Monday, April 13, 2009

Eric Saling: No Apologies

The responses below are from Eric, my friend of more than a decade. We've been to the end of the Earth together (literally), and he was the Best Man at my wedding (for good reason). I've never come across another person like him.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An Architect  Being able to make something from nothing, on your own ideas, and have others appreciate it was all I was looking for. 

What do you want to be now?

I love being a firefighter, but all I really want to be is smarter.

When was the last time you were violent?

I don't know that I've ever been violent to another person directly.  The closest I have ever been is when I was 26 and punched a sign after having a fight with my girlfriend and sister at the same time. 

Were you in the right?

Looking back, no one was right or wrong.  We all had our own opinions on the events that took place.  I am terribly upset at how my reaction affected both my girlfriend and my sister, though.  Violence is rarely the answer.

Describe an instance when you placed a good deal of trust in a complete stranger.

I was sitting outside a coffee house when two people with foreign accents approached me and asked me for some money to get to their embassy.  They said they had been mugged and all of their money and documents had been stolen.  Normally I don't give money to anyone and had them sit down and explain what happened.  They took their time and were very detailed in the story.  I was convinced and wanted to help these people get to a place they felt safe.  I told them I would help them as long as they promised to repay me when they got back home.  They agreed and I gave them my contact info.  Twenty dollars exchanged hands and I felt good about assisting travelers having a bad vacation in my city.  I should have listened to my gut, 10 years later I still haven't heard a thing. 

Tell about a time when you gave a heartfelt apology.

This may be one of my bigger downfalls.  I can't think of a time that I have truly given a heartfelt apology.  If I have done something that I need to apologize for, I am sorry that someone was hurt or offended by my actions, but they are rarely intentional.  I did what I did because I felt I was doing the right thing at the time.

Do you own a vanity book - a book you haven't read but keep on the shelf in the hopes that people will think you've read it?

The closest thing I would have to a "vanity book" would be my huge unabridged dictionary.  I can't say that I've read it all, but it is the best book I own and the one most overlooked by others. 

What are the qualities you associate with this book?

An almost infinite amount of knowledge.

Describe the last time you lost something of value.

Outside of relationships, the value of anything is nominal.  Things can be replaced, those relationships can't.

Is/was there a place you repeatedly look/looked for this item?

I do my best to never lose what is dear to me.  But being who I am, once they are gone, I try to stop looking back.

Annular rings indicate the age of a tree; they form as a result of their environment. Give your age. Describe an event that aged you and when it occurred.

32 years 4 months 2 weeks.  For better or for worse, each event of my life has shaped me in to who I am today, and I wouldn't change a single one.  

What piece of advice do you hold on to?

"If you think your life is so bad, go read the newspaper"  -William Saling, my father

What makes the world go 'round?

The spirit of adventure, exploration and experimentation for the betterment of mankind.