About fifteen years ago a person I admire a lot punched me in the arm hard enough to leave a mark. I deserved it. As someone who had despised the frat boy following centered around the Grateful Dead in my hometown, I’d announced that I didn’t like the band and never would. The problem, of course, was that I’d never really heard much of their music beyond the greatest hits.

It was shortly thereafter that another loyal fan made me a mix CD (remember those?). Each song was handpicked based on my musical tastes. As you’d expect, it made an impression. Suddenly the hype made a little more sense to me. It was music that made you feel good. The hippie shit didn’t seem so shitty after all.

Friday morning I witnessed three completely unconnected people commit random acts of kindness. The first was traffic related. The second was dog related. The third was a mom reluctantly allowing her cute kid to play in a puddle. Standing by as Woody ate strands of grass and a light sprinkle turned to rain, Ripple started echoing through my mind. At that particular moment, I felt incredibly overwhelmed by the beauty of the Bay Area and the world unfolding around me.

I guess you could say the Grateful Dead reminded me to be grateful for life.

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