Remember "Hands Across America" O ye children of the 80's? I believe it to be an appropriate blast from the past given the recent celebrity expiration that you've been throttled over the head BY A CLUB by the media. For those Millenials out there who don't think anything ever happened before 1996 there was an idea hatched for the summer of 1986 that a bunch of people would stand in a line, hold hands, and POOF - all the hunger and poverty in America would disappear. A noble idea and cause, and aside for white flight from the cities & desegrated public schools, the collapse of the American Industrial base, and general disruption of the eco-system by suburbanization, I believe this was a dead-nuts idea to fix hunger, don't you agree?
But it really was interesting on many levels because people across the country got together to support one cause, despite the fact that the 'chain' couldn't cross the Western deserts due to lack of people. Because of my experience in running a fantasy football website (Midwest Collision League - Google it), I put a hidden electronic cookie on Cancer Can Suck It to track who is taking a gander at my ramblings. So far, in less than a month we're pushing 500 page visits, and folks from all across America are checking in. The following is a list of the communities where people have logged on and checked out the blog....
Apex, North Carolina
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Bronx, New York
Cary, North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Clermont-ferrand, Auvergne, France
Cold Spring Harbor, New York
Commerce City, Colorado
Du Bois, Pennsylvania
East Haven, Connecticut
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Garner, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Guatamala City, Guatamala
Jiddah, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
Kenthurst, New South Wales, Australia
Los Angeles, California
Merchantville, New Jersey
Michigan City, Indiana
Mountain View, California
New Haven, Connecticut
New York, New York
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Patna, Bihar, India
Riverhead, New York
San Diego, California
San Jose, California
San Leandro, California
San Mateo, California
Santiago, Region Metropolitana, Chile
South Bend, Indiana
Stein, Bayern, Germany
Tehran, Esfahan, IranTel Aviv, Israel
Vilnius,Vilniaus Apskritis, Lithuania
Washington, District Of Columbia
West Chester, Ohio
West Orange, New Jersey
West Sacramento, California
While this may seem mundane and boring, it's pretty motivating to me. In a somewhat-but-not-related way to HAA, people all across the country (and Canada, France, and India) are at least devoting some brain energy to my specific life challenge. Those of you who know me well know that I hate to fail at anything I put my mind to, especially with public accountability. With all of you checking out my progress it makes me want to fight harder to beat this. The REALLY cool part of this is that many of these towns are associated with specific friends and family, and every time you log in it's as if you're giving me a personal greeting. So THANK YOU everyone..keep checking it out. My hope is that this blog can update you on my progress, but also that someone who is also processing a recent Cancer diagnosis can gain some hope and inspiration.
OK, enough for touchy-feely. There is a tie-back into Hands Across America, albeit a bit weak by literary terms. You see, my Aunt Judy, Uncle Mike, and cousins Mike & Matt lived on Lake Erie in northern Ohio, 1 block from the route of the 'line' of people who formed the HAA chain. It JUST SO HAPPENS, that on Memorial Day weekend 1986 we were driving to visit them, and were getting ready to turn left across traffic onto their street at the exact moment that the HAA chain was being formed for the big Michael Jackson moment. Their street was right off of Route 6 in Huron, Ohio - the path of HAA. There was some 'discussion' on what to do in the front seat of the car between my Dad and Mom....those of you who know the Baker dynamic can only imagine the content of that conversation - Mom was compassionate, Dad dropped a few choice words and hit the gas..
So, here is the true Baker family confession for the ages - at the exact "MJ" unity moment of Hands Across America, the Baker clan broke the chain and ruined the opportunity to end Hunger in the world.
Another tidbit about this story. My cousin Mike, 5 years my junior, was diagnosed at age 19 with the same cancer I have. His was much more advanced, and he beat it. Mike is now 32 and cancer free. Mikey, you're a Warrior, and an inspiration.
P.S. I have an update of teams who are in my corner. Add the following to my earlier blog entry:
- The Society of Friends (Team Quaker, not the cereal, the ones from PA)
- Wesleyans (the Closet Methodists who are afraid to be called Methodists team)
If I've forgotten your team, please let me know. Seriously, I'm keeping track.