Former politician and talk show host Jerry Springer has died.
Most people know Springer for his gonzo talk show work on national television. Decades before that, he was a well-known figure in Cincinnati politics and local broadcasting.
Springer spoke at my Cincinnati-area high school in 1985. At this time, the biggest skeleton in Springer’s closet was a 1974 scandal in which Springer, then a Cincinnati City Council member, paid a sex worker with a personal check. Springer resigned from city council in a certain degree of disgrace.
Several of my male classmates couldn’t resist calling out, “Where’s the check?” while Springer was speaking at our school in 1985. Springer, a good sport, laughed off their taunts and moved on.
Jerry Springer was never one to be impeded by other people’s opinions of him. I recognized that in 1985.
After the Jerry Springer talk show debuted in 1991, I tuned in a few times. In all honesty, the show was never for me. But I didn’t watch much network television of any kind during the early 1990s. I was too busy, and my life too disjointed.
I’ll always remember the local, Cincinnati version of Jerry Springer, anyway. The speaker at my high school who wasn’t about to be deterred by an embarrassing incident from his past, or others’ ungracious insistence on calling attention to it.
Perhaps there is a lesson for all of us here. One can go far, despite being hampered by very human flaws and a less than perfect track record. The trick is to shrug off the crowd’s disdain, and keep moving forward.
Jerry Springer, 79, R.I.P.