TTFN……

images-2I have been thinking about this for awhile. I am going to be taking some time off from Ted’s Head. I have been at it for over seven years and as I look back, a multitude of things have shaped our world. I have tried to decipher them and make some sense of them. Can’t say I have always been successful. 

During that time frame I have written over 375 of these epistles or essays. Some of you think they are too long. Some of you feel I should provide more answers instead of just posing questions. Some like this one or that. I am always quite surprised at those who respond and how they hit you. I thank all of you, whether you have seen fit to comment or not, for just listening. 

I wish I could say I am tired and slowing down. Not so. Sorry Kath, I still have my boundless energy. I do feel I am getting somewhat repetitive and probably a tad stale. Maybe a better word is frustrated at my inability to create a form of discourse. I am in a pit as to our current circumstances. We have lost our civility and yes our moral compass if  that does not sound too preachy. 

I speak up and have my share of arrow scars as a result. I just can’t sit there and let things go amiss without at least a well meaning attempt to set things right. I feel sorry for and at the same time get furious at different sections of our society. 

I am a capitalist and want  people to be successful. At the same time I abhor the filthy rich for their ostentatiousness and air of superiority. Yet I am continually blown at their huge monetary contributions and service on not for profit boards.Go figure51C+izw5qXL

 My heart goes out to the poor and struggling while I see fraud and corruption tinge every effort to help them out. There are a whole bunch of people who should not be on disability or food stamps but the system accepts that as a cost of doing business. LBJ’s Great Society wound up costing $1 trillion. What do we have to show for it?

So many people in these United States game the system. If we totaled up all the ill gotten funds it would probably wipe out poverty and our national debt in one fell swoop. The Bernie Madoffs et al are notorious, yet for every one they catch there are probably hundreds they don’t. As it becomes more commonplace the more we accept it as fact. It dulls our sense of morality and that is the most dangerous part of all. 7c05e3c04b0c44d7eeb45433e389b26d.jpg

You may think I am preaching religion but I am not. You can be a Jew, Muslim or atheist and it really doesn’t matter to me. I am talking about decency and that incorporates a respect and love of your fellow man. The rancor that fills our airwaves and electronic devices becomes all the more difficult to stop as we transfer that into all of our communication. We want to break ourselves down into smaller and smaller groups demanding a thing we call identity. It soon becomes all for none. 

There are good people and bad people. At last count I think the good guys are still winning. But it is the malcontents that seem to have control of the conversation and that really galls me. We listen to psychobabble and talking heads and take it for Gospel truth. We nod approvingly and and that gives them gravitas. Bad news sells. Good news and upbeat reporting are boring. 

We are taking trip to Alaska at the end of July. We will spend some time in Denver and the mountains with our kids and friends. I am going to research some topics that interest me. They cover the gamut of preventive health/wellness to the psychology of men. I am going to try to learn more of our environs here in Florida. I may even outline a book. 

So for now I will bid you adieu. It has been a wonderful ride and thank you to so many for tagging along. I have just tried to share me with you…warts and all. Just going down life’s highway. There is still a whole lot to see. images-6

As always,

Ted the Great

Factoids:

If there are 375 Ted’s Heads out there that means I have pounded out almost 400,000 words of this and that. It takes about 5-8 minutes to reread them as I edit. It might take you 15 minutes but for some that is too much.

My mind is full of facts and information. Some useful, some not. I read two to three papers a day and do at least two crosswords, especially on Sundays. I get lost for an hour or two and tackle the LA Times and NY Times in succession. images

I play golf at least three and sometimes four times a week. I enjoy, a glass of red, a vodka and diet tonic or a couple of fingers of a Scotch or Irish whiskey neat. Not all at once. I work out 4-5 times a week not to stay in shape but to support my bad habits. Maduro cigars keep cropping up on my to do list. 

Kathy and I have been married for 47 great years. We have a great deal of fun and joke every day. I tell her all the time how beautiful she looks. She truly is. I try to say something funny every night before we go to sleep. It keeps us young. We have 3 great kids and spouses and 7 grandkids from 7-14 that we adore. We are incredibly lucky….and that’s the all the facts I care to divulge. IMG_2397

For the uninitiated TTFN means TaTa For Now.

How Do You Feel?…

Here in Fla La Land, the biggest no no is to ask someone how they feel? They usually tell you in great detail. Known as an “Organ Recital” you get far more information than you really want to know. It happened to yours truly yesterday at the Martin Health Urgent Care. 

I have been gradually getting sicker by the day with flu symptoms but true to form I wanted to avoid any contact with the medical profession. Not because of any fear or disdain but rather it would be admitting that I am no longer invincible. It is a status I have treasured for a long time even if it is my own mind. 

A nice nurse went through the litany of forms and asked I how felt? I was going to say “like shit” but we had just met so I kept it semi classy. Fever? Check. Stuffy nose? Ditto. Achy? Oh yeah. She asked on a scale of one to ten I blurted 7 without hesitation. I was really hurting. At least for me

images-10As I sat staring at the walls of a functional but boring treatment room I thought about my response. Was it really that bad? Was I acting like a wuss? I got the guilts. There are a helluva lot of people with more pain than I was experiencing in this man’s world. The last thing I wanted to be known as is a wimp. 

I figured I would just get the “six pack” and be on my way but the doc thought otherwise. I was prescribed a thing called Tamiflu and steroids. Steroids? I could see my lovely wife now suing this operation for mental cruelty. Ted The Great on Steroids? I thought he already was? Turns out these little white wonders reduced inflammation. Better living through chemistry. More on that later. 

This whole concept of pain started cogitating in my various cranial lobes  as the day wore on. It is so profound in everything psychological as well as physiological and yet it is completely subjective. My buddy Pete is getting a new knee tomorrow. Rest assured his level of discomfort post op is going to be a lot worse than mine. The Bushes feel the pain of loss but what about that for the woman that was killed by a freak accident on that Southwest flight? 

images-11I looked up the medical definition: a state of physical, emotional, or mental lack of well-being or uneasiness that ranges from mild discomfort or dull distress to acute often unbearable agony that may be generalized or localized. That covers a lot of  waterfront and appropriately so. It is the number one reason for people seeking medical help. 

By default pain relief from OTC analgesics to prescriptive opioids is off the charts in the United States. Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin etc are in everyone’s medicine chest. But now opiods,Oxy, Percaset etal, are written  to the astounding number of 150,000,000 prescriptions per annum. That is not capsules but just the  scrips for who knows how many pills? 

If you add in emotional pain, ergo antidepressants, you get the idea that billions upon billions in drug dosages and who knows how much more on therapeutic sessions go into us being free from pain. I can really get philosophical by adding in how much we spend on booze, pornography and overeating to make our troubles go away? Ridiculous you say. I say not.

Now neither I nor you want to see people hurting but going back to the subjective aspect of all this, isn’t it ripe for hype and malfeasance? What concerns me most is the siren’s call of carefree living might go against everything we know to be true of our world and its real life. 

images-9Life is not a bowl of cherries. Nirvana or Edens are lofty goals but not really attainable. Things go wrong by our own mistakes, those of others or just life itself. That woman yesterday who lost her life on that plane, happened to be sitting next to a window of which there were probably 150 just like it throughout the aircraft. The odds of a piece of the engine flying off from a protective cowling and hitting at that exact spot to where the window broke were ridiculous. 

We  Americans, have been lulled by our good fortune, technology and modern medicine into believing that we can be insulated from anything bad happening to us. We really don’t know the strife that is rampant in other parts of our planet. I am not saying we have to don a hair shirt but Geez Louise let’s try to define what is really difficult and what is a minor distraction.

I mentioned the steroids I was prescribed for my achiness. Now I abuse my body by among other things, over exercising. Why shouldn’t I at the ripe old age of now 73, work out, hit golf balls and maybe take a three or four mile walk or run? So I hurt a little? Big deal. I will only be popping pills for a strictly regimented 4 days but I can’t begin to tell you how my overall soreness has abated after 36 hours. 

I would be a bold faced liar if I told I didn’t consider what life would be like if I took a few of these babies  long term. I consulted my good buddy and golfing friend, Dr. Pat about this and he just smiled. Wonder drugs he said and yet they are ripe for abuse. Got it, Coach. I’ll take my medicine in the form of recurring pain.images-15
How do I feel? What do you think? I am lucky beyond all contemplation. Do I have setbacks? Of course. But just think about how I am doing  not just as a resident of Harbour Ridge, or whatever percent of the economic scale I am in or even just a resident of the United States and the free world in general? Pretty damn good, aching bones and all. I’ll take that any day and keep my mouth shut.

As always 

Ted The Great

Factoids:

The US population of 320 million is approximately 5% of the world and we consume over 80% of the supply of opio.images-7We have 27% of the world’s overdose deaths.  Over the past decade, out-of-state drug companies shipped 20.8 million prescription painkillers to two pharmacies four blocks apart in a Southern West Virginia town with 2,900 people

U.S. health care spending increased 4.3 percent to reach $3.3 trillion, or $10,348 per person in 2016. 32%($1.1trilion )of that cost was for hospital stays. 20%($665billion) for physician and clinical care and 10% ($330billion) was for drugs. 

As per 2018 Happiness Report, Finland is the happiest country in the world,[20] with Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland holding the next top positions. We came in 19th because of reduced social support and corruption. Does money buy happiness? Of the 30 richest Finland is 30 and the US is 13th? As usual my info is sometimes useless but always interesting. At least to me.

Monday,Monday….

Monday,Monday….

I spend Monday mornings at Hospice as a volunteer. When I mention this, people get sort of weird. Some profess they could never do what I do, which is really not thatextraordinary. You just be yourself and reach out to people.

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Sometimes they accept and other times they reject and even give you dirty looks. That’s okay it’s their call and for once in my life it has absolutely nothing to do with me. It is completely and utterly about them.

A couple of weeks ago I had “jumper” duty. We are single story operation so nobody was leaping from the window sills. It seems two of our residents had a wanderlust in their final hours of life. In their confused state they took to roaming the halls in their wheelchairs much to the dismay of staff. When I arrived at 7:30 one poor soul had been on the go since 2:00AM and was now in the nurses station for his protection and the on duty’s sanity. I occupied their time for several hours by just talking about everything under the sun. I am always grateful for an audience. It’s what I do.

Point being, you never know what to expect. We have had munchkins visiting Kathy and me for the last two weeks with the last crew leaving Easter Sunday morning. I have to admit I wasn’t totally bright eyed and bushy tailed as I walked through the door for my tour of duty. The nurses told me they had two patients whose families could use some TLC. They had a ways to go in the process and were a bit at sea. I introduced myself and engaged in some small talk to see if they were approachable.

images-1One woman was there with her husband. I could tell right away she got it and as it turns out had been through this before with a previous spouse. As we talked she kept a close eye on her beloved for any signs of discomfort or stress. She told me of their life story and their love was beyond evident. Nothing fancy but as satisfying and fulfilling as two people could get. Just a wonderful couple. Pretty neat.

I had other rounds to make so I told her I would be back in awhile. I went and chatted with an Italian family who had started in Brooklyn. Where else? Dad had been a WW II vet and at 93 his time had come. Everyone was beyond accepting and a little self consciously the room took on an air of a Sunday night dinner with the sedate Vito as the guest of honor. Pass the red and some pasta please. But something that I can’t describe kept me wanting to go back to Room 11. I bade arriverdverci to my paisanos and and moved back down the hall.

When I entered the room again my woman friend was in a chair reading the newspaper. Her husband was on his side and his breaths had become measurably shorter in a relatively short period of time. Not totally unusual but noticeable. We talked of the news and the challenges we all feel even in this horn of plenty. She was a pragmatic optimist not unlike myself.

All of a sudden she stood up and went to her husband’s side as if something was terribly amiss. I sensed it at the exact same instant. He had transitioned in a matter of moments and the end was near. I know this may sound creepy but it isn’t. You are all of a sudden witnessing the end of life’s journey that began so long ago at one’s birth. It really is a celebration of life as we know it.

In a spontaneous moment we started saying prayers. Turned out they were Catholic and the Our Fathers and Holy Marys flowed easily. Not just the monotone recitals we all do but really praying from the heart. “Now and the hour of our death, Amen” became incredibly poignant.

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I moved to the back of the room and left her to her thoughts and a cry that had been building for weeks. I remember many years ago when my son Scott was born. In those days the father being in the delivery room was still new. The ob/gyn wanted to meet me to make sure I was not going to my knees during the process. As we talked he related how incredible it was. There are four or five in the birthing room and then all of a sudden there are six. Today I mused there were three of us in this hospice room and all of sudden there were two. The cycle of life was complete.

In my many years of volunteering I have been through that final breath several times. It is always a particularly privileged moment. But this one struck me in such a different way. Usually I have known the patient and his or her family for weeks if not months. We are friends who have shared for awhile. This was like a lightning strike. No time to prepare. Everything off the cuff…and without time for calculation.

images-11What struck me most was the willingness of human beings to open up and to share. To feel our own mortality and vulnerablity. To be human in every sense of the word. In this crazy impersonal world we live in, it was a testament that it could be done. I am incredibly fortunate to have been there. I hope I got this right because it hit me so beautifully. Life is good.Live it and let it happen, my friends.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

Every year approximately 2.6 million pass on in the US. Over 93% are due to natural causes versus death by accident, murder or suicide. Still over 80% choses to die in hospitals as opposed to Hospice or home health care.

No matter the locale there are caregivers. I work one shift a week for a few hours. The dedicated professionals work 12 hours shifts. They really are the angels of mercy and are beyond loving and caring. There is a sign in the nurse’s station in Denver, “Angels Gather Here.” How true.

images-6
After I walked that woman to her car I came back in to the nurses and pronounced to the RN and CNA, “We done good, kids!” We sure did.

 

 

 

Am I Relevant?….

As I approach my 73 birthday, this little query popped up on my radar screen. It seems appropriate but before you all answer for me I thought I would wrestle with the concept for a bit. Now it seems the term can be used in science, economics and law but I am going to tend towards the most simplistic. Definition: appropriate to the current time, period, or circumstances; of contemporary interest.Unknown

What does all that mean? On a product level you have something that meets the needs of the moment. Whale oil worked back when as a source of energy but today it is forgotten. We used to have Boom Boxes but now we have IPhones. Cars used to have fins and hood ornaments but now are sleek and aerodynamic. Houses even ten years old now seem “dated.” Tastes change and we are susceptible to the search for better and better stuff even if the old ones are more than adequate.

On the world front, nations drift in and out of relevancy. Russia is a great example. From a Cold War superpower to a breakup and now trying once again to be part of the discussion. The British Empire is no longer supreme after it had ruled the world for so long. China, Greece, Spain, Israel, Palestine, South America, all long for prominence and seek their place in the world order. Ergo being relevant.

On the personal front this becomes intriguing. For instance sports or entertainment stars all have their moment in the sun. Is this a brief stint or a lasting legacy? They become our heroes or heroines to be adulated and then tossed aside as yesterday’s news. Some just grow old and others mange to create their own self destruction. The public is fickle and harsh.

My relevance as a human being might relate to my color, race, creed, status or sexual orientation. Blacks, white supremacists, Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Serbs, Somalis, Vietnamese all drift in and out of our collective consciousness.Unknown-1 Gays were lepers and transgenders not even defined a decade or so ago. CEO’s one day had everyone fawning at their every move and now are relegated to relative obscurity.

People don’t go down easy as they seek their former notoriety. We are chock a block with comebacks and reincarnations. It seems the limelight is seductive and heady stuff. You now sit on boards or become a spokesperson. Chair of this fundraiser or that. Don’t get excited. It just means your are writing a bigger check. Wait! Do you know who I am? Sorry Charlie, you are no longer a Star Kist Tuna.

I believe we all desire to be worth something in someone’s eyes. It is a combination of wanting to belong and wanting to contribute in some way. It is that crazy thing called ego by which we define ourselves. We strive. We compare. Everyone keeps score and don’t for a second try to deny it. It makes us complete and yet can lead to our downfall.

The spate of shootings and bombings are more than weird people doing crazy things. I am not condoning their mayhem but for a moment think of their circumstance. Let’s say you were born to someone who really didn’t want you or didn’t have the ability to take care of you. Your early years weren’t filled with cuddles but rather you were beaten or just plain old neglected in front of the TV. No guidance, no role models, no love. You are not relevant to anyone.

Now you say that is the problem with blacks and Hispanics today. They don’t have a family structure. Beware of casting stones. Look around you and see screwed up rich kids as well. Single parents cross economic lines. Psychological problems among our higher echelons of society are in a way more perverse. It comes back to all of us wanting to be relevant and worthy. Or even worse the judge of that.

images-1The crowd is cruel. They make anonymous judgements. They could care less of their outcomes. That taunt and they bully. Some of us have the wherewithal and internal gumption to either fight back or take solace in our own self assessment. Some are scarred for life and decide to take their own lives and others as well to give a final up yours to society. It is at once almost Inevitable and yet so incredibly sad.

When I look at myself I am no longer relevant in many situations. I worked hard on my Creek in Denver but who remembers that guy. Wall Street? Vail? Arizona? A long long time ago. I love young people but I am not sure I am in their purview. That’s not a tragedy but how life goes.

I take great joy in my wife and my wonderful family. I have great friends and am more than fortunate to live where I do and the way I do. But something else has happened.I really don’t take myself too seriously.images-19 I have concentrated on other people’s relevance and probably put my own on a back burner. It’s not so much about me(well maybe a little) but more about them.

I take great delight in reaching out to people. I will say hello to anyone and everyone, much to my family’s chagrin. You can be the biggest celebrity or the checkout person at Publix.You are all the same. I want to make your day. I want to let you know you matter. It is not a put on. You do! If I can get a smile out of some sourpuss or see a glance of recognition from a waiter or store clerk it makes my day. It just what I do and I hope it makes me slightly relevant.

If this sounds like palp you are welcome to your own judgement call. But just think how simple it is. It costs nothing to reach out. Be understanding and welcoming. Don’t try to gauge someone’s relevance to your life. Just think about theirs. Works for me.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

As I have traveled the world I also ask the baristas at Starbucks what percentage of people say please and how many say thank you. The best was Aukland NZ….about 75%. The worst? Vail,CO 0% I said no way but that night we went to a high end bar. I asked the bartender the same. He replied, “They don’t even know I exist.”images-18

Bullying is a complex social phenomena. 28% of kids grades 6-12 report instances. Parents are aware of the bullying about 50% of the time and teachers only about 10%. Suicidal ideation is already present in many that are bullied. It just adds to the problem. Bullies have a higher social status and use it to enforce their will and overcome any objections from observers. Girls are more likely to be verbally abused and boys physically.

There is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher. Additionally, the number of people who report having a close confidante in their lives has been declining over the past few decades. In the workplace, many employees — and half of CEOs — report feeling lonely in their roles.

 

 

 

images-7Benefits of Smiling:
• Improved Mood. Smiling can boost your mood when you’re feeling blue, and may be beneficial for people struggling with anxiety and depression. …
• Lower Blood Pressure. …
• Stress Relief. …
• Better Relationships. …
• Stronger Immune Function. …
• Pain Relief. …
• Longer Life.

Need I say more.

 

 

You’ll Never Know…

A wonderful old friend of many years is visiting. At lunch yesterday we discussed how we have gotten to this state which on the one hand seems so wonderful and on the other is such an incredible mess. For my part in the conversation I said we have lost touch with one another. Not just by our dependence on the electronic world to entertain and teach us but by our inability or desire to recognize we are in this together.

Our dependence on wealth for efficacy or our disdain for the anything contrary to our beliefs has led to a selfish space where no one else matters. The “Income Gap” is not just for the rich but all of us. I would call it the “Compassion Gap”images-1 and it has so many
implications. It goes to foster gated communities of a different sort. There are really gated minds.  We don’t interact with any one but our kind. We don’t have to take responsibility for anyone but ourselves. Survival of the fittest? Maybe. But as we create winners and losers and we become judge and jury we fail to realize that someday we too could be on the wrong end of the gavel.

 

I dug back in the archives to something I wrote a few years back. It was during our mini Crash. Some of it might be dated. Among the shootings, the firings of decent people and the unending acrimony, it just seemed apropos. Hope you enjoy.

As always
Ted The Great

You’ll Never Know…..

You’ll never know how much I hurt. My muscles, my bones ravaged by an unspeakable pain. It screams when I turn. It sends mind numbing shots even when I breathe. The cancer eats at every part of me with unrelenting vigor. How much longer? How much further? You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the loss of a child. The emptiness. The hopelessness. Dreams unfulfilled. People never met. Such a sweet young thing. So precious. So vulnerable. That bastard that started her down the road to ruin. Hell would be too good for him.

You’ll never know the abuse I endure. I answer your phone. I get your coffee. I smile for clients because I need this job so badly. Only to go home and face the gauntlet. The onslaught of brute strength that I used to crave. The vitriol of his drunken stupor has replaced words of love. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the ache in my heart as I drive down the street of dreams. That love nest that we worked so hard for. Room to grow. The papering. The painting. The place of joy. Now it is all gone as we look forward to nothing but despair and unknown. You’ll never know.Unknown

You’ll never know this stranglehold of depression. The world is so bright on the outside and bleak on the inside. I crave sleep to let this horror go. I just want so bad to be so normal. I want to stop crying. I want to be me again. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the vise of dependency. The booze. The drugs. The wandering of the streets looking for sex. The refrigerator and pantry that beckon like a siren. You call me weak. You tell me to shape up. You want to step on me when I need so much for you to just hold me. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know how cold it gets. The tricks of the trade. What keeps you warmer. Metal or cardboard. I can sleep with one eye open so I don’t get my last worldly possession ripped off. images-3Alcohol can be found in everything from cough syrup to anti freeze. Tomorrow? Maybe. But if it never comes, no one will ever know.

You are so flip. So glib. You have all the answers or so you think. You don’t know how to even ask the right questions. You have grown cold. Aloof. It’s all about you. You are right I need to get a life. My own. But maybe you need one too. You’ll never know .

You couldn’t know because you never look beyond your own world. It’s not about rich. It’s not about poor. No matter your lot in life. You are so brazen to think the world rises and sets on your doorstep. It’s so easy being you. So horrible to be me. You’ll never know.

Life is a spread sheet to you. An algorithm. Solve for X. Prove for Y. There are assets and liabilities. Return on investment and equity. There are no poets or musicians or teachers in your life. Just bottom lines and basis not basses and soulful lines. You think you have so much. You really have so little.

It’s a tough world you say and yes it is. You are quick to convict the murderer unless it’s your own son or daughter doing the crime. You curse the thief but are free to practice white collar crime. You want everyone to get a life but you have none. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps you say, although you know they are worn and frayed. No pity. No compassion. No soul. Just leave it and go to bed. The cleaning lady will be in here in the morning to clean up this mess.

But if I ever find an end, it will taste so good. I will drink from just the simplest of things. A warm bed. A tender touch. A meal so simple yet so exquisite. Maybe it is when God welcomes me home. The pain over. The joy eternal. I tell you of this though I think you will not hear it. You won’t realize that I will pray for you. You are too busy and I understand. You are so smart but then again you’ll never know.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:
Estimates are that 3-3.5 million people are homeless every night in our country. There could be up to 1.5 million of those who are children.images-2 Home might be a car or a tent but they are homeless.

There are currently 1.5 million homes in foreclosure as of this moment with millions already having been adjudicated. Many overstretched but so many lost their dream due to illness, loss of jobs or broken families.

Addiction definition: noun
The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. Think hard. You may be addicted to something.

If you have gotten this far you do know. A little empathy could go a long way in this man’s world. I can’t hope to feel your pain but I am going to work on it. Hope you can too.
I have pushed a different envelope with this one. Let me know.

 

As I was Saying…

As I Was Saying…

Dementia has set in. I finished my blog last week and then hit delete instead of copy. No doubt it was a masterpiece but I could not recreate it, so it is lost forever in the abyss of cyberspace. It had to do with a wonderful conversation I had with one of my hospice patients. Nothing deep but an education on fruit picking. This wonderful man of 93 had been at work for too many years in the citrus groves of southeast Florida.

He explained the process in great detail including his role at driving the “goat” which is a vehicle that wound its way up and down the rows of fruit trees hauling buckets to be filled. The real gist of the story was you could not pick the bounty until the dew dried. 131a86d920277d4fef31a55d71597842The packing center would not accept it otherwise. It amazed me the wheels of progress had to come to a halt awaiting the vagaries of Mother Nature. Doesn’t happen too often these days unless you happen to be in the path of a Nor’easter.

Conversations in hospice take on many forms from the casual banter to deeply philosophical ones. You never know what is going to happen. It got me thinking as to the whole manner that interaction takes in our lives. The many lines of communication from the spoken to the tacit. From oral to written they shape our beliefs or challenge them if we let them. They set the tone for our days and our future.

Today we all think in terms of hits and likes or dislikes. Face to face is more of a rarity. We get our news in bytes and don’t often take time to digest, savor and deem it worthwhile or not. You get up in the morning and the barrage begins. It is amazing how whatever you hear sets the tone. North Korea launches missiles. Shootings in a Florida school. Trump is on a rampage. Stock market is plunging. Hmm,I guess life is going to suck today.

Going to the gym someone is bitching about this ailment or that. You are on a treadmill and the local sage wants to convince of his political point of view and you are held captive. Then out of the clear blue, you have an unexpected and highly interesting chat about something you have never even heard much less thought of. You are keenly aware and all ears as you learn and a stupid little thing inside of you says this is cool. Your mind gratefully acknowledges the new horizons.th-3

Maybe all of this is just me. Maybe my porous cranium is too open to suggestion. Fun for the feeble minded. Maybe I just realized I can have some control over my frequencies and all this chatter is good. I guess when I am bombarded with dire consequences I literally want to change the conversation. Take a different tack. Not always easy.

Now you say just walk on the sunny side of the street. Avoid the gloom and doomers. I think that is admirable but copping out to a degree. I watch the news and have settled on PBS as my option. I tried to watch CNN but the top ten stories are about Trump. Is anything else going on in the world? FOX is FOX. Fair and Balanced is not exactly how I would describe the fare. I am taken by the demeanor of both networks which is a cross between petulant and piercing. My reaction seems to be preordained.

Let’s forget about the Blitzers and Hannitys. Let’s just get a few people together for a cup of Joe or perhaps a nice red. We will keep it light and varied. Not long into it someone throws a topic on the table beyond golf or March Madness. You have an opinion but wait to see what the groupspeak is. Invariably someone takes center stage. You can be sure it is not middle of the road. Do you dare voice a counter? What are you nuts? Dilly, dilly and all that. Cheers!

I profess to be middle of the road with neither side particularly appealing to me. Still I do have my inclinations and truly find it difficult at times to give objective study a try. I think that is more than human. th-20I am a Catholic or at least a Christian. Can I really absorb and analyze an atheist viewpoint? Good question. I am against government largesse and involvement in everything but can I not reach out a helping hand to a poor person or see the good in the hard work of an illegal immigrant?

Everything is not black and white but our methodology says otherwise. It’s my way or the highway. You are with us or agin us. This seems boring and totally uncreative to me. Can you really feel self satisfied in your own thinking if you don’t at least consider an alternative? Here is La La land as we go down life’s highway we seem to be more entrenched and stubborn than ever. Is it because we are wiser or all the more stupid?

I don’t know about you but I feel I have so much to learn. A friend is visiting and she brought a new type of technology for aching bones. No, it is not single malt! I am not a believer yet but I am more than willing to hear her out and even try it. Have you ever been a doubting Thomas to the point you can’t even see a glimmer of discovery in our world ?th-17

Let’s retake the conversation. Not to our own likings but to a mix of ideas and cultures. This is not a Kumbaya moment but let’s not let ourselves being overrun by “the current line of thinking”. If you feel like you are stifling you probably are. Open the windows but don’t jump.

 

As always
Ted The Great.

Factoids:

 

Oranges are mostly picked in March and April. A semi trailer can hold approximately 60,000 lbs. Willie and his crews could load up to three trailers a day. He got $100 per trailer. He told me he had whites, blacks and Latinos working on his line. The Latinos were the hardest working by far. Willie was black.

As of 2017 38% of Americans consider themselves consider themselves conservative in their ideology and 38% are liberal. That leaves 24% in the middle or moderate as the case might be. I have searched for tests to say which I am. They are on the internet under “Tests for Liberal or Conservative” Have scored all over the place which means they are invalid or I cannot be defined. Take your pick.

Idealism is the belief that we should adopt moral principles, even if they have negative effects on our lives. The idealist is willing to suffer in order to do what she thinks is right. Pragmatism, on the other hand, is a rejection of idealism. If the Idealist’s principles get in the way, the Pragmatist does whatever is deemed as practical, with no concerns for morality. Now that is something to chew onth-14

Question Marks….

Question Marks….

Question pexels-photo-356079.jpegmarks are the bane of my existence and at the same time the fire in my belly. I guess feel if I ain’t searching then I am not really alive. This week has been fraught with them. The woulda’s, coulda’s and shouldas that permeate our psyches after such an incredibly senseless tragedy.

Whether you are a student at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School or a parent you play the tape over and over, hitting rewind again and again. We hope and pray the results will come out differently until we finally accept the harsh realities of life. Then we have investigations and studies. I think in some way to soothe our consciences. You know, at least we tried to be better. We still don’t know why?spillednews-00-Parkland-school-shooting-in-Florida 2

9/11,Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Vegas. We could have just cued up the “Never Again” tapes from all of them. Have we made any progress? In a manner of speaking. Airports, ball parks, office buildings, places of government are all hermitically sealed from the bad guys. I guess that is an improvement to some but it feels like a regression to me. We have not eliminated the disease but just learned how to live with it.

I have thought a lot about the gun thing. Several friends of mine have guns for hunting and protection. That’s fine but to a man they could not find any valid reason for an assault rifle or high capacity magazines. I could get crazy about it but to what avail? We have well over 300 million guns in our country. At least 2% are high capacity weaponry. That’s over 6 million. Even if you banned them now there would still be that many out there. How can we create any sort of sense of ease in our schools, malls or homes?

I got to thinking about the NRA. They are no different from Congress when it comes to their estimation of the will of the people or their members. Screw’em, they don’t understand. A majority of NRA members are for tighter gun control legislation. That’s not the message I am getting from the top. We have taken the second amendment that was enacted when we had muskets and morphed that into the right to conceal carry 45’s or open carry AR15’s. Really?

Moving down my list is my total disbelief at the senator from my new state of Florida, Marco Rubio. Don’t worry he is one of many that will look you straight in the eye and say the fact that he has received over $3.5 million from the NRA has absolutely no effect on how he votes? I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer but please don’t try my patience on this one. As it relates to our elected representatives they are complicit. If not on guns then on banking or oil and gas or whatever.lobbyist 2

One of the big takeoffs after our latest tragedy has been the swing to mental health as the culprit. Yes, this young man has had a very dysfunctional life over the last few years. But so have a lot of other people. Let’s assume for a moment that everyone who has issues could be a potential killer. Stats will tell you at any given point in time there are 10% of our population, or about 35 million of our fellow Americans who suffer some sort of mental illness. Forget about the cost, how in God’s name can we find facilities and staff to man them for those types of numbers? And then how can we instill in these tainted ones the gumption to continue treatment?

As in everything else we want someone somehow to provide the magic bullet. We will find a drug that cures all. Perhaps Virtual Reality to Artificial Intelligence is the way to Nirvana. I’ve got it! We will just find everyone who is not right and bring them in. Then we can find the most well adjusted person in the world if there is one. We can clone them or better yet use 3D printing to replicate the perfect brain and install it in our troubled brethren. We can do it laparoscopically on an out patient basis. Man, am I good or what?

This is not reductio ad absurdum. Crisis rears its ugly head every day of our lives. It is not the bane but the nature of our existence. From the shooter to the student to the teacher to the parent to security guard to the FBI, life in a way is not pretty. Or at least not without its ups and downs. I happen to believe it is the nature of man or woman as imperfect beings.That neither dooms us to a life of despair nor guarantees success.

And that is my final question to myself and to you. Parkland is a high end town. If not the top 1% at least the top 3 or 4% hang put there. So money didn’t really provide security. Our whole ethos is under question. What are our supposed values and do we really have the interest and the guts to live up to them? That school is about 50 miles south of us but it feels beyond close to me.

I am blown away by the kids not only here but throughout America. There is an inkling of a sea change. Do they have the wherewithal and persistence to carry on? I really hope so. They have caused me to question a lot of things How about you?th-6

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

Investigations (asking questions)are part of our national canvas from train wrecks, to 9/11. Some are useful (Watergate) and some are just fishing expeditions. Some are window dressing. The results are many times critical and therefore watered down. Over the Congressional history there have been over 1500 committees to provide the structure. Unfortunately there are too many overlaps to arrive at useful conclusions and if they are there they are rarely acted upon.

There are over 13,000 lobbyists in DC. There is upwards of $4 billion currently being spread over 535 members of Congress. Unless I missed my math that is about $7.5 million per. Now of course that money has nothing to do with the way they voteth-4

The NRA has around 5 million members. It holds safety and gun education thought the country. With approximately 1.4% of the population of America it is considered one of the top 3 most influential lobbying groups. As far as money spent the top five are the US Chamber of Commerce,National Association of Realtors American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America.

A study was done by professors from Princeton and Northwestern after accumulating some 20 years of data. The opinions of the lower 90% of wage earners have little or no effect on the decision makers.
Duh!