Call me Chris.

This is a fun post. The main dish is filled with thanks. It’s spiced with a dash of commentary. And I’ve topped it off with a touch of tongue in cheek to ease you into the weekend. I’m providing a soft landing since today is Friday (yay!).

So, the fun piece first. I tallied the total number of book sales (which includes a handful of free copies) thus far. If my math is correct, I’ve sold 48 copies (carry the one, add the two…), but you may want to double-check because that’s more fingers and toes than I have for countin’. In all seriousness, I am grateful for this reception. I am grateful for those of you who have taken a chance on an unknown author. Mostly, I am grateful for the support of my loved ones to be my rock as I pushed through the writing/editing/publishing/marketing process. Thank you all!

Now, the commentary. I watched Erin Brokovich (the movie) with my wife last night. Haven’t seen it in years. Great movie. Wonderfully inspirational. That’s not news. We all know that about the movie.

While watching, I couldn’t help but think that Erin—the real Erin, wonderfully portrayed by Julia Roberts—is a Kansas girl. It gave me pride to think about how Erin, the person, learned her worldview and work ethic in my home State. I know that Kansans are the butt of many jokes in far more chic places that get airtime on fancy television shows. I also know that Kansas offers a truly unique and amazing east-meets-west, north-meets-south crossroads for our entire country. Part of this is the obvious geography, given that Kansas is literally in the center of the contiguous forty-eight States. I think a larger part comes from our State history and way of life, though.

Whether a Kansan comes from one of our handful of cities or any of the countless small towns, they are (typically) taught a sense of self-reliance. They are also taught to work hard, often harder than what non-residents may realize. It comes from living in a large State with a small population. There simply aren’t enough people across the State to reasonably expect someone else to do your work for you. As a result, we shoulder our own load. On top of this, we learn to become decision makers because there aren’t enough conference rooms or focus groups where we can pound out shared decisions.

None of this means we (proud Kansans) don’t think deeply about the decisions we make. Nor does it mean we don’t lean on one another to gain from the wisdom of loved ones and colleagues. Rather, it demonstrates how we are forced to reconcile the weight of our decisions on our own shoulders. We are aware of the obligation to complete our projects, sometimes at our own peril. We do it because it must be done. We step into the breach because there isn’t anyone else to do it. (I’m well aware this describes the ethos found in many rural States. Kansas is special to us because of what our folk have done for American history.)

So, I am proud to reflect on the real Erin Brokovich. I am proud to affirm that I wholeheartedly believe she accomplished her achievements because of the lessons she learned growing up in my home State. And I am proud she went to K-State—which, we all know, is the best university in the State.

The last piece I want to share is that I got out of solitary confinement this week. As I shared in last Sunday’s post, we went back to work live this week. It was awesome to see my colleagues. It was awesome to see the other folks who come into our building each day. It felt like a return to normal life, even if still under strange circumstances. As I joked with colleagues in staff meeting, I hope we don’t get put back in solitary confinement. It’s nice to be out with the general population. Fingers crossed that it continues.

Thanks for putting up with this rambling and disconnected post. Just a fun Friday-edition. As always, this has been the World According to Chris. Please hit the like button and follow my blog!

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