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Follically Challenged Productions Presents:







ANYTHING GOES: ON THE TOPIC OF MENTORS

I’m still recovering from the excessive relaxation I was forced to endure over the long holiday weekend, but I wanted to poke my head in here and share my thoughts on something. I hope you don’t mind.

I’ve mentioned Larry Morehead before somewhere, but I know it’s hard to keep up with my ramblings. For the official record, Mr. Morehead was my high school creative writing teacher and one of the most profound influences I’ve ever known in my life. There are many stories I could tell, but this one is key: on the day that everyone else in the class was issued To Kill A Mockingbird by whichever student was passing out materials, I was overlooked. No book for me, and not a single copy left in the box.

Just as confusion began to set in, the Man Himself approached me with a dog-eared paperback in his hand. He plopped the book down on my desk, but I didn’t immediately look down to see what it was; you see, I couldn’t quite pull myself away from that intense gaze of his, the one that was attempting to penetrate my brain in the hopes of confirming that he was right about the decision he’d made.

“That’s your book,” he said, “and you’d sure as hell better read it.”

And then he turned around and walked away.

I was almost scared to look down at that battered little book on my desk. What did I do to provoke this? Was it a punishment? A reward? WHY ME?

I let my eyes drop, slowly, until they could focus on the title. I’d heard of this book, sure, but I didn’t know the first thing about what might be lurking beneath the cover. Timidly, but with ever-increasing curiosity, I picked it up and tried to ascertain the task ahead of me by pure osmosis.

The book was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson. I was not aware in that moment how keenly this book would eventually shape my perceptions, nor did I have any clue that Mr. Morehead was aware of the potential that I was doing my level best to hide under poor grades and questionable attendance.

I know all of that now, my friends, and I’m grateful for the wisdom. This last weekend, I was lucky enough to see Larry Morehead at his son’s house, and I finally had the chance to thank him for doing his best to steer me down a path that I didn’t even know I was on at the time. It meant so much to me to shake his hand and just express my gratitude, and the gesture was received warmly. That one little event made an already-perfect weekend something even better somehow.

If I could share a word of advice: take a minute to think about the people who helped make you what you are. Seek them out and spend five minutes just letting them know that you wouldn’t be who you are without their influence. I guarantee the experience will be fulfilling for both of you.  

Brandon Jerwa 

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