What I Owe Ashley and Michael
Wall Removal

This is a funny truism. Trust me. If you dance with death and are successful, often the benefits are remarkable. Allow me to explain. Nearly a decade ago, I did the dance twice in 2008. One dance was a traumatic brain injury and the other was prostate cancer that metastasized beyond the prostate. In both cases, I was fortunate to lead death as we danced on the dance floor of life.

However, for a good part of the decade since either dance, I wasn’t aware of the benefits of doing the dance. Fortunately, I had dinner with Mike Schmitt one evening in Chicago. Since we had never met, we introduced ourselves. Then Mike changed my life with this question, “Tell me about yourself.” That simple question began a transformative experience, which continues to this day. He sent me a link to Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. I have attended hundreds of lectures while in college, graduate school, and post-graduate education and given hundreds of lectures in the past 20-years. Never have I experienced such a wake-up call in life. I am radically different than I was prior to that lecture, because I now understand the changes within me about which I had missed.

That transformative moment taught me a long litany of things about living life more alive than before doing the dance. I have always been appreciative of people who have helped me. However, that drive to acknowledge help from others is on steroids. I have written recently about Maureen, Dennis, Patrick, Shalena, et al.

Several Mondays ago, I called Hasbro about getting the game, Scrabble, for my granddaughter, Ti Ti, who lives in Burma. It will be my Christmas gift for her. I told Ashley, a lovely customer service person, about Ti Ti and me playing Scrabble in Burma. A couple days later, my order arrived.

After getting that task off my to-do list, I called the Washington Post. I asked to speak with Michael Larabee who is the Washington Post op-ed editor. Larabee was very gracious and understanding. I told him that I wanted to have someone to contact Fareed Zakaria about getting the email address of someone that he used to contact Daw Aung San Suu Kyi when he interviewed her. Michael Larabee forwarded my request to Fareed Zakaria.

Michael Larabee

While life without walls would seem to be an idyllic world, the world in which we live isn’t quite as blissful and bucolic. Randy Pausch talked about the value of walls that get in the way during life. “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”

Millions of people have benefitted from Pausch’s Last Lecture. I am merely just one more person. Watch the Last Lecture, and you will benefit also.

On Seeing the Light

On Seeing the Light

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The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

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Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

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An old man and his grandson

An Old Man and His Grandson

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Best of Times

Best and Worst of Times

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Connecting The Dots

Connecting the Dots

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