Friday, April 30, 2010


There was a time when I had no sympathy (tolerance) for people that used their "moods" to avoid things like work, confrontation, or me. We've all heard someone say, "Not now, I'm not in the mood."

I felt you should have control over something as emotionally based as moods. As I move along this road I am forced to travel, my perspective has changed.

My "moods" are taking on an increasingly physical nature. I'm not sure whether my bad days (physically) cause me to be depressed or the other way around. I just know they show up hand in hand, smiling with an evil grin, saying, "We are going to humble you today."


Friday, April 23, 2010

Common Experience - Different Perspective....

One of my nephews is in town for a visit and he showed some interest in visiting the National Civil Rights Museum located in Memphis, Tennessee. My day off is Tuesday and despite the fact that the museum is closed every Tuesday we decided to drive downtown and visit the site.

The museum is built using the actual front of the infamous Lorraine Motel where the assassination of Martin Luther King took place.
It was a beautiful day in Memphis and as we drove toward the location my nephew shared his views on the life of MLK. He is about 500 pages through the 700 page Pulitzer Prize winning biography "Bearing The Cross..." and is well spoken on the subject. He has visited MLK's church in Atlanta and childhood home. He found it fitting that as he neared the end of the book that he would stand so near to the spot where Martin's life ended as his martyrdom began.

We parked in the museum parking lot and walked to a spot just below the balcony where this famous black and white photo was taken. It was a somber experience. One that my nephew will always remember. I was glad to share the moment with him. Whenever he recalls the experience he'll think of me.

I walked alone up the hill next to the building from where the fatal shot was fired and snapped a few pictures.

One of the good consequences of my "situation" is that I've become more aware of memory building moments. Those little pieces of time when two people are sharing a common experience, but have profoundly different perspectives.

Like the time, as a lad of twelve, I helped my grandfather roof a tin storage shed. He probably would not recall even roofing the shed but I remember how he skillfully hammered the nails, how he carefully taught me how to safely handle the sheet metal, and how he smelled as we sat on the tailgate of his truck parked in the shade of a giant oak eating our well deserved lunch.

Trying to see the changes that are happening to me, both physically and emotionally, through the eyes of others is difficult. We are sharing a common experience but have profoundly different perspectives.
It sometimes helps to walk up the hill alone and look back.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Diet Aids & Baseball....

It was a breezy sunny day when the six us arrived at Autozone Park to enjoy an afternoon of minor league baseball. The park is arguably the finest place to watch baseball below the major league level and I feel truly at home among the enthusiastic fans.

My company does significant business with Autozone and as G.M. they often perk me with some nice tickets and yesterday we sat first row, behind the home dugout, just down the third base line. Sweet!

I had a really nice time, despite the home team loss, and even felt healthy as the walk from parking was easier for me than my late-seventies year old parents. At least until about the sixth inning.

Needing a little bladder comfort therapy I rose to make a trip to the facilities and naturally asked if I could get anyone something from the concessions. Unfortunately orders were placed.

As I stood in line to place a small order for drinks and hot dogs I began to worry about being able to handle the money, pick-up the order, and put the desired condiments on the dogs. As I neared the front of the line my right leg began its customary nervous quiver. The quiver (tremor) is hardly visible but it is terribly disconcerting and makes it difficult to make quick decisions as a great deal of brain power is being used to keep the strongest muscles in my body from breaking into a one-legged Celtic jig.

Thinking ahead I paid with the biggest bill I had to avoid fumbling with money, placed my order (skipping myself because I, by now, had lost my appetite), and managed to precariously stack the two drinks and two hot dogs, carrying with my left hand and steadying with my now slightly trembling right. I made it to the nearby condiment table, unstacked, and added mustard and pickles to the dogs. Restacked the order and began my journey from the top steps all the way down to the front row (see video above).

Now despite your expectations that this all ended in didn't. I delivered the goods and plopped satisfactorily into my seat. (albeit now hungry).

A day at the ballpark is great therapy and now, good for my waistline.


NOTE: I am NOT bald and could never dance a jig like the fine gentlemen in the video.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Falling Trees, We Are......

Based on scientific cosmological observations, the known Universe is estimated to be 13.75 billion years old (plus or minus .17 billion years). The Earth is only 4.54 billion years old and the Sun cranked up about 30 million years earlier.

It took 800 million years for the first living cells to form on the earth. There have been multi-celled creatures on the Earth for 1 billion years and simple animals for a brief 600 million years. Mammals have been shedding hair for 200 million years and birds have existed for 150 million years. Dinosaurs gave the planet up 65 million years ago.

Human ancestors (genus Homo) first appeared 2.5 million years ago and man as he appears today made his entrance 200,000 years ago. The Christian religion has existed for 1,977 years. I have been breathing for a minuscule 58 years.

How funny is it that we give such importance to our personal existence when in the relation to cosmological time our entire species has not existed but milliseconds?

Don't even get me to talking about space and our relative size.
Being a science nut for as long as I can remember, I have always struggled to find meaning in my existence knowing my time here is short. Truly, my existence would have been nothing without love, family, and friends. We don't exist except for the impact we have on other lives.

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" The philosophical extrapolation of that question is "If a person lives and no one is impacted by his/her actions, did he/she ever exist?" I say no.

As I try to find peace in my short time left I am confident that I "existed." I loved a wonderful woman who gave me my son.
I became a "Dad" for two children who likely would have grown up without one.

I heard my father say, "I'm so proud of you" and my mother look at me as if I could part the sea.

There is so much more! I have lived! I am at peace.

If there is a message in this post it would be to encourage you to tell the people who have impacted your life that they made a lot of noise when they fell in your forest.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Too Fast or Too Slow?

Through my tears I sobbed, "It's happening so fast."

I had a particularly rough day Thursday. I knew from the moment I woke up that something was wrong. While I have days where my right side motor skills are troublesome, Thursday they were like my wiring was short circuited. I guess in a purely medical sense, it is.

I struggled to shower and dress for work, gimped my way to the car, and drove to work. My leg muscles tighten when I'm at rest and after my 30 minute commute I almost fell exiting the car.

I managed to put my ten hours in productively and drive home. Superwoman met me at the door and ask me how my day was. That opened the floodgates. I had spent the day steeling myself against the pain and swirling emotions, but now the dam broke.

"It's happening so fast," I said to her tearfully. I felt so guilty for letting her see me that way. Even though it has been a two year process it still seems like yesterday that I'd spend Sunday afternoon on a 60 mile bike ride.

It's happening so fast!