So, to begin, I don’t particularly love writing pieces like this for a couple of reasons. First, anything that kind of “gets personal,” they don’t age particularity well. It’s more a snapshot of the mood I was in that day than any kind of actual substance. (To the point I almost look at everything I wrote during the Trump administration as suspect.) Second, this involves an action that a famous person did, which, I get it, leads to a whole lot of (as Ted Lasso says himself in the first episode of the upcoming season) “Midwestern skepticism.” Was the motive “good press”? Look, I’d be asking the same thing. But this story is about something that happened over three years ago, before the Ted Lasso television series even began, so if Jason Sudeikis did what he did for “good press,” man, he’s really playing the long game here.
But here’s why I am sharing this: I see the positive effects that a positive character like Ted Lasso is having on people. His folksy niceness is infectious and, well, it sure as heck felt refreshing during its first season and it sure as heck feels refreshing during this second season. And, as it turns out, Jason Sudeikis, someone I’ve been fortunate to get to know a bit professionally, but certainly not well, did a truly nice thing for me when I really needed it and, frankly, I want people to know he did this. Also, the very few people I’ve actually told this story to always have a very positive reaction to it and now I just want to share it with others.
So back in late 2017 my dad died suddenly from a heart attack. It was a pretty, let’s say, lousy time in my life. (And if you’ve ever lost a parent, well, I probably don’t have to tell you that.) It’s a strange time where you kind of learn who cares about you and who doesn’t. I had close friends I never heard from, I had people I never thought I’d hear from reach out. (To be fair, what complicated this for me was being an only child. I didn’t really have a family support system to lean on, so most of the support I got, or needed, was from people I am not related to.) But, eventually, as time moves on, you’re just kind of left alone with your own depression about the whole thing.
A few months later Suedikis was doing press for his indie film, Kodachrome – a film in which, in a nutshell, Sudeikis is trying to make amends with his dying father, played by Ed Harris. And the four rolls of Kodachrome that his father leaves him and what that means. (Not a lot of people saw this movie, but it’s a very good movie.) When I interviewed Sudeikis for that film (who, again, I knew a little bit, professionally, from a piece I did on his and Will Forte’s infamous “Potato Chip” SNL sketch and the fact that we both went to high school in the Kansas City area) I had mentioned that a lot of the themes in his movie had, obviously, hit pretty close to home.
Like I said, I was in a pretty lousy place. There’s no way Jason Sudeikis could have known that, at that moment, I needed a pep talk. Or, well, maybe it was pretty obvious from vibe I gave off in the interview and I just didn’t realize it. So later that day I got an email from Jason Sudeikis and it was … pretty inspirational. And the few people I’ve showed it to over the years have always told me I should share it. That it’s something that, maybe, other people would benefit from reading. So I reached to Sudeikis to ask if he’d be okay with me publishing this email. He wrote back that it’s my story, and if I’m comfortable sharing it, then he is, too. (Followed by a fist and heart emoji.)
So here it is. I honestly hope this is the right decision putting this out there. Again, it just came at a time I really needed to hear something like this and, from all people, it was Jason Sudeikis. And I know it’s probably been a, let’s say, unusual year for him for a lot of reasons, so I just want people to know he did this.
Just wanted to shoot ya a quick note and let ya know that I’m so sorry for your loss. And I thank you for feeling comfortable enough with me to share. Please please please feel ZERO regret in doing so.
It’s important and fucking necessary for us human beings to do that. To connect. To share. And to not concern ourselves too much with the outcome of such bravery. Especially the men of the world. Our generation is the first to “understand” that notion, but darn it, I’d love to try and be the first generation of fellas to “live” the notion as well. So let’s both continue to attempt to be on that “side of history,” shall we?
I wish you all the luck and openness in the universe on finding the “four rolls of Kodachrome” your own father left you. Because he did. It’s out there. I know it is.
The one thing I want you to consider though is that it might not be physically “out there”, because it might actually be living inside of you. And through you. And merely accepting that possibility might be where and when the “finding” happens.
You see deeply into things for a living. Allow yourself the experience of doing that to yourself, for yourself.
Okay man. Be well. Always good to see and speak with you.
So, yeah, there actually is a lot of Ted Lasso in the real Jason Sudeikis.
You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.