Recently, I came across a blog post over at Amber Naslund’s Brass Tack Thinking blog titled “What I Wish More People Knew About Me”. The post goes on to talk about the superficial nature of online relationships and how “so much nuance can be lost in the midst of snippets of electronic and fleeting communication” (that Amber has got such a way with words, yes?). She then goes on to share with her audience several personal things she wished people knew about her. The post has spawned a number of guest posts titled “What I Wish People Knew“, where other people also share information about themselves they, for whatever reason, wish people knew.
Now, I’m not real big on talking about myself or even caring what people know or don’t know about me. I find it (as even Amber admittedly did) a tad self-serving and narcissistic. The people who matter, know me. Period. Those who don’t can figure it out based on the “snippets of electronic and fleeting communication” I share on twitter and facebook, my films, video productions, and blog posts. I don’t care to bore anyone with the details of my life and I’m sure as hell not very interested in other people’s hopes, dreams, and fears (nothing personal). But the posts did get me thinking a bit about what people might find interesting about my life (damn you, Amber!).
Then I came across another post which asked the question: “Do Online Friends Matter As Much As Real Ones?” A pretty silly question, if you ask me because the answer is quite simple: no. Online “friends” are fleeting and relatively low-risk. You can barely grasp the shadow of a person online; much less the substance. Could one of your online friends one day become a “real friend”? Sure. But that’s gonna take a lot more than a handshake and a few chuckles at a local tweetup. As far as online relationships go, I really don’t care who you are or who you’re pretending to be – just don’t say anything stupid and we’ll be cool.
What I did find interesting about the post was the idea of a day to “cruise each others’ blogs” (today, July 25th) and “come together, put the marketplace on hold and have a day of Show and Tell”; a day where people can share a little about who they really are in an effort to “deepen their communication and become friends”. Corny, I know. But coupled with Amber’s posts, I started to think that maybe I could have some fun with this whole concept.
Quid Pro Quo
As I started to conjure up ideas on how to spoof the “What I Wish More People Knew About Me” and the “Show and Tell” concepts, I kept finding myself reluctant to sit down and write a bunch of things about myself for the amusement of other people. It seemed rather desperate to me and quite lame. Just as I was about to give up, however, I recalled the exchange of information between Hannibal Lector and Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs. Quid pro quo, “what for what”, something given or received for something else. Why should I invest any time sharing information about my stupid life without getting anything in return? I preferred sharing and getting.
I then decided to just play it straight. Skip all the lame stuff about what an awesome father/husband I am, how I have recurring nightmares that I’m being chased by fire-breathing turtles, or how I sometimes cry myself to sleep because I never became a Canine Psychologist. Yawn. I’ll leave the syrupy stuff to everyone else. I’m gonna stick to the facts and try real hard to keep them interesting and make the information worth your while.
So here are 20 different things about me (and my family) that will either amuse, entertain, or bore the hell out of you. But wait…there is a catch! Then I’m gonna ask for something from you. Quid pro quo, “what for what”. Ready? Here goes:
1] First things first: I hate stupidity (most of you already knew that so let’s move on).
2] I was born in the Bronx where I lived for the first 27 years of my life.
3] I’m one of seven children (second oldest). My mother was a homemaker and my father worked in a factory.
4] I got my first job when I was 13 years old handing out flyers on the street for RBS Furniture on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx. I made a buck an hour.
5] I grew up listening to Heavy Metal (mostly Death Metal) – I saw Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax, Manowar, Motorhead, Overkill, and Iron Maiden live.
6] I’ll blow anyone away on air guitar. My favorite is Van Halen’s “Ice Cream Man”.
7] When I was 18, a friend got me a job working in the mailroom of the New York Public Library on 42nd & 5th. I worked there for the next 9 years.
8] I worked evenings and weekends for a whole year (1991-1992) at Tower Records on West 4th & Broadway. To this day, the most fun I ever had “working”.
9) My three favorite films (based more on the influence they had on me) would probably be Alan Parker’s “Angel Heart”, Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”, & Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now”.
10] I went to see jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis (who I was a big fan of) at the Bottom Line in NYC (circa 1988?). Opening up for him was an unknown New Orleans singer who performed an extremely memorable set with just his voice and a piano. His name was Harry Connick Jr. Later that week, I picked up his album, “20”. Still have it on vinyl today.
11] Growing up, we had only one TV (a 19” b&w). After dinner, my father would go to the living room, sit down on his spot on the couch, and watch the New York Mets games on WOR-TV (called by the great Ralph Kiner). That left the rest of us with two choices: watch the Mets game or go to our rooms and read a book. Needless to say, I’ve been a Mets fan since as far back as I can remember.
12] My most memorable sports moment was a Mets game back in October of 1985 where Darryl Strawberry hit a monstrous homerun off St. Louis Cardinals left-hander Ken Dayley in the 11th inning to give the Mets a 1-0 victory. My father, a man of few words, jumped up from the couch, leaned over to me with a huge grin on his face, and stuck his hand out to me to give him “five”. Me and my dad watched a lot of Mets games together but that was the first and only time he would ever do that. Not even when Ray Knight scrambled home in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series was my father that excited about a Mets win.
13] My father died in the summer of 1991 of a heart attack. He was only 50 years old.
14] The person who I call my “best friend”, Elvin Torres, sat right next to me during our first day in Kindergarten (I remember we were both mortified). After 37 years (and counting) of putting up with me, I can state without reservation that he is truly the best friend a person could have (trust me, none of your best friends even come close).
15] When my daughter Miranda was born and I first held her in my arms, I told my wife that they could put her among a hundred other babies and that I would pick her out in a minute – that’s how beautiful she was. She’s gonna be famous one day.
16] My daughter is the real owner of Buddy the mischievous pug.
17] I’m generally unimpressed by most people.
18] I relocated my family to South Florida from New York back in 2003 to take a position as Director of Sales & Marketing for a 60-acre Family Entertainment Center. A year later, I was fired. I think I was too “New York” for them.
19] Shortly thereafter, my wife was diagnosed with a large aneurysm in her heart. Her ascending aortic valve needed to be replaced and we were told that there wasn’t a surgeon in the state of Florida who could perform that particular surgery. We were referred to a doctor in New York named Mehmet C. Oz. We flew to New York and in April 2004, Dr. Oz performed the surgery on my wife at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. When my wife awoke from the surgery several hours later, she was hooked up to a respirator and her hands were strapped to her sides (so that she wouldn’t tear the respirator out of her mouth). She looked terrified. She couldn’t speak and I really didn’t know what to say to her; it broke my heart to see her that way. She signaled with her bound left hand to bring my hand down to hers and then used her fingers to turn my hand around so that she could scribble on my palm with her finger. She began to spell out: D-O-N-T-W-O-R-R-Y. I’ll never forget that. This may help you understand #17.
20] My wife is also a two-time kidney transplant recipient. She received her first kidney transplant back in 1990. That kidney lasted her 7 years but failed a few months after our daughter was born. For 9 of the first 10 years of our marriage, my wife had to undergo 3 hour dialysis treatments three times a week. Those were tough years. My wife barely slept more than three hours a night, was limited to 32 ounces of fluid daily and had many restrictions on the types of foods she could eat. She also had to take an absurd amount of medications several times throughout the day. We had to arrange for dialysis treatments when we traveled to visit our families in New York or Puerto Rico, even when we spent a long weekend at Disney World. After her heart surgery, Dr. Oz told my wife that it was imperative that she receive a kidney transplant within the year to give her new aortic valve a good chance at long-term success. But after her heart surgery, her nephrologist gave her a very slim chance of ever finding a matching kidney.
During all those difficult years, my wife never felt sorry for herself; never asked God why He seemed to be picking on her. She showed me that you deal with the crap life throws at you by waking up every morning, getting dressed, putting a smile on your face, going about your business, and telling life to go fly a kite. She’ll never take credit for it but she made me stronger; her daughter stronger.
In March of 2007, my wife received a perfectly matched kidney less than five months after she was put back on the transplant list; less than five months after her nephrologist told her not to hold her breath. She deserved it.
With her new kidney, my wife became a new person. The weekly dialysis treatments that were wearing her body down were over; she could eat or drink anything she wanted; she slept better at night; she had a new energy. We could go away for a week without arranging dialysis treatments; we became a new family.
Organ Transplants save lives. They affect not only the lives of the transplant recipient but their families as well. It’s a once in a lifetime gift (sometimes, twice) that nothing can ever compare to.
Are You an Organ Donor?
Every day, 18 people die while waiting for a transplant of a vital organ, such as a heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, lung or bone marrow. Are you an organ donor? Have you decided that when you die, you’re going to give life to another human being? Transform the lives of an entire family for the better? When you die, you’re not going to need your organs anyway, right? Why bury them in the ground to be eaten by worms when more than 4,000 new patients are being added to the waiting list for organ donations each month?
“But Dan, I don’t know what I gotta do to become an organ donor!” Well, it’s easy and free and will only take a few minutes of your time. Go HERE and register.
Share and Get?
Quid pro quo. I shared a little something about me, yes? Fortunately for you, I’m not that interested in your life (again, see #17). My only hope is that after reading this post you sign up to become an organ donor. Then I want you to go and tell your family and friends to sign up to become organ donors as well. And then I want you to come back here and let me know that you (and your friends and your family members) all signed up to become organ donors. That way, I can feel like this whole self-serving post that was very uncomfortable for me to write wasn’t all in vain.
Can you do that for me?
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In amidst the blase-ness..which may sound a little like arrogance to those who don’t read you often enough to get what your about/your style…(a bit like just catching a one off episode of Family guy and going WTF.)
You did a good thing here….encouraging others to sign up for organ donation that is( I know you know that)It’s a little sad that you’re generally unimpressed by most people. I mean..people amaze, enlighten, enliven and enrich..and yes….impress me…every day! Especially those who I see overcome great odds, with a smile and attitude of gratitude for what they do have, and not just those I’m in relationship with. My twins sisters where born weighing less than a bag of sugar ( 3 months prem), one has a tracheotomy and learning difficulties…and I’ve watched her search for a job high and low for 3 years..and seen her confidence and esteem die with one rejection after another. Its fu*&ing heart breaking, yet she still gets up each day and gives it another go..has great smile, and can make me laugh till I cr!. I’m seriously impressed by her..despite her ‘on pape’r achievements, looking like precious little to most. But hey…I’m a little corny like that! I love your wife’s attitude, she sounds like a hell of a woman..and despite a possible desire to convey the opposite (pure disinterest in sharing, of which this post kinda indicates otherwise) you can feel your passion and love for her..pouring out in your every word about her. It’s beautiful…your both blessed to have one another. Maybe it will mean..shit boogey shit to you…but I’m impressed by both of you..o,k.,…. more by her 🙂 Thanks for sharing #nicheamnesty (couldn’t help my damn self, i’m extra like that)
Me? Arrogant? Perish the thought 🙂
Nothing corny about being impressed with loved ones overcoming challenges with dignity. If that’s the case then I’m a little corny like that, too.
PS – She’s way more impressive than me 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to stop by…
You have surely inspired me to write my own Quid Pro Quo: 20 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me
And I will do ASAP… and will let you know when my Quid Pro Quo is live…
thank you, again, for the great post.
Ans yes I am an organ donor. 🙂
All the best my brother,
I’d look forward to that – just don’t get corny on me 🙂
Glad to hear you’re a donor and, as always, a pleasure to see you here…
Wow! I’m glad I got through that. I keep forgetting about the “sharing who you are ” thing…Maybe I’ll do it if I get a minute. But I wanted you to know that I just committed myself to the state of NH by renewing my driver’s license, and checked off “organ donor”. My husband needs a liver and two kidneys. I’m not a match, but I’ll match someone out there! Thanks for the reminder!
Betsy, that makes me very happy. I’m sure you have lovely organs 🙂
My best wishes for your husband – do keep me posted…
And I’m sure you do too, Dan. Do you?
I was going to write some kinda crack about air guitar-off in loo of my own #NicheAmnesty entry, but then I went on to read about your wife, and felt like a total jerk.
No need to feel that way. Glad to have been a part of #NicheAmnesty 🙂
PS – I may have to post video of my doing my “Ice Cream Man” air guitar solo…
you post one and I will post one in kind…let them vote
Dan, you just keep amazing me, and I like that. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing all of this. Your wife is an extraordinary woman, but you know that already.
I’m already an organ donor – have been pretty much since I started driving. I guess I’ve always figured if someone can use them after I’m gone, great! I remember during my most recent driver’s license renewal, the woman at DMV said, “You want to donate your organs?” and I said “Yes.” She went on to ask, “Do you want to donate to the Organ Donor Awareness Fund?” to which I replied, “Isn’t it enough that I’m donating my organs?!” We all laughed, but I did actually donate to the fund, too.
Seriously, though, this is such an important issue – it’s great that you’re spotlighting it. And I’m glad to learn a little more about you and your family. Hope to meet you one day!
Your organs should be enough, no? That’s funny. Glad to hear you’re a donor and I, too, look forward to meeting you one day. Punk. Hug 🙂
Man, I love ya Dan. The more I get to know you, the better it gets. Just registered! Hugs to your wife…and the rest of the Perez fam…even Buddy!
Jennifer, so glad to hear that. I’ve passed on the hugs (back at ya!)
Looking forward to hearing good news with your mother…
Fabulously REAL as always! I love & know this” just don’t say anything stupid and we’ll be cool.” I am also a huge Harry Connick Jr. fan. Your wife sounds like a truly awe-inspiring person~so lucky to have each other & Miranda.
I wouldn’t say I’m a huge Harry Connick Jr fan (his early albums with just piano were far better than the poor man’s Sinatra he’s become). And yeah, my wife’s quite a gal…
I’m not really a fan but it was a good post and i am an organ donor.
Thank you for sharing your story. I’m interested in my online friends, many of them become real life friends in time, people I travel to visit in person, and talk to frequently offline. Your wife is an incredibly strong woman, it must be great having that type of influence in your daily life.
I’ve been an organ donor since I was old enough to get a learner’s permit. Lots of doctors and nurses in my family, and not to be one is unheard of in my extended family. (My mother, incidentally, is a dialysis nurse. I worked as a Unit Secretary at one in DC. I was too sensitive to watch the people in pain every day. Can’t imagine how your wife withstood it.)
Dan powerful stuff here. Just spent some time at New York Presbyterian with a friend who then went to Bellevue Hospice and ultimately died this past Wednesday. I certainly can understand #17 – your wife is an inspiration and shames me when I think of my whine factor (hint it doesn’t come close to what she endured).
Thanks for sharing – don’t really care who owns Buddy just enjoy his great perspective and sense of humor.
Thanks for sharing
My wife tends to render most people I meet unremarkable. And in my house, if you’re gonna complain about something, it had better be severe. I can write pages and pages of what I’ve seen her endure.
Sorry to hear about your friend…
Nice post Dan. I still think you owe us the sappy version though. 😉
That’s about as sappy as I get 🙂
I know I know … you are getting sick and tired of hearing me say that the jig’s up: generous+kind+loving+insightful+ICouldGoOn = Dan Perez
I’m fortunate to know some stuff about you already and this post filled in a few blanks (not that I really care … heh heh <~ can you believe I said that!)
Seriously, thank you for sharing the power and strength in your wife; I'm better for reading it and you are blessed to have her in your life. These are the words that change perception, alter assumption, and teach us to take nothing for granted.
I have always been a registered organ donor and encourage other people to also join Stem Cell & Marrow Networks. Saving lives? ~ why wouldn't you?
On a side note … I pondered the contention that online friendships have no substance. Fleeting niceties and blithering adages aside, it may be possible to lay the foundation for sustainable friendships. If by 'online' we can include email and other potential platforms for 'substantial' communication, real and meaningful friendships are possible. People used to fall in love ~ and, subsequently, spend their lifetimes together ~ through the power of the pen. My parents met as teenagers and kinda digged each other but were then separated by circumstances for almost a decade. They wrote each other almost daily. They were married for 52 years and died within months of each other. The medium may have changed but, for some, the potential for meaningful relationships remains. I guess the secret is to always be open, honest, challenged, and challenging … and don't blither…
I don’t disagree that real and sustainable relationships, even friendships, can be formed online (or via the pen). I think there’s real potential there. I just don’t put too many eggs in that basket but if it’s there, I’ll gladly welcome it. Like with you 🙂
Always good to see you here. Hug.
My parents too forged their love through snail mail. She wasn’t legal, and he was in the Navy. Best that he was gone, since they knew immediately that they would end up together. By the time he got home, she was marriageable.
I can see how the same thing could happen online. Not overnight, but definitely possible with enough interaction.
For example, Sandy Hubbard and I can predict each other’s response to virtually anything. Never met yet, though we will in September. CAN’T WAIT!
Good to meet you more actually, Tobey. 😀
i told you when I first met you that I knew you had a warm nuggety center. So glad things went well for your wife. Good things don’t always happen to good people, so it’s awesome to hear stories about when things work the way they should.
A warm nuggety center – that’s me in a nutshell 🙂
Ahh Dan. Another one of your brilliant posts. As I finished the first section, and then started the second- where you did in fact go on to talk about yourself…I thought, of course, he is going to talk about himself. its Dan. When you rounded that last corner and told us about your wife, you pulled me in again, and really hit it home, nice. Since Dan doesn’t care what I think…I am writing for the benefit of the “others” here 😉 I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people online, and IRL on SoMe platforms- on professional levels, and games. Sometimes I hear people telling others they don;t :know” them truly..but what I have found, (still trying to pinpoint if its just me who sees this or everyone) but if you really pay attention to what people write even as briefly as 140 characters…the words they choose, their points of inflection – you will get a sense of who they are. So far with the people I have met, they have never turned out to be any different at the core than I expected. If you meet someone and you find they are completely the opposite of who they seemed to be online, then maybe you were not as observant…maybe you did not take the time to really engage with them, or follow them – not in the twitter sense of the word, but in the sense of really listening. In communication, you can be an active listener – I feel, and I have yet to be proven wrong, that if you actively follow, read and reflect on the people you see online, you will pick up on the nuances that show you the depth of the person. All this to say, this is why I follow and like Dan, and all my other friends. its nice that some people take the time to share more about themselves with their personal stories, and its true that in this world life is too busy to spend the time “getting to know” so many thousands of strangers in SoMe, but if you are watching and listening, I really believe that your instinct will show you the people you want to know- but only if you are really present and reading what you see with an active eye and heart.
I think most of the people that I interact with online are gonna be very close to how they “appear” should I ever meet them in person. Some I think I’ll get along nicely with while others will surely bore me to tears. Perhaps, I just look at “friendship” differently. I’ve always known a lot of people but I call very few of them friends. At the end of the day, I enjoy my time on the social platforms and that’s what matters, no?
Thank you for your comment – always nice to see you here 🙂
This is wonderful Dan, for one thing I can’t imagine sharing details of your life would ever “bore” anyone. What I find amazing about this post is that it unfolds in such a subtle way… the usual, witty and unpretentious Dan we all know – but as we read on and with each “thing” we learn it’s pretty tough to fight back tears. Personally, I was reading this to my Mom when I hit number 19 … I was more than moved, and needless to say we were both in awe. Thank you for inspiring me today, and for reminding me that there are selfless people in this world who are angels on this earth. I will now without hesitation become an organ donor.
Debbi, glad to hear that, I’m sure you have some lovely organs (and a bleeding heart) 🙂
I really do hate talking about myself (my wife hates it even more!). Hug.
Lisa, I knew you would relate to this post more than anyone else having gone through a kidney transplant yourself. My wife hates when I tell stories like this about her. I actually let the post run for the whole day yesterday before showing it to her late last night. I was hoping the comments of those who became donors would soften her up. Luckily, she gave it a thumbs-up!
PS – Your hugs are felt and appreciated 🙂
I think the guy in #14 sounds like a jerk. Can’t possibly understand why you’re friends with him 😛
Very few surprises for me here, but I’m sure you expected that 🙂
Like I always said Mady has always been your better half 🙂 Knowing her when she was at some of her lowest points health wise, I can honestly say you would never know it unless she told. She was always so even keeled and positive about everything. You guys have been blessed and lucky, but I truly believed that all the good things that did happen were because you both remained positive and never gave up hope. It’s amazing the things a person can accomplish if they simply believe.
The guy in #14 doesn’t get told enough what a great friend he’s been over the past 35+ years.
I think we’ve both realized that there’s nothing you can really do but take it as it comes – whatever will be will be; enjoy the good and deal with the bad.
I won’t ever forget who was with me that morning/day at Presbyterian Hospital – wouldn’t have made it through the day without you…
Thought I would come over here and read your post after Stacey shared that you also participated in the niche amnesty day. So here’s what I will contribute.
Although you don’t care a hoot about me, I appreciated your honesty and thank you for sharing that about your wife. I’ve been an organ donor for the majority of my life due to the health problems my father faced during my entire life. So like you, I appreciate every single darn day I’m given on this earth and if others don’t get what a true blessing it is, I feel sorry for them.
Thanks for sharing.
Adrienne, I (and my wife) also appreciate every dang day we’re given on this earth. And the fact that you’re an organ donor is def worth giving a hoot about 🙂
Thanks for stopping by…
Hi Dan, So happy to have discovered you through Stacey. Or at least as much of you as you cared to reveal, which actually was quite a lot. I know you don’t care about me, so I won’t bore you except I don’t think I can donate organs. Since I lived in England for > 6 months, I can’t donate blood (something about Mad Cow, but I only saw happy cows there). But perhaps by the time I try to donate them the laws will be changed. I will give it a go anyway. Or perhaps they can ship my vitals to England to prolong lives there.
Thanks for your generous post. Your wife sounds incredible and you do too. But I’ll shut up now because I know you don’t care… 😉
Carolyn, I only really care about those people who comment on my blog posts 🙂
Glad you found it worth your while…
1. Amazing about Harry Connick Jr. Unbelievable, but I do. Believe it.
2. I remember the frickin’ home run. Bastard! (St. Lou born and bred.)
3. I am a donor, but very little of me is useful after the battering I’ve taken! 😉 Maybe my tissue?
4. The story of your wife is inspiring, and has she written a book? She should. Or does she blog?
5. You’re pretty cool yourself to have stayed and been solid through all that.
Instant like, for so many reasons.
Yes, I am already an organ donor, because my sister donated her kidney to my nephew, who was in renal failure at the age of 19.
So, yes to the organ donation and yes to an incredible woman like your wife.
I love women who are as unstoppable as Trinity.
You’re a smart man to marry her.
Hard to imagine a greater gift, yes? Oh, and my wife and Trinity would get along splendidly 🙂
Thanks for stopping by and sorry for the late reply…
Great Post! Came across it on a #donatelife twitter search. I have been on the liver transplant list for 15 months now. I always say that my husband and 2 little boys keep me strong and they insist its me that gives them strength. Such a wonderful call for more donors. Got 6 people to register this year so far! Not nearly what we need, but its a start right?
Thanks for the comment and sorry for the late reply. You don’t have to look too far for strength and encouragement sometimes, yes? I know exactly how they feel…
Good luck and please let me know when you find what you’re looking for 🙂
I live in Austria, so I can’t really register in the states for the organ donor thing. I will definitely look into it here.
And thanks for the uplifting story! It was nice to hear all of that, and even better to know that it worked out for you and your wife!
I’m already registered as a donor, and I wanted to tell you that a few months ago, I read about a young woman (28 y/o) who has Spina Bifida (like me!) and has been desperately searching for a kidney. She posted on Craigslist. She has an FB page in case you or Madelyn would like to get in touch with her. She’s wonderful. And so are you and your family. 🙂
People have to get desperate sometimes. After my wife’s heart surgery, Dr. Oz told her that she should do whatever she needs to do to get a kidney donor. He even suggested posting an ad and even asking our church to make an announcement. It’s tough and Madelyn waited 9 years for hers. We feel for your friend and will reach out.
Thanks for stopping by. Abrazos…