When I was a child we looked forward to our birthdays with joy and trepidation. Yes, we would get a few presents, a birthday cake and for a few very fortunate children there would be a birthday party to attend. But we would dread school on our birthdays. Back then there were birthday spankings. Ah, the acute embarrassment of going to the front of the classroom and bending over a desk to receive a spanking for each year of our lives. These spanks weren’t too painful, but then there was the “one to grow on.” That final spank packed quite a wallop and many a child would return to their seats rubbing their behind.
When Alex Fair asked me to paint him a new jacket for him to wear in the Walking Gallery, I painted him with a birthday cake and candles. I named it "The candles that never go out." I painted his happy face in darkness lit by flames and wrote Medstartr Ventures upon that cake for his work to help raise funds to improve healthcare.
I have known Alex for almost seven years. I know he still fights to improve healthcare when so many have dropped away from our cause. I know he celebrates each year that his work struggles on as our changing economy and riotous political structure provides a type of encouragement that closely resembles that final birthday smack.
Alex’s first jacket is falling apart. He wore it often in the last 6 years. He joined in the beginning, when I did not know you should not paint on corduroy. I am glad he will wear this new one. As I said on twitter the other day, “An army of change needs uniforms.”
I want you to think about that.
Why do armies need uniforms? Most importantly it shows which side you on in wartime. Joining The Walking Gallery shows that you are very much on the side of patients and overall improvement within healthcare. Uniforms also make it really hard to set down your mantle of beliefs. When we publicly wear our stories upon our backs it can be as heavy as a rucksack, yet not as easily set aside.