As we near the end of the year, I am rolling out 65 Reasons to Make that Geezer Get Those Tattoos! We're gonna put them out in groups of five. Here's the first group: 65. Jay Gironimi -- my favorite author of "CF lit." Check out his web site at CantEatCantBreathe.com. This guy deserves to live a long and healthy life. 64. The 4D Molecular Therapeutics "4D-710" gene therapy trial. I am apparently not supposed to disclose that Patient 3 is someone I know well. But I'll just say the initial results are VERY promising so we need to fund more of this kind of research! 63. New Hampshire is the reason the U.S. Constitution went into effect! Once nine states ratified, the Constitution was officially in business. And NH was the Ninth State. Honor the Granite State by making a donation! 62. When asked to do anything, Rose always asks: "How will this affect my confirmation hearing?" This "geezer" thing won't impede her Senate confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, and supporting the CFF will assure she lives long enough to get there. 61. Sixty-five mitochondria tattoos would look too weird. Even though mitochondria are, in scientific terms, more germane than roses are. Another five reasons soon!
65 for 65 at 65
Everyone on Planet CF knows the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation uses the phrase “65 Roses” to raise awareness, and money, in quest of reducing this genetic disease to a medical footnote. There are 65 Roses calendars, 65 Roses tote bags, 65 Roses road races – even a 65 Roses song – all a sweet tribute to a little kid with CF who overheard his mom raising money for what sounded to him like a reference to several dozen lovely flowers.
It's especially hard to ignore the 65 Roses thing if you did what I did – name your daughter Rose, months and months before we found out she had CF.
Meanwhile, I’ve noticed that lots of people, much younger than me, are getting tattoos. My body is currently a tattoo-free zone. Recently a fellow CF Foundation volunteer was telling me about someone he’d met who has a “65 Roses” tattoo. He thought that showed real dedication to the cause. I scoffed.
“You know what would be really impressive?,” I said. “Someone who literally got 65 actual roses tattooed on their body.”
Then came the proverbial blinding flash of insight: I am the perfect person for the job.
Sure, Rose could get 65 roses tattooed on various places, but she’s only 21 and cannot know if she will like that kind of body art 65 years from now. Same with all young people. Rose will outlive her dad by many, many years – the CF Foundation is taking care of that. In my comparatively shorter remaining life span, I am far less likely to have second thoughts about 65 roses tattooed all over me.
Naturally, when it comes to such an extensive redesign of my physical appearance, I have my price: $650,000. That’s right – if I can raise 650 thousand dollars for the Annual Fund of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by the end of this year, I will commemorate my 65th birthday by getting 65 roses tattooed on my 65-year-old body.
You know you want to do this . . . you know you want to be a part of forcing Rose’s old dad to become a body art masterpiece. All donations made online at this site before midnight on the last night of 2023 will count toward the $650,000. So will checks payable to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and received by me at 292 Pleasant Street, Concord, New Hampshire 03301 on or before December 30, 2023.
Here’s hoping this quest goes viral and reaches 65 million people! Thank you for helping me celebrate my 65th birthday, 65 Roses, and the quest to cure Cystic Fibrosis.
Of course there has to be a t-shirt! Our campaign is rolling right along -- we just took in our biggest single donation so far! Do not forget that donations made through October 25 will be subject to the Keller Family Match, thanks to a donation from Rose's late grandmother.
Here's another celebrity endorsement for those who were not impressed by the guy from Polyester.
Hello geezer/tattoo nation! Just popping in to say that Rose's late grandmother, Martha Keller -- a very kind and slightly crazy person of whom I was very fond -- left a nice little pile of money to the CF Foundation and one result is that there is a $15,000 matching fund. My friends at the Northern New England Chapter of the CFF have assured me that donations to THIS PAGE will count toward the match if made by October 25. In other words, your contributions between now and October 25 don't just get me closer to having to cover my body in permanent roses ... they are also are matched dollar for dollar. Amazing! #makeTHATgeezerGETthoseTATTOOS
And -- in re the dramatic news relayed below -- it's fitting that a star from a John Waters film should play a prominent role in our campaign. Waters of course is inextricably linked to Baltimore, and Baltimore looms large in CF Nation as well because the CF care center at Johns Hopkins is one of the best in the business. In fact the CFF's executive director, Michael Boyle, is the former Johns Hopkins center director.
Paul the Pizza Delivery Guy, from Polyester (1981)
Well . . . THIS is big! I've known for a while that what this campaign REALLY needs is a celebrity endorsement. And I am thrilled to announce that we got one! And not just any celebrity -- Paul the Pizza Delivery Guy from the celebrated John Waters 1981 film Polyester. Can you believe it!? The cultured among you will recall that this landmark movie was filmed in Odorama. Paul the Pizza Delivery guy had his own odor (pizza, duh)! Please help me build on this momentum -- even if you think John Waters movies are horrible. (And please forgive me for my rarified taste in movies -- my favorite one is actually Ishtar. If anyone can get me Dustin Hoffman or Warren Beatty, or writer/director Elaine May, please reach out immediately. Alas, Charles Grodin, who played the CIA agent, is no longer with us.)
We took our campaign to scenic Bowdoin College!
It's been a while since I have shared an update -- because I have been having too much geezer fun! I've been busy trying to figure out TikTok -- by which I mean experimenting with various (hopefully) amusing video vignettes, including one with Rose (on the steps of a certain McKim, Mead & White building in Maine that I like), one with the president of a New Hampshire utility (which shall remain nameless), one with a famous (former) NHPR personality, and one recorded in a historic Vermont location that makes up a bunch of Vermont history. Check me out on social media -- I am @dmokreis everywhere I go -- and by all means help this go viral!
"Make that Geezer" get those tattoos is a fun project, but beneath it lurk issues and questions that are of the utmost seriousness to me and my family. That's why I am so grateful to my friend Wayne King for devoting an episode of his "Radical Centrist" podcast to our quest. Wayne interviewed me and Rose jointly and, together, we were able to offer a deep dive about cystic fibrosis, the cystic fibrosis community, and why we are involved. If that's of interest to you, check it out (and, hint hint, if you want to cut to the chase the actual interview doesn't begin until 8:20 has elapsed): https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-war-for-the-roses-making-that-geezer-get-65/id1448723412?i=1000624976202
One Down, 64 to go! But only if I raise $650k.
"Don . . . are you serious?!" That's one of the most common reactions I have gotten since I rolled out this campaign on July 24 (my birthday). Thus it became obvious that I needed to do something to demonstrate how utterly serious I truly am. The answer was obvious: Get the first of those 65 roses tattoed onto my handsome bod ASAP, as a sign of good faith. Which is exactly what I did yesterday, by calling on John Easter of Capital City Tattoo in Concord -- now the official tattoo provider for the "Make That Geezer Get Those Tattoos" campaign. And . . . guess what? It was actually FUN. I thought getting a tattoo would feel like low-grade torture. But it was actually a pleasant experience. John was very good company. So was his pet lizard.
Hello 65 Roses nation! I am having such a grand time with this little project; it summons the extroverted region of my personality and blows away the reclusive, curmudgeonly part of me. Yesterday I worked the crowd at the League of NH Craftsmen fair at Mount Sunapee. I'm experimenting with TikTok and blasting out messages via instagram and the platform formerly known as Twitter. Rose is being a very good sport about all of this. Please know that beneath all the frivolity lurks the conviction that the quest to overcome Cystic Fibrosis is such a remarkable and honorable thing -- human ingenuity and focus their best. A special enthusiastic shout-out to folks who know me in my official capacity. Since I am a state employee with a reasonably visible public profile, it is -- of course -- not appropriate for me to raise money at work or via my work contacts. And yet so many people who know me in that capacity have somehow found their way onto my roster of donors. It is truly appreciated and proves that I get to deal with people of high character (regardless of who or what they represent) in connection with my day job.
Friends, I am blown away by all of the support this effort has been receiving -- clearly, I have captured some imaginations or, perhaps, amused some folks into opening their checkbooks. We've soared past six grand -- which means we are off to a fabulous start less than ten days into an effort that will last, if necessary, until the end of the year. There are so many familiar names on the roster of donors -- and also some names I don't recognize, which in a way is even more gratifying because it suggests this thing is going viral. Watch for me on TikTok, where I am living out my "OK Boomer" destiny.
Even the news folks at Bowdoin College noticed this remarkable little effort! https://www.bowdoin.edu/news/2023/08/bowdoin-parent-pledges-to-have-65-rose-tattoos-to-raise-money-for-cystic-fibrosis-foundation
More fabulous coverage -- this time on the news web site InDepthNH.org. Check it out! https://indepthnh.org/2023/07/31/nh-dad-vows-65-rose-tattoos-to-raise-650000-for-cystic-fibrosis-foundation/
This incredible campaign is off to a fabulous start, thanks to coverage in the Concord Monitor -- and lots of friends helping this thing to go viral! https://articles.concordmonitor.com/A-consumer-advocate-helps-others-including-his-daughter-51622547 We've raised nearly five thousand bucks in less than a week -- and next week I have a meeting with the tattoo artist I am hoping to use. Thanks to everyone for all of the support and enthusiasm; this wacko thing really seems to have captured imaginations. Remember the official motto, invented by Rose herself: MAKE THAT GEEZER GET THOSE TATTOOS!