Dear Wilson (the volleyball from “Cast Away”):
I can sincerely tell you that I dislike volleyball with most of my heart. I can’t watch the sport without wanting to claw my eyeballs out of their sockets. Don’t ask why. I have no justifiable explanation.
Still, I must tell you that if a volleyball (or any other inanimate object) were ever to win an Academy Award, you would be my choice, hands down. In fact, you should have won for best supporting actor in 2000 for your role opposite Tom Hanks in “Cast Away.” But you couldn’t even get a nomination.
My fellow Americans and The Academy must not like volleyball, either.
But seriously, you carried Hanks’ character through an extremely rough stage in his life. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I were stranded on a deserted island for four years with no one to converse with. Suppose I’d talk to myself, too.
I bet that’s why kids who don’t have brothers or sisters are more susceptible to having imaginary friends, like you. They need someone to confide in as well. So they create figments of their imagination and/or befriend stuffed animals, Legos and Spongebob Squarepants.
As a child, I created an entire world where the characters from He-Man interacted with G.I. Joes and Lego people. And I have two brothers and a sister. Crazy, right? But it’s amazing what opening up one’s mind can do for a person. It helps you find your creative niche. It helps you understand other people’s points of views. It helps you through life struggles.
Hell, opening your mind can help you hold on when you’re not so sure you have reason to live. You’re an living example of that. You kept Hanks’ character believing in something when he had no business believing. And his beliefs, hopes and prayers were answered with your help.
So you know, yes, a tear or two fell from my eyes when you sailed off to sea, and forever parted ways from your four-year friend. It was sad. I understood that you had to move on with your existence. Seasons change. That’s life.
I still believe you deserved at least an Oscar nomination. You were robbed.
Keep on sailing,
P.S. How could I forget something so important. It’s a time-honored code about your kind learned primarily on gym hardwood, in American driveways and on blacktop: a ball never lies. How can a human friend compete with that?