This morning I received a wonderful message from a mother whose son has been fighting in Afghanistan. Some while back, she sent him a copy of my first travel book, Gullible’s Travels, the Adventures of a Bad Taste Tourist. Here’s what she wrote.
“I wanted you to know I sent your first book to my son in Afghanistan and he came home safe and sound last week. He kept quoting the book. I told him how we’d “met”.” (On Facebook) “He was blown away that you were a real person who actually corresponded with other real people! So I just ordered him your new book as he starts his leave next Friday. You are more than welcome to come to his welcome home party in NJ on the 26th if you are around. What a hoot that would be! Anyway, thank you for providing him some humorous relief in the midst of an otherwise crappy situation! We love you.”
Isn’t that great?
I hear lots of great stories like that. It’s quite heartwarming.
Sadly, I also know of a couple of instances when reading Gullible’s Travels actually put readers in hospital. One bust his stitches after an operation, and another had a relapse of a heart complaint after laughing so much. Gratifying, yet also strangely worrisome, I must admit. The last guy’s wife even wrote to say they were considering suing because there wasn’t a sticker on the book to warn just how funny it was. Well, hey, I’m sorry. I honestly didn’t know.
A couple of years ago, some man wrote to say that his mother had been trapped for days in a remote island village after it flooded following a small tsunami. Being marooned without help, she spent her time reading Gullible’s Travels instead of panicking, and that got her through. He was writing to thank me, as if I’d anticipated that it would come in useful in that way. Nevertheless, I felt incredibly honored. As a result, helping people without actually lifting a finger is now my latest thing.
And now this latest woman is sending her son my new travel book, Naked in Dangerous Places which I truly believe would also help lift the spirits of tsunami victims around the world. And soldiers. Anyone, really.