blogs, Quotes

Fred Rogers’ 2002 Dartmouth College Commencement Address

(Via kottke.org)

Jason shared this video of Fred Rogers giving the commencement address at Dartmouth years ago. Further in the post, he shares a quote from the transcript that really struck me:

Our world hangs like a magnificent jewel in the vastness of space. Every one of us is a part of that jewel. A facet of that jewel. And in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal. We are intimately related. May we never even pretend that we are not.

But the story Mr. Rogers relates following this quote is even better:

Have you heard my favorite story that came from the Seattle Special Olympics? Well, for the 100-yard dash, there were nine contestants, all of them so-called physically or mentally disabled. All nine of them assembled at the starting line, and at the sound of the gun, they took off. But not long afterward, one little boy stumbled and fell, and hurt his knee and began to cry. The other eight children heard him crying. They slowed down, turned around, and ran back to him. Every one of them ran back to him. One little girl with Down Syndrome bent down and kissed the boy, and said, “This’ll make it better.” The little boy got up, and he and the rest of the runners linked their arms together, and joyfully walked to the finish line. They all finished the race at the same time. And when they did, everyone in that stadium stood up, and clapped, and whistled, and cheered for a long, long time. People who were there are still telling this story with great delight. And you know why. Because deep down, we know that what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What really matters is helping others win, too. Even if it means slowing down and changing our course now and then.

Like many people my age, and I guess even generations following, Mr. Rogers was a huge presence in my life in those early years. It’s amazing to see how his voice and his words can still affect me, decades later.

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Tommy Is Freakin’ Amazing

I found my self humming part of The Who’s Tommy the other day while I was doing the dishes, and it occurred to me that it’s been a long time since I listened to it. Thirty years ago, it was one of the few CDs I owned, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard it. So this morning I decided to give it a spin.

OMG guys! Tommy is freakin’ amazing!

I actually saw this tour in St. Louis, thirty years ago. It was my second concert ever. I remember being a little bummed because Pete Townshend has just been diagnosed with tinnitus and so was going to have to play acoustic, but then at point in the show he broke out an electric guitar and the crowd went insane.

The next morning, my parents picked me up and we flew out to Denver for my cousin’s wedding, and The Who followed us out there, playing at Red Rocks, and we could hear them in the distance.