Who Would You Thank for Helping You Get Where You Are?

I don’t usually broadcast sentimental moments. I reserve them for late nights when no one is around, or when James catches me off guard, or when I have a speck of dust in my eye while watching the end of the original Terminator.

Tonight, while browsing through my web comics and other stuff I save for reading over coffee in the morning, I noticed that one of my favorite writers, Dan Savage, had posted an update.

Dan has written several excellent books. He’s gay (and he isn’t afraid to let the world know), and his books and column reach beyond a gay audience. Like any good writer, Dan’s writing encompasses so much more and reaches everyone. Both James and I have read and enjoyed Dan’s books very much.

Dan writes about life, and everyone can relate to the situations he covers. Alright, he writes about sex, too. He is, after all, a sex advice columnist – but I didn’t start reading Dan’s books for his sex advice, I swear.

So when I read the Savage Love update of April 3, I was surprised to learn that Dan’s mother had died. It hurt. I felt sad and affected. After having read so many of Dan’s books and learned about the woman, I felt like I knew Dan’s mother, too.

Dan’s mother died. For the first time in his life, he couldn’t bang out an article. I can’t say that I blame him. With both of my parents growing older, I’m often struck with the thought that one day they won’t be here either.

Yeah, death is a part of life. I know. Everyone faces it eventually. But if James can have his moments of introspection, so can I, and this is one of them.

Adversity Builds Character

Dan’s article wasn’t a eulogy for his mother. As he wrote, “Eulogizing my mother back here with the escort ads? So let’s not think of this as a eulogy. Let’s think of it as a thank-you note, the kind of nicety that my mother appreciated.”

That made me think. How did I get here? How did I become so successful and happy with my life?

I didn’t do it alone, that’s for damn sure. Nobody does. You might think you do, but you don’t. Even the people you thought were holding you back helped you get where you are today.

Those people were the ones that pushed you to prove them wrong, kind of like in Conan the Barbarian. Thulsa Doom tells Conan, “My child, you have come to me my son. For who now is your father if it is not me? I am the well spring, from which you flow. When I am gone, you will have never been. What would your world be, without me? My son.”

If Thulsa hadn’t have killed both of Conan’s parents, Conan wouldn’t have been driven to be the person he became. He could have ended up a dirt farmer for the rest of his life.

To all the people who challenged me with adversity, thank you.

For All the Good People

I’ve made a habit of telling people how I feel about them before it’s too late. I tell my parents how great they are and how much I appreciate them all the time. If one or both of my parents were to die tomorrow, I wouldn’t have any regrets.

There are other people to thank for helping me reach where I am, too. And you know what? Even these people challenge me with adversity. Guess that’s the hallmark of a good friend. If they didn’t give you a shove every now and then, what good are they? I certainly don’t want to be surrounded by yes men.

I thank James for being my best bud and shaking me by the shoulders when I’ve stayed a little too long at the pity party. He has a way of changing my perspective and presenting me with challenges. Sometimes I think he knows me better than I know myself.

Over the past couple of years, James pushed (sometimes not so gently) me out of the comfort zone, and as a result, I expanded my base of knowledge. I’m a much better person for it.

I thank my friend Pete for giving me the opportunity to quit my day job and have a secure environment to get this business off the ground. If it weren’t for Pete, I would never have learned to ride a motorcycle or learned how to work on the bike.

That was the deal, you know. He said that if I got a bike, I’d have to take care of maintenance myself. If you think it’s easy to be a bike mechanic, go ahead and spend two days on a valve adjustment. Then come back and talk to me.

I’d like to thank the RPG community at large. Gaming gave me a chance to hone my storytelling skills and become a better writer. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that playing games is just for kids. It’s good for the soul, no matter what your age.

I’d also like to thank you readers for helping make Men with Pens what it is today.

*cue the “You’re running out of time” music.*

Anyway, thanks for putting up with my sappy indulgence. We now return to our regularly scheduled program.

Post by Agent X

Agent X is the name many mysterious and intriguing people take on when they guest post at our site. Their mission is to slip in like a thief in the night, leave you with entertaining, valuable and useful content, and slip away again - without getting caught.