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There are too many kids out there suffering from bullying, rejection, or simply being mistreated because of who they are. Too many dropouts. Too much abuse. Too many homeless. Too many suicides. You can change that and you are changing it. But you never needed me to tell you that. That's why this was a little bit weird. The only thing I can really say is what I've been building up to for the past ﬁve minutes. Thank you. Thank for inspiring me. Thank you for giving me hope, and please keep changing the world for people like me. Happy Valentine's Day. I love you.
I started hearing from families who had missing members, many of them young kids on our campus, and they all would describe the same sorts of things. A sudden change of personality, a new way of talking... and then they would disappear. And bingo, it was the same sort of thing as with the Korean War prisoners, the same sort of thought-reform and social controls. You find it again and again, any time people feel vulnerable. There are always sharpies around who want to hornswoggle people.
Y'all ever seen these commercials for these pills, this medication you take? It's like one pill for one thing, but they list, like, a hundred side effects? It's just like they're just scrolling for a minute. And you're thinkin, "Is that really a good trade? That can't be a good trade." You got people going, "Well, I can take the headaches, nausea, and vomiting, if it'll make my elbow feel better. It's really worth it—it is. I mean I've been taking it—Oh, oww! Owww! I can move it around, play with the kids, and—[pretends to vomit]. I've got full range of motion here."
Promise me, he said, that you'll say nothing, and if something happens to me, you'll always honor our parents. I swallowed. He was scaring me. Look, he continued, I've met a lot of rich kids and their parents at the Academy, and I'll tell you, there are no parents that I'm prouder to have as my father and mother than ours. They rose up with nothing, Mundo, except guts and faith and love. Do you understand? I shook my head. No, I don't, I said. He licked his lips. He seemed to be licking his lips all the time now. You will, he said. You just pay close attention, and you will.
I moved out to Santa Barbara to straighten out, supposedly, and I started using drugs, which I found were plentiful in Isla Vista, around the college campus — UCSB. And then I started rollicking around with all kinds of kids a lot younger than me. Anywhere from 15 to their 20s, but I was kind of in my late 20s. And, uh... I had fun, but I really didn't have anyone I particularly loved. And I still don't, except for loving friends, but I mean I haven't been in love with anyone in years and years. But I have a certain amount of faith that it'll come.
I won't retire. When you're an actor, you're forced to retire every few months. John Gielgud was 96 when he died, and he was working. It's good to work, whatever it is that keeps you interested. I would like to do that, I would like to keep going. I don't have kids, and I don't have hobbies. I don't particularly like to travel. If you're an actor, you have to travel anyway.
It was much later that I realized Dad's secret. He gained respect by giving it. He talked and listened to the fourth-grade kids in Spring Valley who shined shoes the same way he talked and listened to a bishop or a college president. He was seriously interested in who you were and what you had to say.
I was happy, but I am now in possession of knowledge that this is wrong. Happiness isn't so bad for a woman. She gets fatter, she gets older, she could lie down, nuzzling a regiment of men and little kids, she could just die of the pleasure. But men are different, they have to own money, or they have to be famous, or everybody on the block has too look up to them from the cellar stairs.