I have a job to do, and I don’t like it. It’s fundraising season. I’m doing the Relay for Life event for the American Cancer Society again this year, and while I find parts of the task quite rewarding; overall, it sucks.
I don’t like asking people for money for anything; I don’t even like splitting checks for dinner. I’m never comfortable asking for “that twenty I loaned you”. I think a lot of people feel that way. I won’t even ask people for money for beer – that’s right, I said beer. Is there anything that doesn’t walk or wear a thong that I love more than beer? No there isn’t. My friends, neighbors and co-workers, even my wife and kids will back me up on this: If we’re on a golf trip, if we’re at the beach, if I come back to town from a far off land that has a beer we may not have tried before, wherever we are, and whatever we’re doing, if I have beer, then so do you. If you’re with me – it’s yours. If I have only one left – we’ll split it! I don’t want your money; I don’t want your I.O.U. I just want your company, your opinion on this magic nectar of the gods, and I want you to let me tell a story. That’s all I want.
It’s not because I’m wealthy and don’t need money, or that I don’t like money…I need it, and I love having it. I just received a bonus at work, and while I don’t want to get too cozy here, let’s just say I was a little concerned that I might have to contact my doctor because of a condition that lasted for ‘more than 4 hours’. If I have a lot of cash when I’m traveling, sometimes, at night when the land is dark and I’m all alone, I draw the curtains, put Pandora on the Sade channel, and I scatter that cash across the textured white duvet on my bed at the luxurious Hampton Inn, then I take off all my clothes and roll around on it like Demi Moore did in that movie she made with that dude from Cheers.
Now I’m going to give you a minute to let that mental image steep in your brain cells.
I love money as much as anybody; I just don’t like asking for it.
But on the other hand, I don’t like hearing about another friend who has been affected by cancer. I don’t like watching a family of friends, people who have changed my life in the most positive of ways, suffering today, through the same things that I experienced just a year ago. I don’t like seeing the strained look on the faces of people I care about as we try to focus on other things. I don’t like being afraid to make eye contact with them because I just don’t know what to say about the things that they are going through, because even though I’ve been down that road too, no two journeys are the same.
I don’t like driving from San Antonio to Hutto and not being able to call my Mom and tell her about all the cool stuff I’m seeing. I don’t like looking at the letter M on my Blackberry and thinking about who that speed dial is for, and knowing that I’ll never be able to erase that contact, but also knowing that I’ll never use it again. It breaks my heart to think about how these things have affected my kids because they had to experience them at such a young age.
And…while I’m pretty good at making people laugh, I pretty much suck at comforting people in despair. I would rather make them smile about something stupid I’ve done, something funny that I saw, or just because I like to bring a little cheer – not because they need cheering up.
I hate all that shit, but on the other hand, I don’t mind asking for help. This is kind of a contrast to my Large Man persona – I don’t know why, but even though I have testosterone levels higher than the East German women’s swim team from the ’84 Olympics, it has never bothered me to stop and ask directions if I’m lost. It has never been a big deal for me to ask someone to show me how to do something. I think I embraced the fact that I was limited in ability, drive, and intellect at a very early age, so that ownership and self-awareness has always made it easy for me to ask someone to give me a hand.
And, of course, I don’t mind helping someone else; probably because while my intellect is limited, my memory is actually quite sharp. I can remember all the people who have helped me through the years, and a lot of times I feel like I can honor their help by paying it forward and helping others. I really enjoy helping someone in need…I think most of us do.
I also don’t mind going to battle. Most of you Large Man readers only know The Large Man to be a strong and valiant world traveler with a whimsical, peaceful nature, a pure and loving heart, whose only real weaknesses are pretty girls, craft brews, and chicken wings (ok, so maybe we can drop the ‘pure’)…I am all those things, but I’m a fighter too. When I face or observe tyranny or injustice, baby, I’ll throw down at the drop of a hat. If you don’t believe me, mess with my family, or my friends, co-workers, or random acquaintances, or be disrespectful to women or to children or the elderly in my presence and see what you get! Display that bully behavior in front of me and you would have a more enjoyable afternoon as the centerpiece on a pygmy cannibal tribe’s picnic table. I don’t really know if there is such a thing as a ‘pygmy cannibal tribe’, but just imagine it for the sake of the point. I’m not afraid to fight for what’s right and just.
I don’t like fundraising because I don’t like asking for money. I will take part in this year’s Relay for Life because I like to fight for people who need help. I will camp out and walk around that relay track for as long as it takes because I can, and I’m going to ask my Large Man friends to help if you can.
I think this is the only way I can rationalize doing this dirty job that I don’t like – this asking for money thing. I’m going to tell myself that I’m not asking for donations (even though I really am), I’m just asking for help. I’m asking for my army of Large Man Chronicles readers to help me fight for hope. It won’t make me miss my Mom any less; it doesn’t make my friend Rock miss his Dad any less. I’m sure it doesn’t make you miss your loved ones any less… but it just might make us all feel a little bit better for the fight. Let’s fight for the people who are being bullied by this disease today. Let’s fight to honor the memory of those we have lost, and let’s fight to honor the people who have won their battle with cancer, and let’s celebrate the hope that their triumph gives to all of those fighting today. As I said earlier, I’ll fight at the drop of a hat…so let’s drop the hat, let’s fight. I don’t think I’m the only fighter reading this Chronicle.
If you can help me fight, please go to my relay web page and see what others have done, and please think about what you might be able to do. Or, get involved in a fight in your community. Just fight.
My personal fundraising web page is:
No amount is too little; no amount is showing off… just give til it feels good.
Thank you for reading, and thanks for your help.
The Large Man