It was 4 a.m. and the bar crawl I hosted in honor of my 200th column was finally winding down. As a group of friends and I were recapping the night in my hotel room, or what we remembered of it, someone asked why a mutual acquaintance didn’t join the party that night.
“He probably didn’t come because he thinks you’re wack,” someone said.
I was told this mutual acquaintance didn’t see my online talk show “The Millennials” going anywhere and that they were running their mouth behind my back saying that I was “wack” for being so passionate about it.
My first thought was: “I have a friend whose vocabulary includes the word wack? I didn’t know I was friends with DJ Jazzy Jeff.”
My second thought, since I was drunk, was that I should “drunk message” him on the spot.
“Don’t do it!” a friend shouted at me. “You’ll regret it in the morning.”
Naturally, I proceeded with the message, telling him that he was a skinny piece of shit and that I knew someone who slept with his girlfriend. #sorrymomanddad
Instead of deleting my messages first thing the next morning, a ritual as old as unlimited texting plans, I came to terms with my actions. Though immature and outrageous on my end, I realized I wasn’t losing a friend of value. I was defending myself. There’s no such thing as being too passionate when it comes to respecting yourself.
A week later, I received a phone call from the hotel that was hosting the next taping of my online talk show.
“This event isn’t even being advertised,” I was told. “I don’t see the point in moving forward with your function.”
Apparently, the mayor of my hometown didn’t put the information for my event on the press release for the annual block party held downtown.
Furthermore, the show was just a few days away and I didn’t even schedule guests for the show. I had been too busy settling into a new job to plan anything.
I had every reason to cancel the event. Instead, I vowed to make it work because I was passionate about it.
In a few short days I managed to round up the local high school football team to participate in a group discussion about the concerns for their future, the high school marching band to open the show, the valley’s most popular beer brewers to give advice for today’s generation on how to build a business, a DJ, a rapper to perform live, an ALS advocate to inform the audience what the disease actually is and six people to participate in the #icebucketchallenge.
Half the town crowded around us as we held our show on a stage set up in front of the hotel, completely engaged. It came together because I was passionate about making it happen.
Some people may think you’re “wack” for being passionate, but that’s because they’re too scared to figure out what passion is. Everyone who ever made a difference in the world was considered outlandish by people along the way. They didn’t stop. They knew the secret to setting the world on fire was by understanding that there’s no such thing as too much passion.