Tag Archives: Penguin Audio – Manhattan

David Menasche (1973~2014) Requiem For A Hero

David Menasche Gives Up ‘The Fight’ at age 41, but not before recording his remarkable story at Airlift Productions

I first met David Menasche (pronounced ‘Men-AH-shay’) on November 7th, 2013 when he showed-up at the Airlift Productions Studios to begin recording his audio book version of “The Priority List:  A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons“.

Contracted by Penguin Audio out of Manhattan & Listen Up Audio Books in Atlanta to help work with David in the recording of this remarkable story, little did I then realize what I’d signed up for.

David Menasche, a gifted English teacher from  Miami, Florida at Coral Reef Senior High was diagnosed in 2006 with gliablastoma multiforme cancer – he had a lemon-sized brain tumor in the right temporal lobe … and was given only months to live. 

But blessed with a wicked sense of humor and the fearless courage of Hercules, David thumbed his nose defiantly at the grim reaper and proceeded to live nearly another EIGHT YEARS, defy all the odds, travel to hang with former students, write a best-selling book about his travels – and come to the Airlift Studios to record it with me.

David Menasche in the Airlift Studios with Micheal Ziants recording “The Priority LIst”, November 2013

We quickly became fast and close pals. Together with his confidant and ride Jen Brewer, we drank scotch & Wild Turkey together, had dinners together, laughed and joked… talking life, philosophy, world religions, great literature  and the hemorrhaging of the American Dream.

A lover. And a fighter. David’s amazing story is without a doubt the 21st century’s answer to Robin’s “Dead Poets Society”.

Airlift’s Micheal Ziants & Author/Bud/Educator/Major Mensch David Menasche sharing after-dinner laughs in the Airlift commissary

LISTEN to just a taste of our sessions together in this piece of audio I produced from his intro to “The Priority List: A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons” here ….

~ Excerpted Intro to “The Priority List” with introduction by Micheal Ziants, courtesy Amazon.com, Audible.com & Listen Up Audio Books 

Pause to consider what this dude pulled off – with only half a brain, half a body, and nearly zero vision (legally blind) he traveled via trains, buses, even hitching rides, across America to visit former students and landed a book deal based on his journal & writings.

Actor Steve Carell’s Tribute Tweet to Major Mensch David Menasche

Now, today in 2014, Warner Brothers out of Hollywood has bought and secured the movie rights …  and cast none other than box office charmer Steve Carell to play him in the upcoming movie version of  David’s “The Priority List”! Really.

Menasche post-op. He would  later joke to frightened kids in airports & train stations that he’d been ‘kicked by a horse’. David finally gave up ‘the fight’ and dropped his body, surrounded by family & friends on November 20th, 2014 – one week before Thanksgiving.

After our last meal together, as I saw him out the studio doors and to the car, his final words as Jen drove him off were only to quote Maximus from “Gladiator” as he shouted to me “Strength & Honor, my friend.  Strength & Honor!”

And his final text message to me – just last month – was “Hello friend, I hope this finds you ridiculously well and happy.”

I am indeed, brother David.  To have known you.  Now it’s eternal.

David Menasche (1973-2014)


Airlift Productions ~ Telling America’s Great Stories from New Orleans since 1984