Friday, July 31, 2009

Mad About Me

No, it's not self-infatuation; I guess it would be closer to say I am mad at me. Or myself, whichever.

Like everyone else, I have my share of physical problems. Some of them are self-inflicted. Some are just my tough noogies.

But there is a young fella who comes to the physical therapy place where I try to work off some of the self-inflicted excess avoirdupois, and he's just a little, little guy. His life is in a wheelchair, except for when they take him to the p.t. place and he works with a physical therapist in the pool. I don't know the details of of his situation, and they are both not important here and also none of my business.

I see him being wheeled in and out as I work on the elliptical machines or the treadmill or the recumbent bike or the cable weight column or the stair-stepper, and it makes me so sad to think. This boy will never get to play baseball with his friends in some elementary school playground on a lazy hot July afternoon. Will he get to fall in love, will he get to be cool? The questions Neil Young raises are valid.

Another question: why on earth do I grumble over a gallbladder, complain about cartilage, beef about my back, fuss over my feet, kick about my kidneys, moan about my mandible, repine about my rotator cuff, sulk about my shoulder, wail about my wrist, or yammer about my yawning? I should not squawk about anything that life brings my way. I feel bad just thinking of times I did so, unfairly.

I see the boy's parents and I realize that God in his wisdom chose them carefully to take care of this child. It's plain to see that their lives pretty much revolve around him and always will. How inspiring to see that kind of love!

I'd like to tell them all I am sorry for their pain and trouble, but I have a feeling that they don't see it that way. Would that we all could show such forbearance in the face of obstacles one millionth the size of theirs.

If you think some football player or race car driver or movie actor is a hero, join me after work one day and I'll show you some heroes.

Remember the poem that was recited at Princess Diana's funeral?

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone:
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in our own.

I feel sorry that it takes something like this to change my perspective, but I'm trying. Thanks for listening. Our regularly scheduled show, "Pickin' on Palin," will return at this time tomorrow.


Peggy said...

I love the poem, and could not agree with you more. Very touching today.

Ralph said...

Mark, I'm going to be a humbug disagree a bit here. (I know: who could be cold about apple pie and the disabled? But hear me out.) I don't think it's a good or productive thing to project "what it must be like" for someone else with abilities that may be different from ours. And that's all they are: different. The boy's reality is what it is, and it's all he knows. He's playing the hand he was dealt, and so are his parents. Would you want them to be weeping at their terrible plight all the time? Fat lot of good they'd do their son if they were. Like most the rest of us, they get bad news, pick themselves up, and simply move on, doing what the situation demands. Some peoples' news is worse, but our reactions, if we're normally functioning human beings, are the same.

Everyone's reality is his or hers alone, and it's the only one they know. Your aches and pains are no less valid or painful just because you are ambulatory, and you are no less worthy of concern. Ashlee Simpson may have run like a fool off the SNL stage when the lip-sync machine went flooey, but for her it was hard. The pain she felt was just like the pain you feel or the pain I feel. It's all equally foolish or worthy, depending on how you look at it. I say spare the boy your projected pain and treat him as your equal, because that's what he is.

Mark said...

Hi Ralph - Don't get me wrong, please; I am not projecting my pain upon the young man. I guess what I am trying to say is, I am glad for what I have been given and I feel bad for any time I might have complained unnecessarily. Plus, the existentialist in me says that Ashlee Simpson was responsible for her humiliation, as she was trying to foist off on the public something that was not real. And another point I could have made more clearly is that some parents, faced with such a set of circumstances, turn away and fail to step up like these people are doing. Would I want to deal with what they have to deal with? No. Do I admire them all, more than pity them? Yes sir.