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In May 1991, I injured my back while working and was placed on permanent disability. Prior to my first back surgery, I had my photo taken with Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers. Later, Blaine Skinner, a friend of mine, was able to get Magic to autograph the snapshot. It made my day.

As a hobby, I began writing to other celebrities asking for autographed photos. Their positive responses amazed me. One weekend while in Palm Springs, California, I met Nat Kipner, an entrepreneur, who suggested I expand my hobby to include famous people from all walks of life. This idea was a godsend. During the next several years, while incapacitated with several more back surgeries and an ankle reconstruction, I collected even more autographs.

One day while out walking, I noticed the magnificent beauty of the simple blue sky. Upon returning home, I thought about what a good day it was, despite my back problems. I felt great! Then it struck me: I wondered what all those people I had been receiving autographs from felt was their “best day.”

I began writing letters asking that question. Joey Bishop was the first to reply, and that’s how it all began.

About the Author:

Mark Keys is a Southern California native, residing in

Costa Mesa with his wife Laurie, daughters, Page and

Megan, their cats, Lucy and Ethel.

Mark loves that his mom still lives at the beach in

Newport in the house he grew up in, and he spends a lot

of time there with her & the girls; and loves walking the

beach. He played basketball growing up, in High School,

and beyond; as well as body surfed until he injured his

back. Mark is an avid reader, enjoys watching classic

movies & westerns, collecting film and sports memorabilia,

walking and listening to Jazz, Motown, and Rat

Pack music. He also loves to travel and going to sporting

events & team practices; when health permits. In spite

of his numerous surgeries, including 6 back, 12 ankle, 1 neck,

3 shoulder, and 12 knee surgeries (plus 3 knee

replacements).H also experienced shingles, acute pneumonia,

MRSA Staph infection, he has no immune system and

fights continuous migraines and other health issues

every day. But, through all of this, he keeps a positive

attitude and out-look to make each day, his best day.