Since the day I was born, I've wanted to inspire people and be a positive influence – to make people laugh or smile or to just generally brighten their day. Okay, well... obviously not since the day I was born... But absolutely by the age of three days!
I'm not kidding.
Legend has it that about half a week into my brand-new infant life, I was presented to my grandmother. And as grandmothers often do, she pulled me right up to her face, nose to nose, gave me a kiss and said hello. At which point I promptly pooped through my diaper. All over her.
“Pleased to meet you,” I imagine I was trying to say. You know how it is – sometimes the words don't come out right.
Grandma didn't freak out. She didn't give me a stern look or attempt to hand me back to my mother. She didn't even moan a mumbly disapproval.
And because she laughed, everyone else in the room laughed with her.
And because they laughed, I pooped again!
One could say I had a weakness for encouragement even then.
Okay... I honestly don't know if I got all those details right. It is only a legend, after all. But I am fairly certain that upon our first meeting, I brought my grandmother Joy. And that Joy spread through the kitchen like wild fire! My whole life has been kind of like that. Minus the mess.
Here are a few examples:
I organized a day-long party featuring multiple locations and out-of-town friends for my wife's... uh... “milestone” birthday.
Sidebar: Someone else surprised us both by clandestinely paying the dinner bill! Talk about spreading Joy!
When I was 17 I wrote a song about the death of a good friend's father and gifted it to her on the anniversary of his passing. It was an acknowledgement that he was still looking over her and that they would see each other again someday.
The song is called “ElevenThree”, from my first album Neon Apocalypse in 2001.
A few years after moving to Nashville, I surprised my family for Christmas by randomly showing up unannounced to their Christmas Eve dinner at Grandma's apartment in Northern New York.
Don't worry – nobody pooped!
I once pretended to be my girlfriend's long-lost British friend “Charlie Castle” and called the main office of the summer camp she was earning her lifeguarding certificate from so that she didn't feel so lonely for at least a few minutes of her two-week stay.
I still use that alias every once in a while.
I'm not trying to toot my own horn here. In fact, I bet if you were to look back you'd find that you have a bit of a tendency to do these kinds of things, too! You're reading this book, after all, so you know you must already have it in you!
Look at that! The horn practically toots itself!
(Psst! I'd absolutely love to hear your Joy-inspiring stories! Send me an email!)
And, hey, if you're going to snuggle a newborn, dress accordingly.