The Q&A - What Kenny Rogers song illustrates JERRY?PHILLIPS’ feelings of love?

Jerry Phillips

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

I’d say the bravest thing I’ve ever done is defend our country, spending over 20 years in United States Air Force, with probably a third or half of my time in an overseas environment. I’ve been in 21 or 22 countries and I had a very colorful career. I bounced around a lot. I was a body guard. I worked as a sky marshal. I also worked in undercover narcotics and theft of government property, an instructor for law enforcement, and as chief of the consulting branch for the recruiting service for the United States Air Force at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future, and why?

I definitely go back to the past. I would go back to the western days. You know, John Wayne, Roy Rogers. I love Westerns and all that historical stuff of the western days. The wild west really intrigued me. I guess that fits me because I’m a Pisces and a dreamer and a romantic. I look at Roy Rogers, John Wayne, Annie Oakley and these great western figures, the wild west and what happened in those days, the wilderness of it — I find it to be a fascinating time.

What does love feel like?

Did you have to hit me with that one? It would probably be using the words from Kenny Rogers’ “You Decorated My Life.” Love is when you find somebody who comes into your life, changing moods now and then ‘til the balance is right. It’s the adding of music to where every note is in place, and it feels like they decorated your life by painting their love all over your heart. Like a rhyme with no reason in an unfinished song they bring harmony, and bring out the colors to my gentle surprise.

You’ve just been hired as a professional wrestler – what’s your stage name?

Ruthless.

When did you last cry, and why?

Well I guess I’d say a few days ago and a few weeks ago, because life is so precious and the recent month and a half I’ve had one very good friend and an acquaintance pass away. And with the medical issues of my own, probably one of the most valued things I have is life itself. And it brings tears to my eyes whenever you lose a friend, however you know they’ll always be in your heart forever after that.

What is the closest you’ve come to death?

I was climbing the portals in Lone Pine, Calif., and I was about 500 feet in the air and I stepped on some shale rock and slid down the side of the mountain. There was one little shrub going out of this rock, so I grabbed it and it kept me from sliding. A friend was able to toss me a rope and pull me back up. And I was shaking so bad after I got down the mountain, my legs were shaking so hard I could barely walk. Afterward, I looked back up at where I was and it was a vertical drop 500 feet up and I only had 3 or 4 feet from that shrub to the ledge.

If you are what you eat, what would you really be?

I guess it would have to be a cow, and the reason I say that is because I eat a lot of beef and I eat a lot of cheese.

Which words or phrases do you overuse?

Well, there’s a phrase I tell a lot of people all the time, it’s an old one that I don’t know how many people hear any more. It’s, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.” And probably the second most common one I use is when someone is talking to me, I say “What?”

You won’t ever catch me…

Oh God, I’m kind of a daredevil. I’ve done the bungee jumping and all that ... You’d never see me riding a camel. I’ve been around elephants and camels and their skin is rough and scaly, and have you seen them slobber and stuff? One of the grossest animals I’ve ever seen. You’d never see me on a camel.

Where is the weirdest place you’ve fallen asleep?

Anaheim, Calif., at a professional baseball game. The game was so slow that I fell asleep. It was the first and last game I ever went to.

Long Beach city councilman Jerry Phillips was born in Goodland, Kan., and grew up in Oregon and California. After graduating from Armijo High School in Fairfield, Calif., he managed sporting goods stores, worked in law enforcement, and served in the Air Force. Having worked in the investigations departments for several companies, he was hired as the risk manager for Bank of the Pacific in 2006. In his free time, he likes to ride his Harley, bicycle the Discovery Trail, and converse with longtime residents.

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