My name is Clint Franklin. I am known on the
forums here as “theraje” (no caps, please). Way, way, WAY back in mid-2011, ol' Kroc chirps at me
on IM, saying he had a surprise for me. Not being one who is
particularly fond of surprises, I inquired about the nature of this surprise. If I recall correctly, he
told me to wait a week while he put on some finishing touches. I think it all boils down to him teasing me.
Well, after a week had passed, he said he was finished, and wanted to send me a video. Now, I know what
you’re thinking — “Big deal. I just go to YouTube and watch videos all day long.”
But, as I'm sure a few of you will recall, at that time, I was using the very best Internet connection I
could afford in my area. 56k dial-up. Not only that, but 56K dial-up that would, on its best days, max out
at 28.8K. Even a “standard” video would be impossible to view via YouTube. In fact, poor Kroc had to
virtually obliterate the video quality, to the point where things could be vaguely recognizable. He then
had to reduce the picture size down to some ridiculous dimension. Think along the lines of: Barely takes up
all the screen space on an average cell phone manufactured in 2003.
I think the final “preview” video was around 2 megabytes. Of course, it took about 15 minutes to
download this 2-meg file. Yes — 15 minutes to download 2 measly megabytes. And that was pretty decent,
for me. And this was less than two years ago.
When I saw the video, I just watched, slack-jawed, as I saw Kroc’s work. Long story short, it described
my situation (and included plenty of amusing, yet home-hitting, visuals) in a way people could understand.
Because, folks, I tell you what — you just have no clue how precious data is until you have to wait 20+
minutes for a 3-minute MP3 song to download onto your computer! Or when you can’t browse 90% of the Web
The real shocker was that this video (in higher quality, of course — if Kroc had released the
“preview” version publicly, the world would have gouged its eyes out) was part of a campaign to
encourage people to donate money so that I could afford the only means of acquiring anything remotely
similar to broadband (which would have been satellite Internet — 3G was completely unavailable in my
The reason Kroc wanted to gather up the money was because I had no access to anything faster than 28.8k
dial-up, except for satellite — and not only does it START at $60 a month… you are forced to
sign a two-year contract. If you wish to cancel before the two years expires, you are required to pay an
early termination fee (several hundred dollars!).
I, being legally disabled and unable to work (and even if I COULD work, I lived out in the
boonies, and the nearest grocery store took half an hour to drive to), was certainly unable to afford such.
That said, I never was one who liked to ask people for things (I hated the idea of having to apply for
disability in the first place, but that changed when it became obvious that I had no other choice). I value
self-sufficiency. So, initially, I was a bit perturbed. No… I was sick to my stomach. I didn’t have the
heart, at the time, to say “no” to Kroc on this. He put WAY too much work into it. He was
WAY too excited about it.
So, even with the knowledge that not only did I dislike the idea, but also that people would get the urge
to assume things (which they did — calling me a bum, telling me to get a job, and so on, not knowing my
situation), and that even if people did find it in their heart to help, that it would not necessarily work
out (satellite Internet performance and reliability is very, very dubious). And if that were to happen, I
would have wasted those people’s charity. I don’t know if I could have dealt with that.
But, I caved. Kroc wanted so badly for me to have the chance to do the things I love — working on
programming projects, artwork, and so on — that I couldn’t say no. Plus, the idea of me having the
opportunity to work again, doing contract work online, made me feel as though I could at some point become
productive and not be at the mercy of a government check.
In the end, we collected over 50% of our goal of $2000 (the total cost of
covering the contract period). We stopped short because after catching a lot of
flak from those people I mentioned early (the ones who like to ASS-ume things about which they
have no understanding), I had basically decided to commit suicide. The world and everyone in it wanted me
to suffer, but I'd rather just kill myself and get it over with, I thought.
I regained my composure a few months later, but still went to bed, every night, saying the same prayer to a
god I didn’t even believe existed: “God, please let me go to sleep now, and just never let me wake up
To wrap things up, I spent the following few months in and out of hospitals (both medical and mental),
hoping that my life would just end. Then, out of nowhere, something very strange happened. I won’t go
into details — some call it a “revelation” from God himself… others call it a severe psychotic
breakdown… all I can tell you, definitively, is that something changed in me. I regained the will to
After my “psychotic breakdown,” I was put into group therapy. While there, one of the other patients
told me about an apartment complex that is set up for people like me who are disabled — think of it as a
retirement community, not for retirees, but for the disabled.
Long story short, a former tenant caused problems at that complex, and the building manager (who had met
with me previously) told me she had an opening, and wanted me to move in. That was in October of 2012.
The money donated to me for the campaign Kroc started allowed me to not only pay the deposits for the rent
and electricity (which added up to several hundred dollars, and would have kept me out if I were unable to
pay them), but to accomplish the original goal — I now live in an area that has access to DSL Internet
service! So long, 28.8 Kbps… hello 12.0
Mbps!!! Goodbye, 6 minutes to download 1 megabyte… Good to see
ya, 1 megabyte per second!!!!!!
And now, of course, my life has improved by an order of magnitude from before. The people who donated did
not merely help me get on broadband. They gave me a place to stay, an opportunity to get the help I need
(medically, psychologically, etc.), to find work (it no longer costs $30 in gas to take a trip to the
nearest business!!!), to attend church (I was an atheist for roughly 8 years, until my “revelation”
from God gave me the strength to get out of bed again), to form my first real romantic relationship
(wedding bells may not be far off), and to help others and be blessed by the people who are now a part of
my life, and would not have been otherwise. Those of you who donated have helped far, far more people than
just little old me.
I may have been upset with Kroc starting all of this fundraising jazz in the first place, but now, all I
can feel is immense gratitude to him and all of the people who helped — whether it was by donating money,
moral support, a shoulder upon which to cry…
Now that I'm getting all sentimental, I'm just going to say that I'm incredibly blessed to have a God that
heard my cries, and had all the right people in place who gave me the strength to push myself forward, to
the point where I could waste three dozen paragraphs explaining what could have been said in two simple
Clint Franklin, aka. “theraje”