Do you have a friend who can add about 50 percent more fun to any situation? I do too — quite a few of them, as a matter of fact. But only a few of those people think that raising $3,600 and then climbing a 14,000-foot volcano sounds like fun.
One of those people, for me, is my pal Jayson. We met in college in 1999, when we tended bar together for a couple years. Those were definitely different times for both of us, and our relationship was founded on common interests like Irish Car Bombs and getting thrown out of bars. Oh, how we’ve grown up.
Jayson grew up as what you’d probably call an “at-risk teen” in the river town of Burlington, Iowa, and is scrappier than anyone I know. Nothing’s come easy for him in life, and what he’s accomplished is pretty impressive. His most recent employment history includes jobs like Get Out The Vote coordinator for the Jefferson County Obama For America campaign, Director of the Nevada Democratic Caucus, and 2006 Campaign Manager for U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell.
When I first told him about Summit For Someone, he instantly agreed to participate. Then there were some scheduling issues, and he wasn’t sure. Then he basically said no, and then he was incommunicado for about a month when he was working 18 hours a day for the Obama campaign. The whole time, I was still bombarding him with text messages and voicemails, telling him I didn’t know how long there would be open spots on the Shasta climb.
And then last week, he signed up for the climb. But over the weekend, he started wondering if he’d be able to raise the money, and if he’d be able to get the time off work, etc. Of course, I kept on him, and he kept telling me he wasn’t sure. Understand that these are two Midwestern boys who, if you handed them shovels and told one start in America and dig a hole to China, and told the other one to start in China and dig a hole to America, would probably meet somewhere in the middle.
I told him last night at St. Mark’s, the coffee shop across the street from the BCM office here in Denver, that if I learned one thing from him, it’s to always bite off more than you think you can chew, and see what happens. That way, you don’t ever end up being one of those people who always talks about stuff they’re going to do someday, and someday never comes.
Still, I was surprised yesterday when Jayson called me and said he’d be dropping off his signed Climber Agreement for Summit For Someone at our office, on his way out to the airport to catch a flight to San Francisco. Surprised and overjoyed.
So Chris and I ran out the front door of the office for a historic photo opportunity.