Meet the Humans of the Keys

Meet the Humans of the Keys

Monday, November 30, 2015

Scott Youngberg – Tavernier

"I’ve been in the Keys for 18 years now. I was living in Chattanooga TN, breaking into the music business up there. Then I met my lovely bride Suzi, and we both shared Caribbean Soul with a common dream of living on a beach someday. We just kicked it up a notch and moved to the islands. We didn’t know anybody; we’ve just built a life down here. I’ve been fortunate to make a living as a performing musician, playing music at bars, resorts and parties. It’s a very expensive place to live, but I don’t think I could do what I do, the way that I do it, anywhere else. I just try to get by, be happy, and stay healthy.
I fought a battle for pretty much all of 2014 with a very rare form of bone cancer that I was born with. It took some pretty cool science fiction treatment up in Boston to get rid of it. I went through two rounds of proton beam radiation and surgery to remove my coccyx and a chunk of my sacrum. It really wasn’t too bad a deal the way I look at it…giving up a year of your life to have a “rest of your life.”
As a result of that year, there have been lots of changes, now that I’m “clear.” I’ve always been very community minded, and more so than ever now. While I was up in Boston, the whole town got together to throw the “Idle Speed Benefit” and raise money for me. How do you thank a whole town, other than to be happy and healthy, and give back as much as you can?
I’ve always stepped up when asked to play at benefits. That’s just what our community does; we take care of each other. So, I’m doing as much of that as I can manage. In addition to the money raised by the town, I was helped a lot by the American Cancer Society with free lodging while in Boston. It was an incredible gift and I don’t know what we would have done without it. The town rallied and raised money so we had a life to come back to, not just bills and debt. The American Cancer Society kept us from incurring crippling debt. In one more effort to pay back, I’m the Co-Event Lead, along with my wife Suzi, for the Upper Keys Relay for Life. Trying to share my experience, give back what I can in any small way that I can, and trying to raise the tide for every single team and the whole event.
I appreciate and love this community. The connected yet disconnected part of it. I mean, we’re still part of American culture, but we have our own culture down here. It’s a good way of life. It’s always suited me. I want people to remember me as someone they could always count on; that I wasn’t someone who let people down. However, I’ve faced that place, you know…I don’t really worry about what people are going to think about me after I’m gone. I’ve faced the life and death, the pain, the consciousness and unconsciousness. I don’t see how that couldn’t change a person. Life and death situations force you to hold a mirror up. It was surprising and humbling that the town, and my friends and family, were there for me like they were. I hope to continue making music and supporting causes and being there for all of my friends for as long as I can.
During that time in Boston I was very much on an emotional “hold.” It’s like I lost time; like my internal clock stopped working during that time. Someone will mention that something happened 2 years ago, and I’ll think, no it was just one year… that’s because of the Boston time. But, because of technology like skype and facetime, it was amazing how I could stay connected while so far away. And I had so many cards come in…I had over 100 cards on the wall of my room at one time. Not to mention all the people following on Facebook and Caring Bridge. When you have that many people pulling for you, you don’t want to let them down. Hopefully involvement with local benefits and the Relay for Life will help me feel like I’m repaying some of what I was given.
Lessons I’ve learned in life are that we all go through our own life experiences and we all just live it. Concerning bad things that you go through, remember everybody has their bad things they go through and you can’t compare, judge or rate somebody else’s experiences against your own. Everybody has their own issues. I’ve learned that to worry about something you can’t do anything about, in advance, makes you go through the worry twice. The first time is unnecessary and the second time will be or won’t be.
One of my favorite things in life is humor. The only thing I like more than making people laugh is other people making me laugh. Facebook has been a wonderful platform for me. I keep a separate music page that stays more on topic, but my page is just for fun. It gives me a one liner every day. I guess everybody needs another dream in life, and I’ve always had a dream of stand-up comedy, except that when you bomb, you bomb SO bad! I’ll just stick to music instead. When I tell a joke over the microphone, people tell me I’m a real good musician! I do think humor spread throughout your life is important. It’s a social lubricant, a defense mechanism, a source of joy…I just love clever wit.
I’m a big movie buff. I’m definitely a big science fiction fan…bordering on geek. I was once in a band where my nickname was Sci-Fi. I like spending time with friends; we have game nights whenever we can all get together and that’s always fun. My favorite thing is spending time with Suzi and our cat SugarBear. He’s a rescue…well, he showed up in our backyard one day and told us he was moving in. He’s a special cat. He walks on a leash; he likes riding in the car and is a good traveler. While I was in Boston, friends in Atlanta fostered him for six months. I remember steeling myself for the possibility that he would have forgotten me, but as soon as he heard my voice he started crying and wouldn’t let me out of his sight afterwards. I’m his special boy.
I move a little slower than I used to. They took a lot out of me. Sometimes I do still succumb to fatigue. But to be cancer free and fully mobile, how can I complain? I’m just continuing to rebuild my strength and continuing to do what I do, and trying to be better and better."

For Scott's music schedule and contact info, visit his website:

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