Tony and I had breakfast, said our good-byes and were out the door by 9am. On the way to the airport, we drove past Fenway, which was cool, but I’ll need to get back for a game sometime. The flight home was uneventful, although, I fell asleep so hard that I slept through the entire descent and only woke-up on impact when we landed. I thought it was turbulence.
Then I drove home in a snow storm (stopped at Kopp’s for lunch), hugged and kissed the fam…and then passed out for the rest of the night.
Now, let me give some props to some peeps (I’m so relevant!) and then give you my overall takeaways from the weekend.
If Friday at the Helping Hands Foundation’s Winter Outing was mashed potatoes, then Saturday was the gravy. Tons and tons of gravy.
Because gravy is awesome.
The morning started early when our featured speaker, Meg Zucker, took the stage. I’d written for Meg’s blog last year, but this was the first time I got to meet her in person and she was wonderful! Her husband and kids came with her and got to beam at her with pride from the crowd. Her message was encouraging, funny, practical and resonant with everyone in the room! Meg has a way of disarming you, making you comfortable and drawing you in.
You know what kind of friendships you can forge in less than 48 hours?
The kind that will last a lifetime.
This weekend I had the opportunity to join over 300 other people at the Helping Hands Foundation‘s winter outing in Massachusetts. The HHF is an organization that connects families of children with upper limb-loss. In a word, the experience was life-changing. And to think I almost didn’t go! In fact, until about two weeks ago I wasn’t going. So glad I changed my mind.
Friday started with a bang, too. The plan was for me to wake-up at 4:45am, get ready and leave the house at 5:30am to catch the 6:10am bus to Milwaukee. I shot out of bed at 5:43am. It was like a PG-13 version of Home Alone. A hard PG-13. I was determined to still make the bus and really thought I would, but ended-up getting there just in time to see the bus pull away. It helped me answer the question, “Would you rather watch your team get blown out or lose on a last-second field goal?” Blown out. No question.
One of the things I love about being “that one-handed guy” is that I get notifications instantly whenever someone who is living one-handed is in the media.
Last night was a prime example of this.
Not only was Sarah Herron DOMINATING “The Bachelor” (that sounds weird, but I’m sticking with it), I was informed by a multitude of people that there was a lady on “Wheel of Fortune” who had one hand, too! And in quite possibly one of the weirdest coincidences ever in the history of mankind, the opponent next to her was named…BING. Yes, a man named BING was next to the woman who was spinning the wheel one-handed.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a bit of controversy.
On the newest and bestest version of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” Sarah Herron, the patron saint of all limb-different women, said she was…brace yourself…”born with one arm.”
GASP! But she doesn’t only have one arm! She has, like, one and a HALF arms!
The adorable Sarah Herron and the hunky Sean Lowe.
Seriously, I’ve had a number of people ask my opinion about what she said, so here we go…
First of all, Sarah can describe herself however she wants. Let’s just get that out of the way right off the top. If that’s the term she’s comfortable with, then that’s her prerogative. My stance on how a person with a limb-difference is described, or how they describe themselves, has changed over time and it may very well do so again at some point. For now, though, my stance is this:
It’s that special time of year when we purposely drive into the most congested part our city to wait in long lines and spend money we don’t have. After all, nothing says “Thanks for being born, Jesus!” like flipping somebody off in a parking lot.
I kid, I kid.
Seriously, I hope you’re able to enjoy time with your family today as you remember the reason for the season. I tried everything I could to avoid using the phrase “reason for the season,” but I couldn’t do it.
Anyhow…I’ll stop writing now and just encourage you to watch this short video message:
About two weeks ago I showed a personal trainer this picture and said, “I wanna look like this.”
Noah Galloway. Machine.
And guess what? Today I totally do!
Here’s the deal. Over the last year or so, I’ve…uh…gotten less skinny than I’ve ever been. Like, literally, Tuesday was the least skinny I’ve ever been in my whole life. It makes me sad and angry. I have a beautiful wife and three amazing kids who deserve a husband and father who is healthy. I am determined to begin my professional speaking career sooner than later and I want to be a good example for the kids I’ll be standing in-front of. And, honestly, I’m totally cool with being “the one-handed guy;” I’m just not ok with being the overweight one-handed guy.
Lots of thinking about dreams and stars and how to reach them and such. So, when I found this picture the other day, it really resonated with me:
“Dad of the Year” goes to…my dad!
Look at me there, reading the sports pages on the toilet just like every other all-American boy. “I don’t care how many hands he has! He WILL read on the john even if I have to help him at first!” said my dad. I’m starting to choke-up a little bit…
Finding that picture was perfect timing, too. Nikki, a woman I used to work with, had just sent me a message telling me about meeting a little girl who had a limb-difference and she closed it with this:
“Anyhow, just saying that meeting a little one who has only one hand and watching her maneuver around and get into trouble made me realize what you always tried to tell me: It’s all she has ever known and she has adapted to it and it’s her normal. It was a cool realization.”
There were probably fifteen of us in the movie theater waiting for Looper to start when this pre-trailers commercial came on:
Immediately, I got self-conscious. I felt like everyone was looking at me. “Hey, that guy sitting there has one arm, too! He must love this commercial! I wonder if they’re friends?!” they were most likely thinking. Then, just like that, thirty seconds went by and it was over. Onto the next commercial. Mr. Derelian was a flash and then gone (though you can also see him in Forrest Gump). And I can guarantee you one thing:
None of the people in that theater were thinking about me.
None of THESE people are thinking about me.
That said, it got me wondering about whether or not this was just a “me thing,” or if other people react this way? Like, what about someone in a wheelchair? Do they glance around to see who’s looking at them when “one of their own” comes on the screen? I mean, I got so caught-up that I didn’t even remember what the commercial was for. I actually called the theater later that night and asked a manager if he could find out for me!
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that I’d react the way I did in the theater. I’ve positioned myself as the “guy with one hand,” so it’s already in my head. If you have a noticeable difference in your life, even if it’s just noticeable to you, you might feel the same way in these situations.
So, I ask you…do you ever have these moments? I’d love to hear about your experience!
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I went to Party City and walked around the crowded store holding that arm hoping people would see and react. Most of them were too preoccupied to notice, though. Eventually I made my way to the counter where I plopped the arm down and the cashier rang me out. It was clear she had no idea how to react, so I said, “Yeah, it’s ok to laugh.” She smiled and said, “That’s awesome.” I took the arm to work and everybody thought it was funny (well, some people probably didn’t). Then, for the next year, I left it under my desk. I’ve always kind of wished I could setup a camera to catch the cleaning crew’s reaction when they see it laying there on the floor.