1. Mom: (okay, of couse I can't write a list like this and not list the parents. For good or ill your parents have to be one of the strongest influences on you.) It's hard just pick something out and say this is how my Mom influenced me. There are so many things that I can think of, or not even think of, that I know had some influence on me growing up. What I'll mention is one I know of: her work ethic. I have a very strong work ethic. I work when I'm sick. I work long hours. I work all the time it seems. But compared to my Mom I'm a slacker. I honestly thought I would never see the day when my Mom retired. She finally did and though she doesn't have a job, it doesn't mean she doesn't work. She spends more time working in the yard, around the house, anywhere...she never stops.
2. Dad: Now time for the other side. (And not to say anything bad about my Dad's work ethic, he has a strong one and between the two is where I know I got mine.) But for my dad's influence on me I'll go with the love of books. I cannot remember a time when my Dad wasn't reading. He loves to read. I love to read. I read all the time. My home looks like a library. When I was a wee little toddler I was enrolled in a book club. I've been in book clubs all my life. My Mom isn't much of a reader, but my Dad is.
3. Brother: I've always said that if he wasn't my brother we probably wouldn't even be friends. At first glance my brother and I are worlds apart. He actually takes after my Dad in a lot of ways. Give them a hammer and a piece of wood and they're in heaven. Me, I have a hard time hitting a nail on the head. But my brother is one of the smartest (and I can say that cause I know he doesn't read this) people I know. Maybe even smarter than me. (And anyone that knows me knows I think I'm a fairly smart person.) He's also one of the most honest and trustworthy people I know. I've seen him go through some crap to take care of others when he really didn't have to, but he did anyway. He gave up a lot to take care of these others.
4. Stan Lee: Anyone that knows comic books knows the name of Stan Lee. Heck, if there is one name that people outside comics knows its probably his. When I was a kid I grew up reading the comics he wrote. This has nothing to do with his behind the scenes and screwing other creators, this has to do with the words he put in the mouths of Spiderman, Fantasic Four, Captian America, etc. He gave his heroes a nobility that is sadly lacking in today's four color heroes. He made me believe in the goodness of people, that it was good to fight for the underdog, that everyone was equal, I could go on and on but in his comics it was all there...what we could aspire to.
5. Harlan Ellison: Another writer. My list is probably going to tilt heavily in that direction. I can't help it. The written word means a lot to me. Another writer I grew up reading. In junior high and high school Harlan Ellison was one of my favorite, if not favortie writers out there. Besides his fiction, I loved his non fiction. The introductions and the bits inbetween his stories. He was another writer I learned the importance of standing up for what was right, not blindly following others just because it was the fashionable thing to do. I think he help influence my decision not to drink or do drugs. Someone as hip and cool as he was not doing either helped make my decision not to do either easier.
6. John Lennon: Besides his great music his life was a guide. He may not have always did the easy thing, or even the right thing, but it didn't mean he didn't try to do what was right. He put himself out there and was willing to make himself look like a fool for what he believed in. And than he decided that it was more important for him to raise his son so he just quit, gave it all up to spend time with his son.
7. Kermit the Frog: What more can I say? Tell me of a better role model?
8. Chief Harris: Back to names no one else knows. Chief Harris was one of my NJROTC instructors when I was in high school. I was a very shy kid when I was in class and he helped me try to get over that. He was just one of those teachers that took such an interest in me and talked to me and guided me. I think that if I had not moved my senior year and stayed there I would probably gone in the military due to him. Looking back on it now I'm glad I didn't, but who knows how my life would have turned out.
9. Ray David: Ray is only a few years older than me. I've know Ray for just about all of my adult life. He started working at Wilsons a few days ahead of me. Ray was always ahead of me, getting promoted first, getting his own store first. But he was always there helping me, giving me a hand when I needed it, pushing me to move up. The last few years are the first time in my life that I haven't worked with Ray and it's kind of strange.
10. Isaac Asimov: Another writer. A great in the science fiction field. His writing was always smart and inventive. A lot of writers don't put introductions or any personal elements in their books. Asimov wrote introductions for all his stories in his short story collections. I learned more about him as a person through this method. I learned how much he loved to learn. His love of learning and wanting to know as much as possible rubbed off on me.
11. Bully from 6th Grade: I don't remember his name, but to be truthful I have to put him on this list. In 6th grade I remember my science class, how much I enjoyed it, how I tried to answer every question the teacher asked. Until about a month in this bully started harrassing me for my lunch money. Now when I went to school I was the 98 lb bookworm, a bigger geek you could not find. But I never gave him my lunch money. But I did get quiet in class, I stopped answering so many questions unless called on. I don't know why, I just worried too much about him I guess. I never got beat up, but I think I always worried I would.
12. Sister: Forgot to put her up there with the rest of my family. She's about six years younger than me. She has spina bifda and lives with my parents. I'm not going to get into a lot of what's wrong with her, but she will never live on her own. When she was in her twenties she was a volunteer for the school library and won Volunteer of the Year. I didn't get to go to see her get her award but they taped it and I remember later watching it at home and the tears just running down my face.
13. Bruce Springsteen: For a performer to live his life as honorably as he has. Yes there are things he's done I may not agree with, but he has tried to live his life as honest as he can. You've never heard of a drug bust from him, he has tried to give back to the community. He puts his shows on but he tries to be more than just a performer.
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