RUSH: Before we get started with the election coverage and everything else that’s gonna make up the content portion of the program today, an update on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society radiothon that we did on Friday. I don’t have the final numbers in yet. I think they’re still being tallied, but it was another record amount donated. And, folks, it is phenomenal. Let me put this in perspective for you.
The final number’s gonna come somewhere north of $3 million, in our 26th year of doing this. That amount of money generated essentially in a three-hour radio program, but it wasn’t three hours because we didn’t go wall-to-wall content on the radiothon. I bet you, if I went and tabulated it, we probably spent 45 minutes total, because we did the rest of the program as well. And, of course, we had our obscene profit time-outs and local news breaks. It’s even more phenomenal when you look at the — we had more donors this year than we did the previous year. We always make a note of that.
Per capita donations were up. And, as I said going into it on Friday, I’m always anxious about this because we’ve done this for so many years, and every year you in this audience triumph. You outdo yourselves from the previous year and there’s so much appreciation for it that it’s impossible to explain or properly thank you. But let me just try again, because it’s overwhelming and all of us here are truly humbled by it.
I remember when my first book came out, it was going gangbusters and it shocked everybody ’cause nobody knew who I was. Well, starting to, it was 1992. And the publisher had arranged a book party at 21. This is back in the days when the New York establishment, the elites, showed up at events I was going to be at ’cause they weren’t yet aware of who I was. They were curious. “Who is this guy? Who is this guy that’s never written a book before that is outselling some of our dream authors in their whole career?” So they come and they show up and they ask me how I’m doing and what I think of it and so forth.
This one guy from TIME magazine or Time-Life, maybe, maybe not particularly the magazine, came up to me. He was nice, but it was clear he thought he was talking down to someone, looking down his nose. He thought I was a pretender to the literary world and he said, “So, how does this make you feel?”
And I said, “Humbled.”
He looked at me with this crazy expression on his face. “Humbled? You have a book that’s selling millions of copies and you’re humbled?”
I said, “Yeah.”
“What do you mean, humbled?” He had no idea.
I said, “I’m humbled that I write a book and so many people would go out and buy it and read it.”
“Humbled? You should be exalted. You should be strutting around here like you own the room, and you’re humbled?”
I said, “Yes, I’m humbled.” And he didn’t get it. And that should have been my first indication of the kind of people that make up that elite world in establishment circles. The idea of humility in a situation like that totally escaped the guy. He was a nice guy, from what I’m told. He was not mean. He was not rude. He just had a different set of values. Humility to him was not a virtue. It was a weakness.
Nora Ephron asked me the same thing once at a dinner party in New York. It was a dinner party where I was the circus act and didn’t know it at the time. “Who is this?” It’s like they’re able to invite an exotic animal from the zoo to come to dinner. Oh, I can’t wait to tell the stories of some of this stuff when some of these people pass away. You wouldn’t believe the stories. One dinner party, I’ll just give you an example. There were about 30 people there, and me and one other circus act.
I had a handler, and the 28 people who were the normal attendees of these kind of things kept telling stories of how they’d all slept with each other. I’m sitting here listening and they’re laughing and yukking it up and they’re getting detailed and specific. They’re married.
I’m thinking after a while, you know, this is a put-on. They are seeing what they… They hope I’ll go nuts, walk out of here in anger or whatever, ’cause I’m a conservative animal from the zoo here. So they were just really laying it on, and they were talking about the drug use that they’ve done. It was clear that they were trying to get a rise out of me. I didn’t believe 90% of it, because at one point one of the esteemed guests — a former member of the Nixon administration — finally called a halt to it and said, “I’m getting very nervous with this.
“I think we should stop.” And my handler, who they seated next to me, I jabbed him in the elbow and said, “See? I told you this whole thing is they’re putting us on here.” Yeah, I couldn’t be accepted to show up alone. They gave me a handler who was also conservative but that they knew. You know, like a lion tamer. Just like a lion. You invite the tamer, too. Anyway, I’m humbled by what you all do here on our Cure-A-Thon. I really, really am. And so grateful for it, and I’m so honored to be a part of it. So are all the people at Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
So, thank you once again from the bottom of our hearts.