Monday, March 26, 2012

This Sort Of Thing Is Why, Despite So Much Crap In The World, I Remain An Optimist About People



WARNING: Some of you will get a few paragraphs into this and say, "Sully, I don't give a damn about baseball cards. I like you, but..."

I understand, but this isn't really about baseball cards. Trust me.




It will hardly come as a shock to most of you if I say there are lots of nice people on the internet. Many of us have been recipients of small favors from our friends who blog (if I start mentioning the folks who sent me fruitcake, or who sent stuff to Dorothy, or from whom I've received cards, prayers, photos, encouragement, prizes... well, see, we'll be here all day. Suffice to say if you're one of them, I love you and I've kept you in my prayers.) When two folks who previously knew each other only via their writings finally have a face-to-face encounter, the postmortems usually make note of a pleasant time had by all.

(Perhaps the bad meetings aren't written about as often. I suppose if someone showed up slathered head-to-toe in possum fat, wearing nothing but a strategically-placed "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" button, and the first thing he said, upon meeting you, was, "Wow! Your rack is even bigger in person!", then you might not consider it a highlight. Lime was OK with it when we met, but we shouldn't be taken as the norm.)


Norm!


Anyway, what I want to tell you about is something truly unique and wonderful done for me recently by a blogger.

The blogger's name is Jeremy Scott, and he writes at a couple of locations. His main blog - the place where he chronicles bits of his life - is called No One's Going To Read This Blog. I'm hoping you'll visit there and make that title a lie. It's worth the trip just to see his header.

(Go ahead. Click on the link. I'll wait for you to come back.)

See? Now that's funny!

A photographer by trade, most of Jeremy's writing concerns his passion for baseball cards and other such collectibles. I understand this may hold little appeal for some of you, but I find his approach interesting. While he has specific favorite players (a fondness for Oklahoma athletes is fairly apparent - and also understandable, as he is located in Norman, ...


Norman!


... the home of the University of Oklahoma) - his bigger concern is the aesthetic of the cards, rather than the specific athletes pictured. He'll offer a critique of the composition, cropping, background, airbrushing, and other details that the usual fanboy collector would hardly notice. He also branches off on small digressions now and then, concerning things other than cards, and I've always been a fan of digression.

(For instance, did you know that there used to be such a thing as a blow-up bra? Here's photographic proof!



Maybe there still are such things. For all I know, there's a huge blow-up bra industry [and if there is, and there are openings for blowers, I think I'll update my resume, because Lord knows I have enough hot air], but this is the sort of thing you might come across while reading Jeremy's posts about baseball card collecting.)

His other blog is VERY baseball card specific. It is named No One's Going To Trade For This, and that's where I first encountered Jeremy.

I'm not sure how I came to be there. I like baseball cards, and I must have been searching for something about them, but I'll be damned if I can remember what. In any case, I landed on his blog and I saw that he was trying to acquire some 1973 Topps baseball cards. I recalled having a box full of them gathering dust in my basement, so I wrote to him and said I wouldn't mind sending them his way. It seemed much more sensible to have them in the hands of someone who really loves them, and who would treasure them, than to leave them sitting in my cellar entertaining no one.

We traded e-mails. I asked him to give me his address so I could ship the cards to him. He inquired about what I might like in return. I named a few athletes whose performances I've enjoyed through the years, but I basically told him that whatever he felt like sending me would be fine. I wasn't looking to acquire anything when I offered him the cards, so whatever he sent back would be gravy. I expected to receive maybe 20 or 25 cards from him, and that would have been swell.

Jeremy sent me an amazing assortment of 200 Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and other awesome cards. I think there's little doubt that what he sent far outweighs, in monetary value, what I sent him. His generosity was spectacular. I was enjoying going through the cards he sent, admiring the artwork and having a few random sporting memories triggered, and I intended to write him a nice little thank you note concerning his largesse, when I came upon something entirely unexpected. And it just blew me away.

What I found, in the middle of the huge stack of cards Jeremy sent, was ME.




It seems one of the things Jeremy likes to do is create one-of-a-kind hand-drawn cards. During the time we had been exchanging e-mails, he had also been reading my back catalog, and he saw my posts about having played in metal/punk/rock bands during the 70's and 80's. And he took the time to create one of his very special cards specifically for me, a person he had never met and from whom he had yet to receive anything. And then, when he boxed up the cards he was sending to me, he inserted that card in the middle of the pack, with no forewarning, so that it would be a great surprise when I found it.

Did I say "a great surprise"? It was a singularly stunning surprise, one that knocked my socks off.

To be truthful, when I first saw it, I was clueless. I never expected to see my rock 'n roll past life on a baseball card, so my initial reaction was, "Oh, cool. He's included some sort of musician cards." Then I realized it was ME from 30 years ago. I sat there, open-mouthed and slack-jawed, for about five seconds. Then I picked it up and ran into the living room where MY WIFE was watching TV.

"Look at this!," I said, and I showed her the card.

"Where did you get that? Was it in the box of cards from your friend in Oklahoma?"

"Yes! Isn't it excellent?"

"It sure is! He drew it? Wow! That took a lot of work. What a nice guy! You should frame it."

That's exactly what I'm going to do. And the next time I find myself pessimistic concerning humanity, and perhaps thinking that we're all going to hell in a handbasket, I'll look at it and remember all of the nice things I've received, from so many of you, and I'll try to keep the thought that, yes, we are not wrong to rely upon the kindness of strangers.

Soon, with more better stuff.



38 comments:

Julie said...

now that's a seriously nice thing to do ....

The Broad said...

You were right! It was definitely worth reading about baseball cards to read about that! Isn't it wonderful how extraordinary people can be. And I can't think of anyone more deserving that you, Sully.

Craig said...

Wow! Uber-sweet!

And I'm sorry. . . But that blow-up bra thing looks more like a kind of 'milk thru a straw' kinda deal. . . Not that I suppose it would make any difference as far as you wanting to apply for work there. . .

lime said...

that really is a wonderful, lovely, personal surprise. people can be just so amazing sometimes. you and YOUR WIFE chief among them. besides, you can carry off possum grease and buttons like no one else i've ever met.

Jeni said...

Obviously, this guy knows great talent to have honored you with your very own collector's card! Maybe you should ask him to reproduce that card and you could then hand them out -or send them out -to your blogger friends so we could have a "collectible" card in your honor too! What a nice memento that would make for your fans to put in a place of honor then in their homes too.

Michelle H. said...

So totally awesome! The "Pay It Forward" movement continues...

Next thing you know, he'll be drawing all the players of your softball team.

Buck said...

What a great story!

As for this... For all I know, there's a huge blow-up bra industry...

I dunno about bras, but I've heard there's a significant blow-up doll bid'niz. Same-same. Sorta.

Sandi McBride said...

oh Wow, now that is a true blogging friend!!! Love the card, too...can't believe the Topps and Upper Deck cards we have stashed away...it's sinful the money we spent on them, lol...
Do love that card!
Sandi

Daryl Edelstein said...

What a really wonderful surprise .. and you deserve it .. you are one of the truly good guys

Jeremy said...

It was a nice thing to do. A really nice thing for YOU to do for me. I was just glad to send over some cards that you might like. I wish I had more 65's to send you. I from reading your blog that it's your favorite set.

So far nobody has been upset with my sketch card portraits of them. I just waiting for the day when somebody doesn't like my portrayal of them. It was either a Powerline bass guitar sketch or a Johnny Benchesque catcher shot with you appearing out of a bunch of dust.

I'm assuming we came across each other from the awesome 1965 Topps Project blog. He's about 99% complete on finishing his set!

Thanks again for the cards. I'll be doing a variety of posts detailing the cards you sent over.

Jeremy said...

Sometimes I like to leave comments in my caveman voice. I really need to proofread my comments before I hit send.

Quirkyloon said...

The world needs more Jeremy's in it.

That was awesome! Awe to the some!

haphazardlife said...

How totally cool that is. Wow.

Stephen Hayes said...

One of the joys of life is being surprised out of your preconceived notions. There are great people in the world. You obviously found one.

Maggie May said...

If you ask me...... most bloggers are terrific people. I'm sure that includes you too. (in spite of what you say!!!!!)
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Shrinky said...

And just when I've said people rarely surprise me anymore, huh? Awwww, that would knock my socks off, too - what a wonderfully, lovely out-of-the-blue thing to do - of COURSE you must frame it, it's priceless!

Just Stuff From a Boomer said...

Love your "Norm" references BTW... Also, that is an absolute fantastic thing to do for a friend. Jeremy, you're a good guy. And, Dog, so are you.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

That is out of control cool! What a great guy with a true sense of what the word generosity means :-) Definitely worthy of framing!

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

I understand there's a lot of beer in Norman?

messymimi said...

Well, i may not know what Jeremy does, but i know he is a rock star. Wow.

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Possum Fat: $2.
"Kiss Me I'm Irish" button: $2.50
Jimi LaRue Trading Card: Priceless.

BASEBALL DAD said...

I've known Jeremy for a long time as a blogger. I have traded cards with him many times. Very nice guy ! I once sent him some cameras for a small fee or some cards or something ! There are probably 3-400 sports card blogs that I know of and most are very generous people.

Barbara Shallue said...

Now THAT is a sweet, generous soul. And talented! (And I also love his banner!)

Hilary said...

What a very lovely gift. There are all sorts of wonderful people out here in the blog world. Your own self among them.

Play at the Plate said...

In lieu of cash, I'll leave this comment. I've traded cards with Jeremy quite a few times and he's a great guy. He was one of the people who really supported my blog when I was getting started. I can tell by reading the comments to this post that you're well thought of too and I'll be following now thanks to Jeremy.

notactuallygod said...

He draws pictures of you? I don't know what the stalking-from-a-distance record is; how far is Norman, Ok from Boston, Ma?

Uncle Skip, said...

I notice the card is labeled, "VeryRareJimiLaRueInMintCondition"

From what I have read on this blog, I doubt seriously Jimi LaRue was ever in mint condition

Suldog said...

Uncle Skip - I wasn't BORN stoned, OK?

Clare Dunn said...

:)

(I'm smiling at Uncle Skip's comment)

Such a gift. I mean the realization that there are good people in the world, still. I have known this for some time, now. I am friends with you, that is proof enough for me.

Such a gift. Now I mean Jeremy's generosity. I am just learning of this. But you are friends with him, and that's proof enough for me.

I think I love (both of) you!

xoxoxo, cd

Suldog said...

I know I said, in the beginning of the piece, how I loved everything everyone did for me, but I would feel remiss if I didn't point some of you to the post I did about Clare's marvelous gesture of kindness, seeing how it is also of an artistic nature...

http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com/2012/01/disgraceful-state-of-american-politics.html

missing moments said...

Nice commentary on how folks can totally surprise us. All kinds of them out there in blogland ... including you!

mcat said...

RE:"For all I know, there's a huge blow-up bra industry..."

...& maybe late night cable standard "9 Bra Blowout!" is a tragic documentary rather than the cheesy infomercial I've assumed

silly rabbit said...

Very cool card indeed! He sounds like a great guy. I have never heard of blow up bras! Baseball cards, yes. Blow up bras, no. And I have not seen this much of Norm in years! I will go and visit your friend now.

busana muslim said...

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flutterby said...

That is stellar! What a great surprise... I'm sure it's not one you'll soon forget.

Joan said...

Wow....sooooo nice!

Karen said...

Nice guy, that Jeremy.

CiCi said...

Jeremy did a great job on the drawing of you playing guitar. You are right, he is a nice guy. Well, you are too.