Friday, April 06, 2007

Your Task For Today

Jon was sitting in my living room in my little cottage house with the mountain view. Over the last few months he’d become a better friend of mine. In truth I adored him. An amazing guitarist with a biting wit and an encyclopedic knowledge of seemingly everything, he was easily the most intelligent man I’d ever met.

“You’re being a selfish jerk,” I told him.

Across the couch, Shevaun’s shot warning looks at me: don’t talk to the guy with terminal cancer like that!

“I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Just because you THINK you know when you’re going to go, you shut yourself down from love?”

Jon shrugged. He didn’t see anyone wanting to be with someone with the Big C. “Who would take that on?”

“I would. I’d rather be with you for six weeks than with some schmo for sixty years.” It was the truth. I’d never really thought of Jon like that. But honestly, if given the chance at a relationship with him I would have taken it. He’s that great of a guy.

I looked forward the Sunday afternoon sing-a-longs at the Irish bar where I worked and where he was a regular. I loved to banter with him in my downtime or listen to him eviscerate debate opponents. On Sundays, he’d bring his guitar and a song book. We’d all get tipsy and sing and laugh. My song was always "There She Goes" by the Las. He and his brothers had a band that played each week on our small stage. Every so often, they'd play my song too.

For a while I ran an art gallery with some friends and Jon came to one of our openings where I was exhibiting some of my own photographs. He breezed in, glanced around, pointed to one of my favorite shots and handed me a credit card.

“Taking a break from band practice,” he shrugged. He tilted his head at the print. “I’ll pick it up later from the bar.” And he was gone as quickly as he came.

I left him back home a long time ago and moved out to Tinseltown to seek my fame and fortune. But I never got Jon out of my head. He was one of those extraordinary human beings that we all get just a few of in our lifetimes.

The first script I ever wrote was about him. It was a drama about an artist diagnosed with terminal cancer who rediscovers the possibility of love with a waitress who doesn’t believe in the stuff. Like all first scripts, it needs a lot of work. I never had the guts to show it to Jon, let alone tell him he inspired it. But he did.

Five years later, I’m proud to say Jon is still inspiring. Talk about opening yourself up to life. This is a man who kept playing his guitar even when the cancer drugs so numbed his fingers that he had to tape the pick to them to keep from dropping it. When other cancer drugs made his fingers split open, he relearned guitar with band-aid-covered fingers. This is a man who will not be stopped. At least he’ll go down strumming.

His band just put out a CD to benefit cancer research. A documentary is forthcoming as well. Do one good thing today and go buy it.

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Blogger Kid Sis said...


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