My Hall of Fame Induction

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I believe irony is the right word. Last year I wrote about my aspirations to be elected into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 since it had been 25 years since my first album, which is the minimum amount of time that must have passed before someone is eligible. Of course, I was not serious (well, the 25-year part is true, but my failure to be elected at the beginning of the year had a lot more to do with the musical part than the time part). So the irony is that in April I received the official letter in the mail congratulating me for being elected into the Hall of Fame with the induction ceremony to be held on June 29th. I know what you’re thinking, “Larry, you’re a nice guy but I don’t believe you.” (Well, maybe at least the “I don’t believe you” part.)

... planned to commit suicide that very evening

As I write this, I am actually on a plane flying back from the induction ceremony, feeling quite humbled yet elated by the whole experience. The truth of the matter is that I was inducted into the Lloyd Memorial High School Hall of Fame. I joke about graduating as valedictorian in high school because I was homeschooled, but I’m actually so old they had not even invented homeschooling back in those days. We didn’t have computers or calculators so if we wanted to add, we had to use our fingers . . . if we wanted so subtract, we had to amputate fingers. Those were tough days! My parents had it even tougher. They had to travel 26 miles each way to school and they didn’t even have cars in those days . . . in fact they didn’t even have legs back in those days. They had to roll all the way to school and roll all the way back. Now I don’t want to minimize how tough it was when I was growing up. Today’s kids have no clue what we had to go through. When I was growing up I had to walk 5 . . . maybe 6 feet all the way across the living room floor every single time I wanted to change the channel on the TV!

It’s hard for me to imagine what today’s kids will tell their children someday to convince them how tough it was when they were growing up. “Dude, like when I was your age . . . I had a really slow Internet connection!”

So where in the world was I on this digression? Oh yeah, I was not homeschooled but when some people find out my high school was in Erlanger, KY, they assume that I graduated #1 because my school only had 9 students, 2 cows, and a chicken. Actually there were more than 1,000 students attending Lloyd when I graduated in 1974 since Erlanger is actually a suburb of Cincinnati, OH (only 8 miles away). Lloyd was founded in 1928 (80 years ago for those of you who are mathematically challenged) so the pool of potential Hall of Famers is somewhere under 100,000 students. Since they only instituted the Hall of Fame some 15 years ago, electing 3 each year, it is a very select group, which I am incredibly honored to be part of. One of the members, Jack Westwood, is a Kentucky state senator. Since he actually wrote a letter to the nominating board to recommend me, I thought it would be fun to joke about him a bit during my induction speech, much to my wife Kristen’s chagrin. She told me it’s not a good idea to be joking about a state senator. “You might find yourself in BIG trouble. If you were in California, you wouldn’t be joking about Arnold Schwarzenegger, would you?”   Hmmm?????

The guest speaker, Doug Pelfry, who was a record-breaking kicker for the Cincinnati Bengals, followed the banquet. Then, during the induction, the MC took more than 4 minutes to introduce me, officially making it the Guinness world record for my longest introduction (easily smashing the old record of 23 seconds)! He not only told about many of my accomplishments, but also relayed that during college I was headed toward a lucrative career majoring in math (chemistry minor), once again graduating as valedictorian. When you keep in mind that Lloyd is a public (not Christian) school, you will see why I was thrilled with his next comments. He shared that one reason I was being inducted into the Hall was because even though I was headed toward a career potentially making a lot of money, I changed my major to Christian studies with the goal of being able to help people and make a difference in this world. (Interesting the way this world’s system is set up such that a profession helping people is usually mutually exclusive with making much money.) He went on to explain a bit about Larry Bubb Ministries and even told about this newsletter, though he could not pronounce it, but did accurately quote someone who said it’s an “off the wall” newsletter.

I usually speak to primarily Christian audiences so it was exciting to stand before a few hundred people and share what God had done in my life to bring me to that place. Regarding money, I shared that when you have a teenager come up to you, after hearing you speak, to tell you he had planned to commit suicide that very evening but that your message made him realize God did have a purpose for him to be alive . . . that’s priceless, as the commercial says. Then I mentioned that even though I have had songs played on the radio in various states and hosted an Emmy Award-winning TV show for 2 years, neither of those was the greatest thing that ever happened in my life. The absolute greatest thing that happened in my life was when I asked Jesus to come into my life to be my highest priority.

And, of course, I thanked my teachers for showing me how to use one of the most valuable resources I’ve ever had in my entire life, which has proved invaluable to me just about every single day of my life . . . the Slide Rule! (Look it up on your slow computer, kids.)

So after the event I had many people come up to speak with me. I heard one person after another tell me how much the life of my mom and my brothers, Terry and Dave, had meant to them back there in KY. Did they tell me what a great acceptance speech I gave? NO! But it didn’t matter because I was overjoyed to be reminded what a Godly loving family I have and to hear what an impact their lives had on people I had never met before. It hit me that people are primarily touched by the lives of others and not just a few nice words spoken by some Hall of Fame inductee. That is why Paul invested his life in the Thessalonians (I Thes. 2:8). That is why John said, “Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (I John 3:18) And you don’t have to be in any Hall of Fame to do that!

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