Over in the Single Dad Laughing Health Club, we had the opportunity the last few days to wrap our arms around a man named Rick Pagnillo, and raise some money for him and his small family through the sales of SHUSH YO MOUF T-shirts.


“Shush yo mouf!” is a phrase Rick’s 4-year old daughter once shouted at her siblings who were verbally taunting her about something, and Rick brought it to the health club. ‘Shush yo mouf’ means what it sounds like it means…

You need to shush yo mouf.

When it comes to your health, quit complaining and just do it. When it comes to making your life better, stop whining and just do it. When it comes to being awesome, shush yo mouf about it and just be awesome! When it comes to others in need, stop thinking about it, and do something about it.


Rick is one of the best kinds of people. He has been in the SDLHC since it was first founded nearly two years ago, and has given endlessly to make people laugh, come together, find motivation, and have better lives. He has led three SDLHC Tough Mudder teams with me. He has given endless time and advice as a physical therapist and friend to thousands whom he has never met in real life. He has even roasted the hell out of me many times by freeze framing ridiculous moments in videos, wearing Dan wigs, and more. He’s a real chump pal sometimes.

And recently with how much Rick gives to everyone, and how little (as in nothing) he ever asks for anything back, life got tough for him and his family financially. That’s all that matters. And we made some awesome t-shirts, sold them in the SDLHC, and we’re giving all the money to Rick. Because Rick is awesome. And awesome people deserve to breathe now and then so that they can KEEP being awesome.


I better stop tooting his horn or his annoyingly humble head might blow up.

I just kind of dropped the t-shirt fundraiser in his lap. I never asked because he wouldn’t have let me do it. I just knew the situation Rick was in, and damn it. I can do what I want.

Of course, Rick has messaged me 6,291 times since it started to tell me he doesn’t deserve it, bla bla bla, he owes me and everyone so much for this, bla bla bla, he ___________. Bla. Bla. Bla. Rick… SHUSH YO MOUF!

This morning I announced the grand totals to the group. He messaged me this.


I started writing a short text back.

And it turned into something just short of a 12-page letter. Haha.

Anyway, since so many of you have been involved with this, and so many of you love the Single Dad Laughing Health Club as much as I do, and since I particularly want you all to understand my feelings and thoughts about a few different things, I got Rick’s permission and I’m sharing the text/letter I sent in reply to his last text here.

You’re right, Rick. I don’t actually have any clue the depth of what this did for you.

I don’t think you have any clue what you’ve done for the people of the SDLHC. Without you, this club would not be what it is, lives would not be changing every single day the way they are, the stories we’ve all shared would never have been shared, the group never would have meant as much to me from the beginning to focus on growing it, and it never would have meant as much to everyone else to stick with it.

Even the people in the club who don’t really follow enough to know you, but who love and use the club, are benefiting greatly by the work and soul you have put into this since day one.

All of the lives that your dedicated involvement and passion will change in ways you’ll never really see, and the trickle effect those changes have forevermore, are impossible to ever grasp.


Maybe one person from the SDLHC was nicer to her children today because she feels good about finally exercising yesterday. Maybe someone from the SDLHC stops at work tomorrow and makes a friendly offer to be a workout pal to someone struggling in that area. Maybe someone from the SDLHC gets a promotion this year because they’ve got their lives more together than they did last year. Maybe someone from the SDLHC has a baby because they’re finally fertile after getting more in shape. Maybe someone from the SDLHC has real friends who before had very few or none.

Maybe someone from the SDLHC will show up to a Tough Mudder with a bunch of strangers, make life long friends, train like they never have before to get there, and watch the entire course of their future change for the better. Maybe someone from the SDLHC will not get diabetes who otherwise would have. Maybe another will be cured from it. Maybe someone from the SDLHC will not kill himself/herself because of what they have found in the club that has given their life enough meaning to survive.

Maybe someone from the SDLHC gets a loan in a few years to buy their first house because they finally have the confidence (after *finding* themselves in the health club) to change jobs, step up the career ladder, fix their credit, and keep some goals that couldn’t have been kept before. Maybe someone from the SDLHC stops drinking, or smoking, or takes control of a drug habit, all because they finally have a support system to lean on.

Maybe someone from the SDLHC is happy, for the first time in years.

I don’t have to tell you the power better health brings to one’s life. The confidence. The energy. The excitement. The self-worth. The discipline. The ability. I don’t have to tell you of the fears better health can extinguish. Or of the doubts, worry, low self-worth, depression, and apathy that are all greatly eased or even evaporate with better health. You know all that.

So think about every person in the health club who is taking big strides to be healthier, and *then* tell me I don’t get how much it has helped you. Because from people’s children, to their children’s children, to their neighbors, and their friends, and their family members, and their colleagues, and their classmates, and even strangers on the street… Every step each person takes toward better health has a positive butterfly effect that reaches ’round the world. I really believe that.

So… We bought a few t-shirts to help our pal out. Big whoopdie doo. I know it feels huge, but stop acting like you *owe* us all something huge for that. You don’t. You have helped to save many a life, my good man. I hope you sit back once in a while and think about all that. You have saved many, and I’m not just talking physically.

Oh, the SDLHC is and always has been a group and a group effort. No one person is responsible for even close to all of the amazingness that the SDLHC is. People thank me all the time for starting it. I always tell them I only started it. It is all of you who created it.

And Rick, you have been there since the beginning creating an environment for others to expand on. You are humble, and sincere, and kind, and your heart really does think only of others. I have known you deep enough and long enough that I’d stake everything on that.

One more note. This t-shirt money is your money. You didn’t ask for it. We wanted you to have it. You use it however the hell you want. If you want to spend it on housing or groceries or bills, do it. If you want to pay off credit cards, do it. If you want to buy a twenty year supply of ice cream, do it. If you want to fly your family to Disney World and eat $90 churros when you go, do it.

Sometimes in social media, people scrutinize everything you spend every penny on forever more when money is given to you. It’s none of their damn business. We all got t-shirts. Awesome, awesome, t-shirts. We get a happier and less stressful Rick! We get more challenges, more laughter, more support, and more of the everything that you always give. You are not accountable to any of us for even one penny of that money.

It’s important to me that you know that. We’re just paying you back, not giving you anything.

Love you, brother. Life is so good. It is one of my life’s greatest pleasures to be your friend.

Love, Dan

Rick, we all love you man. The world is a better place with you in it. Good people have good things happen to them sometimes. Enjoy it. It can be about you once in a while. Got it? Good.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing


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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 2 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!