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O How the Park Has Changed

Dear Social Media Mom, Yesterday was as beautiful day and we obviously had the same idea: take the kids to the park. I was intrigued watching you sit on the curb with iPhone in hand, periodically glancing up to watch your son or daughter go down the slide or swing on the swings. Normally, I wouldn’t have even noticed because I too would have my head down, buried in some device. I watched as you tapped away, glanced up, tapped away and glanced up again. O how the park has changed. Gone are the days when parents go to the park to play with their kids. It seems as though we go to give our kids something different to do so it entertains them just long enough for us to play with our own toys. We are more engrossed in what is going on with others than what is going on right in front of us; with our own kids. As I ponder the thought and pulled my own phone out of my pocket to see if anything interesting was happening, my 2 year old had managed to almost climb all the way to the top of the rope pyramid. I looked into her face, one of sheer determination and simply encouraged her to keep going. She reached the top. I almost missed it. What else has passed me by? – Dave
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Your craft is so much more than just what you do

Dear Beatbox Busker, It’s gotta take a considerable amount of effort and dedication to do what you do. Not only do you have to cart your amp around, strapped to a dolly but I can’t imagine how tiring it must be for your vocal chords to perform your craft hours on end without so much as a break for water. It was interesting watching people pass you by. Some walked passed without so much as a sideways glance. Others turned to friends to make some sort of comment before snickering. Yet other stopped to listen, marvelling at the dynamic beats that flowed from your throat and mouth with such precision and depth. Young and old, those who stopped were overcome, even if just for a brief moment, with awe and intrigue as you manipulated sound effortlessly with your voice. Yet not one dropped a single coin in overturned hat. Regardless, each person that stopped close enough to chat, you did shook their hand acknowledged each with a smile on your face. It would be super easy to get frustrated, feeling as though your hard work was going unrecognized and unrewarded. But you didn’t. You continued to perform with a smile on your face, periodically closing your eyes as you got lost in the passion of what you do. Some may see you as just a punk kid with a useless talent. But you are so much more than that. You are teacher to those who take a moment to actually stop and pay attention. You are a man who has encouraged and inspired me to focus on my own craft (or maybe even to find out what my craft is) and stop at nothing to share it with others; regardless of how much effort and emotion it takes. Keep honing your craft. Oh, and keep beatboxing you’re pretty good at that too.

– Dave What’s your craft?
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Unwitting Life Changer

Dear Unwitting Life Changer, You may not know this but I’ve been watching you for years. I have watched you grow from a boy into a man. I’ve watched as you have commanded the attention of everyone near you. I’ve seen rooms brighten by your mere presence alone. I’ve seen you call people on their bullshit in a way that they can’t ignore. I’ve seen a faith in you that is rivalled by none. I’ve seen how much you love your father. I’ve seen how you hold him tight when you’re by his side. I see how you lovingly stroke his hand, totally enthralled just to be standing with him. I’ve seen how you clasp his hand in your fingers with pride, as if to ensure that everyone knows he is yours. I have seen how those same fingers interlocked with his to give him strength. You have changed his life. I know there was hurt, fear and frustration when he found out that you would be born with Down syndrome. But through the years I have seen how your strength, child-like wisdom and faith have pushed your father to be a better man. Not just for himself or your family, but for everyone that he comes in contact with. You may not know this but while I was watching, you changed my life. Thank you. – Dave
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The product of lovers torn apart

Dear Resilient Father, Tonight, as I sit in the shadows, mildly engrossed in the movie that is playing, watching your daughter’s face glow in the screen light, there is an image that I just can’t shake. It is of you, holding the head of your beloved, stroking her beautiful blond hair away from her face for the very last time before she slips through your fingers as the final grains of sand tumble through the hourglass. Everything is silent. Still. She is gone. I can’t even imagine what it must have felt like for you in that moment, the moment when the love of your life was prematurely taken. The moment when you were entrusted to raise your little girl into a wonderful loving mother even though she had barely known her own. As I watch your daughter’s chest rise and fall in her sleep it is impossible to hold back the tears. You have raised a strong, brave, beautiful woman who is the greatest mother in the world. I have no idea how you did it, but you did. Thank you. To the angel watching from above, I know that you are smiling down as you watch your lovely take on the world of motherhood on her own. I know that you are so proud of her. You have been her guiding force. I am sorry that I never got to meet you. That I never got to see you laugh and joke and bring your family so much joy, the joy that I saw in pictures. I promise to cherish and protect your most prized possession. I hope that I will not disappoint you. – Dave
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Screw You and Your Laughter, I’m Miserable

Dear Loud Obnoxious Pub Patrons, It’s been a hell of day. I awoke to the remnants of what looked like toddler fight club as a blood soaked pajama shirt was strewn on the floor in front of a blood spattered sink and mirror; the casualties of last night’s 4 year old midnight nosebleed. I feel as though I just suckered into another 2 months of free work on a pro-bono project that should’ve ended months ago. Now, I’m sitting in a pub eating supper by myself after leaving home more than 12 hours earlier, waiting to meet a friend. And you’re over there full of shits and giggles, pounding fists on the shuffle board table, downing jager bombs, not giving a damn about those around you. How dare you have a great time while I’m miserable. But why is it that my misery needs to bring you down? Why is that my needs are the center of the universe? Can…rather shouldn’t your laughter and boisterous antics lift me out of the shit instead of my whining and complaining drag you down? Why do I insist on remaining in this dark and defeated place instead of allowing your joy to soothe my soul? Carry on. I am probably not the only who needs what you are prescribing. – Dave
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I Am Joseph Kony

Dear Naked World Changer, It’s ironic isn’t it? We ask for young leaders like you to stand up and lead us in the fight for humanity; for what we believe in. We ask for young leaders to change the world. Yet as soon as someone like you emerges, we are quick to ridicule, criticize and ostracize. In a few short days, your film had been seen more than 100 million times. People passionately supported your call for justice. They signed up in droves to blanket cities with posters and pictures so that everyone who woke up this morning would know the name of Joseph Kony. Today, I saw 3 posters. People have said your mission failed. They have said that you failed. And from some perspectives that may be true. But today, I did not see that a mission failed. I did not see that the vision of bringing a destroyer of humanity to justice had been derailed. I saw something entirely different. I saw the sheer torture and torment that a narcissistic society is capable of bestowing on their prey. I saw the devastation and scars that were left by the hypocrites who say they want to change the world before they cast the first stone. We lifted you up, and tore you down in a matter of hours. We embodied your heart and passion for justice before sucking the very life from your bones in the same breath. We cried as we watched your masterpiece then mocked as you danced naked in the street. We engaged and shot you to the moon then stood back with indifference as we watched you plummet to earth. Kony needs to be brought to justice. There is no doubt. He is visible, and will one day get what he deserves. But what about the terrorists that torment souls each and every day in silence and anonymity? What about those who destroy lives while hiding behind computer screens and Twitter usernames? Are we any different than the men who destroy lives with guns and machetes? I am Joseph Kony. I am not the man you made famous. No. I still have the luxury of destroying lives without anyone seeing my face or knowing my name. I am fortunate enough to live in a society that devours their own without consequence. I have destroyed your life and I will no doubt do it again. I am Joseph Kony; and I pray to god you find me and bring me to justice. From the darkest part of my soul, – Dave
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Dear Crazy Ass Lady

Dear Crazy Ass Lady, You frustrate me beyond belief. I can’t even believe that I wasted an hour of my day talking in circles while you rambled on about moot points and useless details about your temporary bank card, only to end up saying the exact same thing I told you 30 times in the previous 45 minutes. What makes it worse is that you ruined my day. You put me on edge and I allowed you to dictate how I reacted to every other circumstance that came along today. I hate you for that. There are only two possible explanations for what happened today: 1. You are bat-shit crazy 2. I’m the shit crazy one, assuming that everything about our conversation was revolving around me and how “not crazy” I am. For all I know, you have a ton of stuff going on in your life that is so much bigger than your debit card, you just needed an outlet. I’m pretty sure it was the first reason ’cause I know I’m not crazy. (Durp) – Dave PS – I’m sorry.
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The Asshole Has Yet To Die

Dear Rainbow Bright, I’ll be honest, when I first saw you the only thing that popped into my head was how difficult it must be to pick out your clothes so that they match your rainbow coloured hair. That and why the hell would anyone colour their hair and dress the way that you do. But after my “cooler than you” finally took a seat, I wondered how many people’s day you brightened simply by gracing them with your presence (which I’m assuming is as bright and colourful as your appearance). I often, and by often I mean very often, pride myself in the fact that I am a completely different person than the immature, selfish, arrogant asshole I used to be. Truth is, I have lot of work to do yet and I’m sorry it took a few laughs from a 3rd story window at your expense to realize that. Don’t let anyone change the way you express yourself and your beautiful personality; especially assholes like me. – Dave
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Tiny Dancer

Dear Tiny Dancer, There was something special about seeing you today. Maybe it was because there was a smile of pure joy on your face as you were lost in another world, doing something that you love. Maybe it was the pure innocence, recognizing the beauty of a reality that I will never know again. Maybe, just maybe, it was because something behind your bright eyes gave me a glimpse at the hope and excitement which comes so easily to a child of 7 but seems to be such a struggle for a man of 30. Somewhere along the line my hope gave way to sarcasm, pessimism (cloaked by the guise of “realism”), and cynicism. Somewhere along the way I lost the hope of child. Seeing you today helped restore a sense of hope and faith in something that I had lost a large piece of a long time ago. Thank you. – Dave
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To all the lost ones…

Dear Lost One, It’s hard to imagine the pain, the incredible suffering, that you must have gone through: physically, emotionally, psychologically. It tears my heart out knowing that a life which was meant to be lived in such fullness has been taken. People may say that you took your own life. But I know better. I know better because I took it. Me and every other person who has picked on someone because they’re different: because they don’t look the same way, talk the same way, or believe in the same things that we do. Because they weren’t cool enough. I will never know what it feels like to see things as black and white as you do. I will never know what it’s like to see the world through eyes of someone who as Aspergers. But what your story has encouraged me to do is try. I don’t understand our obsession with grey, as if by being able to blur the middle line enough you can never see when good ends and evil begins we will benefit somehow. The reality is, one may benefit but a whole lot of people lose. For you it was the blatant disregard of what was being done to you on a daily basis: being bullied. We turned our eyes. We said things were okay. We blurred the line. Grey. Our inaction, our selfishness, cost you your life and the many lives of those before you. I am truly sorry. And although I can never tell you this face to face, you are not worthless. Your voice is not silent. Your sacrifice will be remembered forever. – Dave Today’s letter goes out to all those who kids who have lost their life because they were being bullied, and especially to those who are being bullied today. There is no grey: Love One Another. And please go see Bully. It’s in theaters today.