1) Why I want to meet Matthew Hayden
So this is my vision. I want to generate just a little bit of buzz on Youtube or the local press here, or even back in Oz. I think these projects have a lot of potential. Then I want to meet my friends and family at the airport in Australia. I will be wearing my orange hoodie, or perhaps my brown or black one. I will be wearing my red shoes. Because those things symbolize something for me. When you’re rich and famous, you can basically wear whatever you want whenever you want. For the ordinary plebs, we always have to dress according to certain codes that say “Hey, I’m a serious person.”
So, I want someone to take a picture of me at the airport, with my hood on, and my back turned. The caption will read, “Hey, is that Mark”. The hoodie and the sneakers are a uniform of sorts- a kind of caustic poke at the rich entrepreneurial IT crowd. Shit man, get this guy an ambulance he needs some help? Where’s a doctor when you need one? Because one thing that I think is true is that on your deathbed, or in the case of a sudden, unexpected accident, the last thing you will want fixed is your computer or your webpage.
One of the main problems for generating a little more awareness is the lack of any public figure to rally around. I started thinking about this during the “Face of Rugby League” debacle. Everyone was talking about how that particular position is “cursed” or something. I thought, well, why does it need one anyway? In theory, I get it. It can counteract some of the negative press surrounding that code of football as a result of numerous unsavoury incidents. But still, who really cares, right? It’s just a game.
So I started thinking about who I would choose. I thought about all of the wonderful work that Glen McGrath is doing in New South Wales and all over Australia to raise awareness about Breast Cancer. It seems to me that that particular charity evolved through that man’s sense of sadness and loss when his beloved died. Yet, in Queensland, something which is loved almost universally is also going through a kind of slow death as well. But it’s not too late, maybe, if we move quickly enough. What I would like is to have a “Face of the Reef”- someone respected and admired across the country who embodies the Queensland life style.
The ideal person for such a role would be a person like Matthew Hayden. I would actually like to meet him one day in person and say:
“G’day, Matt. You don’t know me but I have always been a fan. I have deep respect and admiration for all of your charity work. You seem ethical, caring and kind and I know that you must be very busy. I am not so many of those things. I like to think that I am ethical, in my own way, and kind when and where I can be. You are Catholic, but I am not. I was married in a Catholic church, though, and I have read a fair amount of decent Catholicism. You were an amazing batsman, while I batted number 10 for my poorly performed Clubites team. But I always loved that game. I even used to “borrow” money growing up from my parents to fund my addiction to Cricketer magazine. You are great and you are from my state. We love our state and the Great Barrier Reef is one of the main symbols of our state. How would you like to be the face of a media awareness campaign and a charity?”
Now, none of this will probably happen. The principle, though, is important and it is essential to have big dreams if you want to ameliorate big problems. Even if Matt’s too busy or, understandably, committed to many other things, he could still support my vision or recommend someone else to fill the role. It could be Jimmy Maher, or even Andrew Symonds (if he behaves). It could be a rugby league player, but preferably it would be a cricket player because it is the one code of sport that is equally popular in every state of Australia.
2) Dystopian nightmares
As I was writing I began to think back to my conversation with Eli and to wonder how he was going with his dreams in Germany. I wondered how much funding he was getting through Kickstarter for his and his brother Seth’s movie project. I really hope that our young visionaries and dreamers like Eli get a chance to live in a world where dreams are still possible. Not just this dystopic nightmare that seems just around the corner. How much time will the young men and women on Planet Earth have to dream of better worlds? How long until all of the colors- the deep blue of the ocean, the sky blue of the sky, the greens and browns of plantlife and botany, the whitest of whites of the clouds in the sky- are removed bit by bit? How long until we live in a world of shiny buildings, while all the oceans, rivers and lakes become tinged with brown? How long until we live in a grey world of forever threatening skies with only the blackest black of asphalt everywhere under our feet? How long until all of the rainbows of this world, all of the promises of hope and brighter days ahead are finally and forever gone. Once that happens, where will we live? Will we only live in paper planes flown deep into the deepest of outer space, while Wall E gets to sit here in all his loneliness and clean up after us and some unfathomable, ginormous mess. And, finally, do we all get to go, or only those with the right amount of money in the bank? These are serious questions which demand of at least some of us a tremendous act of care and consideration. That’s just the way I have always felt. And then I wrote some shout outs to some of my coworkers here in Japan. I truly benefited from the experience of working with such a diverse and interesting and conscientious group of people. And then I finished the book. So I flipped the book over and began to write again.