progress, had 4th surgery in January); Beloved Labrador Retriever Bodie’s death; and me son going to college.

I have been in this role for a long time. Thank you to everyone who made me feel lucky.

Wake Up Call columnist Paul Mastic can be reached at 610-820-6582 or Morning Call columnist Paul Mussik’s last column

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