This is a tough read. It's heartbreaking. But once you read it, you will see why I remind myself of this message over and over again. I have posted it for you. Allen Patterson may no longer walk this earth, but his words change lives. I know they have mine.
The Last Blog Post
"Don't Be Safe
By Allen Patterson
This is a tough one to write, for emotional, physical, and coordination reasons....
A few months ago, I started having problems driving, walking, and accomplishing basic tasks. After a quick trip to the ER,I was diagnosed with some nasty brain tumors.
So this is it, folks ...
Starting this website has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. I't's gotten me politically involved, and has earned me friends and readers all over the world.
Im' gonna try really hard not go get too maudlin or sentimental here ...
For the last 20 years or so, I've been responsible for running my company's morning Production Meeting. I never figured out why I was the one to do it. Perhaps it's because I'm the guy who hates meetings the most, and I was always able to keep the thing moving along at a decent pace.
Several years ago, some of our owners went to a trade show that featured some presenters from Disney. The Disney people said that their #1 priority was to "Be Safe". Well, that's bullshit. Their #1 priority is to bring happiness to families everywhere" (you can look it up -- it's in their mission statement). You don't dress a teenager up like Tinkerbell and zipline her from Cindederella's Castle to the top of The Matterhorn every night if your #1 priority is to be safe.
That's what you do if you want to be awesome. Anyway, because of the report on the Disney speakers, I got into a rut of saying "Be Safe" at the end of every meeting It was our Amen,our dismissal, and our Benediction. . If I could take a "Do Over" on anything I've done at work in the last few years, it would be to come up with another closing line to use at the end of that meeting.
People once told my father that if he ever started growing and irrigating rice on his farm, it would poison the land. Because of his decision to go ahead with a new rice crop instead of cotton and sobybeans, I got to see The Colisseum in Rome. I got to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Because Darrell Cooper Sr decided to have some "Entrepreneurial Seizures," I've had the glorious privilege of seeing the sun come up twice on the same day while flying over the Great Wall Of China. So what should I have said for the last 20 years? How about "Be Wise?" "Be Cautious"? I dunno. But I'm now working with a very short clock, so to speak. If I fit into the statistical norms, I've got anywhere from 15 to 18 months to be around. I know that the first time I sat down with my daughter at a Blackjack table and saw her split 10's against a dealer Ace, that she would do just fine. She was going to be ok. She was going to terrify me, but she wasn't going to be held back by anything or anybody. She will never (in TS Eliot's phrase) measure out her life with coffee spoons. She's going to live it up to 11 every chance she gets. So please don't ever, ever waste another minute of your wonderful life with "being safe" take risks.
Destroy your perrectly laid-out shop and put in a Specialty Department. (Hello Ray!!) Get involved in politics and put Mary Kelleher to work disrupting the most corrupt institution in Fort Worth .Raise Hell. Find some activists to associate with, and bang some pots and pans together in the street. WIN the Fort Worth Gay Pride parade and then wake up the nest morning to staff your booth at a gun rights show. I promise you that if you ever get brain tumors everyone of of those beautiful people you meet will come see you in the hospital.
And yes, I'm very much aware that I'm one of the few people I know who has had to use a helicopter pilot as a designated driver. That's part of the package. (Yeah, there probably is some middle ground between getting drunk enough to see dead people and "Being safe".)
I'm writing this post with a head full of creepy-crawlies, and sorry for the lack of spelling, grammar, and coherence.
But folk, please don't ever, ever, ever waste your time in being too safe. You know that idea you have of a better way to fix broken windshields? Do it. Start that business. That book you've always wanted to write? Those earrings you want to start designing to sell online?
Do it now. Yeah, people might laugh. Who cares? There will always be people willing to wait in line to laugh at your ambitions. Let them be the ones to be safe.
Whether you know it or not, you too, are working with a short clock. If you can do one thing right now for me or for yourself, don't be safe.
It's been real.
Don't be safe.