When Randy tells Carnegie Mellon’s president, Jared Cohon, that he is giving a last lecture, Jared urges Randy to tell the audience about having fun, because that’s what he’ll remember Randy for. Randy says, very early in life, we all make a decision that is perfectly captured by Winnie-the-Pooh characters: are you a fun-loving Tigger, or a sad-sack Eeyore? Randy is clearly in the Tigger camp. For Randy’s last Halloween, he decided to have fun, with Jai, the kids and Randy all dressing as The Incredibles. On his website, Randy posted the picture with a caption that said chemo didn’t effect his superpowers.
Tigger vs. Eeyore is all about positivity vs. negativity—Tiggers see the world as full of opportunities for positive interactions, while Eeyore’s dread every inevitable conflict. Each of these experiences of the world is directly caused by attitude. Randy, a definite Tigger, chooses to write more on his website about his family’s Halloween costumes than his terminal cancer.
Recently, Randy went on a short scuba-diving vacation with three of his best friends: his high school friend Jack Sheriff, his college roommate Scott Sherman, and Steve Seabolt, who Randy met at Electronic Arts. Though the three friends didn’t know each other, they quickly formed strong bonds. For most of the trip they all acted as Tiggers, successfully avoiding any emotional “I love you, man”-type dialogue about his cancer, and instead just choosing to have fun the whole trip. Mostly, Randy’s friends made fun of him for the “St. Randy of Pittsburgh” reputation he’d received after his last lecture went viral. In the end, even with cancer, Randy can’t let his inner-Tigger go, as he sees no upside in becoming Eeyore. Randy promises to pack as much fun as possible into whatever time he has left.
Randy treats the enormous obstacle of his impending death as an opportunity to spend time with those he cares about. Though Jack Sheriff, Scott Sherman, and Steve Seabolt have never met, they become fast friends and they, like Randy, use the opportunity of Randy’s near-death not to dwell on negative thoughts, but to seize the moment, immerse themselves in nature, and poke fun at each other.