A Tribute to Mister Rotary Lou Mello
In the ever-transmogrifying world of social media, it takes a village to spread the word about anything. My blog lives because of its readers, and I appreciate every one of you. But, for the remainder of this week, I am going to thank some special people: my advocates, people who go beyond reading my blog and telling me how much they enjoy it. They share it with their friends and spread the word about it whenever and wherever they can. That I never asked any of them to be my advocate is even more humbling for me.
A super human story is the only explanation for Lou Mello. The X-Men really do exist, perhaps. Or, Dr. Who and James Bond somehow reproduced, through a cocktail of Meester Bond’s many hook-ups, and he is their off-spring. Maybe Superman impregnated Wonder Woman, and Lou is the result.
When one knows Lou, none of these backstories seems far-fetched. In fact, any one of them is probable.
I know this much: Lou doesn’t do anything to earn attention or praise. A wordy soliloquy citing how much his friendship means to me will only make him uncomfortable and cause him to comment about the Golden Rule in an “aw-shucks, stop-talking-about-me-this-instant” posture. I will simply state that if I can BE Lou Mello when I grow up, I will be one of the most remarkable people who ever lived and breathed.
Lou cares about more than reading blogs, friending most of my friends on Facebook (they now know me as “Lou’s friend”) and supporting others in their quests. My mother likes him. My FATHER even knows about Lou, and he cannot turn on a computer. Lou is a man who makes an impression by enthusiastically giving the spotlight to anyone but himself.
Allow me to shine the light on Lou.
He’s mad about Ohio State University. Anyone who gets up at 3am to drive twelve-plus hours to watch people throw a pig skin around a football field has to be mad.
Lou worships his wife, the lovely Miss TK. He gets a look in his eye when he sees her. Lou had what he likes to call a “practice marriage.” That he knows how to embrace and celebrate the gift of a soul mate – and that he fetes her with abandon – is a trait I appreciate in Lou because I see it in myself.
Rotary International is yet another of Lou’s passions. His Rotary District is one of the biggest in the world by number of clubs, and the leadership is a coveted role. When Lou applied, almost everyone else stood aside to try another year. EVERYBODY said Lou deserved it. I always look for Lou Dust to precede him into the room. It’s a super hero accessory that has to exist. He walks into a place, smiles, starts asking about the other person, and somehow trots away with that person agreeing – EVEN VOLUNTEERING WITH ENTHUSIASM – to give obscene amounts of time to Rotary.
Almost every day of every week of every month of every year, Lou shares my blog posts with his friends and connections in multiple platforms - Facebook, Twitter, Google+. We attend Rotary District events, and he assaults people to patronize my blog. When I picked him as a reader for the third draft of my book, he did it in a day, relieving me of some of the pressure of wondering when – IF – anyone would get around to it. I asked several people to send private e-mail messages to our non-mutual friends inviting them to like my author page on Facebook. Lou was one of the only people who actually did it, and in the usual ‘Lou’ way: coercing four times the number of people I expected into clicking “like.”
I couldn’t ask for a better friend and advocate: to emulate, to revere and to treasure. If super heroes do exist, Lou Mello is the only Super Friend for me.