To tell a compelling story…

From my heart

Posted on: October 14, 2010

This morning, just as I settled in to do some virtual computing research, my cell phone rang. It was an automated call from my son’s school district. Before the message abruptly ended, I heard this: “Good morning, parents. This is the school superintendent calling to inform you that we are putting all district schools on lock-down while the Suffolk County Police investigate a shooting –“ and dial tone.

Panic shot from zero to 60 in 0.2 seconds. I’m not sure what I did, maybe scream? I found myself down a hallway, held up by a wall, frantically trying to remember how to use my cell phone. I texted my son – no reply. I called a few neighbors – no answer. I called the school – lines were busy.

In that moment, I’ve never felt more helpless and deserted.

I returned to my desk, stared at nothing in particular and noticed I had my Tweetdeck screen open. I posted a holy-crap tweet and within seconds, received virtual hugs, prayers and good thoughts from so many of you, even a Google chat from Matt Delman. My sense of abandonment disappeared. For a moment, people I’ve never met or met once for an hour (Sean) reacted to the possibility of a tragedy and gave me instant comfort.

I’m so deeply grateful to you all.

Eventually, I finally reached someone who explained there was a shooting in a nearby town. As a precaution, the school district decided to lock down all schools until the threat is contained. I could breathe again. I alerted the Twitterverse that all was well and then begged for someone to tell me a joke, so I could stop the spiral of Oh-my-God-what-if’s threatening to take over my brain.

I had to share their jokes because they got me giggling in minutes. Of course, my colleagues now suspect I suffer from a bipolar disorder.

From Sean Ferrell:

A man prays to God, he says “God, please tell me what to do.” A booming voice comes back: “Sell everything you own.” So the man sells everything he owns. He prays again, “Now what?” God responds, “Go to Las Vegas.” Incredulous, the man does. The man stands at the center of Las Vegas and looks skyward. The booming voice of God says, “Go into the nearest casino.” The man does as he is commanded. God says, “Go to the nearest Blackjack table.” The man does, and God says, “Bet it all.” The man hesitates only a moment, puts all of his money on the table and is given two cards. He doesn’t know how to play, but knows his goal is to not go over 21. He looks at his cards. A ten and a nine. 19. God says, “Take another card.”  The crowd gasps when the man asks for a card, and it is an ace. He now has 20, and the people applaud. God says, “Take another card.” “Really?” the man asks. “But I have 20.” “TAKE ANOTHER CARD!” The man’s hands shake as he asks for another card. The crowd is silent. The card is turned over. Another ace. 21. The man wins. And God says, “No fucking way.”

From Mike O’Neill:

So a horse walks into a bar. The bartender saddles up to him and asks, “Hey buddy, what’s with the long face?”

From John Hedtke:

Here’s a saying I’ve always loved: “Whoever coined the term ‘near beer’ was a rotten judge of distance.”

What do you get when you cross a mummy with a deck of playing cards? An Ace bandage.

What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear.

And this in a link, also from John:

Two carrots are walking down the street and they get to a crosswalk. The first carrot starts to cross against the light. The second carrot says, ‘Hey, that’s not safe,’ and the first carrot says, ‘Hey, I can see for blocks and there’s nobody coming.’ The second carrot says ‘I dunno; I think I’ll wait until the light changes,’ and the first carrot says ‘Suit yourself.’

The first carrot makes it halfway across the street and a truck comes screaming around the corner on a left-turn and BLAM! There’s carrot juice everywhere. They rush the carrot to the hospital and they’re operating on him in emergency surgery. The other carrot is pacing back and forth and back and forth in the waiting room. Five hours later, the surgeon comes out and says ‘You a friend of that carrot in there?’ and the carrot says ‘Yes, I am.’ The surgeon says ‘I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that we saved your friend. The bad news is that he’s going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life.’

Gang, your prayers, hugs, and yes, even the towel from Julio were all deeply appreciated. Your jokes restored me to my usual sunny self. (Stop laughing.)

You saved me today.

Thank you all.

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4 Responses to "From my heart"

I love this story even while I am horrified for you. Great reminder of how very important social media can be.

Thanks. I’m glad it’s all over. Sure I’ve never been as frightened as I was when that message ended.

I am sorry I missed you in your time of need, but you know you have my number so next time call me because two women can chew twice as many nail as one can.

No problem! I’m glad you’re here now. I never want to be that frightened again. Turns out the shooting occurred on a friend’s street, just a few houses away and may have been a targeted hit. Sounds like an episode of Law & Order.

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I'm a writer represented by Denise Little, The Ethan Ellenberg Agency. I love to tell stories, to boast about my sons, to indulge in a serious chocolate obsession. (I often combine these passions.)

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