Gary is that guy. You know the guy who you meet and you feel like you’ve known forever.
A few years older than me, and one less kid, Gary and I made small talk at the Apple Store. We were both looking at the new iPads.
And we were both trying to convince ourselves that we really needed one even though our laptops worked perfectly fine.
Like I said, Gary is that guy who you know. The kind of guy your sister marries or moves next door and lets you borrow his power tools when you need them. He’s the guy you want to have a beer with, or better yet you hope to be invited to his BBQ. I didn’t ask, but he seems like the kind of guy who might know something about grilling.
I did not intend to make Gary number 12 of 30 people I would randomly meet. I genuinely was interested in his take on technology, because (and this is why we need to meet people) he just seemed like the kind of guy who would know something. He didn’t. In fact, he was the one asking me the questions. That’s when I told him about the challenge.
In talking to him, I learned that he is a native of Southern California, has worked in the movie business close to four decades, and is a proud member of the Teamster’s Union. He has two kids. And is finally divorced after 14 years of separation. “We made it work out,” he told me. And I was not surprised one bit. He seemed just like the kind hearted person who, when given the situation, would go above and beyond to make that happen for his family.
One thing that was completely obvious (but only after he told me) was his alopecia, a disease that causes all your hair to fall out. Gary is completely bald. There is not one hair anywhere on him. What used to embarrass him is now the very thing that “gets dates.” He used to have long hair, and it was his thing. When the first signs appeared his ego got kicked pretty hard. But the one of the many positive things that grew out of coming to terms with losing his hair was gaining a stronger sense of his self. And that was pretty obvious without him having to tell me.
A day does not go by when Gary isn’t reminding someone who is worrying about the importance of staying grounded and focused on the good things that life has to offer. His advice is simple, “Don’t lose you hair over it.” This seems fitting considering he wants the world to know: “I try to be a good human to everyone and everything.”
And after spending more time than he ever spent “talking to a total stranger about personal stuff,” I can honestly say Gary is doing a pretty good job. Because he’s that kind of guy.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”