I know how the insurance man feels. If he does his job well, if nothing goes wrong, nobody notices him. It's something like being an offensive lineman.
Of course, when I was playing, I had it a lot easier than the insurance man. I had no trouble persuading our quarterback he needed protection. He was willing to take all the protection I could offer him. But the insurance man has to go around persuading people they need to be protected, and that's one of the toughest jobs in the world. I guess we've all got the feeling we're immortal, that nothing can happen to us.
I used to feel that way myself. Nowadays, I'm a little more reasonable. There's something about two dozen operations—most of them major—that make you realize your own mortality. I've had surgery on just about every part of my body—I've got so many stitches from head to ankle my teammates used to call me "Zipper"—and I don't know where I'd be without some awfully good doctors. And some awfully good insurance men. Thanks to them, I've still got my health—and my financial security program.
The insurance man's job is tougher than mine was in another way. I just had to protect the quarterback—or the man running with the football. The insurance man's got to protect the whole team—the whole family. He's got to think about you and your wife and your children and about everyone who's dependent on you. He's got to anticipate your problems; he's got to think about the things you don't like to think about.
April 5, 1971
He's got to know more about you, in some ways, than you know about yourself. He's got to know your value—to yourself and to others. He's got to be your teammate and your coach at the same time.
The doctors and the lawyers—they're the glamorous professionals. They're the quarterbacks and the running backs of the protection business; they get the headlines and the cheers and the glory. The insurance man—he's the lineman; he's my kind of guy. He's got to go in and plug and do the hard work, and sometimes he runs into resistance, and a lot of the time he's not fully appreciated. He knows how it feels to be overlooked when they hand out the Most Valuable Player awards.
But there's one big consolation: the insurance man knows how important he is. One thing about us linemen; we don't have to be told what kind of a job we're doing. We can feel it. We get the aches and the bruises, but we know, when we're doing our jobs right, that we're protecting someone. That's a good feeling. Ask any lineman. Ask any insurance man.