Saturday, January 22, 2011

Roger and Me.

I do not deserve the good I have been given. That much is clear. I am a selfish, groveling attention whore whose most genuine feelings are dusted with self-promotion sequins.

*clears throat*

Earlier this week, I read a blog post Roger Ebert wrote about his new chin prosthetic. Something he said really touched--and I say that advisedly, because nothing ever "touches" me--me: "I accept how I look. Lord knows I've paid the dues."

I wrote him a thank-you for that blog entry, because it expresses how I feel: I've paid the dues; I accept how I sound. It's what I *am*, now; I really can't remember being any other way.

In that thank-you note, I included the link for Head Nurse. And tonight, I got a note from Mr. Ebert, telling me that he'd read the blog, Tweeted it, and send a donation to Wash and Tashi.

Which, after I'd finished hopping around and doing a fist-pump and calling Beloved Sister and Sainted Mother and posting on Jez and generally flipping the fuck out, made me sit down and think this:

This guy I've never met, to whom I matter not at all, was kind enough to click a link I sent him. Yeah, it's a second's worth of effort, but you never get that second back, and who knows if he was wasting his time?

He then found the top post about Wash and Tashi, and read it, and read their story as Tashi tells it, and decided to send it out to the however-many followers he's got on Twitter.

It's not a big deal, until you realize how big a deal it is. Somebody I don't know took the time to check out something I wrote and take up for a couple of people neither one of us knows in the flesh, in a way that could potentially make a huge difference for them.

Tashi and Wash love each other like most of us would be lucky to love somebody after a lifetime of misdirection and mistakes. Wash got the short end of the stick with his diagnosis, but the long end when it comes to having somebody who's willing to fight for him regardless of what obstacles are put up. The idea that somebody who can make a difference could be moved by that isn't so hard to believe, until it happens.

There is a book by Emma Bull called War For The Oaks. It's uneven, and a little weird, but in it, Bull writes that the words "Thank You" have a special power for people who aren't exactly human: fairies never use that phrase to each other, unless it's because one of them has gone to immense, life-saving lengths for another. Those words signify a debt taken on voluntarily that can never be paid.

Mr. Ebert, thank you. With one tweet, you've done more for two people than I could ever do in another ten years of blogging, and you did it in response to what was not-so-subtle attention-whoring.

I do not deserve the good that comes of this, but thank you. Thank you.


Celeste said...

Roger's awesome. I love his blog and Ebert Club newsletters. He's the finest kind of internet citizen.

Jake said...

I follow Roger Ebert on Twitter. I followed his link to your blog and then I followed your blog to Tashi's blog and discovered they live in my town. They went to ASU. They might as well be part of my family. I sent them something off their wish list and will try to help them more.
I knew who Roger Ebert was before the Esquire article but I fell in love with him after reading that article and following him on Twitter. He is nothing short of amazing. Wickedly funny. An amazing writer. He has a huge heart. (Have you read
The web connects in incredible ways. It's awesome.

KmLawrence said...

This is what the internet is for. Thank you for letting me help. Really, thank you.

Silliyak said...

I think I hear "Seeds of Love" by Tears For Fears.

Susan from the Pacific Northwest said...

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!! Roger Ebert has been my hero for a while! And he read your blog!!
And he tweeted and donated money!!

That is amazing and very, very cool.

Lori Williams said...

Craaaazy moment for me, reading my twitter feed and seeing a post from Ebert about YOU! "Does he mean MY Jo??" Wow. Just....Wow. How very, very cool. I hope this really means that Wash and Tashi might be able to finally get a break, with so many of us now knowing about them and--hopefully--helping them out.

'Drea said...

Sometimes, attention-whoring is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

This is what yo hope for as a blogger. you extended yourself in writing about our experiences and Wash and Tashi's. Roger extended himself in replying to you and sending a very real Internet act of love to strangers. On top of that, he has spared himself no scrutiny by discussing his own problem with alcohol of many years ago.You are the best kind of citizens, and are doing what W and T's state government should be doing, instead of forcing this couple to spend their little remaining time begging for medical coverage, life-saving chemo and other items on their sad newlywed registry. The Gov. of Arizona should be honoring T for keeping W out of costly institutional care instead of nearly killing herself, while recovering from her own surgery, to care for him. Thank you so much for extending yourselves and for showing the rest of us the power of a single person. rennie

bobbie said...

Ebert rocks ~

Geri said...

As I said over on Tashi's blog, I found my way there thanks to Mr. Ebert. I'm Canadian, and thanking my Gods for that all the more after reading their story. Disgraceful in a so-called 'first world' country. Ahem. Anyway, I sent them a donation, and am writing myself a reminder note in my calendar to do it again next month.

shrimplate said...

Very cool.

rnraquel said...

As one of my patients the other day reminded me : The squeaky wheel always gets the grease.

Good job <3

JG said...

I'm too young to have ever cared much about Siskel and Ebert. Two thumbs up was already so entrenched into the cultural vernacular that I never gave it much thought. Until he lost his voice. I remember my mom was, well she wasn't exactly heartbroken, but she was definitely sad for him.
And then this.
The fact that he's willing to take a moment and try and make a difference to two individuals is amazing to me. It seems like it would be so easy to just give to charitable organizations or donate profits from something. And feel as if your dues have been paid. And rightly so. But the compassion to intervene for two individuals no one actually knows? That's kind of amazing.
Maybe he should have been a nurse. Although if you recorded my voice every day that I work, I don't know that I'd be able to use much of it in retirement. Not much call for using words like furosemide, milrinone gtt, VAD, transplant, clarifying, or script in the day to day talking.

Unknown said...

I have tears in my eyes right now. I really do. This is amazing... just like you Jo. You are amazing.

Jenn said...

Actions like this restore my faith in humanity. Thank you Jo and Ebert.

messymimi said...

You did a good thing.

Penny Mitchell said...

I don't see your actions as being attention-whoring. I see it as an open-hearted gesture that was put out there, regardless of how it might be received. It was received in the spirit it was sent, which is a beautiful thing. Beautiful things tend to not happen very often if we don't put ideas and info out there with our open hearts, reception be damned.

Mr. I LOVE how this has turned out.

Molly said...

Guess this means I have to like the guy now! Oh well, a small price to pay ;)

Elyse said...

Wow, Jo! Now I feel like I'm standing in a whirl of stardust just having read that - I love it so much when the universe aligns it's internal workings in just such a way .. click-click-click miracle! Of course you deserve it. I'm gonna go tell @ebertchicago to read your blog every day. He doesn't know how good a writer you are.

Medical Mojave said...

Oh that is amazing.