Every night when my dad's steel executive father came home from work he'd ask his sons the same question. "Bud, did you strike a blow? Did you strike a blow today, Bud?"
Dad used to laugh about that. But he'd internalized the daily obligation. I used to laugh, too. But at the end of every day as a freelance writer, I ask myself if I've struck a blow, too.
Last Thursday, for instance, I:
Ran three miles, stopping along the way to pick up groceries for my "summer spaghetti" recipe.
Interviewed a publishing executive for a 500-word bio I was writing of her.
Made the summer spaghetti at noon, to let the interview steep and get the ingredients to marinate.
Wrote the bio and sent it to the exec for her approval.
Played nine holes of golf while I waited, and picked up a sack of dog food along the way.
Returned home to an email from the exec: "My God David. Great fucking job."
Took a nap.
Practiced two speeches I'm giving later this month in Brussels.
Watered the bushes, hose in one hand a gin and tonic in the other.
Finished the summer spaghetti and served it to my family.
And before settling in to watch the U.S. Open tennis and the Bears game while I read a book, made notes for a blog post, under the scrawled headline, "I don't know if I strike a blow every day, but I do throw a lot of punches."