I Am Doing

Health.jpeg

Today, a disabled man asked the lifeguard at the pool, “How are you doing?”


The lifeguard couldn’t understand or fully hear the disabled man who had to repeat the question multiple times.


Then, the lifeguard responded, “I am doing well. How are you doing?”


The disabled man with a blank to sad look on his face says, “I am doing.”


His response of just “doing” (not well, good, or fine) was like just going on day-to-day amidst very challenging life circumstances of illness and disability–just in a state of being, but certainly not feeling like he was thriving in his current life. 


It reminded me of my own parents, survivors of the Holocaust. 


After the horror and loss of the Holocaust everything, including coming to this country without a dime or a job was just a cakewalk in comparison. 


For 25-years, my dad would never even go to the doctor. 


He would say, “G-d is my doctor!”


Only later in life, when all his friends were sick or failing, and my mom was so sick with Parkinson’s would my dad respond to people’s questions of how he was, by saying simply, “Surviving!”


And then often adding, “We are part of the survivors’ club.”


When we’re young, healthy, and vibrant, the world seems too small compared to what we think we can do and accomplish.


That’s good–it gives us the thrusters in life to go as far as we can with accomplishments and progress. 


As we age though, the realities of life and health come into vision and we realize that we can’t lift cars with one hand (anymore) or fly lightening speed with just our cape around the globe–we’re mortal. 


This doesn’t mean that we can’t do great things for ourselves and the world at any age and with any (dis)ability, just that it many not be as simple or as easy any longer–we have to fight harder and be part of the survivor’s club. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Bunch Of Dummies

Dummies
Took a photo from this children’s book that someone left in the kosher Chinese restaurant–and it was sort of priceless.



There is a drawing of a ventriloquist with his puppet.



And it says, “All my friends are dummies,”



Often, it’s tempting to think that we’re so smart and “we’re all that”, but everyone else is just a dummy.



But we need to remember that in a way, really we’re all just a bunch of dummies–now you didn’t think I was going to say that, did you?



We are human, frail, mortal…and no one knows everything (hey, not even close).



My father used to joke saying, “I know nothing, and I can prove it!”



The truth is that all we really know is what G-d wants us to know; we say, what G-d permits our tongues to speak, and ultimately, we do, what G-d commands of us–there is no escaping it. 



In the big picture, we are but puppets and dummies in the hands of the omniscient creator.



For those with mega size egos (and usually nasty to match)…what G-d gives, he can easily take away, so don’t be a real dummy. 😉



(Source Photo: The Blumenthals)

It Can Happen To Anyone

It Can Happen To Anyone

Life is unpredictable.

Today, at the pool, someone collapsed.

Looks like a heart attack or something serious.

Most of the people at the pool are in amazing physical condition.

The young folks on the swim team are fast as hell.

The older people, many seem like they never aged and can do still perform adroitly.

I find the whole crew generally quite competitive and if you can’t keep up…you may even get shove to the side.

When I heard the whistle blow this morning, it was unlike the usual stop running or horsing around–this time is was long and shrill.

Everyone stopped and pulled to the ends.

Instead of splashing water, you could hear a pin drop.

Lifeguards started running. One ran back to the control center and I could see him through the glass window dialing quickly on the phone for help.

Another young women was getting help from the pool supervisor–the young one ran, the older one strode sternly to ascertain the situation.

People started swimming in the main pool again, while the collapsed man was out of sight around the corner in another pool area.

The floating lady water runners were kibbutzing about what happened and is he going to be okay.

Eventually the swimming continued, but even then, people were looking around and had those worried faces on.

There was a realization that even with the dozens of people there, this person could’ve been anyone–any of us.

The ambulance and fire truck rescue came, the stretcher was brought in.

I asked the lifeguard with concern what had happened to the man and he said in a monotone, almost practiced voice, “The ambulance is here; everything is okay.”

It sort of sounded like don’t anyone panic and shut the heck up.

Anyway, it was upsetting to see someone up early, getting themselves to the pool, trying to stay healthy and fit, and struck down at the scene, while trying their best.

I’m a little shaken and am still hearing the whistle in my head. :-0

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Remember Those With Special Needs

Remember Those With Special Needs

This was an interesting sign at the swimming pool about handling sensitive gender issues with children.

The sign tells parents of “opposite gender children,” over age 5, not to take them in the locker room with them.

Instead they are told to use a separate locker room for “special needs.”

Then underneath, in the lower right corner, someone wrote in pen (it’s light, so you may not be able to read it), “Ok, but then enforce handicapped changing room!!”

Having an accident recently and being on crutches and then a cane, I myself have developed a whole new awareness for how difficult the mundane can be.

When I asked the doctor, why so-and-so happened to me, he said, “you’re not getting any younger!”

It was really a wake up call for me.

We don’t always think of all the various special needs out there: people with handicaps, illnesses, and injuries of all sorts (physical, emotional, etc.), issues related to aging, single parents, orphaned children, people taking care of young children and/or aging parents, people newly divorced or bereaving, people out of work or “simply” changing careers or perhaps moving or even immigrating, and many more.

There are so many situations which can create special needs for people.

Often at work, I see announcements for groups that help people undergoing various life changes–creating these special needs. I glance at the information about the group meetings, but usually don’t have or take the time to fully stop and really think about what these all mean for people and how it impacts them–both their personal lives and their professional ones.

Seeing the signage reminding people to use special locker rooms when they need to deal discretely with children of the opposite sex or for changing rooms for those with disabilities…it was just another jolt for me to think of others and help them whenever possible.

Sometimes when I see someone who is old or disabled going slowly down the street, I think to myself–even though I may be in hurry–that I should slow down and not pass them quickly, so as not to make them feel bad–and now when I broke my ankle, I realized it was my turn and had to go slow.

Everyone goes through times when they have special needs.

The key is when we aren’t special needs for a moment in time that we remember how fortunate we are and that everything is temporary–both good and bad.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Worry, Who Doesn’t?

Worry, Who Doesn't

Many people worry–they are afraid of all sorts of bad things that can happen.

And they ruminate on what ifs and what they can do about it–if anything.

The more people feel they have no control over a negative situation, the more they worry about it–they can feel helpless and hopeless–and this may even lead to depression.

I remember as a kid my dad telling me a story/joke about this–it went something like this:

One grandmother is talking to another.

She complains how her grandson always worries about going to school.

The other grandmother says, “Oh really, why?”

The first grandmother tells her that her grandson is worried because “The kids hate him. The teachers hate him. And everyone gives him a hard time.”

The other grandmother says, “So why doesn’t he go talk the principal?”

The first grandmother answers, “Because he is the principal!”

The moral of the story is that everyone has problems, and has worries, and it doesn’t matter who you are–whether you’re a kid in school or the principal in charge, a worker in the company or the CEO, and so on.

I think sometimes we lose sight of the frailty of all human beings and we think mistakingly that just because someone is successful or high up on the totem pole of life that they don’t have worries and problems.

Which reminds me of something else my grandfather used to say: “G-d doesn’t let any tree grow into the heavens.”

No matter how big a person gets, G-d reminds us of who is really boss–so chop chop on the tree and watch that big ego–we’re just people. 😉

(Source Photo of picture: Andy Blumenthal)

So Sorry, Charlie

So Sorry, Charlie

In the old Starkist Tuna commercials, Charlie the cool tuna thinks he’s all that, but he keeps getting rejected by Starkist, because he’s just not good enough and then the narrator comes on and says, “Sorry Charlie!”

These days, from my perspective, people often do not take responsibility when they mess up and arrogantly they can’t bring themselves to just say, “I’m sorry”–it was my responsibility, I messed up, and I am committed to doing better in the future.

It’s really not so hard to say sorry, if you let your ego go. Most often, from what I’ve seen, unless the boss, spouse, or friend is just a jerk, saying sorry goes a long way to making things right–it shows you care about the relationship, your human and fallible (like the rest of us) and you are able to introspect, self-help, and learn from mistakes.

In contrast, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (18 April 2013) says sillily, “Don’t Apologize”–that refusing to apologize makes a person feel better about themselves, more powerful, and less of a victim.

Certainly, we don’t want to apologize for things we didn’t do, when we really don’t mean it, or to give someone on a pure power binge the satisfaction of making us beg–in those cases, we should be truthful and respectful and set the record straight. We should also, make it clear that we will not be victimized by anyone, at anytime.

But when we are wrong–and it’s not easy for everyone to recognize or admit it–just say so. It won’t kill you and you’ll usually see the other person lighten up on the punishing diatribe and maybe even admit their part in it or the stupid things they may have done at other times.

No one is so perfect–despite some very large egos out there. And the bigger the ego, the bigger the jerk. The humbler the person, the nicer and more workable they are.

Don’t apologize for things you didn’t do or to satisfy someone’s bullying, but do apologize when you could’ve done better and you are committed to improving yourself and building the relationship.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)