I’M GENERALLY PRETTY AGREEABLE. It’s easy to get along with me and I try not to be too grumpy. Unfortunately the world does not always cooperate.
For example: Stairs.
Stairs and I do not agree. I want them to not be there, but stairs demand that I go up or down. I end up just trying to avoid the situation altogether. I would prefer a one level world.
THIS MORNING AS I WALKED into the Friendly Confines of St. Arbucks for my morning coffee I saw that The Usual Suspects were already deep in prayer, or whatever you want to call all of them talking at once.
When I slid into my pew it became obvious that they were all worked up about the Kroger store – just a Molotov Cocktails throw across the parking lot.
It seems that a number of early shoppers had been parking in the Fire Lane and the Handicapped (Gimp) Parking spots illegally.
THE TIME BETWEEN 6 AM AND 8:30 AM IS MY MOST PRODUCTIVE time of day. Before 6 AM I am asleep and after 8:30 the rest of the day intrudes and calls the shots. Those 2 ½ hours are when I get 90% of my writing accomplished. The other 10% comes when I type it up and try to have it all make some sort of sense.
Quite a chore, that last part.
I try to get my writing time every morning. It’s important to me. I can knock out this daily blog in that time and maybe get some work in on my longer fiction pieces – the things that nag at me to finish them off.
ONE OF THOSE TRULY GREAT MOMENTS in Television history happened the other day.
On “The Price is Right” game show with Drew Carey a contestant won a prize that, chances are, she will not be using.
About ten years ago Ms. Danielle Perez was in an accident and lost both legs. She has used a wheelchair since then and has continued on with her life.
When she attended the taping of the game show she was selected to be a contestant. If you look at the video at this link http://www.thewrap.com/the-price-is-right-awards-a-treadmill-to-a-wheelchair-bound-contestant-video/ you will see that she played the game and won! Her prizes were a sauna and a treadmill.
Immediately a large “hoo-haw” about this erupted on the internet, calling it a “Cringing moment,” “Embarrassing,” and similar comments.
Cringing for whom? Embarrassing for whom? It wasn’t either for Ms. Perez. She seemed quite happy about it all.
Those “Cringing moment” comments come from those people who look at Ms. Perez and see only a wheelchair. They are “Embarrassed” for her. They think that Ms. Perez is the disability, not someone with a disability.
The Politically Correct Vultures began to circle overhead immediately making demands on the game show producers to give Ms. Perez special treatment. They demand that she be offered the value of the prize in cash, even though that is not a standard practice.
The “PC’ers” are “Outraged” about this whole thing, but they are always “Outraged” at everything. Some people collect stamps for a hobby, the PC’ers get “Outraged.”
I’ve read several stories about Ms. Perez and her new treadmill. She is a woman who has her head screwed on quite nicely. She thinks the whole thing is funny.
IT IS FUNNY!
Because Ms.Perez is not fitting into the PC Bigots stereotype I would expect that they will shortly turn on her and begin to call her names.
As you may have picked up by now: this posting is not so much about Ms. Perez and her new treadmill as it is about the twisted world of Political Correctness.
The acolytes on the PC altar pretend that they care more about people’s feelings than the rest of us. I suppose that in a way they do. Of course they care because they want to control how people feel and behave. For them it is all about power and control. PC is a weapon to be used to force their perceived enemies (anyone who isn’t them) to conform and act as they demand.
They are nothing more than the schoolyard bullies who want to dictate how you must live and think.
And if you don’t think they are in it to see what money they can extort, you are very much mistaken. It’s a Con Game.
Ms Perez ain’t buying into it. She is a thinking adult who refuses to be used as a crowbar to intimidate the PC’ers latest target.
Someone asked me, “What is she supposed to do with a treadmill?”
The basic answer is, of course, “Whatever she damn well pleases.”
She can refuse the prize. All prize winning contestants can do that.
She can take the treadmill and give it to a friend or family member.
She can sell the darned thing on Ebay if she wants.
She can donate the treadmill to the charity of her choice and get one very nice tax deduction because it would be valued at what the game show said – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price – which is usually higher than what it could be purchased for in a store.
Ms. Perez is going to do quite nicely, thank you.
I’m sorry if I come across as a bit caustic about this but I have had to deal with these idiots all my life. If it’s too much, don’t worry. You’ll get over it.
If you are “Outraged” – all I can say is
Please tune in tomorrow for another chapter in our continuing soap opera, “Down The Hall On Your Left” brought to you by a couple cups of coffee and an attitude.
EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE I AM ASKED TO GIVE SHORT SPEECHES or presentations to civic groups or service organizations. I’ve done a few things for the likes of Kiwanis and businesses. Lately I have been asked to speak before an organization that serves citizens with special needs.
A couple of months ago I went downtown and spoke before both clients and staff of this same outfit about the value of writing down their own personal stories.
I said to them that, “No matter who you are you are a special and unique individual and you have a story worth telling.” I spoke to them about how to write down their stories and how, in doing so, they would be able to both learn and to teach. They would learn more about themselves and they would teach everyone else about their uniqueness, challenges, and gifts that they have to offer to the world.
Having them is a good thing. They come in handy (to coin a phrase). I do know someone who has lost both feet but has two prosthetic feet and gets around better than most people who have the pair they were born with.
Me? I have two of them.
One of the Usual Suspects handed me a clipping from last Sunday’s paper about a popular therapy being used on athletes to help them heal quicker:“Cryotherapy.”
We’re not talking about putting an icepack on your head to sooth a headache. Nope. We’re talking some serious cold here.
I saw an old guy recently who was wearing a T-shirt that read, “Getting old ain’t for Sissies.” I have come to truly understand that that is true, in Spades, a solid gold, cold hard fact. Ya gotta be tough.
THERE IS A GOOD REASON my wife, the lovely and unfailingly perceptive, Dawn, calls my trips to St. Arbucks, along with, “The Usual Suspects,” my “Play Group.” I admit that there are some days when the maturity level drops below Pre-School closing in on Pre-Natal.
The Usual Suspects were there when I arrived and, after exhausting the topic of the Chicago Cubs Baseball team, they began to talk about “Tele-Evangelists we have known.” This had nowhere to go but down and it did so very quickly.
Monday: Car into the Toyota Dealer for 5k mile check/oil change.
Tuesday: Dr. Appt. 3 month BP check-in. Blood draw.
Wednesday: Nutritionist. Explain why weight loss ain’t there.
Thursday: Try to be creative. Pull hair out.
Friday: See Thursday. Shop for inexpensive hairpiece.
I LOVE TRAVELLING. I have always loved it. Even as a kid I looked forward to family trips even if they were to visit relatives.
I liked travelling so much that I began to suspect that I was adopted and that I was really born into a Gypsy family. There were times I’m sure my parents might have wished that were true. I was never the kid who asked, “Are we there yet?” My question was always, “How long before we go?”
It didn’t take me long to discover something about myself and travelling – I always felt better when my body was in motion. It didn’t matter whether it was the hum of the car on the road or the rumbling back and forth of the trains that we rode to visit my mother’s sisters in Cleveland and Chicago. Later on when I had my first taste of airplane travel it was the constant vibration of the whole aircraft. Somehow it all made me feel physically better.
It still does.
The recent trip that my wife (the lovely and time zone hopping, Dawn) and I just finished consisted of long flights separated by lots of time on the road exploring the many canyons in Utah and Arizona. I do have to admit that the long hours cruising through the southwest did make some of my aging bones complain, but it also sang the old song to me about the open road and the feeling of comforting movement.
It doesn’t have to be on long trip across the country to give me that sense of well-being and bodily goodness. Riding around Terre Haute (That’s French for “The Grand Canyon it ain’t) running errands or on a shopping excursion down to Sam’s Club or even a quick dash to St. Arbucks can give me that same feeling that has blessed me since I was a kid.
Being in motion, heading somewhere, even if it is an unimportant journey sets my cells into action. From the wind coming through the open window (I rarely use the AC) to the sound of the tires on the road, feeling the pressure of acceleration against my body, to the sense of the power at my fingertips, it all feels good.
Taking a walk has given me the same things even though no power source is involved other than my legs and desire to go.
Now, as I get older and my physical strengths and abilities are diminishing at a much too rapid pace, I find that my desire – no, my need for my own therapeutic motion remains.
I can’t walk as fast or as far as I used to. I know that my hiking days in the State Parks are ended, but I have learned to accept smaller and less strenuous trails give me what I need. Give me a shopping list and the aisles at the Kroger supermarket can give me what I really hunger for.
I don’t know if others feel this same way about being in motion. I’ve asked a few people about this and all I usually get are awkward stares in return. I don’t understand. Why don’t other people feel what I feel? Is my physiology so unique that I’m the only one who benefits from the simple act of going somewhere? I’d really like to know.
Is anybody there?
Does anybody care?
Does anybody feel what I feel?
IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING this blog for very long you would have picked up that I am a BIG fan of San Francisco Giants baseball. I lived there for 25 years and it gets into your blood stream. I’ve infected my wife, the lovely and articulate Dawn, with Giants Fever and we both stay up much too late when the Giants are at home on the west coast.
Last Tuesday night they were playing in New York against the Mets. It was not a good day for the Mets.
Giants rookie starter Chris Heston (no relation to Charlton Heston, the famous actor in many over-wrought, epic, budget-busting, biblical and quasi-biblical Hollywood movie spectaculars.) threw a beautiful, complete game, No-Hitter against the Mets.
Heston gave up no hits and no walks. The defense behind him played flawlessly, committing no errors. Three Mets did get on base when Heston had a pitch or three wander off track and hit the batters. That was it.
We watched the entire game and it was a thing of beauty indeed. Young Heston (27 years old) showed poise, self-control, and laserlike concentration. He completed the game averaging just a hair over 12 pitches per inning. Very economical.
I know, I know. Some of you are going, “Here he goes again on his baseball kick.”
I do admit that, on occasion, I do wax rhapsodic about The Game and talk about it as if it was the most important thing in the world. I know that it isn’t. Coffee is the most important thing, with baseball executing a hook slide into second place.
How does a thing like this happen to an otherwise rational adult? I don’t know. All I know is that it happened to me and I make limited pretense to being a rational adult anyway.
Baseball is a child’s game played at breakneck speed, even though some people complain that it moves at a snail’s pace. It is the only major team sport played without the tyranny of the clock. It is the only team sport where it is the players on defense that control the possession of the ball.
It is the only sport that, as a child, I could play with any degree of success.
Growing up with full use of only one arm and one leg I was no threat in basketball, football, tennis, hockey (Gimme a break), track and field, golf, or swimming.
My skills in the pool are close to that of a blacksmith’s anvil.
Those other sports were beyond my abilities, but in baseball I could make a reasonable effort and get reasonable results.
I couldn’t run worth a damn, but if you hit the ball far enough you don’t have to. Even so, my hitting was marginal, but I was a good pitcher. My one good arm was strong enough for me to scare other kids my age.
My career was limited to games with and against other neighborhood kids. I wanted to play on a “real” team, but that required getting a doctor to sign a form saying that I was physically able – and that was never going to happen. I guess they felt that having me running around the field while wearing steel braces on my leg was not a good idea.
Oh, well. Time passes.
Since those days I have remained an avid fan of The Game, transferring my loyalties from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Cleveland Indians and onto the San Francisco Giants.
When you finally find the treasure the twisting route on the map becomes unimportant.
I love the game for its complexity as well as its simplicity; for its quick as a rabbit speed as well as its 19th century leisurely pace; for its hammering brute force as well as its almost balletic delicacy.
Watching a cleanly executed 6 to 4 to 3 double play is sharing in a filigree of speed, timing, prowess and unerring accuracy – all while avoiding the spikes of a charging runner.
Yeah, so I do get excited by things like Chris Heston’s No-Hitter the other night. I enjoy watching it and appreciate the skill and hard work it takes to make it look so easy.
On an evening like last Tuesday it was all so beautiful.
AS I PULLED INTO THE PARKING LOT at St. Arbucks on Saturday afternoon I was surprised to see someone parked in my usual gimp spot. I know that it’s not my spot, but I just think of it that way – because I have created a totally unjustified sense of entitlement about it.