TAF Real World – Week #9 of 51

Hi! Steven ran all around the world (did you all know he likes running?) gathering some of the most moving LOL stories for WEEK 9 (or 43 WEEKS ’til TAF)! Here is his report:

Disclaimer: I realize the term “LOLing” suffers from grammatically incorrect “ing”
placement. Please understand that “LingOL” looks terrible.

Less than three months ago, TAF 2010 filled campers with so much love that Flavor Flav bought a summerhouse in Manchester, Indiana. Today, TAFers are working, schooling, and doing whatever they do in real life. Without our unlimited access to soft serve ice cream, some of us may be feeling less inclined to Love Out Loud.

On any given day, TAFers will have to do things they don’t want to do. Whether it’s struggling through homework, working late, or waking up before the sun—life’s chores tend to pile up and make us grumpy. I know this because it happens to me all the time. Sometimes when things aren’t going my way, I’ll push back LOLing to sleep, watch TV, or whine about how unfair the world is. After all, why should I feel motivated to show love when the world doesn’t reciprocate? But then sometimes my flawed logic occurs to me: The world is full of people LOLing at any given moment, on any given day.

And I think about that for a second.

If you ever catch “the world isn’t fair-itis,” I highly suggest trying this. You’ll remember your teachers dedicate their lives to your future. And that at one point your parents changed your diapers. And TAFers with real-life jobs are taking time out of their busy schedules to update this totally LOLing blog.

Even total strangers are exerting effort for the well-being of other strangers—just because they can. Beside all the wars, crime, and suffering, there’s a whole lot of love. Maybe you have to turn your head or check the 20th page of the newspaper to see it, but it’s there. I’ll even provide you a shortcut. Here are 5 examples of regular people doing some serious LOLing (with links to original stories that are way better than my summaries):

Dick Hoyt has pushed his disabled son, Rick, 85 times through 1032 races, including 238 triathlons and 68 marathons. Father and son teamed up more than 30 years for a five-mile race. Rick mentioned to his dad that while running, he didn’t feel disabled anymore. The rest is history.

Dick shows that sometimes, LOLing takes some effort. But usually it pays off. Besides fostering an incredible bond (Rick referred to Dick as “dad of the century”), the father’s love also ultimately saved his life. When doctors treated Dick for a mild heart attack, they noted he probably would have died 15 years ago—if he hadn’t been in such great shape.

And Dick’s fatherly LOLing hasn’t wavered through all these years. He plans to keep pushing his son until he’s 70 years old.

What would you do with a billion dollars? For most of us, this hypothetical will never become a reality. But a few hardworking/lucky/all of the above people actually deal with this question every day. So what do you do when you have too much money to spend? Fly everywhere? Hire a personal chef? Eat sushi off of steak? Well, yeah. But why not also donate half your fortune to charity?

That’s what 40 American billionaires pledged to do. Michael Bloomberg, George Lucas, and Bill Gates, who have all worked their butts off all their lives, are handing the majority of their wealth to people and organizations who need it more. This movement is an example of LOLing to the max. Even rich people, who are set for life, still take the time to love.

Recently, you might have heard about some people burning Qurans on 9/11, which is one of the most extreme examples of HOLing I can remember. When things like this happen, I get very discouraged and watch way more Food Network than I should. My thought process looks something like this: In a world full of hate, why would I put forth the effort to LOL?

I can learn a thing or two from the women pictured above. Susan Retick and Patti Quigly are widows. Their husbands were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But rather than spitting fire at the second largest religious group in the world, these LOLful women spearheaded an effort to help Afghan widows back on their feet. Retick and Quigly prove that often times LOLing is aided by empathy.

Oh yeah! And their story was made into a documentary.

Attention Juniors!

Mr. Dompierre’s sixth grade class won a TV station contest. The prize: a pizza party. But hold on! Mrs. Dompierre offered her hungry students an option to donate their pizza to the Salvation Army. And the class voted to be charitable!

Mrs. D’s sixth graders remind me of some other kids I know. All through TAF ’10, I witnessed Juniors selflessly loving others—with LOL acts ranging from carrying trays to hugging sibs. As long our world’s youngins keep this up, the future looks pretty bright.

LOLing doesn’t always have to be from people to people. Just visit Taiwan in late March. Officials close down a major highway so millions of purple milkweed butterflies can cross as part of their seasonal migration. The National Freeway Bureau (NFB) even installs ultra-violet lights and protective nets to guide the Milkweed in its journey—all adding up to about $30,000.

All right, so that butterfly looks really cool. What if it was hideous? What if its wingspan equaled your handspan? Imagine if the purple milkweed smelled like garbage. Would the Taiwanese government still put forth the resources to aid its flight? Would motor-scooter drivers still patiently deal with increased traffic congestion? I believe they would. According to Lee Thay-Ming, of the NFB: “Human beings need to coexist with the other species, even if they are tiny butterflies.”

So, there you have it. Regular people. Serious LOLing. I hope these stories inspire you all as much to love as they did me. See you at TAF ’11!

We want to hear/see/read/experience your thoughts on LOVING OUT LOUD! Whether it’s how you showed love to someone, or how someone loved on you, or maybe even both!

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