Be Dipherent. That's a little saying I came up with to remind myself that it's the rest of the world that is crazy. I'm perfect. How do I know? Because that's just the way it is and I said so. Now I certainly realize that probably doesn't sound so nice but that's the point. One of Einstein's lesser known revelations was that "many brilliant ideas are stifled by mediocre opinions." Now Albert was a pretty smart chap with some funky hair but since he got the other stuff right why argue with him? Whoever you are, be dipherent – be yourself.
Who am I? I'm Mark Abbattista, or Abba as everybody calls me, the really good looking (!) long-haired entertainment attorney from the most recent season of The Amazing Race (My partner was James Lomenzo, a very successful bass player who played in the multi-platinum 80's band White Lion, Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne, Slash from Guns 'N Roses, David Lee Roth from Van Halen, Zakk Wylde, Ritchie Blackmore, Ace Frehley and a bunch of others). I grew up in a large, loud Italian family in New Jersey, graduated with a business degree from Washington University in St. Louis, went to Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and now live in the foothills of the glorious Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado. I couldn't find what I wanted so I created it myself. The greatest success in life is to live it your own way. Not the easiest path but I embrace my life journey
As for the Amazing Race, we were certainly dipherent! I'm sure I'll walk the Earth forever answering the question "did you ever find your passport?" Besides having the dubious distinction of being the only team in the history of the show to ever be eliminated because a Russian cabbie stole all our belongings, we possess several other show "firsts" -- I was the first contestant to run the Race with not one, but two broken legs! (Did you really think I ran like a hobbled peg-leg with a full diaper?!); we were involved with the first time one team stole money from another team (...and no, we were not the thieves) and we received the only phone call that has ever been put through from home when we were informed that James's father was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. Want to talk about amazing? Yesterday, January 11th, his father was miraculously declared to be in remission! The tumor had shrunk to half its size and happiness returns.
Every problem creates the opportunity to find a solution and after winning two legs in a row, we found ourselves with no money in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries on the planet. Not seen on-air, our savior was a beautiful angel who generously gave us a hundred dollar bill – a birthday present from her mother. In an emotional moment of extreme gratitude but guilt-ridden because we had no way to pay her back, she said "You don't have to pay it back...pay it forward." In honor of her unselfish gift to a total stranger, I am paying it forward by covering my own expenses for this trip so that any donations given in my name can go 100% to supporting Michelle's Place in fighting breast cancer. Please donate generously.
...and no, I never found my passport.