Hell of a Guy
I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them - Isaac Asimov

Friday, August 29, 2008

I Am Not Immortal After All…


Confused by the title?  So the hell am I.

I have a pain, more an ache, I suppose.  It manifested itself on the left side of my back just below the shoulder blade, and has been there now about two weeks.  Yesterday I had a visit with my local doc – Doctor Paul.

Visits with Doctor Paul can be very grueling and time consuming.  Dr. Paul loves to talk.  He is an extremely intelligent guy and talks about eighty miles over my head.  I get to nod and seriously pretend I have a clue as to what he is saying.  I am not a man with a small vocabulary, but this guy uses words I have never heard of or seen in print.  His phrasing and sentence construction gets my brain turning in circles.  A typical conversation has him talking and talking, and me nodding and nodding.  He may think I am agreeing or acknowledging, but my nodding is one indicating I don’t have any notion of what hell he is saying.  This day, however, I got it. 

Through the ten-letter words and a story of modern peoples versus the Romans, insofar as sensing the body’s signals is concerned, I got the picture.  I may have a problem.  Suffice it to say what I garnered from our pretty much one-sided conversation is that I may have an issue involving my heart.

After listening to my heart and poking and prodding my chest, sides and back, he sent me to the local hospital for an EKG, some blood work and a chest x-ray, and told me to return to his office as soon as this was accomplished.  So I did.

He had the EKG when I got back there and the blood work.  All appeared to be fine, so he told me he was not going to have me admitted to the hospital, but would get me an appointment with a cardiologist stat (that’s a medical term I picked up back in the 60s watching “Ben Casey” on TV).  Well, he really didn’t say “stat.”  Call that poetic license.  He wants me to see a heart doc as soon as he can get me an appointment.  Well, needless to say, I was humbled.  I think of myself as living forever.  I am immortal, but now, only to a point, it seems. 

Back in January The Nancy and I decided to get healthy.  We began to exercise every day.  We cut back on our alcohol consumption by maybe up to a third.  We dieted and really watch what we consume these days.  We have both lost over thirty pounds and are looking damn good for older Americans (referring to myself and certainly not my ageless wife).  So, to now discover what Dr. Paul seems to think could be a life altering issue really sucks.  Shortly after I left his office, having been admonished not to do anything “over” strenuous, I went back to The Farm and did an hour on the treadmill.  It makes me sweat, but that is about all it does physically, besides burning over 500 calories making allowing me to eat carrot cake and drink a beer or two, and it just makes me feel good about me.

Well, there is my story of the month.  I feel great, except for the ache under my shoulder blade.  My life is blessed and I don’t think I can be happier than I am this day, but if for some reason my purpose for being here is done I am not afraid to die and I am not afraid of death.  Know this about this Hell of a guy: it has been one hell of a great ride.  If I could go back and relive my life from Day One, I would do it and never change a thing.  I would take the good with the bad, the sweet with the bitter, and not regret a single moment.  Life is good, except it may entail a little surgery and I don’t like hospitals.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Thursday, August 28, 2008



One of the big joys of my life is getting to do something that might make a difference in the lives of others; to help them grow beyond what they are, to maximize their potential, to just listen and be a friend.  This is what life is really about, isn’t it?

A few years ago The Nancy and I saw great potential in a couple of young women, potential they did not seemingly see in themselves.  We got them to our favorite self-awareness workshops in Dallas (I won’t mention the name, but you can check it out at http://www.millenniumeducation.com), and both of them came away with a new awareness and a new love of and for who they truly are.  The Nancy and I are so very proud of them.

A couple of Saturdays ago we were able to hook up with them and enjoy a great meal at our favorite restaurant here in Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, population 711, that being Lot 12 (http://www.lot12.com).  I wish I had a picture of them to share, but alas! I do not.  Trust me, these ladies are lovely, and they are very special to us.
The Nancy and I are more than happy they are happy, and never want anything more from them then an opportunity now and again to see them grow even more.  And, they do share it with us whenever we see them.

This time they gave us a gift – a photograph of the four of us together at Jennifer’s college graduation party in May of this year, and a card that says:

“Special” is a word used to describe something one-of-a-kind, like a hug or sunset or a person who spreads love with a smile or a kind gesture.

“Special” describes people who act from the heart and keep in mind the hearts of others.

“Special” applies to something that is admired or precious and that can never be replaced…

“Special” is a word that best describes you.

The card is Special and these girls are Special and The Nancy and are I are lucky to have them as part of our lives, but the point is, for us, we did something for someone, and that alone makes us feel really good.  No thanks necessary.  All we ask for our largess in return is for it to be passed forward someday.

I am no so sure we are special, but I love the card and the sentiment just the same.

And that is all I have to say about that…


Friday, August 15, 2008

Death and Taxes


We have all probably heard people say the only two things in this world that are for certain are “death and taxes.”  Now, as I get a little older, or a lot older in some of your eyes, I am beginning to see the truth in this.

I remember as my parents aged they attended more and more funerals.  I see the same with The Nancy’s parents.  I don’t think a month goes by that I do not hear them speak of someone they knew having passed away.  Now, at this juncture of my life, I seem to be moving into this stage and I do not care for it.  So far this month I have attended two funerals and could have gone to three.  Additionally, I have been informed of another life that appears to be waning.  I pray not, but have little control of such things.

Taxes are one thing none of us can escape, that is unless we just don’t pay them, but God knows I don’t care for funerals and care less for wakes.  I do not enjoy “The Viewing,” thinking it to be totally unnecessary and a complete mortifying moment for me and the dead.  Most dead people look little of the person I knew.  Just this last week I went to my last remaining uncle’s funeral.  He, lying in the coffin, little resembled the uncle I loved, but more like a manikin with heavy makeup applied.  I have asked this not be my fate. 

I don’t want people staring at me lying in a box with a lot of makeup covering the stains of death, and telling my survivors how good I look and how peaceful.  Instead I want my family to get a couple of kegs of really good beer, order in five or six pizzas, and at the point when however many people attend this funeral party (let’s call it a fun party) get a little buzz on, I want them to gather around as my ashes are thrown into the air allowing the breeze to spread me out over the earth I love.  Now that’s a funeral I can live with, so to speak.

And that is all I have to say about that… 

Monday, August 11, 2008

Another Chicago Trip


Just about a year ago I wrote of a trip to Chicago; actually, a trip from Chicago back to my home in Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, population 711.  That was a trip from hell.  It took nearly forty-six hours to get from Chicago to my house, and I flew.

Today, again, almost exactly one-year ago, I am back in Chicago and my trip has begun with a surmountable issue: I am here, my bag is not.

Now most of us that fly from time to time for business have been in this situation.  What with changing planes, perhaps rushing from a late arrival to an on-time departure, bags sometimes do not get loaded.  Today’s incident has me somewhat baffled, in that I only took one plane – Washington-Dulles to Chicago’s O’Hare.  How in the world does a bag not get on the plane when you only have one to get on?  This is one of life’s little conundrums.

The United people didn’t seem to be baffled by this at all.  It appeared to me the agent I spoke with took this as a ho-hum, everyday occurrence, and offered little more than a tough-shit attitude as she filled out a form, and telling me the bag will be delivered to my hotel sometime between 4 and 7 PM.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I will go back to the airport (just about a mile away) and retrieve my bag, hopefully, if the United not-so-smarts can get it on the later flight.  Keeping my chubby little fingers crossed, I remain hopeful.

All that is all I have to say about that…