I spend way too much time online (just look at my Instagram), but while much of that is wasteful & pointless on occasion I do run across something that provokes thought. Such is the case with this little gem. In one of the more notable scenes from the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life it is said that “each man’s life touches so many other lives”, and while we tend to think in grandiose terms it is interesting to ponder the seemingly trivial ways others have influenced us.
I drink skim milk because my friend Greg introduced me to it in college and now it’s the only kind of milk I buy. Greg also gave me Rush Limbaugh’s book The Way Things Ought To Be in 1991 which transformed my life, and he taught me that “no man has ever said I wish I would’ve bought a smaller TV”.
My love for the Steelers & Pirates may have become a thing anyway given my hometown’s proximity to Pittsburgh, but it probably helped that my Great Aunt Garnet & my Uncle John both lived up there and we went to visit occasionally.
An old boss at a job I had over two decades ago turned me onto jazz & blues music, and he also introduced me to sushi. My music palate began to be refined in college, and I have several fraternity brothers to thank for that.
My sardonic sense of humor was heavily influenced by a former co-worker named Woody, and further enhanced by another colleague & friend Deidra who made me aware that I even had a sense of humor. Sometimes compliments stick with you forever.
Obviously one’s parents & family typically play a huge role in shaping many areas of life. Dad has taught me a plethora of things…embracing our Italian heritage, an affection for laughter (I’ll always remember watching Johnny Carson & David Letterman on Friday nights with my father), & appreciation for a good biography just to name a few. He also introduced me to The Godfather & Frank Sinatra. My grandmothers were both churchgoers & undeniably influenced my faith. They were pretty good cooks too: Grandma Pigott made the best potato salad in the world, while Grandma Mano baked her own bread that paired well with the sloppy eggs she & my grandfather both made. My Papaw Jim exampled kindness & generosity. Sadly, just like the fried potatoes that he expertly prepared (painstakingly stirring them in a cast iron skillet forever) but I cannot seem to duplicate, I’ll never be the man he was. When one looks up grandfather in the dictionary his photo should be there. Mom was an unusual mix of kindhearted, empathetic, & tougher than a two dollar steak. She was soft-spoken but could open up a can o’ whoopass when necessary. I’m not sure I believe in all of that Freudian stuff, but perhaps I’ve remained single in a futile search for a woman that could live up to my mother’s legacy.
Another former co-worker Don (who occasionally checks in on The Manofesto & leaves a comment) provides a different example of what modeling Christ should look like. We’re not related & he’s more of a contemporary than the older folks I looked up to in church as a kid. He’s also more genuine & rooted in his faith than most people but he’s not self-righteous about it at all.
A girl I was crushing on in 6th grade wouldn’t talk to me, and I found out that it was because I am in a wheelchair & she was afraid she’d say something to upset me. So from the age of 11 onward I decided that a) I’d always be the first person to make a stupid & borderline inappropriate cripple joke, and b) I wouldn’t be easily offended by anything. I don’t know what became of that little girl, but Thank You.
I wish I could remember what grade I was in & the teacher’s name (pretty sure it was junior high), but reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle led to me becoming a lifelong Sherlockian.
My friend The Owl gave me many things: an appreciation for science, philosophy, & engineering that I never had before I met him, a healthy skepticism of women & relationships, affection for Star Trek, a unique perspective of music, and he introduced me to Ray Bradbury. We used to talk for hours multiple times a week about all kinds of things and I miss him tremendously.
I could probably go on & on if I had the inclination and pondered the idea awhile longer, but you get the point. I’m proud to be a mosaic and look forward to adding more colors in the future.