March 22, 2008

"Haven't drawn a jedi in awhile."

The last blog post from Justin Wright, a promising young animator who just died of a heart attack at age 27. From his college profile:
Justin’s journey to Pixar has another plot twist. He got introduced to the famous studio because of a heart transplant. When Justin was born, his heart had all sorts of complications: cardiomyopathy, a complete block, a hole between the upper two chambers, a hole in the mitral valve —the list goes on. Finally, when Justin was 12, his heart had been through too many surgeries and procedures to be of much use, not to mention that it was the size of a deflated soccer ball inside his slight 70-pound body. It was time for a transplant.

With a lot of time spent in hospital beds recovering, Justin drew pictures (a hobby he says he started as a kid when he got bored in church). His doctor at Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children's Hospital noticed Justin’s interest, and one day, after Justin was fully recovered, took him on a tour at Pixar, where he had some connections. Justin was enthralled—this was what he wanted to do....

He credits his heart transplant with giving him the courage to make risky decisions... “I knew I’d been allowed to stay on this earth, and that I was lucky.....”

Want something, do what you want, take some risks, and know that you are lucky to be alive.


rhhardin said...

Last posts will replace last words. A good thing, too.

Last words usually lack gravity, except for pilots on voice recorders (``Oh shit'').

Thoreau : Moose. Indians

Lord Nelson : Kiss me Hardy

Goethe : mehr Licht (more light)

Einstein : [something in German, not spoken by nurse]

Last posts give you a chance to work something up.

essaybee said...

"do what you want, take some risks"

Thursday I quit my well-payed software job. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I just know that I can't spend one more day in a cubicle looking at code.

I've been wanting to do this for years but had to wait until my kids grew up.

Due to recent medical stuff, I'm in no financial position to do this, but fuck it, I'm not wasting whats left of my life trying to get the books balanced so I can start living. Yeah, I'm an idiot, but wish me luck anyway.

Bullwinkle4Amy said...

essaybee: Yeah, I'm an idiot, but wish me luck anyway.

Idiot? Genius? I'd say it's far from clear at the moment. My prayers go with you, along with my respect for your courage.

rhhardin said...

I took off 1981-1986 and read practically everything ever written about rhetoric.

I also began training my first Doberman, which is actually what you ought to do, in my opinion.

Thurber said he never did anything worthwhile until he started raising Scotties.

rhhardin said...


I always had a software application in mind, however (for the rhetoric).

Cedarford said...

Sometimes you thing life isn't fair, that you or someone you love hasn't gotten their due share of a life they deserved. A parent dying in their 60s....a woman who would have been a great mom who waited too long to have kids and fought an expensive 3-year struggle to have medicince rescue her from her careerist choices, but no luck...then adopting a Honduran kid who turns out to have sociopathic tendencies....

Then you read about a young guy screwed at birth who nevertheless had an inspiring short life and went knowing so many cared for him..

Appreciate what we are given..

Nice post by Althouse and best wishes to the young man's family.

George said...

The gods gave Philoctetes a bow whose arrows never missed their mark.

While on the way to Troy, he stopped to make a sacrifice at an island shrine. A snake bit him on the foot.

Because of this ill omen and because the wound smelled so bad, the Greeks sailed on. For ten years, Philoctetes was marooned. In a cave, he lay in pain and filth.

The Greeks learned, however, they cannot win the war unless they have the divine bow. And its crippled master.

Returning to the island, they and the gods convince Philoctetes to come with them to Troy. He does, and with his aid and that of the bow, the war is won.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Wow. I'm 27. I could die tomorrow. So, Ann, ahem, I plan to be in Williamsburg tonight...let's say we take some risks, eh?

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

here is the shortest path from love to hate in the thesaurus


or another sense

dally with

The thesaurus is the story of dysfunction.

ricpic said...

mer Licht ain't half bad.

Theo Boehm said...

In delay there lies no plenty
Youth's a stuff will not endure.

--Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

ricpic said...


I know it's easy for me to say, since yours will be all the risk, but the fear you'll feel will be part of your being tremendously alive, which you already are just by taking the leap.
Okay, I didn't express that grammatically and you won't live it perfectly but you'll live it! that's the thing.

Chip Ahoy said...


titusisfeelingzenthankyou said...

Thanks for sharing this Althouse.

Very sad story.

I have taken a LOA from a high paying job currently because of some medical issues which I hope are now in control.

I have been off for 6 weeks and what I learned from this is that I don't want to go back to what I was doing-not at this time anyway.

Prior to taking the LOA I was called/paged at all hours of the night for issues that I thought were so important but now that I look at as trivial in the grand scheme of life.

In two weeks I am going to take a cross country road trip of the US with the rare clumbers. I am excited, nervous and ready.

Maybe this road trip will plant me somewhere I never imagined I would be.

I always thought that I made it by living, working and being successful in NYC. I question that now and am looking forward to seeing the rest of the country.

Hopefully, the rest of the country will look forward to seeing me.

Middle Class Guy said...

It is always tragic when the young die. It is more tragic when someone with great talent and a future passes. Here was a young man who made a lasting contribution through his art work and whatever movie work he was involved with. Who knows what he could have achieved and left behind.

Life is very fragile. Living it on your own terms, and not others is the most important and riskiest thing one can do.

Making a difference in the lives of others is a lasting contribution that is remembered until those others die.

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bearbee said...

I was called/paged at all hours of the night for issues that I thought were so important...

And when you leave the waters will cover over as if you had never existed.

rhhardin said...

(The lives of one or two generations of men may fill one sentence or two pages. The gross output of four particular or ordinary lives: "He was born in ... He died in ... " Yes, but between the scream of life and the scream of death? "He was born in ... He was insulted for no good reason ... He was misunderstood ... He died in ... " Yes, but there must have been more? "He was born in ... He tried to find himself in books ... He married ... He had a son ... He died in ... " Yes, yes, but there must have been more? "He was born on ... He gave up books ... He thought he would live on in his son ... He died on ... " Yes, but there must have been more? "He was short and heavy-set ... He had a childhood and an old age ... His name was Salomon Schwall ... " Yes, yes, but there must have been more? "His name was Salomon Schwall ... He does not remember his youth ... He left his island ... He went to Portugal ... His wife was called Leonie ... " Yes, yes, but there must have been more? "He settled in the south of France with his wife ... He was an antique dealer .. He was called 'the Jew' ... His wife and son were called 'the wife and son of the Jew.'" Yes, but there must have been more? "He died, and his wife died ... They were buried in ground which did not know their names, near some crosses ..." Yes, but there must have been more? "His son was French ... He fought in the war for France ... He was decorated ..." Yes, yes, but there must have been more? "He fought in the infantry ... was wounded ... decorated ... " Yes, yes, but there must have been more? "He was still called 'the Jew' ... He married Rebecca Sion, whom he met in Cairo ... He went back to France with her ..." Yes, but there must have been more? "He became a merchant in memory of his father ... He had brought back all sorts of objects from his travels ... Oceanic and African masks ... pottery and gemstones from China, carved ivory from Japan ..." Yes, but there must be more? "He had a daughter, Sarah ... " Yes, but there must have been more? "He was still called 'the Jew', and his wife and daughter, 'the wife and daughter of the Jew.'" Yes, yes, but there must have been more? "He had lost his faith ... He no longer knew who he was ... He was French ... decorated ... His wife and daughter were French ... " Yes, but there must have been more? "Sometimes, he spoke in public to brand racism, to affirm the rights of man ..." Yes, yes, but there must have been more? "He died in a gas chamber outside France ... and his daughter came back to France, out of her mind ...")

Edmond Jabes, The Book of Questions v.1 p.166

Middle Class Guy said...

No matter who you are. Whether you were high born or low born. If you were wealthy or lived a life of abject poverty. If you were famous or a total unknown. If you had the love of family and friends or lived your life in the misery of loneliness. No matter how high you achieved or how miserably you failed. Your life is reduced to two simple words. That is it. No matter how long or short your life, just two simple words describe it. This is what life is reduced to. Two simple words. They are the words used to describe one of the most famous Americans in history. A man born into abject poverty and destined to rise to heights unknown. A man who was adulated and worshipped like a god. A man who could and did have everything he wanted. A man who was a king.

Upon his death, his whole life was reduced to two simple words. They are the last two words on his autopsy protocol. The life of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley is summed up in these two simple words.

Genitalia unremarkable.

Robert J. Stein
Former Cook County Medical Examiner

blake said...

Good luck to easybee and Titus. Justin's problems are over.

ZPS said...

Thank you for this Althouse.

I've been thinking about how this has been such a roller coaster year "for me" so far...and then I read something like this and have to stop and put things in perspective.

And in case you haven't seen it...this is all anyone needs in life:

Mark Daniels said...

A sad, yet inspiring post. Thanks for linking us to it.

Like bullwinkle4amy, I will shout out a prayer for you tonight. I applaud you for your search and your guts. God bless.

Mark Daniels

essaybee said...

Thanks to you all for your good wishes.

Last night for dinner, instead of something good and obedient, I had a banana split. And so my life of self indulgence and decadence begins!