Posts Tagged ‘ wife ’

Crowdsourcing My Own Biography

I have a favor to ask of you.  I want you to write something about me.  It could be anything — a memory of me, an experience weImage shared together, a relationship we have had and maintained, a relationship we had and left off, a first impression you remember about me, an overall impression of me that you have…it can be anything.  It can be good, bad, or indifferent.  I want it to be anything that you think my family, friends, or the rest of the world would want to know about me.  

Here’s the thing:  I will never know what you write.  

Every single thing that you write will be sent to a third party who is sworn to keep it sealed and locked away until my death.  Let me give you a bit of the backstory.

Since high school, my dear friend @thehandsomeweasel and I have looked ahead excitedly in anticipation of what our futures might hold.  You know — all of those “firsts” that you just can’t wait to experience, some of the “firsts” you never wanted…we approached everything new as an adventure, really livin’. However, for all of the late night political and philosophical discussions we’ve had, we are still both keenly aware of the fact that, at some point, both of our lives will come to an end.  

I have been an avid journaler for nearly 17 years now (as this link will further explain), and Weasel and I arrived at an agreement one day over beers, at least a decade ago:  If I kick the bucket first, all of my journals will be sent to him, at which point he’ll go through them, pick out some of the passages I’ve written that are really characteristic of “me,” and put them together in a book of some kind, to be given to family and friends who would want to learn a little something about me they maybe didn’t know before.  I hope to provide guidance (or cautionary tales) to my own sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, even after I’m gone.  Afterward, my tomes will be sent back to my wife, who I hope will keep them in good stead.  If Weasel pushes up daisies first, I’ll be happy to perform that same service for him, should he request it of me.  

Some whom I’ve mentioned this idea to have asked with a smirk, “What makes you so sure your wife won’t go first?”  I usually reply by mentioning that my grandparents all lived to between 67 and 77, if memory serves me, whereas Alli’s family has longevity on their side.  Her grandmother passed away a couple of months ago at 93 (I think), and her grandfather is still around and kicking at 95.  I’m fairly certain that, unfortunately, she’s going to have some time to herself.  


The Life And Times Of Gufferson Q Grana

The entire point of this exercise is to take all of the (probably thousands by now) of pages that I’ve written and will write, and distill my life on paper down into something a little more palatable for everyone I care about to read when I’m gone.  It sounds morbid, but it’s not. I want to be remembered for something significant to those I love just like anyone else, and I figure that my journals will do that for my wife and kids (if we have any), as well as for family and friends.  (I wish my Dad had been even an “armchair” writer…there was so much locked in his head that he took with him when he passed away that I’d give anything to hear him talk about now.)  And you are about to contribute to that goal in a really meaningful way.  

So please, do this for me.  Right now.  Take a second to try and remember what you know about me.  What you like(d) about me, what you don’t (or didn’t) like, something great I did, something sh*tty I did, something I did or said to affect you…it doesn’t matter to me, I just want it to be true and authentic so that all of you who survive me in the future can look back and really get a clear picture of who I was at various stages of my life.  Once you do this for me now, you’ll send it to my friend Weasel at (that’s Kevin R Marten @ gmail.comdon’t forget the middle R).  He will take what you send him and sock it away for later compilation.  Also, don’t forget to include your name, your relationship to me, when you knew me, how old we were when we experienced whatever you are sending him, etc.  Details like those will help make it so that you will have real ownership in the shaping of whatever my legacy turns out to be, as those details will be included in the final compilation of my biography.  When you shoot the email, be sure to put “Project SunshineBoy” in the title line, and he will know that you are sending him something related to this project.  (SunshineBoy was a nickname my Dad gave me when I was a kid, supposedly because I smiled all the time.)  Remember, I’ll never read what you write, so don’t be shy.

Also, don’t be shy about this project of mine, either.  Share this on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and whatever else is out there now.  Forward this post on to anyone you know who knows (or knew) me.  The more help I get from you, the more fulfilling it will be to read in the future, long after you’ve forgotten you did it.  It’s free, takes only a couple of minutes of your time, and really could turn out to be something wonderful because of your participation.  

Thanks in advance, and have a great week!!



ImageToday is the day that my wife and I have been married for four years (yes, in a row).  We’ve even been together for over seven (yes, in a row).  I couldn’t be happier that she and I ever met…we have learned that we’re so great for each other because we’re almost polar opposites.  I mean, polar.  Following are some examples:

–She doesn’t like lasagna.  I’m Italian.

–She sleeps in a hoodie and sweats, even in the summer.  You can guess how I sleep, especially in the summer.

–She is patient.  I can’t even pretend to be, particularly when I’m second in line, behind three lanes of people sitting stopped at a green light.

–She makes quiche on her mornings off.  I’m lucky if I get oatmeal in a bowl.

–During her free time, she watches TV.  A day off when I’m alone, the TV won’t even get turned on (no lie).  

And finally (and most substantially):

–It actually costs her energy to spend time with people.  I, on the other hand, am completely energized by a room full of people I don’t know.


I Think She Likes The Dog More Than She Lets On…

For all of our differences, though, I’d be so much less fulfilled than I am today, and not even know it.  If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have tasted authentic Mexican food off a RoachCoach in Tucson (three pound burrito for four bucks…best GutBomb I ever had).  If it weren’t for her, I’d have probably only lived in two states (KS and IL), and likely would never have given a second thought to either Arizona or Virginia.  If it weren’t for her, I’d never have met a good chunk of my best friends:  I met a couple of them on my own in Tucson, but nearly everyone I am close friends with now has been a direct result of meeting people she works with!  I’d have never had this trip through the Arizona desert.  I know what it feels like to cram into the Metro after a Cubs/Nats game, holding her hand the entire way as we fight the crowds to get on.  There’s no one else I’d rather kill twenty minutes in a Metro station with while I wait for the next train.  

Our families both (most of them, anyway) live in Chicago, so we do a lot of driving home.  Our talks during those eleven or twelve hours together are epic.  Traveling in general is just more fun when she is by my side.  Also, she helps me get through the winter months, even when I find it hard to.    


Why Does She Put Up With Me?

She believes in me when I don’t, and I return the favor by having enough hope for the both of us, when she runs out.  Reference the two years she waited to hear about the government job; we went out to celebrate the death of her shot at that job no fewer than three times, and each time we did, she’d hear that she’d advanced to the next stage.  Talk about an emotional roller coaster!

It’s sort of funny to imagine the immature young man I was at 24, when I met her; to contrast that guy with the man I am now would be enough to make anyone wonder how in the hell I got so lucky.  Sometimes, I still don’t know.  But I’m glad I plucked up the courage that day in a hot tub in Buena Vista, Colorado, with the Rockies in the background, and asked her to marry me (for real, this time)…because the truth is, my life up until now would have been so lacking of the most enriching experiences I’ve had so far without her.  It is my best hope that any of you who are reading this are as happily together with someone as I have had the privilege to be.  

Here’s to at least 50 more!


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