Monday, July 28, 2008

A Few Words About Randy Pausch ...

Someone just left a comment on my brief post from Friday night that read, "FYI Randy Pausch died this morning."

Yes, I am aware of Randy's passing. I received a note from Jeff early Friday morning and learned that Randy was in hospice. A couple hours later, I received an e-mail alert from the Chicago Tribune that he'd died. Jeff, I presumed, was en route to Virginia. I e-mailed him a quick note of condolence, hoping it wouldn't be the first he'd hear of Randy's passing.

Some of my friends, sweethearts that they are, called and e-mailed and IMed to see if I was OK.

"Yes," I told them. "I'm fine. I'm sad for his family. I'm sad for Jeff. But I'm fine."

I didn't know Randy personally. My only contact with him was through an e-mail string between me and him and Jeff.

But I, like millions of others, was touched by his story.

As I read Jeff's manuscripts (one partial, one full), tears ran down my cheeks.

ABC will air a PrimeTime special tomorrow night devoted to Randy. Some of it will be footage from the original special. Some of it will be new.

Randy – and everyone else – knew he wasn't going to beat his cancer. But he made the most of the time he had left. And he happened to inspire the entire world along the way.

My copy of "The Last Lecture" has sat on my desk since Jeff sent it to me earlier this year. And there it will remain. In that way, Randy will never be very far away.


Anonymous Jeff (a different Jeff) said...

A great loss to us all of course even more so to his family and friends. It also made me wonder why it is that something terrible, like cancer, has serve as the catalyst for us to be aware of the good people in our world. With the news' almost myopic focus on the "bad" in this world we miss out on so much good. Sadly, Randy didn't suddenly become brilliant, didn't suddenly have something of value we should hear, yet people like him are too often unknown and stay unknown or lives less rich because of it.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Excellent point, Jeff. I've thought about that, too. About how Randy Pausch would have left this world having imparted his wisdom to his immediate circle had it not been for that lecture.

But then I think that the lecture wouldn't have become the phenomenon it became without, in part, Jeff's coverage of it for the Wall Street Journal.

And Jeff wouldn't have known about the lecture if it weren't for a fellow alumnus who let him know it was going to happen.

Sometime, the universe conspires to reveal the Randys of the world.

And then he inspires a huge swath of the population, who hopefully go forth and put into practice some of Randy's lessons. And most of them won't achieve Randy's level of notoriety but the world, as a whole, will become a better place.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Jeff (a different Jeff) said...

All good points! Maybe this conspiracy by the universe in a sense is what makes it so special. I wonder if I would have taken in the lecture to the level I did had it not been so. I'd like to think I would...

3:50 PM  

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