George Graham

Resisting the False Appeal of Glamour and Glitz


On a day like today, when dark clouds choke the sky and lingering showers drift through my Florida town, I am prone to a reflective review of my life. I wouldn’t say that it is a period of unadulterated regret. But I wonder how my life would have turned out if I had been more, well, sensible.

If I had kept working at Tower Isle Hotel and become a manager in Abe Issa’s resort empire, for example… If I had stayed at Pan Am and made a career in travel… If I had stuck with public relations… or technical writing and editing… or even advertising…

But I could not stay away from the news game. As we used to say, I had printer’s ink in my veins. I loved the game and I was equally fascinated by the image of myself as a glamorous reporter, in my belted trench coat, an imaginary PRESS card stuck in my hat band.

Of course it was silly. But I can’t quite bring myself to regret it. It was so much fun. And it made me feel so darned good about myself.

I can’t help comparing myself – unfavorably, of course – to my grandson, Jonathan.

He just passed his final CPA exam, embarking on a career in accounting that I am sure will provide a rock-solid future. I never thought of accounting as glamorous. I chaffed at the bit when I had to put in time in the accounting department at Tower Isle.

And I am sure Jonathan doesn’t think of accounting as glamorous, either. But glamour is the last thing on Jonathan’s mind.

He is a bright kid, a tall, lean, handsome kid (second from left in the photo above, with his mother Grace, dad Frank and brother Adam). He could have been anything he wanted to be. In his shoes, I might have been tempted to try Hollywood or TV, or magazines… one of those careers they make movies about.

But not Jonathan. He has his mother’s practical nature. He chose accounting.

And he was prepared to make the effort that the choice demanded. After graduating from the University of Florida, he did not give in to the impatient need I might have felt to start making money; he went on to get a master’s degree at Florida State.

By then, I would certainly have had enough of studying; I would have concentrated on cashing in on my education instead. But, to his credit, Jonathan hit the books again, and stayed with it until he got that crucial CPA behind his name. And he did it while working. When other kids his age were partying, he was burning the midnight oil, pondering deferred depreciation and tax free debentures, battling with balance sheets and exploring the nuances of annual reports.

That’s what I call true grit.

Now, the sky’s the limit for Jonathan. He can write his own ticket to success. And I am absolutely certain that he will.

Congratulations Jonathan! I am so very proud of you!

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for