One Year Ago, I Hit 5k Followers. It Was The Best Day Of My Life
Also My Son Was Born.
What you are about to read may not seem real. But it is.
On April 5th, 2021 I had 3,029 followers on Twitter.
My son’s due date was April 12, 2021.
I didn’t want him to come into this world thinking his dad was a loser. I wanted him to see that I had 10k. That I was somebody.
And so I asked for help:
It was a harmless joke. I knew I’d never hit 10k but I thought why not. What’s the worst that could happen?
A day later:
But something had changed. My wife, Lauren, bless her heart, agreed with my analysis. She didn’t want our son to meet his father unless he had some heft to him. Some gravitas. She said, not kidding at all, that I literally could not see the child until I hit 5k.
“You’re joking, right?” I said.
“No,” she said, “I don’t want him to know his dad, who just quit his job to pursue comedy full time, can’t even scrap together 5,000 followers on Twitter.”
It hurt, but she was right.
My friends rallied:
The next night, I met with Lauren’s lawyer (did not even know she had a lawyer until this point).
April 12, 2021
The due date was upon us and I was nowhere near 5k. A failure to myself and my family. I would be staying home and my wife would go and give birth alone.
But April 12 came and went and still there was no baby. We took photos of our bellies to kill time.
I woke up on April 13th and looked at Lauren and said “Lauren, its Friday April the 13th, that’s a classic day to do spooky pranks - can you just tell me, have you been joking about the whole 5k thing?”
And she looked at me, beautiful as the day I first met her, and said “yes of course babe. It was a joke. I’m in a lot of pain though so let’s just call our doctor and see what’s going on.”
We called the doctor who would tell us news that would change everything.
Absolutely chilling stuff. I was devastated and went silent on social media. Defeated.
But there was no baby. There was, however, another call from the doctor:
The community must have seen how pained I was, because a few hours later I hit 4k. I couldn’t believe it.
April 17th now, and still no 5k. Also no baby. I called a second doctor.
There was no way around it. I would need to hit 5k or never see my son. Desperate times called for desperate measures:
Having literally no other option, I made a plea to the fourth estate - our free press - to tell my story.
Not a single journalist responded. An empire in decline.
I reached out to an content influencer named Lyle to help:
April 20th came and went and still no 5k. Still no baby.
On April 21st I decided to use my Math Mind to share important knowledge hoping to bring in some followers from Smart Twitter:
At that point, I had 4,200 followers. I was not going to be able to see my son.
It was around 1245pm when I realized that my own wife, my Lauren, the mother of what I still hoped would be my son, did not believe in me AND felt so strongly about it that she was willing to say so on camera (she hates being in front of the camera).
Moments after that video we went to our doctor (I had to wait in the car). Lauren was told she was going into labor and had to go to the hospital ASAP.
And so I drove her to the edge of the hospital property and let her out and handed her off to the nurses.
I then got in the car, rolled down my window, and with a sole teardrop falling from my cheek I said “I’m gonna get to 5k. I’m gonna meet my son.”
But I didn’t think I could hit 5k. Not really. So I snuck into the hospital and asked for help:
The nurses said no. Even my friends had turned on me:
But I didn’t care. I was determined. I sprinted past security and found Lauren and screamed “I don’t care if I hit 5k I am going to be here for my son.”
But Lauren said “Al, please, don’t make this harder than it already is.”
Two security guards apprehended me and locked me in the bathroom:
I wasn’t going to make it. I was ready to give up. I started to drink all the soap and bleach in the bathroom but it was so gross and so I spit it out into the bathroom and then fell asleep. I wasn’t sure if I would ever wake up.
But I did. On April 22nd. My phone had 3% battery but it was enough (dai dai anou). I checked Twitter and lo and behold, in the dark of night, the world had done the impossible.
I had hit 5k.
It was the happiest moment of my life. I tried the door to the bathroom and, magically, it wasn’t locked. I walked out and there was Lauren.
She was in VERY active labor. Pushing very hard.
And I walked up real close and whispered “babe. I did it. I hit 5k.”
She wacked me in the head and I passed out again.
When I woke up, my son had been born. We named him Phive Kay Dobrenko.
It was incredible. I couldn’t believe it. There I was, holding in the palm of my hand a telephone that showed me I had 5,000 followers.
And there too was my son.
Not even kidding, it is insane that our baby held tight in there until I hit 5k. Like, he was ten days late but came out AS SOON AS his dad became Somebody. A Man With 5k.
This is the stuff dreams are made of. Shakespeare could never.
One Year Later
Today is April 22, 2022 - 4/22/22 - the first day in 100 years where the day (22) is the same as the year (22).
And it is also the one year anniversary of me hitting 5k so I could meet my son.
It is also my son’s one year birthday.
I cannot wait to tell him the story of how his dad did the impossible and hit 5,000 followers so he could meet his son.
We are the stories we tell ourselves to survive. We are the followers who believe in us so we can meet our son.
In her sleep Lauren murmurs of another child. “He needs 20k. At least.” It seems crazy, that many followers, and also another kid, but I have seen the impossible made possible. I believe.