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Gary Gems – January Ski and Contrition Edition

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Gary’s Gems – Whatever Gets You Through November Issue

Do you find November depressing? Since March, every month in 2020 could claim that description. The drabness of November is our payment for the lights and nostalgia for December. (You know how I feel about Christmas, right?). November is Kansas. December is Oz.

I can get much too introspective in November. One way I try to avoid this is to get outside myself and involve get involved with community organizations such as those that offer support for homeless street kids, abandoned animals, and food-insecure families.

We held our (virtual) fall CAM-X (Canadian Call Management Association) convention last month. i24 Call Management Solutions has been a member for a couple of generations of Blairs. It’s a tradition to raise funds for breast cancer at each convention – “Shave to Save”. Catchy, right?

As a long-time Board Director, I was part of the planning committee for our 2013 convention in Bermuda. At one meeting when we were discussing arrangements for the silent auction, I posed the question, “Who wouldn’t shave their hair for a good cause? After all, it’ll grow back.”

Nothing locks you into a commitment like volunteering a fundraising suggestion at a Board meeting. And that was how I put my head on the block in Bermuda.

“You’ll look great,” they said. “You’ll look like Kojack.’ they said.  Hmmm, I was cynical.

Gary's Gems - Whatever Gets You Through November Issue

What do you think? Kojack or Dr. Evil?

In addition to me, my good friend, Bill Tucker from Halifax (who wore a moustache since high school), Mike Shantz from Sudbury, and Gerald Brosseau from Fort Meyers, FL agreed to sacrifice our manly manes for charity.  Mike and I had begun fundraising efforts prior to heading to the conference so we already had raised over $20,000 even before landing in Bermuda.

So there we were, four brave souls ready to go bald for a good cause. Our domes were to be buzzed and buffed. Those who bid the highest got the first opportunity to clearcut a path through for others to follow. One after the other, these amateur barbers mowed until we were standing on a carpet of head-mulch.

(Eureka!) We had decided that our fundraising goal for the event was $50,000. So, I proposed to shave my beard – only if we were falling short of our goal, and making this sacrifice would put us over $50k. Money began rolling to the tune of over $77,000.00. I left the silent auction with a big hairy smile on my face.

Think men aren’t obsessed with their beards? (Not speaking of myself, of course.) Watch this eye-opener – or closer depending on your tastes.

Speaking of beards, the Movember organization is a charity that raises funds for Men’s health issues such as suicide prevention, prostate, and testicular cancer. My “Gems editor”, Ray Hiltz has participated in Movember for many years. Last year he grew his annual beard as usual but when it came to shaving it off on Dec 1st there arose a thunderous roar of disapproval in the office. Whether it was his Ghost and Mrs. Muir look or Santa nostalgia, it seemed no one wanted to see his chin again.

So this November, inspired by what I did at the CAM-X conference, Ray, instead of growing a beard, is offering to shave his beard only if his fundraising goal of $500 is not reached.

We’ve become almost as attached to Ray’s beard as his face is so it would be a shame to see it go. But, he is leaving it in others’ hands (or digital wallets.).

If he can raise $500,00 or more, it stays. If he comes short, so does his beard – very, very short.

Enjoy your November.

Here are a few November-inspired quotes to reflect on.

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