So, the most amazing thing happened to me the other day that just proves that people are good. In fact, people are amazing. I’ve been shown this quite a lot in the past year by the outpouring of support from you my readers, and my friends and family, as I faced down the greatest opponent of my life so far (hopefully ever). You were there with beanies, bandanas, financial aid, uplifting notes of encouragement, and stories of personal triumph. I want all of you to know that I never, EVER, took any of that support for granted and I am overwhelmingly grateful for it all.
Back to the latest EVENT OF AWESOME that brings me here today. I mentioned in THIS post that I had been planning to go to PAX here in Seattle for the purpose of pretending to stalk Wil Wheaton. It was a last minute decision, and I assumed that there would still be tickets. Boy, was I wrong. I had COMPLETELY underestimated the popularity of this event. It had sold out in MAY and here I was expecting tickets to be available day(s) of. Not my smartest move.
So, I couldn’t go, and I was bummed, and I mentioned this in a Post-Script to the original article. And that was that.
Then… the other day… a mysterious letter appeared in my snail mail from an address I was not familiar with. I opened it and immediately started jumping up and down and screaming my head off, then laughing my head off, and then just standing there slack-jawed (which is quite a feat for the recently headless). Why this reaction? Because that envelope contained this:
That’s right ladies and gents (and others), it’s an autographed photo of Wil Wheaton Collating. One of my readers, a gal who calls herself Squirrel, got Wil Wheaton’s autograph for me. For me. Me who did not know her and had done nothing for her personally to deserve such an AMAZEBALLS gift. Not only that, but she went to the trouble to MAKE the card that would only have worked with Wil’s signature as the punchline.
It reads: [card exterior] I didn’t get to go to PAX so all I got was this dang card… [card interior] with a picture of Wil Wheaton collating paper… … and his autograph. AND THERE’S HIS ACTUAL AUTOGRAPH! IN INK!!
She also included a photo of him signing as evidence that he actually signed it (not necessary but so super cool); and a lovely letter telling me a little bit about how PAX was and about how she had lost her mom to cancer at a young age and how she was grateful I had beaten it and that my strength had inspired her to do this small thing for me.
Well, let me tell you, I am grateful that I beat it too – surviving the treatment and beating the disease was more than my pleasure.
But here’s the thing, the really important thing. Just because I “beat” a disease doesn’t make me entitled to anything. It doesn’t mean that I deserve gifts, or special recognition. I was very lucky to be given the ultimate gift of survival and the ability to plan for a realistically long life. Everything else is bonus.
The fact that Squirrel did this amazing thing for a gal she doesn’t even know is inspiring to ME. She has shown to me, once again, that human beings are as individuals, with a few unfortunate exceptions, creatures of good. Get us into groups and things may fall down a little bit (i.e., “mob mentality”). But one to one, we can be pretty awesome.
In an age where the nightly news, our politicians, and corporations are trying to keep us afraid of our own shadows – the best and most important thing we can do is to assume the best of each other, and hold each other to this expectation. Reach out and connect. Do something amazing for someone else, and expect nothing in return.
In other words, Be Awesome; and as Wil says, “Don’t be a dick.”
Thanks for the autograph, inspiration and warm fuzzies, Squirrel. You Rock.