Do you ever wonder how folks face challenges that are extremely difficult and extremely fearful and extremely challenging? Scott Brinson has an amazing survivor's story of finding hope in the recovery community that is sure to encourage you to get back up and keep going!
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There have been a lot of times where I didn't know what was going to happen and could envision the worst. And there have been times where it's been extremely difficult and extremely fearful and extremely challenging. And I can honestly say that in my adult life, all of my worst dreams have come true.
Welcome to season two of Chewing the Fat. I have your host, Big Robb. Thank you so much for deciding to come back, download the episode. I am so excited to be back behind the mic again. Had a nice hiatus, caught Corona, feeling much better, but I am so glad to be back here with you. Thank you to all the folks who have bought me a coffee during the hiatus. I appreciate that from Lydia and also Shelly. Thank you so much.
for supporting the podcast and allowing me to do this. It's so much fun. And I'm really excited to connect with an old friend on our episode one here of season two. Please welcome Scott Branson. Thank you very much. You're just kind of giggling there. What do I do with that? I'm very, very, I didn't realize it would be the kickoff episode for your second season, so very, very honored.
Oh, you asked me. Oh, I'm I really am glad that you said yes. Scott and I worked together at a television station probably. 30 years ago. Almost almost. It was like 1990 with three or four or something like that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Scott, an amazing videographer and storyteller. I was just the old sound guy in the booth. But.
I don't know. We've just stayed in touch. You know, I mean, it's probably, there was probably like 10 years that went before we, you know, before they invented Facebook and just kind of, you know. And that was the big connector. I mean, that was the big connector with me and a lot of people who I hadn't spoken to in several years. But yeah, I mean, that's, and you're one of the people that I, you're one of the reasons I haven't deleted Facebook. Well, thank you.
Because there are, I mean, there's a handful of people that are, that I'm not aware of or haven't really been active with on other social media platforms. And so that's the way, you know, that I hear from them are, you know, which I mean, that would be easy to solve just by exchanging phone numbers. I mean, you know, people anymore, right? Come on. Yeah. But you have, you have gone on and done lots of different things. Of course, you came to Augusta. You are not an Augusta native.
negative, correct? No, no. So where did you come? Where did you, where are you born? Where you come from? I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, but I don't know anything about that because my parents moved when I was like six months old. Oh, there you go. Yeah. Thank God. No. So I grew up in Virginia Beach. Okay. Um, we moved when we settled there when I was five and, uh, I lived in Virginia Beach until I graduated from college. Um, and I graduated from JNB.
you in Virginia and in with a degree in broadcasting and had had just blown it out. I mean, I was the campus anchor man for the local TV campus news. I was the local on the our campus radio station was an MPR affiliate. And so in the mornings, starting at like 5 30 would do the news cut it, the local news cut it. So it was all tied into.
my degree and it was an internship and etc etc. But by the time I graduated, I just had these from somewhere, I don't know where these noble ideals that I didn't have a burning desire to bring the news to people. So why am I doing this? Just to be on television, which seemed like BS. So I wanted to study acting. That's what I always wanted to do, but my parents wouldn't really get
So a lot of my friends in broadcasting at JMU got jobs at CNN as you know, entry level and they were all coming to Atlanta and one night that one drunk and night and they were like, what's keeping you here? Why don't you just come to Atlanta with us? And I was like, okay. Yeah. So that was that. So I was 22, 23 and hit Atlanta.
rocket and burned out fairly quickly. I moved here in the fall of 1985 and I got sober in September of 1988. Oh wow. It was like three years of really living it up. I got a job as a waiter because I figured I would go on auditions and study theater and all that kind of stuff and
It started out that way. Yeah. But along the way I gave up the ghost. It came out of the closet, which I was the only one who didn't know. It come to find out that was a big waste of time. So I found, you know, I like to dance. I was always a really good dancer. And so I discovered the clubs and started basically living at them. And that got out of control real fast.
And luckily, I burned out quickly. And it was...
You know, I, it was divine intervention, literally, that I ended up at my first AA meeting, had never really thought of getting sober before. Didn't even quite realize I had a problem with alcohol. Just realized that really messed up things had started happening in my life and alcohol was a through line. It was always there. Fortunately for me, I was too poor and too scared
Drugs really hardcore. Oh, wow. Yeah. You could afford cocaine, not me. Yeah. So it was alcohol. And so once I got there, I surrendered pretty easily. It was easy for me to just admit I don't have a better idea. I don't know what I'm doing and I'm lost. And so at 25, I got sober and I felt old. I mean, you could.
I was like, hacked out 25, looking back, holy cow, 25 is young. So I mean, I'm very happy to say that I've lived most of my adult life as a recovering sober adult and also according to the principles of living life that I learned through the 12 step program. And then I'm really grateful that I never
over examined the whole thing to the point where I started questioning and thinking I had a better plan, you know, I figured is, and it's worked out for me as long as I, as long as I just don't overanalyze that. Right. Just, just do what I'm supposed to do. Do what I know has worked for me. Yeah. And, and it did. I mean, I know a lot of people fall into a lot of traps and it doesn't work for a lot of people.
and there are lots of alternatives that have come up since then. But the classic way has worked for me. And so for that, you know, I'm really grateful. And it has led to every opportunity that I've had. I mean, every opportunity I've had in my adult life can be traced back to the fact that I got sober. So what happened was I was a waiter. I was tired of being a waiter. A friend of mine that I had been in the clubs with who wasn't really clubbing anymore, either was a visual manager at Macy's that he needed help for Christmas.
He said, come be my Christmas help. I'm pretty sure you could do it. I did that and it went really well. He said, I need an assistant. They're going to let me hire one. Will you be it? I said, yes. I was with Macy's for like a year and they offered me the Augusta Store to be a visual manager. Oh, wow. Yeah. So, and the acting thing, I said, one thing my drinking took away for me was the courage to audition. So, I really wasn't really thinking about that anymore. And so, I took this opportunity. I had a year
my belt. So, you know, I was like, you know, if you want to take this shit, do it. So I did. And moved to Augusta quickly got rooted shout out to the Westside Club and the hill group got rooted in recovery in Augusta. And the recovery in Augusta is really, really strong. And I learned a lot about life that I thought I do everything you can tell me anything. But these people,
taught me a lot of lessons about just being a human among humans and what the nature of genuine friendship is and unconditional love and just all kinds of things like that. It was really, really, especially in hindsight, very healthy developmental time for me. Macy's lasted about a year and a half as they started going through bankruptcy and everything got really shady and it was not a good place to work anymore. I was miserable. So I quit.
quit with no plan and no money in the bank. So it was a friend of mine from the Westside Club who saw an ad in the paper for running the teleprompter at Channel 12 and said, you know, you have a degree, you're probably overqualified once you give it a shot. So I did and it worked out and I got hired. And I went from being the teleprompter operator to eventually not too long after a few months to being a videographer.
And that's how eventually you and I met. And it was through our producer, Mandy, whose father came through town one night and she invited me to dinner as a sort of a buffer between her and her father. It was a great experience. We had a perfectly fine evening. And six months later, she had gotten a job and moved away. He calls me at channel 12. Like we're about, the news is about to start.
says, you know, I thought we've been trying to locate someone for this position and we can't find anybody. And so I was trying to think outside of the box and I thought of you, we're starting a new television network, would you be interested in moving to California? Wow. And I'm like, can I call you back? We're about to go on the air. And that new television network was UPN. And so I got hired to be part of
of the management team that got UPN on the air. Oh, wow. Yeah, it was, I mean, people, I don't think in the subsequent years that when I tell people that this happened, I don't think that a lot of people really genuinely believed it because how does that happen? Right. Who goes from being a videographer in Augusta to being a broadcast operations manager and then director in Hollywood? Right. How does that happen? Right. But it did. Right.
Yeah. And what I can say is the fact that I was not the fact that I was sober. Yeah, is what enabled me to, I think, take those chances, like look at them rationally way pros and cons, talk to people, and then take the chances. Yeah. You know. Um.
So and then again, once I got to Los Angeles, I got myself, you know, connected to recovery, the recovery community there. That's great. Right away to. Because I feel like that would be, I mean, that's what that you're walking, you know, out of the frying pan into the fire. If you're when you go to Los Angeles, as far as like, that's exactly a recovery. I mean, you know, you're there and it's literally every, every breath, every footstep is a temptation. Well, and the great thing is, is that, you know, if you move to another city,
within the recovery community, and you should show up at a meeting or whatever, and you say, because you have to be brave enough to do it, you have to be brave enough to stand up and say, I'm Scott, I just moved here, I don't know anybody, I've got this huge job, and I'm really afraid, because I want to do really well, but this is a complete unknown, so I'm here. And people, I mean, I did that when I moved to Augusta, people surround you with their love, and their arms, and their phone numbers, and then it's on me to tell you,
take advantage of utilizing that, which I did, and it worked. It all worked. So that was a really golden period of my life. That's great. That's great. And then from there and all the stuff that happened with the UPN and any other. Yeah, then things happened. And then things happened. Did you come back to Georgia directly from there? Or?
Well, no, I got laid off from UPN because it had been hemorrhaging money the entire time and there was a change in regime at the top. So the people who hired me and promoted me were gone. And then eventually the guy that they brought in was from Disney who was notorious for cost cutting and they saw redundancies between myself and services that were already being performed by paramount television syndication on the Paramount lot.
Why are we paying him? Why don't we just to run this department? Why don't we just subcontract? Which is what they did. So I got a really nice severance package. And I, but I was shell shocked. And that's pretty mildly because people had been coming and going, you know, there was just transition going, but I and my department physically got us on the air. And, you know, my record was like spotless with them. And we had never had an incident.
You know, I mean, the only, the biggest thing that happened one time, Telstar 401, which was our satellite that we uplinked all of our programming to went off its orbit in outer space and vanished. Oh no. And I get a phone call at like two o'clock in the morning on a Friday, like Mr. Brinson, you have some feeds coming up and we just wanted to contact you first because your satellite has is no longer in space. What?
Nothing's that. Well, they were on somebody else's satellite. Basically that's it. They had, they already had a plan in place. They needed me to approve it. And so I did. And then it was on me to get in touch with everybody and make sure that everybody knew what was going on. And, you know, being able to handle that situation, my stock was really high at the network for, for some time. Anyway, so I get laid off. I'm, I'm just shocked. Um,
So Cinderella story blew up and I moved back to Atlanta and took this, I needed cash. So I took this job doing visuals at a luxury retailer here. So I'm not gonna say their name because they don't have great things to say about them at this point. Hopefully it won't slip out later. I take this job and ended up staying there for 20 years. Wow. Because it was a safe harbor.
The people who ran the plate, who were running in place at the time, liked me, appreciated me. I felt valued. I had great insurance and I, it was a fun job with fun people. And I had a boss who was just so talented and so much fun. He was from LA. And so we had that. It was like, you know, I had that, but in Atlanta, that connection, but in Atlanta. So, but then things started happening.
I turned 40 and found out that I was HIV positive. Thinking that I had escaped that whole thing. Guess again. So there was dealing with that. And it was, you know, it took, you know, a few years for me to even be able to get my head straight that, okay, you're not gonna die. Things are different. Luckily, I walked into a terrific doctor, internal medicine.
who took care of me for just a couple of decades till he retired and moved away. So I felt taken care of eventually, and then connected with the recovery community again, and showed up with this just bottomless fear that I had. And people walked me through that and left me through that, and I was able to move forward. Then when,
turned 48, I found out I had colon cancer. I had gotten into the best shape of my life swimming like swimming a mile a day four times a week and working out and you know, just looking good having fun. And but had this recurring pain that over months became more regular and it was like every time I ate breakfast, lunch, dinner, about 20 minutes later, it was like it was the food was hitting a bad patch in the road. Wow.
So my doctor, that same doctor, he was trying to eliminate other things, but eventually he recommended I have a, well, first they did a scan and then there's a shadow showed up and then he wanted me to have a colonoscopy right away and that's when they found a tumor. And it was stage three colon cancer. You know, I was like completely unprepared for that.
that when my doctor told me they had made an appointment with a surgeon for me, and this was the appointment time, I went by myself. Because I thought I was just meeting the doctor. Right, right. No, this was the appointment where the surgeon laid out how she was going to treat me and what they were gonna do and what was laying ahead of me for the next few months. And I left there thinking, I should have brought somebody with me. Someone should be driving me home. I should have.
But I did not question a lot of people when they get that kind of diagnosis, immediately start doing their own investigative work. I made a conscious decision not to do that because I, I mean, I couldn't process the fact that it was happening in the first place, much less overwhelming myself with too much information. Right. So I put the blinders on and did exactly what I was told. Yeah. And that was, what?
10 years ago, 10, 11 years ago, I've been clear ever since. They had the surgery, they got the tumor, sewed the colon back up, and then I did like 12 rounds of chemotherapy, which was, you know, no picnic, but in relation to people with far more serious types of cancers, it was not the worst that could have happened to me. And I've been clear ever since. That's great. So trauma, I mean, trauma.
really big things. Yeah. I mean, you hear. Yeah. It sounds like you've been hit with one thing after the other, you know, and like it's it's it's, you know, and I know life is like that. I think for for everyone to different degrees, you know, but I mean, it seems like you got hit with a lot of stuff. A lot of those thing is your I don't want to call you extra, but you got hit with a lot of high level stuff. You know, if you're going to do it, do it right.
Exactly. See, here's the thing. I mean, what I, you know, the whole concept of one day at a time. Like I said, you know, I was introduced to this, you know, fairly early on in my adult life. And so it's like, so I would take these situations and just take what I could handle for that day, you know, to try not to figure things out that I knew I couldn't figure out to just like let go of what I was obviously futile for me to try to wrestle within my head.
and to try to just do what I could do each day. And that's what I meant by like put the blinders on to just kind of get through each day. And so living in that way, I never really looked back and connected everything together. And it was like, and to be like, holy cow. You know? Yeah. I never really looked at it that way until after the cancer surgery, after that whole thing had resolved itself
I turned 50. Yeah. And um, pardon me.
I started having, um, I guess you could call it survivor guilt or existential midlife prices hitting me late. It's like, why am I still here? Yeah. I mean, I survived coming out HIV, alcoholism, colon cancer, you know, my life, my dream life falling apart. Why am I here?
No burning bush came down, I can tell you that. Yeah. But I started taking advantage of opportunities that would occur to me or thoughts that would, I started acting on thoughts that would occur to me, not wasting time. One of those was I was adopted and had always known that I was adopted and was given a really good, good upbringing and childhood. And my parents did everything
I was not an appreciative kid. I was lots of regret about how I treated my family, but I had a lot of pain from school. It's like, I always say, I wasn't abused in my home. I was abused at school for years. So, and I would take that pain out on my parents because I knew I was in my head. I was like, I was safe there. They were never gonna kick me out. There were nobody to get rid of me.
So it was like a safe subconsciously, it was a safe place to sort of rage and act out. Yeah. Those poor people. So when I finally went away to college, it was a break for everybody. Yeah. Um, anyway, flash forward, I decided to, you know, I'm 50 years old, time is passing. Let's, I don't know, see if I can find out something about my birth family genealogy. And state of Oklahoma.
in the, in over the years had changed their laws such that they now for their adoptions, they had opened up a search register, a two way search registry, where if the birth mother had signed up or father and the adoptee had had both signed to the register, they would match. Oh, wow. Which is not always how Oklahoma had been, because I had tried this before and had run up against a, basically an iron curtain. But things had changed.
Pardon me, changed. And so found out that my birth mother had.
signed over the registry. It took a long time because they had trouble following her path. But they finally, you know, had a name. It was a woman that I knew in Los Angeles. Wow. She had been my temporary sponsor for a hot minute. What? And to God. What? And.
You know, if it was a lifetime movie, a bell would have gone off or something, but we didn't. She didn't know you didn't know. No, I didn't know. You know, I gravitated toward her. But only because I thought she was really cool, you know, and thought it would be a positive influence, a good influence that I could use in my life at that time. Scheduling didn't work out. She had a really full life. She was like a circuit speaker within the recovery community. She traveled to speak. She had like a lot
sponsors. She was like a little recovery celebrity, not little actually kind of a big one. And so it just didn't work out, you know, no hard feelings or anything. It was just kind of like I need to find somebody else who can, you know,
So yeah, that was my birth mother. And the way that I know for sure, because it's, you know, I didn't believe it until the adoption service told me there was another son. And so if, you know, they would get in touch with him and if he was, you know, Copa said, cool about it, we, they would do a DNA test, or that we could arrange to have a DNA test taken. And so that happened.
through a mutual, the person that put us together was actually a mutual friend of ours from the LA recovery community, who knew both of us independently. And so he put us together, convincing this, the other son that he could trust me that I wasn't like a psycho or a freak. Test worked out. So as it was as much of a match as possible. And so we met,
each other. I mean, I have a half brother. He's 10 years younger than I am. Wow. And at the point that we finally connected, when he found out that I lived in Atlanta, he said, we're moving there. Like what? His wife's family, she grew up in Avondale Estates, which is a community just outside of Metro Atlanta. And they were moving here to be closer to her family. Oh, my gosh. Because his mother had passed away. I don't think I said that. She had passed away.
to ask if you had a chance to connect with her. Big drop detail. She was dead. Yeah. So that was a missed path. But I never got really too upset about that because we had met. And Cass, which is my brother's name, told me that the time during which I knew her was one of the best times of her life. So if she had a choice, she would have wanted me to know her.
version of herself. Oh, wow. Because later in her life, she got ill and there were financial problems and things got really challenging before she passed away. Um, so I met her at a great time. Oh, wow. Um, so yeah, my half brother lives here in, in, uh, Lawrenceville. So that's why have you guys got together? Had a coffee or a lunch? Yes. Yes, we did. We started having regular dinners and he was, uh, uh, special effects makeup artist in LA worked on several.
really big films, adventure movies and Birdman and stuff like that. Yeah. And he specialized in like monster makeup. Yeah. And and so it was like, it was really funny. It was like, he made things ugly and I made things beautiful. Those are two professions were like the other side of the coin of each other. Yeah. And so he's he's he's an artist. He's like a pure artist and temperament and personality and everything. And so we have, you know, we really have that in that
common. And I mean, I guess that's pretty cool that he can do that work in Atlanta now so much of Hollywood has moved to Georgia. That's exactly right. You know, and he can continue his his work or whatever. And you know, I mean, they're building another studio like every two or three weeks, Atlanta Athens and all these other places like that. Exactly. Maybe he can get you know, that acting thing you wanted to do. You know, you're still a good looking guy.
Well, thank you. But I mean, that's, you know, it certainly is possible, but not something that I'm pursuing right now. I mean, the fact is right now I am in sort of a, an idle pattern. I, the place where I worked, things had evolved. They had gone through several bankruptcies in the mid-80s and had taken on a lot of leveraged debt, and such that they had like $4 billion in debt.
And it was really weighing the company down and there were regime changes. And finally, the people they brought in at the last stages to save the company started just slashing everything. And my boss that I had spoken about who was so talented and had been with them for like 23, 25 years got laid off. Oh, wow. And then we're going to give him his retirement package. He was like a year from retirement, but he fought for it and he got it. The whole culture changed.
from being a place where you were valued as a person and as a human being to being disposable. And finally came to the point where I couldn't take it anymore. And so I quit. Basically, shades of leaving Macy's when I was in Augusta. And then also,
leaving you PN. Yeah. Because my father in the interim, my, my parents had passed away and my father passed away last. And so, um, his estate, you know, I got a, a chunk of change, which I'm not rich by any means, but it was enough that I didn't have to worry about trying to find a job right away. And so the question became, what do I want to do? Yeah. Because I was never a retail person. I never really, I just had sort of a talent for that. There wasn't something I ever really wanted.
to do. And it just became a place that I stayed because all that stuff started happening in my life and it was a safe harbor.
So pretty much over the last year, I've been, well, in the last seven months in earnest, looking for a job back in television. Only now it's not just television, it's basically media because there's streaming and there's a million different variations on it. But what I'm finding is being away from the industry for that long, things have evolved. And I'm not looking for an executive position or anything like that. I mean, I was, you know,
about it, looking for entry level like staff positions in areas with which I have had direct experience, you know, either at UPN or whatever. And it's challenging. Yeah, you know, I mean, I've been through some, some two, two stage interviews and the feedback that I get is that, you know, you're terrific. You know, we think that, you know, you'd be, but we need somebody right away and you don't have the direct experience with this software that we use. Oh, wow.
And, you know, it's frustrating and it brings up all kinds of fears of, you know, am I too old? Yeah. And, you know, it's acting on faith. There was a phrase that was introduced to me early on in recovery, which is that faith is hope with a track record. And I always could relate to that because I had a lot of hope. You know, I hope this works out. I hope this happens. Blah, blah, blah, blah. It's been 33 years.
I've been so, you know, thank God, not quit. I've been sober for 33 years. And so there have been a lot of times where I didn't know what was going to happen and could envision the worst. And there have been times where it's been extremely difficult and extremely fearful and extremely challenging. And I can honestly say that in my adult life, all of my worst dreams have come true. But I'm here.
Scott, to put this in the verbiage of the podcast here and for you to offer some advice to folks who might be listening, going through some of the same type of stuff, how do you keep the darkness at bay? I've been thinking about this since knowing what your podcast is and knowing that I was coming to talk to you. I've been really trying to come up with an answer basically. Because it hasn't just been one thing.
But the one thing I have to start off by saying is what I've already said, which is that things can seem really big and really incomprehensible, like how is possibly going to resolve itself. But the fact what I have to remember is I don't have to resolve it by tonight.
and try to break it down in that way. I also believe in a power greater than myself, which... I think it's a great idea to do that.
you know, puts it in the terms of it's just easier for me to say it that way. You know, I mean, I was raised Catholic and got burned out on organized religion fairly early, but never lost sight of the idea that there was something. And when I got sober, they said, that's all I needed, that that was enough. That's enough to build on just so long as you believe that you're not the one that's running the show. And and I did, I still believe that. And I've been able to, I believe. I was also taught that.
to believe is a choice. You choose to believe something, which was a revelation to me. It's like, I could choose to believe this. And I do, I mean, I do choose to believe that there's a power out there that I can access if I do the work and if I ask for help through prayer. I don't get burning bushes necessarily. I don't get, you know, the kind of neon signs that I would like that would make things
It's so much easier for sure. You know, but, but it's there. It's there. I mean, the fact that I'm still here to me is proof that it's there. And so I have to maintain my connection with that. I have never issued the value of outside help of therapy. I didn't pursue it so much in early recovery because I mean, I went to meetings every night and spilled my guts. And, you know, we all listen to each other.
a therapist for? Well, eventually, you don't have that kind of you know, and later recovery, you don't necessarily have the same people or, you know, things transition, things evolve. And then sometimes there, it does pay to have that one person that you talk to, if you can afford it. And I have gotten, you know, like I told you that therapist who I just really valued, I saw him for about a year and a half. Now, here's the reality of it.
practice moved to a nicer building in midtown and the rates went up because the rent went up and I couldn't afford to see him anymore because it wasn't covered by my insurance. Right. So you know, there's a lot of realities going on in our world today that make accessing certain help challenging. But if I really, really needed it, I know that there are other avenues, you know, I don't necessarily have to have try to afford something that I can't afford. And I also still have friends.
thing for me to remember is to reach out of myself. Whether it is even I have to tell somebody I need help because I have a habit of making people think everything's okay. That I can handle anything that I'm you know I'm gonna be fine because that's who I want to be. And I you know put that out there because that's who I want to be. That's not always who I am. I remember I went to a meeting
literally the weekend before my cancer surgery, and sat there and said for the first time, I'm so afraid, and I don't know what's going to happen, and I feel like a child because I'm so scared.
And people just surrounded me with their love. And if I do that, I have found in my adult life, if I make myself vulnerable, the times that I've made myself the most authentically vulnerable are the times when the most love has come back at me and solutions have come back at me. But I had to put myself out there first, as opposed to city makers. Why doesn't anybody know how much pain I'm in?
because you're not telling them, that's why, they think you've got an alchohol under control because you haven't told them. So reaching out is a huge deal, especially when you're dealing with your own pride and ego. That's been, that's definitely been, I mean, I'm grateful to have learned that, but it's something that has to be kept. You gotta keep the machine in motion or else it at, atrophies or whatever.
But that's really it's a spiritual life, a spiritual life and being of service to other people. Because I'm self involved as hell and I'm a narcissist and you know, I will stays. I'm so self involved. And but the gift that I was given was the ability to come out of that or at least, you know, that can exist. I can be self involved. I can be that person, but I can also be this other person. I've often said that recovery taught me that there was not just a worst of me. There is a best of me.
me. And I'm capable of being the both. You know, the point is to try to be the best of me more often. Is there something that just just really is bringing you joy here recently? I have a godson. Um, Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
This is, you know, this kid ruined me because I cry at anything now. If it, if my mind can somehow relate something back to him, my, the faucets come on.
During that same period after I had recovered from cancer, I was playing this video game called DC Universe Online, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, all that stuff. The comic books I had read when I was a kid. And it's an MMO, which means that people from all over the world are playing together at the same time. And there's like chat that everyone can communicate through. And also you can use Discord and other audio servers to talk to the people you're playing the game with in real time.
Um, this, this guy that I ended up being on the same sort of league, quote unquote, within the game, we got along really, really well. And it turned out we were in the same, we're both here in Atlanta. Excuse me. And, um, one night he, it was New Year's Eve. I'm playing a video game on New Year's Eve. You know, what a life. Anyway, he comes into the chat, the voice chat and says, guess what guys are like, what? He's like, I'm,
Dad. And we're like, what? And his wife had given birth earlier in the day. And so, you know, it's like, oh, my God, it's so awesome, so awesome. So flash forward. I mean, we had we had one. I helped him get a really nice Mother's Day present for her through the place where I worked. And so that was the first time we met in person. And, you know, that was a real leap of faith for him, because, you know, you're meeting somebody
line. Right. Yeah. So, but you know, that worked that worked out really well. We met at the quick trip and it was all you know, it was great. Then flash forward into the summer, their air conditioning went out over a holiday weekend, and they couldn't get a repairman until the following week. And it was the first weekend that it was going to hit over 100. Oh my gosh. And I'm like, Brian, you have a baby, you can't he said, well, we've got fans. I'm like, my roommate was in Europe, I was
with a roommate and he was in Europe. I said, in my roommates in Europe, I had this three, you know, there's tons, bring everyone here. Because he had a wife, a young stepdaughter and the baby, like come here. I have the room, it's only a couple of days and that took a lot of convincing, but he did come. Mm. So,
I fell in love, I saw this baby and just irrationally fell in love. His face, I mean, he looked like those dolls that they used to sell on like QVC and stuff, those like dolls that look really kind of realistic and they're almost scary. Yeah. Yes. But, but that's what he looked like. He was perfect. And so that started my relationship with them and started me trying to find reasons to like see him. Um, and
They were having financial troubles and Brian was going to go back to where he was from in Pennsylvania and work because he had an opportunity and save money and then bring them up. Things didn't go that smoothly and there was sort of things developed for them or there was an eventually it ended up in a divorce and there's just a lot of stuff going on, but throughout all that I stayed in contact with Brian and
and where I could, tried to step into either provide or provide information or assist, you know, financially or whatever I could do. Like I went up for his second birthday and through his second birthday party because I wanted to, you know, and also I knew that things were challenging for them. So it was like, this was something I could do. Right. It gave me a reason to be alive. Quite honestly. It gave me something.
outside of myself. And what I can honestly say is that little baby that who is now nine years old, but that boy was the first person I ever left more than myself, truly. Like the first person that I would, like it didn't matter if it was gonna be difficult for me or whatever that, you know, he needed this. And so, okay, if I can help to make that happen, I'm gonna help to make that happen, regardless of what I have to do on my end to make it happen.
because he mattered that much to me. And, you know, thankfully, I was in therapy at the time for this whole survivor's guilt thing that I told you I was dealing with and stuff. And my therapist had to give me permission to say that I love the kid because I didn't know what I was feeling. That's how, you know, Mr. Grownup that has it all in control. I didn't understand
love felt like or even what it was. Wow. And he's like, I'm telling you, I just really care. I just really care. And my therapist is like, Scott, you love him. Just say it out loud. You love him. And that's what happened. And so luckily, both his Xander's mother and father have been willing to let me stay in his life and their lives.
more so in the fathers because we were friends initially. And and his father has primary custodial care of him. But they are both the mother and father are both even though the divorce living in the same relative area in Colorado now. And Zander is there going to school and and now we play a different video game, Warframe and get online and talk and play that.
near risk to be alive.
And Xander taught me what it felt like to truly love someone.
And the other gift that happened was right before my, in the year before my father died, cause this kind of went on, this was happening. And so I was like, I'm not gonna die, I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die. And I'm gonna die.
Suddenly I understood everything that my parents had tried to do for me and also why they had made some of the decisions that they made.
They were afraid for me going out into the world in the same way that I had been afraid for Xander and wanting to assist and try to help as much as possible because of the fact that he was gonna now be part of a family of divorce. Yeah. And this perfect little child and I was just like, oh my God, no. But, I mean, things have obviously, things have worked out, but I understood.
it. And I was able to communicate with my father before he passed away, the fact that I get it, and he and I had had a horribly fractious relationship. And I was able to tell him, I understand. I understand what it was like. I understand what it's like to love your child so much that you're just afraid for them and how sometimes that can come out as frustration or anger, but it's only because you're afraid because you don't want them to be hurt.
And, you know, and I was able to tell him that I understood how hard he worked and everything that he sacrificed to provide for me.
And at one point, like we talked very regularly before he passed away. And at one point, you know, I had gone into sort of another round of apologizing for how I was as a teenager.
And he just blurted out. He's like 94, he just blurted out. Scott, I don't know why you keep apologizing to me. I love you.
which affected me so deeply that all I could say was, okay.
I heard him, I heard him. And it was genuine. It was totally unbidden and totally out of the blue. And so when my father passed away, I just knew that everything between us was good, possibly better than it had been since I was a child. And that's because it's Andrew.
So that's been a real gift. And that has been something that has gotten me through. That's the thing that brings me joy right now because yes, I am a classic film fan, love that, was involved with Turner Classic Movies fan club program for a couple of years, got really deep into that, then got out of it, it's that program no longer exists. And yes, I have other interests that I pursue in hobbies and all that, but
which being of service and caring about somebody outside of myself that gives me the ability sometimes to go forward. That always, that was a hallmark of recovery at the beginning is it's service to others gets us out of ourselves. We help other people and in so doing help ourselves. And it's that same principle now. Just, you know, outside of.
the circle of the recovery community. Another thing was that in the basic book of that recovery program, it talks about the program being a bridge back to life and becoming a functioning member of society. And so being able to take those principles and use them to live life with the world at large as opposed to just people in recovery, that's the goal. And that's what I've
been able to do and I'm very, very happy about it. I mean, I'm like, you know, it's been a really unexpected chapter of my life. But I'm extremely grateful for that. I'm really, really grateful for that. I'm really, really grateful for that. I'm really, really grateful for that. I'm really, really grateful for that. I'm really, really grateful for that. I'm really, really grateful for that. I'm really, really grateful for that. I'm really, really grateful for that.
All right, Scott, well, this is our third segment of the show. This we've reached the point, which time now for our fast five. Now, I still don't have any theme music for it. So you have to pardon me while I say it's time now for the fast five. Fast five is time now for the fast five. Fast five is powered by powered by Poddex. It's a great app for podcasters. Uh,
of conversation starters and questions that you can ask. There's an app, you can get physical decks as well. As a matter of fact, if you go to chewinthefatbr.com slash poddecks and use the promo code CHOO, you get 10% off your physical decks. But I'm gonna use the app and I'm gonna hit the randomizer. And this is just first answer that comes to the top of your head. Don't have to put a whole lot of pressure on you. It's not as stressful as people seem to think. And this is the first Fast Five of season two. Again, no pressure. Let's play the family feud.
Here we go.
Peanut butter wasn't called peanut butter. What would it be called? Mellow paste. ..
mellow paste. I like it. I, you know, I mean, that's the flavor. It's not sharp. It's not, you know, sweet, sour, anything that's just kind of melt and it's, you know, it's paste. I mean, it's like you could build a house with it. Absolutely. I don't know. When you, with the term mellow paste, it seems like something, because I have put like peanut butter in the roof of my dog's mouth. I just seem like I'm gonna put some mellow paste in the dog's mouth. We'll see what happens. There you go. That's how you could market peanut butter for pets. There you go.
a pace for pets. Perfect. Seems like a lot of peas and alliteration. I love it. I love it. Alright, question number two.
If you could be reincarnated as an animal, what animal would you choose?
Was that was that for a horse? Was that what that was? Lord, well, there you go. God, that's a bird. A bird? Yeah, I mean, I've had flying dreams since I was a child. And I know that what's behind that is a desire to escape. Oh, okay. Listen, it's still kind of a fascinating idea to be able to fly. For sure. For sure. Probably some sort of bird. That's awesome. As I've said several times before,
animal be a whale shark because they're the largest animal in the world that and it has no natural enemies. I don't know. I just, cause I've always just been a big guy and I feel like I try not to piss people off and try not to have enemies or whatever, but I just, and so it's not like a traditional shark. I just, this is always frighteningly telling why about who you are and who I am. No, like you got this great warm spirit that just wants to exist in a loving way in the
and I want to fly. No, but I think flying is cool though. I mean, come on, to be able to just jump and take off, being able to fly, that would be so cool. That really would be so cool. I mean, I don't want to jump out of a plane or anything like that. I'm not, but being able to fly would be really cool. All right, number three.
Ooh, I'm glad this question came up. All right. As, uh, as a DC man and a movie buff, which actor made the best Batman? Ben Affleck. Really? You know, I, um, I'm part of that camp because I mean, my first Batman was Adam West. Right. For sure. For sure. For sure. Michael Keaton, you know, he did a fine job, but he doesn't look like Bruce Wayne.
He's not my idea of Bruce Wayne. And Michelle Pfeiffer is a cat woman though. That was awesome. George Clooney made a great Bruce Wayne, I thought. Batman, eh, you know, but he was a great Bruce Wayne.
Ben Affleck, Ben Affleck, but seeing him do that role, Ben Affleck embodied Bruce Wayne and Batman for me. And so there's no question to me that he's been the best one so far. And it's coincidental that you say that because reviews of the new, the Batman drop today with Robert Pattinson, and they talk about how tortured he is, how emo he is and how I'm like.
You know, I don't that man. That man needs to be able to overcome himself in order to do what he needs to do. To, you know, protect. I don't want to. I know he's got issues. I don't want to see him like. Wallow in them. Right. OK. OK. I like it. I like an athlete. I got to number four.
How would the world change if there was no internal monologue and everything you thought you spoke out loud? I don't think it would be good, which may say more about me than anything else. One of the things I had to learn the hard way in my life starting from when I was child was not to say everything that came into my head. That filter. I have a hard time with that filter myself. To this day. I mean, my curse has been that I don't have to tell you what I think.
You'll see it on my face. This is true. True. Even when I think that I'm being stoic, I had a theater teacher in college that we were having a post-mortem and I wasn't happy with something that was said. And she was like, Scott, do you want to say something? I'm like, no. She's like, are you sure? I'm like, uh-huh. She said, because you have a face that we'll read from a mile away. Tell your face to be quiet. Yeah. All right. Let's get the last one here.
What was the last book that you read? It's a biography of an old, a classic film star named Ricardo Cortez. And I wish to God I could remember the name of the author because I belonged to his Facebook group. But he did this exhaustive biography of Ricardo Cortez who was a major leading man in the early 30s and who starred opposite every major actress of the era
who did not necessarily survive the forties into a long term career past that. And but he started in silent film. So the examination of his life is also an examination of the development of Hollywood in the film industry. And it's really it's it's exhaustively researched. And it's it's really good. I'm in the middle of it. So that would be the one is let's see, as I as I quickly search while you're on there, is that the magnificent heel? The life of films of Ricardo Cortez.
says, boom, actually, let me get the author, the author is Dan Dan Van Nest. That's it. And then that's it. Magnificent he all the life and fills a Ricardo Cortez. Interesting. I will have to, I'll have to put that on the list and take a look at it. Because I love it's also, it's published by a company called Bear Manor. And they publish a lot of books about quote unquote forgotten film stars
We're huge at the time, but people today don't necessarily know about. Um, so it's a good resource if you're interested in that kind of thing. Excellent. Well, thank you for that, Scott. And thank you for being on the show. That's it. That's our fast five. And that is our show. Thank you, Scott, for taking the time to sit here with me via zoom from Atlanta and just tell me about your life and what's been going on. It's so good to see you and reconnect with you. I am.
proud of you. I don't even have words for it because we had a great time when we were in Augusta. You know, and you were the audio guy in the control room and I was running around in the newsroom and we didn't, you know, we weren't able to spend that much time together. But to see, I mean, you made, you wanted to do this thing and you made it a reality. And that's awesome. It's amazing. And I congratulate you and I just couldn't be more proud of you for it. Thank you so much, Scott. If folks want to be able to keep up
with you after hearing your story, you on Instagram. Is that correct? I'm on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is just my name, Scott Brinson, and my face is my profile picture. And on Instagram, the names are reversed. That's also my face, Brinson Scott. Okay, great. So if you wanna keep up with Scott, you might get some new friend invitations that are here in the books that your story is connected with.
Scott, again, thank you so much for being here. It's been my pleasure. It's been my absolute pleasure. Thank you. Thank you. And if you would like to support this podcast, you can buy me a coffee at ChewingTheFatBR.com. Also on the website, you will see I've got a journal available if you would like to take up writing some of your thoughts down as you try to keep the darkness at bay. A few t-shirts on there as well. Just hocking the stuff. It's there. No pressure.
it does help keep the podcast rolling and let's you know that I'm there with you as well. And that's one of the most important things about this is you are not alone. We are all in this together. And I look forward to the next time we have a moment to sit a spell and chew the fat.
Survivor, Producer, Director
Scott is a child of the 70s, survivor of the 80s, Classic Film Lover, Dark Humorist, Recovering Alcoholic, Cancer Survivor-the list goes on. The Yellow Brick Road has had some really colorful off-ramps & detours, from Va. Beach to Atlanta to Augusta to Hollywood...and back again. "You've got to climb Mt. Everest to reach the Valley of the Dolls..." how dramatic we wanna get here?
Here are some great episodes to start with.