Laugh Til You Cry

“I’m the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral, can’t understand what I mean? Well you soon will.”

Despite having a history of taking off my shirt, I also have a tendency of replacing grief with humor… and apparently, so does the rest of the Walsh family.

“So, Dan… please tell me you are finished with all of these BNL references…”

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Wish I could post my video of the Philadelphia BNL concert the Walsh family attended earlier this year… stupid wordpress.

Well, not quite.

It’s been exactly ONE WEEK since I witnessed my father, Christopher Walsh in a coffin at the young age of 55.

There. Now I’m done, I promise (maybe).

As my mother, brother, sister and I lined up next to the casket for the never ending condolence train, we couldn’t help but discuss what was on all of our minds… My dead dad had stolen my shoes. Now, before you run away to your fallout shelter, let me clarify; He did not climb out of his death bed and swipe the sketchers from beneath my feet mid-service. It was all a misunderstanding, so put down the machete there Rick Grimes.

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-Rewind to that morning (Wednesday, August 24th)-

“WHERE THE F#$% ARE MY DRESS SHOES!” I yelled, minutes before we were scheduled to leave for the funeral home. “THEY ARE ALWAYS RIGHT HERE! SOMEONE MUST HAVE BROKEN IN LAST NIGHT, BYPASSED ALL THE VALUABLES AND WENT STRAIGHT FOR MY DRESS SHOES.”

“You’re being ridiculous” muttered my mother.

“NO! WHAT WOULD BE RIDICULOUS WOULD BE IF DAD TOOK— wait… Tom, are you sure you gave the funeral home Dad’s shoes?”

He did not.

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This wouldn’t be the 1st time my dad stole and then hid my shoes. Found these bad-boys in his closet  just the other day.

So, let’s revisit this shit-show excuse for a wake. My family is literally laughing with our dead father inches away from us while “Paradise City” By Guns N’ Roses blasted through the funeral home (yes they let me make a CD… pretty sweet right?). I am literally greeting my friends by saying “Thank you for coming… Oh and my dead dad stole my shoes.” That got quality looks of confusion.

Do not get me wrong, this is by far the saddest day of our lives. Our fathers passing was a complete surprise. Our whole family actually physically witnessed nurses unplug his life support… yet here we are, laughing at his funeral.

I hope this doesn’t seem disrespectful. We honestly believed that is how Chris would have wanted it; fun and relaxed with Axl Rose screeching in the background. He often joked if it was up to him, he would be buried in his tighty whiteys in our backyard with required laughter at the service (if there even was a service). At the time, we swore we could actually hear him saying “YOU ARE SPENDING HOW MUCH ON A DEAD PERSON? JUST TOSS ME IN THE WOODS.”

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The man loved to joke around, especially at the expense of our sister. DUCK FACE!

After the service, we then returned home with both close friends and family. Immediately, drinks began to flow and our favorite Chris Walsh stories began to fill the room. Laughter could not be contained… and neither could the Jameson.

 

One particular story was from only a few days ago. During the process of making the arrangements, Tom and I debated whether or not we should put a big black… uhmm let’s say it rhymes with ‘Bildo’ in my dad’s casket. Confused? Well, this was a topic of discussion when the funeral director told us “there is nothing you could put in his coffin that would surprise us… we’ve seen it all.” Tell me that wasn’t the perfect “challenge accepted” moment.

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Even though we knew our dad would have gotten a kick out of it, we decided not to for the sake of our grandmother. Seeing that, would have resulted in us having to place her next to my father after she died of embarrassment. No Bueno.

(I have more… let’s say graphic stories that are not suited for the interweb. But if you want them feel free to ask me in person! There is no shame in my game).

Point being, during this whole week long process our family was able to muster up some genuine laughs. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.

(Old pictures like this made the laughing come a little easier… TOGATOGATOGA).

 

Is this how normal people mourn? I really don’t know… but I hope it is. Of course we also cried, we are still crying and we will be for years to come. However, at the expense of sounding like a cheap/generic after school special, let me just say that laughter is truly the best medicine. You would never know how much humor can actually help you until you have faced a tragedy first hand.

So, do my family and my father in particular a favor… laugh. Grab your loved ones and laugh until you cry, then laugh some more.

Oh, and if you are still reading this, I did in fact get my shoes back. Even after some of my friends tried to convince me to just get a new pair and leave my dads body be.

But hey, I have a really hard time finding shoes that fit. Even IF I HAD A MILLION DOLLARS, there are basically zero triple wide’s being manufactured. Chris would understand.

And yes, I slipped in one more BNL reference, my apologies.

Maybe one day I’ll post a serious blog about this traumatic event… But that really wouldn’t be Chris’ style, or mine for that matter.

I love you dad and miss you with all my heart. We all do. And judging by the amount of people who attended your services, you were ONE HELL of a guy. Not just to us, but to everyone you came in contact with over your 55 amazing years on this planet. Just know, we will never stop laughing and it’s all because of you.

Thank you for everything pops.

 

RIP Christopher Michael Walsh

Loving father, husband, brother, jokester and all around great guy.

Until next time old man.

1960-2016

Snapchat & Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Being on this Earth for 22 years, I naturally developed a taste for things I do not care for. For example: not being able to drink wonderfully delicious, pink alcoholic beverages just because I’m a big burly guy, what’s up with that? I also have big, burly taste buds that tell me anything with the words “tini” or “cock-tail” at the end is a one way trip to flavor town.

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Yes Lindsay, it’s also super manly and totally fetch.

As you could imagine, there are plenty of other things/practices that I am not a huge fan of, but for the sake of your time I will just share two more: my voice and opening up about my personal life. However, I am conquering these two “negative traits” with the help of social media and Snapchat in particular.

Short and entertaining videos have become a communication phenomenon that is NOT going away anytime soon. BuzzFeed and the food ‘step-by-step’ “Tasty” videos are just two examples of high trafficked media outlets that are thriving in this market. Applications like Snapchat and Periscope are also gaining momentum. Not wanting to be filmed and hiding behind an avatar is becoming less and less of an option when it comes to online-marketing and personal branding. This was worrisome to myself due to the fact that I HATE my voice and I am usually shy about sharing my inner most thoughts. This all started to change two weeks ago when I did a ‘live-Snapchat’ announcing a long time medical ailment I suffer from.

Ulcerative Colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the colon. Being a pretty embarrassing disease (Google it!), only close friends and family members were aware of my condition. However, I thought it would be interesting content to announce it on various social media platforms and then “live-Snapchat” my 3-hour long treatment with my nurse. I decided to stray away from my usual photo content and film the experience with narration from yours truly.

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Even The Flash needs his medicine.

To my surprise, my whiny, taut voice was well received by everyone who followed my needle-infused, nurse-stalking journey. Since this was the case, I have been posting to Snapchat non-stop and loving every second of it. I have also taken the time to really broaden my following by handing out my handle like free candy (drwalsh15…yeah, I just did that). Snapchat has been great for my self-esteem and I can only imagine what I could do with it if I am ever promoting a product. Using humor in short periods of time is something I consider myself pretty good at and if a company let me do this for a career? I would be in absolute heaven.

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A little self-promotion never hurt anyone!

I have previously wrote about working in sports, and this is still number one on my list but why couldn’t I do both? The way short videos and Snapchat is taking over, it’s only a matter a time before more sports franchises and companies start utilizing them as a marketing tool as well.

Projecting again… Just a few Days Later.

Hall of Fame Baseball player and manager Tommy Lasorda, once said there was three types of people when it comes to baseball and business “those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” Sadly, until very recently, I have fallen under the sorry category of ‘watcher/wonderer.’ I have always been known to play it safe in most aspects of my life. Whether it be relationships, my personal education and most importantly, my future career.

Everything about sports truly moves me. Most people cry while watching Dr. Phil repair a broken family, I cry when I watch ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. However, after a very short period of time on this Earth, I had come to the realization that there was no possible scenario where I would be able to play professionally (I am pretty un-athletic, which can be a problem). When high school and college came around, I had no idea what kind of career I wanted to pursue. Something in the sports field always crossed my mind but what were the chances of that? I mean, what guy doesn’t want to work in sports? My chances seemed slim to none in the interworking’s of my ‘play it safe brain.’ So I did just that.

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My athleticism summed up In one GIF.

In my senior year, I entered the Communications program at Stockton University as a “let me just get a degree’ type of tactic. I also thought that maybe I could stumble upon some type of sports opportunity but I was not entirely hopeful. However, since I have joined the communications program, I have really enjoyed it… even though I haven’t fell ‘in love’ with it just yet. I am slowly leaning to the ‘love’ category due to what I have accomplished since the beginning of this current semester (my last semester). I have decided to jump into the sports/fitness dimension of PR/Communications with both feet. Like Tommy Lasorda said, I want to be someone who makes it happen.

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Okay, maybe I shouldn’t take everything Tommy L. says to heart…

As far as ‘making it happen’ I believe I am off to a pretty good start. I am now receiving PR/marketing experience through my current internship at Suasion Communications Group in South Jersey, I have developed a Linked-In page and began to make related connections to my field of study and I have uploaded my resume and began applying for sports related jobs on sites such as ‘indeed.com. Also, I have even gone as far as purchasing a ticket to attend the Phillies ‘College Night Series’ to learn and mingle with well-known people in the Communication and Phillies organization.

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I am so anxious to learn what the future holds for me and hopefully, it will be in a sports related career.

Projecting and Reflecting, Social Media and PR

When it comes to social media, knowledge of the market is always in flux. Aspects of social media like applications and practices are and will forever be changing. It’s really hard to project what will be the next big thing, but there are a few things personally I would like to learn more about. At the top of my list is blogging, Hootsuit and Linked-In.

Before this class, I have never blogged about anything in my life. Sure, I would rant incoherently on Facebook or Twitter but it rarely had any valuable content. However, for me, it was a form of release, mostly in the form of awkward “I can’t speak to girls” humor.

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Nothing is better than to hear how a single post ‘made someone’s day’ from laughing. But now, since I am transitioning to a professional career I would like to update this ‘form of release’ and make it more professional and beneficial to myself. If I learn how to master WordPress, along with incorporating relative content, I believe I could greatly improve my online presence.

The other two, completely new apps I would like to learn more about are Hootsuit and Linked-In. Both of these sites, will no doubt in my mind be used in my later professional career. Personally, I believe three of the most valuable traits to employers are; professionalism, connections and management skills. Linked-In and Hootsuit cover all three of these bases.

Linked-In is basically an E-resume that gives off a very high level of professionalism if used right. Also, it is very useful when it comes to meeting people and forming connections within certain organizations.

Hootsuit on the other hand, is not just another thing to fluff up your resume. From what I have done and learned so far, is that Hootsuit is the ultimate social media tool. When I get a good grasp on everything Hootsuit has to offer, I can honestly say the managing of my social media applications will improve ten-fold, something every cooperation would die for.

'Great ad campaign. Now all we need is a product.'
‘Great ad campaign. Now all we need is a product.’

When it comes to PR however, I was not always this enthusiastic. Like most people on the outside, I thought that everyone is public relation was a “spin-doctor,” liars within a cooperation who just turned the negative truth into something the public wanted to hear. This is no longer the case. After taking numerous classes and having actual internship experience, I know these previous claims are completely false.

As for career aspirations, I am still not quite sure. I love the field and my internship, doing stuff like managing social media accounts but I still am questioning things. I would hate to not explore all my options and pass on a dream opportunity just to play it safe. I absolutely love sports and everything physical. Maybe someday soon I can venture into something like sports PR, who know what the future holds.

What Does Dan Desire?

English philosopher Alan Watts, once gave a speech where he reminisces about his days counseling college students about their future employment aspirations. He then famously asked them ‘what would you do if money was no object? What makes you itch?’ He then proceeds to tell them to follow their dreams, because money is not the most important thing in life. He concludes the speech with “what do you desire?”

We all have interest, both personally and professionally.

Personally, my biggest current interest is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Over the past couple of years, I have fell madly in love with exercising and eating healthy. Originally, I started going to the gym for the same reason every high school boy does, high school girls. I was super shy and SUPER nervous talking to the opposite sex. So, I got the bright idea of “maybe if I get shredded, I won’t need to talk to girls, they’ll come crawling to me!” Sadly, not only am I still not exactly ‘shredded’ but I also found out that the only female who was noticing me transforming my body was Sue, my loving mother. Sweet right?

Even though a few years of lifting didn’t turn me into a walking AXE commercial, I still learned to love it. There’s something about just being in the gym that clears out my overstressed, elevator music soaked brain. It makes me feel in control of a part of my life.

However, without eating healthy, exercise means close to nothing. I love food, but for the longest time I could barely make a bowl of Kix’s without setting the whole house on fire. If you want to eat healthy, you have to learn how to cook. I love the adventure of finding a new, healthy recipe and then devouring it… fire free.

With all that being said, the most awesome experience I have had with my healthy lifestyle, happened only a few weeks ago. My roommate came to me, wanting to improve his overall health, claiming me as his inspiration. Soon after, the other two roommates followed.

My professional interests on the other hand are not yet crystal clear. I love Communication Studies but I guess I’m still looking for my ‘itch’ in the field.

I have recently started interning at Suasions Communication Group, a PR/marketing firm in Somers Point. So far, I have really been enjoying it, especially the social media aspect. I have been able to manage some of their client’s smaller scale, social media accounts. I have only been on the job for a couple of weeks now but hopefully the experience at Suasion, paired with my last semester of classes at Stockton University, will help me develop my long-term career niche.

Why I love social media. Being able to interact with my health HERO, former Giants punter, Steve Weatherford.
Why I love social media. Being able to interact with my health HERO, former Giants punter, Steve Weatherford.