Sec-Z-Bec and I sometimes revisit our “Top 3 Favorite Things.” The discussion is lighthearted, but I’ve noticed two of my favorites change while one remains: fame, which in this instance is mostly unselfish. My cancer tale inspires people. This electrifies me, and the more famous I am the more people I can touch. Sharing my story has been the greatest benefit of my published book, and one of my most rewarding experiences.
I did not have this foresight while writing my book. The greatest benefit I had hoped for was fame, though not to provide the opportunity to help others or even for wealth, but for lots of girls. Success here, if defined not by quantity but rather quality, is striking: I developed a close friendship with a special girl and never would have without Twice.
Many friends know I can be a free rider, so it won’t be surprising to hear that another great benefit of Twice has been these freebies:
- Author John Bowe and I bartered Twice for Nobodies. Bowe’s eye-opening book made me re-think my views on globalization, economics in politics, workers' rights and the value of people in general.
- Author Sarah Collins Honenberger bought Twice at a signing last year, and then gave me a copy of her book, Catcher, Caught. This excellent novel about a teenage boy with leukemia leads us to consider that there isn't always a right answer when it comes to health, and only after the outcome is decided do we criticize or praise the tough calls of parents or patients.
- Omega and I bartered Twice for a box of citrus fruit.
- Hotdog Man and I bartered Twice for pizza.
- I bartered Twice for drinks with Aaliyah, as an excuse to hang out with her.
- Homini Emerito by Mango clothing, when I was a model.
- Lance Armstrong’s signature.
- A comic book, my first, with a title I can’t remember, sent by the mother of the author. I lent it to my roommate and hope it’s not lost.
- A Redskins game ticket and autographed ball.
- A t-shirt and hat from Alexandria Jaycees, after delivering a 30-minute speech at the organization’s meeting.
- A trophy after delivering a 50-minute presentation at the Toastmasters District 29 Fall Conference at the site of my Bar Mitzvah, the Dulles Hilton.
- A Relay-for-Life t-shirt and bracelet after speaking to DECA at Battlefield High School.
- A book party.
- Joining the CEO of Standard Solar in a suite for a UVA basketball game.
- Joining the director of USCIS for pizza.
- Tax-deductible transportation, food and shelter for interviews in Allentown, Charlottesville, Fairfax, and New York City.
- Tax-deductible transportation for book-delivery house calls.
- A tax-deductible meal when I got upset for paying too much at a subpar restaurant. Twice was mentioned for future tax auditing purposes. The other three at my table can validate the seven seconds we discussed it.