I was as shocked and dismayed as millions of Americans when Donald J. Trump became the president-elect of the United States. How did it happen that a man with little, if any, political experience could rise to that height?
I remembered the day he announced his plan to run, June 15, 2015, at a dusty airport to a modest group of news reporters and TV cameras with his personal jet embossed with the word “Trump” on its body.
The Associated Press reported flatly the announcement, but many of the reporters filed tongue-in-cheek stories. One wonders what they think of the day now.
Trump’s success went against all the traditions of politics on a national level. He had no political party’s backing, no program for the U.S., just bluster and rant. But that rant caught on with millions of Americans, hence president-elect.
I thought about it all and it became clear that he won simply because he wouldn’t accept any other outcome. Doggedly, determined to succeed with a chilling focus on doing it “his way” he drove through opposition from all sides, single-mindedly, confidently, certain of the outcome. No great political plan, just Trump himself. I pondered his success and came to the conclusion that he just would not accept anything else.
Since this is the “sentimental season” of looming holidays, I thought of whom did I know that shared such an obsession?
It took me only minutes to fasten on one person, Sandy, an old friend who lived her life as Trump did with a goal fixed as the sunrise.
I knew Sandy back in Chicago Playboy days when she was a secretary to a Playboy Enterprises executive who dealt with new ideas for the company. I met her through taking magazine ideas to her boss. We became working friends, close but never intimate, as she helped me achieve my magazine ideas.
Sandy was Chicago-born and tough. As we lunched in the 1970s, I heard her history. From a small Chicago family, she had married young and when looking for a job to support her college-bound husband, she saw a Chicago Tribune ad for women who wanted to become Playboy Bunnys at the Chicago club.
She applied and despite a modest bosom, was hired, trained and enjoyed a modest financial success.
That is until she became pregnant and could no longer fit into the tight Bunny costume. She asked the company for some other job and they made her an “executive secretary.”
With no business training she dug into the job, learning as she worked and becoming a successful secretary. I dealt with her often to get my projects accepted.
She had one apparent goal — to be a success in her job and take good care of her son. She did both, despite her ex-husband’s failure to help support his son.
She lived an active life, sailing on Lake Michigan and skiing at the Playboy resort in Wisconsin (and breaking a leg, which didn’t slow her down as she mastered crutches and climbed her second story Near North Side apartment).
I continued to work through her to get my magazine ideas accepted. (I was editor of one of Playboy’s magazines.)
Then she told me she was going to Loyola University four nights a week studying accounting, which she enjoyed. This meant five days in the office, four days in college and the rest of the days coping with her bright and inquisitive son, plus taking care of a mentally disturbed, aging mother.
I’d left Playboy by then but mutual friends kept me informed. I took her to lunch later one day and learned all this. I asked how she juggled it all.
“Because I must do it all, I’ll never quit,” she said.
I heard that she received her CPA status then and later moved to Los Angeles to form an all-woman accounting firm.
I phoned her and congratulated her on her success.
“I never had much choice,” she told me. “I had to succeed; I had no other choice.”
Well, maybe no other choice. Maybe it wasn’t on the grand level as President-elect Trump, but she simply couldn’t accept failure. I heard recently that her all-woman firm was a great success, helping female movie stars keep their money.
It’s enough remembering Sandy’s iron-will and drive to make me consider expanding my aerobic exercise program to 45 minutes. If Trump and Sandy can do it, why can’t I?
Don’t bother to rush to see “Doctor Strange,” a Marvel production starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a top surgeon who loses his fine hand control in a car accident. There’s so much of computer-generated images that it’s difficult that to know what is supposed to be real. If there’s something good in the film it’s watching British actress, Tilda Swinton, who plays mystical character “The Ancient One.” She’s bald, but enchanting.
Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.