I am privileged to have come into contact with some extraordinary people. I am even more privileged to call some of them my friends. None of these people is well known. Some of them prefer anonymity. They have no need to shout their achievements from the rooftops. All the “buzz” comes from doing the deed. The telling is not necessary. Praise is met with a wry smile and a shrug of the shoulders. “I’m just doing what anyone else would do if they had the chance.”

Yeah, right.

We live in an insane time where virtue signalling has become a near right of passage.

Parroting popular views or politically correct ones at least serve to give us some sort of validation. It has become more important to talk the talk than to walk the walk. No one notices the walkers. Everyone applauds the talkers.

It could be depressing, but there are thousands of walkers walking their walk every day. They’re the ordinary people who rarely, if ever, appear in your social media feed. You’ll find them if you keep your eyes and ears open.

The act of giving

I was totally gobsmacked to discover one of these saints hidden in plain sight. I won’t name him because he’d prefer to remain anonymous, but what he’s doing deserves a medal.

For the sake of this article, I’m going to call him the Axeman.

The Axeman and I have a fair bit in common. We’re both musicians. We’ve both had our difficulties. Neither of us could be considered conformists. He’s a little younger. Some would call him a recluse, but from what I can tell, he, like me, would prefer the company of his family and close friends than to be surrounded by the maddening crowd. We’ve swapped enough stories over the years for us to understand that we’ve both been there, done that and moved on. We both still like a drink, but our full guns blazing days are long gone.

People are quick to judge the Axeman. He’s a big bloke who rides a Harley and looks quite fearsome to strangers. He understands why judgements are made but that doesn’t stop the hurt. In truth, the Axeman is as gentle and as kind a man as you can possibly imagine.

The Axeman has had his struggles and I’m not going to go into details here. He could be a bitter and twisted soul. He isn’t. In fact, he’s quite the opposite. The Axeman gets his kicks by giving to others in a unique and quite inspiring way.

The Axeman giveth…axes

Yesterday, my friend shared an exchange he’d had with someone trying to sell what was a cheap guitar for $500 on the Facebook marketplace. The Axeman quite rightly pointed out that the guitar in question was retailing brand new for under $200.

We had a bit of a chuckle about that and then, out of nowhere, my friend let it slip that he’d been buying these cheap guitars, refitting them with quality EMG or DiMarzio pickups and Gotoh guitar tuners and then giving them away to young talented musicians who otherwise couldn’t afford them. The Axeman says that he’s getting a blast out of equipping young talented souls with custom-built guitars that “blow the rich kids Stratocasters away.” He’s mighty proud of the guitars that he’s building but chooses not to celebrate his achievements in the social media echo chamber out of respect for the recipient kid’s parents. He says he’s becoming addicted to the process. I think it’s a pretty good addiction to have.

Of course, being a musician, he appreciates the gift that music is. He is saddened by the number of kids not getting the opportunity to play an instrument. He says that he’s just doing his bit. It’s a familiar tale.

My friend and I have talked around but never about the subject of the legacy that we leave our children. I don’t think that he has much to worry about. The good that he unobtrusively does speaks volumes. I doubt if he ever really stops to think about the positive impact that he’s having. He’s having too much fun.

I suspect that there is something in that. The more we give the more we receive. There’s a lot of good ordinary people in the world. I’ve probably met more than I know of. People don’t need to tell you how righteous or generous they are. That seems to be the preserve of tricksters and conmen.

It’s time that we celebrated the Axemen of the world. I’m willing to bet that there are a lot more of them than we know.

Photo by Markus Spiske: https://www.pexels.com/photo/music-rock-guitar-instrument-92069/

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By Mark