I am at this really strange intersection in my life where I am questioning everything I do and think and believe. I wonder if it is a midlife crisis? Anyway, a funny thing happened after I wrote about my Facebook friend Craig Wallwork. After writing that I wanted to be the kind of person who can be there for my friends, I had the opportunity several times to practice what I preached. It was like the universe heard me and threw the words right back in my face, saying, "prove it". So it turns out, this silly idea I had to spotlight my friends is becoming my midlife crisis social experiment. Brought to you by social media. The experiment is now this: How I would reshape myself drawing from the extraordinary qualities of the people I am friends with on Facebook. Or: How can I Frankenstein myself into a better person by vampiring the best qualities of my Facebook friends list.
I was overwhelmed trying to decide who I could prey on next, then I decided to ask Craig to pick for me. He gave me 3 names. To decide my lucky victim at random, I asked my friend Mr. Corbier to choose a number between 1-3. The name associated with the number he chose was:
Sean P. Ferguson
Not to be confused with Shawn Ferguson, who is another of my facebook friends. We used to close our eyes and think about things while being photographed back in high school. I may have to write about him another day. :)
The Sean P. Ferguson I'm talking about right now also has no idea I'm stealing pictures of him to put on my blog. I just got an A in my behavioral ethics class, so I'm not sure this is right. Hopefully I'll be forgiven. Just in case, I'm using a picture of Sean partially hidden behind a great book with some gorgeous legs on it. ;)
I met this Sean for real in the flesh when I went to Boston a few months ago. I don't know Sean very well, we don't have a lot of history. So I started asking a few of our mutual friends for some input. But then I decided that should be against the rules. I should focus mostly on the things I know. I have included just a couple quotes because they are sweet. So there are three things I can tell about Sean even with very limited exposure:
1. Sean loves his people. If you are lucky enough to make the cut into his friends list, he will love you like you're his family. I don't know a lot of people like that. I think it takes a very courageous kind of vulnerability to love people, to say it and mean it. And to mean it without any kind of selfish agenda. I admire that. I don't have the guts to open my heart up like that. I want to be able to love that kind of strong.
"my son said he loved me as much as all the hearts out of everybody's chests in the whole world all mashed together and put together to make his body. that's the way sean is - the way he loves people. i don't how to put it better than that." --Amanda Gowin2. This is a guy you want in your corner. I think you can tell a lot about a person by what they chose to do for a living. Certain professions are dominated by the good people. I really believe that. Sean is a *Paramedic. And I think there is just something special about the people who chose to be the ones who run toward the disasters. People who deal with the best and worst of society every day, and somehow don't get completely beat down by it. I wish I had a Sean to watch The Following with. Or, to ride with me in unregistered taxis in India in the middle of the night. Or, sometimes to just take out the trash at night when the ghosts are looming in the tall black pines.
I know when you are unlucky enough to need a *paramedic, they show up and take charge of a bad situation. They can deal with blood and poo and vomit all while alleviating your pain and anxiety. That is how my friend Pela describes Sean as a friend and writer for Manarchy. "He's not above doing any or all of the grunt work of a project." She also said that he was just made something like press secretary (?) for his local Democratic headquarters. Yeah, he's one of the good ones.
3. He's funny. My older sister is also a paramedic. I had a conversation with her that still intrigues me about the dark humor that she and her colleagues have developed to handle seeing some of the things they see. I read, I don't think it was a story--just a vent maybe about a day in the life of Sean that involved a pretty gruesome murder he had to clean up after that I still can't get out of my head. The way he wrote it was somehow hilarious as much as it was horrifying. And I guess that is what makes funny people funny. They are able to take the horrifying or disgusting and messy parts of life, turn them inside out and make them funny. They can take uncomfortable emotions and give them a pleasant outlet. And that is probably one of the best qualities there is. And to be clear, I don't think a lot of Sean's humor is dark. He's just a funny person. I don't know if it is possible to develop the ability to be funny--in the moment--like that. But if it is, I want to.
"Ferg once shat on a copy of Down Periscope. He is crude and disgusting and perfect and awesome. He will be there for you if you need, with a good word and a fart joke. Hard working and hard living son of a bitch. Helped me sculpt great stories out of bad ones. He is a good friend." --Chris DealI will laugh at fart jokes every time. Every single time. Farts are just funny.
So. Thank you, Sean P. Ferguson, for existing so well and for wearing mean hats. (That was Caleb J. Ross) I am lucky to know you. (That is me)
And now, if you wouldn't mind playing along, please message me just one friend from my friend's list I can pick on next. :)
* Update-- I'm told by Sean that he has never been a paramedic. Only an EMT--which is the same thing to most of us. Also, he no longer works as an EMT because of an injury. Currently he works for the Sheriff's department dispatching EMS, police, and the fire department and taking 911 calls. I don't think these facts change what I've said, but for accuracy's sake I am putting this update in here. He's still a good one, and he's still works in a profession that says all good things about him. :)