Friday, May 4, 2012

Iím here to help


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

Over the past few years, Hollywood celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Mia Farrow have made headlines by adopting lost and needy children stranded in third world countries around the globe. I have long admired their open hearts and generosity and have decided to follow their lead by sponsoring a retired child from South America. Even though I'm embedded in the mountains of Idaho struggling to support myself as a retired entrepreneur and hack writer with little or no prospects. I've realized that it's not about me. I'm here to help.

I have a friend in Ecuador and his name is Daveed. He lives at 8,500 feet in a poor mountain village called Cuenca. He has lived there for over a month and, clearly, needs my help and care. Poor Daveed lives meagerly in a high-rise three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment on the outskirts of town overlooking the river, and struggles to pay the $260 rent it takes to stay there. He scrapes together a few coins each week by doing Hemingway lectures and impressions at the local schools. It's sad because the local school students all speak Spanish and have no earthly idea whom he's trying to be or what in the wide world of Simon Bolivar he's talking about. Their indifference brings tears to his eyes, so he starts talking louder in English and waving his arms wildly until the local policia are impelled to remove him from the grounds. Poor scorned Daveed. Won't you help him? I do.

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Here's what I do. Twice a week, I make the arduous trip to Sun Valley to pick up his mail. Then, I return all the way home and contact him via Skype to show him his mail. We haven't figured out the audio portion as of yet; therefore, we communicate through the art of pantomime and sign language. I hold up a letter and he gives me thumbs up or thumbs down in order to deal with the correspondence. If it's a thumbs down, I rip up the document right in front of his face. Oh, how we laugh.

Another thing I do to help is to encourage him. Instead of saying, "What, are you nuts?" I say, "You can do this, Daveed! Todo es bueno! I'm here to help.

Nice talking to you.




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