Unexpected lessons learned after running 26.2 miles

My bib from Sunday's Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon.

My bib from Sunday’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon.

Running 26.2 miles provides plenty of lessons and revelations, but it’s often the unexpected that stand out. Here are four from Sunday in Columbus, Ohio — kindness, helplessness, desperation and yes, more kindness.

Kindness 

After finishing the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, I felt nauseous. I crossed the finish line and walked — very slowly — to grab some energy bars and chocolate milk, then headed over to the area where our bags of dry clothes were kept.

Somehow I didn’t notice the table where volunteers waited to retrieve our bags, which had numbered stickers matching our bibs. In my fog, I saw hundreds of bags on a stretch of grass, so I just wandered over to find mine.

I realized my mistake when a volunteer approached and asked me if I was supposed to be there. I mumbled something incoherent, gave up my search and — starting to feel even worse — lay down on a slope of grass in the sun.

Moments later, as I fought a mental tug-of-war with nausea, the very same volunteer brought my bag to me. She must have looked at the number on my race bib and found my bag. That was incredibly nice of her. She could have been cranky, but chose kindness.

Helplessness

As I lay there on the grass, I noticed a pair of legs maybe 10 feet away. They belonged to another marathon finisher who was bent over and vomiting. I could do absolutely nothing.

I kept one eye open to try to make sure she didn’t keel over or show signs of real trouble. All I could have done would be to signal somehow that she was in distress. I was useless beyond that.

There was comfort in knowing there were plenty of trained medical professionals in the area. I gave a silent thanks for whatever is in those people who learn those skills and are willing to use them, paid or not. If not for them, wonderful events like marathons wouldn’t exist.

Eventually the woman stood up, walked to a different spot and seemed to be recovering. Good for her — not so for me, because it left me to concentrate on my own misery.

Desperation

Maybe 10 minutes later, I got up to find my running companions. They could tell I was hurting, and we began the slow trudge to our hotel, several (uphill) blocks away. I was getting colder, even though I had managed to put on three of the dry shirts in my bag, in addition to the high-tech “space blanket” given out at the finish line.

Still, I could not get warm enough. As we walked past a massive trash container, I saw several used space blankets inside. I reached in, grabbed one and wrapped it around my shoulders, matching the one I had around my waist.

I understood at that moment the desperation that the homeless or destitute must feel when they rummage in Dumpsters for clothing or worse, food. It’s an unfair comparison, of course. My situation was temporary and not as dire, but the analogy came to mind. It gave me a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, that kind of desperation.

Kindness 

My running companions, with whom I trained for months, kept an eye on me all the way back to the hotel. One of them made sure I had water next to my bed, and he took my room key with him so he could check on me and get help quickly if I needed it. A few hours and a serious nap later, I was fine and (shhhh) celebrating somewhat.

There are many well-known reasons people run marathons, but sometimes they offer surprises and rewards. I owe a major thanks to everyone who showed their humanity on Sunday, especially the volunteer who retrieved my bag, my buddies Ed and Michelle, and our friends and family (and thousands of strangers) who cheered us on.

And I hope the runner who was getting sick near me has recovered and is already planning her next 26.2-mile adventure.

Posted in children's hospital, hunger, Irish Investigations, running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Bathroom assault leaves victim near death … cue the video!

I got that queasy feeling the other day when I read about two brothers who assaulted a man in a crowded restroom at a pro football game. Apparently the victim nudged one of the brothers to let him know of an open urinal, and it set him off.

Seconds later, the 32-year-old victim was knocked unconscious. He was taken to a hospital where he had part of his skull removed to relieve pressure on his brain. He is partially paralyzed and “near death,” according to one report.

That’s sick enough, but here’s what makes it worse.

Someone videotaped the assault and put it on YouTube. A sports website that I look at regularly had a link to the story — and to the video, all nice and underlined so you can’t miss it.

As a parent of three males in their 20s who attend professional sporting events, the thought of “What if that were one of my boys … ?” came to mind fairly quickly. (One of my sons was accosted by a drunk fan at a National Hockey League game, but the clown was so intoxicated his fine motor skills failed him and he was quickly subdued.)

I refuse to watch the football game assault video, but a lot of folks disagree. As of Saturday morning it had been viewed more than 112,000 times, although YouTube may have taken it down by now.

Forget for a moment the issue of whether there was time for someone to intervene instead of videotaping the attack. Maybe it all happened too fast.

What is especially troubling is the availability and popularity of this violent video, and so many others like it. Sure, sometimes a video can lead to an arrest or, conversely, prove excessive force by authorities.

But when hundreds of thousands of people choose to watch acts of violence — real violence, that is — it degrades our culture and chips away at our collective humanity. The concept of desensitization shouldn’t be a surprise at this point.

The absolute sickest examples, of course, are the recent ISIS beheading videos.

Yes, men have perpetrated shocking cruelty on one another for centuries. But now we have technology to ramp it up, and these videotaped executions apparently have been watched millions of times. (YouTube and Twitter removed them, but they are still able to be viewed elsewhere).

I cannot comprehend why any civilized person would want to watch these videos, even if there is any merit to reports of fakery, which I doubt. How can you see that happen to another human being and not be traumatized in some way?

I can’t even look at the still images taken from the videos. It makes me think about what it would be like to be on your knees, hands tied behind your back, knowing you’re about to die that way. And knowing that your death will be used as propaganda or entertainment.

For what it’s worth, I’d like to hear someone justify the personal value of watching these executions. What good can it possibly do for you as a human being? Or if you did watch one of them, and absolutely regret it, I’d like to hear about that as well.

Posted in crime, Irish Investigations, role models | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Maria’s Outreach: Helping the homeless in Syracuse

Maria Sweeney and Randy in Syracuse, NY.

Maria Sweeney and Randy in Syracuse, NY, last winter. Photo by Mark Horvath.

From her office window last year, Maria Sweeney could look out and see a homeless man who lived in the doorway of an abandoned building.

Each time she saw him, she wondered who he was and how he ended up that way. When she took walks in downtown Syracuse on her lunch break, she’d see others like him — men and women — on the streets and under bridges.

Maria decided to find out who these people are. She went out and introduced herself and asked if they needed anything. “Little by little, I started helping people and it turned into this,” she said.

“This” is Maria’s Outreach, on its way to becoming a not-for-profit organization.

Maria no longer has that office job. She spends a good part of her days working with, and for, the homeless — delivering food and clothes, advocating for them with social service agencies, taking them shopping. She’s health care proxy for one man she says is like a brother to her.

Maria, a former special education teacher, also works part-time with students who have disabilities. While a full-time job would be more stable, she feels a calling to her outreach work.

“People will ask me what agency I’m with, and I say ‘It’s just me,’ ” she said. “I decided to just do it. I hemmed and hawed for a long time, and I just decided to take the risk.”

Maria’s focus now is lining up part-time jobs for the homeless through her Pathway to Work program. There are hurdles. She needs grant money to cover their wages; some don’t have proper identification, have poor hygiene or substance abuse problems, and no reliable transportation to a work site.

“People are so stuck in poverty,” Maria said Thursday as she drove to a street corner to deliver a bag of toiletries and a coat to Wes, a young man she has been helping. “There’s no way out if you can’t earn money. The work program will be able to meet their needs in a more long-lasting way.”

Her goal is to find employers willing to hire and train people, and to obtain grant money to cover their wages for 10 hours a week. The city’s Department of Public Works has agreed to provide training for supplemental landscaping and sanitation jobs, Maria said, but the paycheck has to come from somewhere else.

“I’m always trying to figure out problems and solutions, trying to connect people with services,” she said. “I focus on the chronic homeless, since they seem to be the ones who fall through the cracks.”

Maria could use some financial help for Pathway to Work via her GoFundMe campaign. She also has a Facebook page where people can learn of specific needs, like shoes in certain sizes, socks and blankets. With winter coming, boots and warm clothes will be in demand.

“At times I get discouraged and say, ‘What am I doing? Why am I spending my time, energy and money doing this?’ ” Maria said. “And then someone I’ve helped will say something like, ‘I never could have done it without you.’ ”

The young man on the street corner, Wes, 33, is one of many who are grateful for Maria’s help. He told her that some of his new clothes disappeared from where he had been staying. Maria will follow up to find out what happened.

“She’s great, a stand-up citizen,” Wes said, holding up the coat Maria had just given him from the stash of items she carries in her car. “I could be out here freezing. And now she’ll go advocate on my behalf.”

Wes and the others on the streets of Syracuse have many needs, and the reasons they’re homeless are complicated. Maria knows there will be problems without solutions, fellow human beings she won’t be able to help. But that’s not going to stop her.

“It’s a leap of faith,” she said. “It’ll all work out.”

Posted in Homeless, hunger, Irish Investigations, poverty, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Syracuse, NY, may require downtown employees to smoke

Frustrated by efforts to quell an increase in cigarette smoking by downtown workers, the city of Syracuse, NY, is considering a radical response.

If the City of Syracuse's proposed smoking ordinance  passes, this sign and others like it will be out-of-date. If the ordinance is successful, the city may consider a law requiring loitering.

If the City of Syracuse’s proposed smoking ordinance passes, this sign and others like it will be out-of-date. If the ordinance succeeds in reducing smoking, the city may consider a law requiring loitering.

City officials have drafted an ordinance that would require all employees who work downtown to smoke outside during their breaks. The proposal comes on the heels of ineffective public service messages about the dangers of cigarettes.

In a draft version of the ordinance obtained by Irish Investigations, non-smokers will be fined $25 and must attend a re-education seminar. Lunchtime joggers are exempt, but will be strongly encouraged to light up after they cool down.

“Our feel-good public health campaign to reduce smoking and air pollution levels flopped,” said Syracuse Mayor Sidd Finch. “No one likes to be told what they can or cannot do anymore. We’re hoping smokers join the non-smokers in raising a stink about the ordinance, and end up quitting. We’ve tried everything else, so why not a little reverse psychology?”

Mayor Finch resorted to this drastic measure after downtown smokers ignored requests to light up behind buildings, in parking lots or in other spots far away from co-workers and the city’s many tourists who prefer oxygen. Billboards showing cancerous lungs and fatality statistics weren’t well-received.

“If smokers want to kill themselves slowly, fine,” Finch said. “But they can do it at home or in their cars, not on city sidewalks. There is such a thing as third-hand smoke, but at least that’s easier for the rest of us to avoid.”

The mayor, a regular inhaler of second-hand smoke by virtue of taking regular walks downtown, is expected to announce the modest proposal Monday at noon. A media event is planned for the steps of City Hall, one of the few entrances to Syracuse buildings not enhanced by the fumes of the 70 known carcinogens in cigarettes or littered with butts.

Complimentary “Light Up, Syracuse!” matchbooks and “Thank you for smoking” window stickers will be distributed. Public health officials, tobacco industry representatives, civil liberties attorneys and funeral home directors are expected to attend.

Posted in cancer, Irish Investigations, role models, running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Treasures aren’t ‘hidden’ when you make the effort to look

"Stacks," an outdoor sculpture by David Harper at the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, NY.

“Stacks,” an outdoor sculpture by David Harper at the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, N.Y.

Here’s one from the “What took me so long?” file.

Just a 20-minute drive from the town I’ve lived in for the past 30 years is the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, N.Y.

"Contemplating Man," by Stone Quarry Hill Art Park co-founder Dorothy Riester.

“Contemplating Man,” by Stone Quarry Hill Art Park co-founder Dorothy Riester.

Last weekend marked my first visit to this beautiful, whimsical place. I owe it to my girlfriend, who suggested visiting the art park on a pleasant Saturday afternoon.

A steady but comfortable breeze, and just the right amount of late summer sunshine, provided the perfect ambience to enjoy the sculptures that seemingly popped out at random as we walked the grounds.

In the back of my mind during our visit I kept thinking … What other cool places right under my nose am I missing?

I certainly knew of the art park’s existence, and for years have read about its events, exhibits and artists-in-residence. Yet I never once made the short trip to check it out.

There are the usual reasons and excuses — family, job, other interests — but I’ll throw in lack of imagination and effort, certainly.

"Earth," by Susan Wink.

“Earth,” by Susan Wink.

A return to the art park is a must, but I feel compelled to start a list of other local places and events that I’ve neglected. Another to-do list is the last thing I need, but this one may produce more gems that have been hiding in plain sight.

For the record, Stone Quarry Hill Art Park — founded in 1991 by Bob and Dorothy Riester — has a remarkable philosophy and history. It is devoted not only to art and artists, but to preserving open spaces. The park itself covers 104 acres, and has several miles of walking trails.

The photo below is of a 900-foot-long sculpture that greets visitors as they drive in. A one-minute time-lapse video of the artists installing the flags is here on Vimeo.

It’s a pretty cool video. But the piece of art, like all the others at the park, is much better in person.

The view from the top of Stone Quarry Hill Art Park .

“The Third Iteration” by artists Bland Hoke and Matt Rink at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park.

Posted in art, books, Irish Investigations, peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

When ‘thoughts and prayers’ don’t seem to be enough

It took three tries, but I finally came up with some words of sympathy for a family that lost a wife and mother to cancer at age 54.

I hadn’t seen any of the family for a few years, as our common bond — sons in the same grade who played on the same basketball team — evaporated when the boys went off to college.

I knew of the family’s health crisis, and would occasionally hear updates from members of the community. I hadn’t heard anything for quite some time, and it was a shock to see the obituary. Memories of our sons’ time together came flooding back.

My son had already known his friend’s mom had died when I called him. The next day, and the day after that, I logged on to the funeral home website’s guestbook to offer condolences from our family. As usual, I froze.

Cliches automatically pop into my head when I write condolence notes (too often lately, it seems) and my attempts seem trite, almost empty.

In my head, I scroll through the usual — “thoughts and prayers” . . . “my condolences” . . . “so sorry for your loss,” etc.

It’s difficult enough to stare at a blank sympathy card and come up empty. It’s no better on an online guestbook, where I invariably begin looking at what others have written.

That’s in part a search for inspiration, but also so it doesn’t appear that I’m copying someone else.

This is all silly to worry about, of course. The people who really matter, the surviving family members, are hardly going to judge — or even remember — the specifics of what most people write.

I’ve been on the receiving end of sympathy cards a few times, and those events were such a blur, any written sentiments pale in comparison to remembered acts of kindness.

The grieving family is more likely to be thankful that friends took a few minutes to post something online or, more appropriately, send a handwritten card.

This morning, for my third attempt, I stopped worrying about the exact phrasing. An image of the mom at the boys’ basketball games came to me, so I just wrote something about that.

I hope my son’s former teammate finds comfort knowing that other parents remember his mom’s smiling face at so many games over the years.

Posted in cancer, communication, family, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

At what age are we ‘senior citizens’? Time will tell

Thanks, but no, thanks.

Thanks, but no, thanks.

When I was 49, the constant letters from AARP were bad enough.

Eight years later, it’s Time magazine’s turn to take a cheap shot.

Time’s special offer arrived in the mail the other day, a discount subscription “for senior citizen use only.”

That was just one of three uses of “senior citizen” on the top half of the order form. In case we forgot, I suppose.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the mailer featured a photo of Robert Redford looking … um … well, like he’s “had some work done.” Yes, his face shows some well-earned “character lines,” but the hair — whatever shade that is — has got to go.

Robert Redford on the cover of Time, May 2014

Robert Redford, Time, May 5, 2014

I admire Redford, 78, for his acting skills, environmental activism and support of other visual artists via the Sundance Film Festival. But not as a shrinking news magazine’s answer to Wilford Brimley.

Time’s offer is a fair one — $20 for up to 18 months of the weekly, not to mention a (REDUNDANCY ALERT!) “free gift” of some sort of weather clock. But the senior citizen thing is a buzzkill.

As Redford said in a scene from a certain well-known film, “I don’t mind what you did. I mind the way you did it.”

So I won’t subscribe. I don’t want to be reminded every week that I am considered part of the grumpy old man demographic, shuffling out to the mailbox in slippers.

Perhaps in another 20 years I’ll reconsider. Does anyone know if Time publishes a large-print edition?

Posted in Aging, communication, Irish Investigations, language | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Balloons sent to heaven for ‘Ms. Toots’ on her 2nd birthday

Arie's parents, Kim and William, follow the path of dozens of balloons released in Arie's memory on her second birthday.

Arie’s parents, Kim and William, follow the path of dozens of balloons released in Arie’s memory on her second birthday.

“Ms. Toots” would have smiled and blown kisses to everybody who came to honor her on her second birthday Wednesday.

Arie Baugh lost her fight with kidney cancer in July, two months shy of turning 2 years old.

Arie’s mom and dad decided to mark her birthday by inviting family and friends to release helium-filled balloons from the Butterfly Garden of Hope outside of Syracuse, N.Y.

Dozens of balloons head skyward in memory of Arie Baugh on her second birthday.

Dozens of balloons head skyward in memory of Arie Baugh on her second birthday.

In just 22 months, much of it spent undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments, Arie melted a lot of hearts. She also picked up the nickname of Ms. Toots.

Ms. Toots knew how to say good-bye by curling up her tiny fist and blowing kisses.

She loved it when anyone blew bubbles, so yes, there were bubbles as well as balloons at the gathering on a beautiful evening along the east shore of Onondaga Lake.

A friend said a short prayer and on the count of 1-2-3, everyone said Arie’s name and let go of their green and white balloons. There were some pink ones as well — Arie’s favorite color.

Smiles and laughter outnumbered tears as the balloons rose and drifted with the wind heading east. All eyes were skyward for quite some time.

On what I can only imagine was a very tough day for Arie’s mom and dad, they held up well. William said he’s doing better. Kim said the morning was tough, and I suspect the night wasn’t much easier. But it was clear they both took comfort in the company of loved ones who share their loss.

"Ms. Toots" made everyone around her smile, including me.

“Ms. Toots” made everyone around her smile, including me.

I wish I had spent more time with Arie during her stays at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Other than her blowing kisses good-bye each visit, what I remember most is one particular day last winter in the playroom.

It was in the weeks leading up to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser for pediatric cancer research (Arie was my honoree this year). Kim and I were talking while Arie played with a toy nearby.

I said something to Kim about shaving my head, and Arie began to rub her own head, which was bald from chemotherapy. I was stunned by how smart this little girl was.

Arie was feeling well enough to attend the Syracuse St. Baldrick’s event in March. Photojournalist Michelle Gabel took a beautiful photo of Arie watching me get my head shaved. The image captures Arie’s reaction, and it is priceless.

Arie was well enough to attend the S. Baldrick's Foundation fundraiser in Syracuse March 30.

Arie was well enough to attend the St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser in Syracuse March 30.

Arie held up very well in a crowded, noisy Irish pub for a good couple of hours. Much of it she spent on her dad’s broad shoulders, so she had the best seat in the house.

I can find some solace that Arie’s presence at the event served some greater purpose — that those in attendance may have been moved by her strength, or by the obvious love of her family and friends, who came out in force that day.

They did so again Wednesday for Arie’s second birthday. In a Facebook post to start the day, Kim used that otherwise pleasant word that no parent of a child with cancer ever wants to use — angel.

Kim with "Ms. Toots" in the hospital last winter.

Kim with “Ms. Toots” in the hospital last winter.

“On 9/3/12 @9:01pm I gave birth to a 2 lb 14 oz miracle baby. In 22 months of life she beat up prematurity, surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy & clear cell carcinoma of the kidney (cancer). Arie had the biggest brightest smile since birth. … Our family & faith became stronger. She beat many odds but on July 8 she became our angel. I love u baby, thanks for protecting us.”

 

Posted in cancer, Children, children's hospital, family, Irish Investigations, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Intent vs. Outcome: ‘What I really meant was …’

A simple and clever sign my girlfriend and I saw on Cape Cod over the weekend made us smile. And it capped a recent rash of lessons about language, and how the words we choose can be crucial.

In a driveway on a busy street in a tourist-heavy region (where summer visitors often get lost) the homeowners had posted a neatly painted sign: “Turns 25 cents.” Under it, a small tin can hung on a chain, presumably to hold quarters.

Genius!

I’ve seen many other signs, in tourist destinations and not, that have the same message but with a much harsher, don’t-you-dare delivery. “No” is usually the first word.

The clever sign in Brewster, Mass. capped several weeks of incidents that illustrate for me the potential volatility of words. A lot of unnecessary conflict can be avoided by using them, written or spoken, carefully.

I don’t mean using proper grammar or being politically correct. I mean choosing and using your words in a way that doesn’t create a rift between you and your audience.

It comes down to a concept I remember from a diversity workshop long ago: “Intent vs. Outcome.” You might say something in a perfectly innocent and well-meaning way, but confusion or conflict ensue because it was misinterpreted.

Often an attempt at humor is the culprit. Sometimes it’s because we fall back on a word or expression that we’ve used for years, but the listener or reader has no context.

One of my favorite sayings, which I often apply to myself, is “lazy man’s load.” I use it when I carry too many groceries or other items into the house all at once, rather than making two trips. My father used the expression when I was a kid, and it stuck with me.

But if I direct the phrase at someone who has never heard it, we might have a problem.

Another is “twiddle my thumbs.” I used this expression (one of my mom’s favorites) recently — and innocently — but it didn’t come across that way to my audience.

My intent was to show I was eager to do some work and make good use of my time. Instead, the listener wondered if I was bored and annoyed at the prospect of just sitting around.

In this case, the misunderstanding was cleared up after I explained the origin of the expression and that it didn’t necessarily have a negative connotation. (Does that count as blaming my mother?)

The potential for trouble only increases, I suppose, when you add in differences between speaker/writer and audience that are based on ethnicity, religion, geography, etc.

The old lessons still apply: Know your audience. Think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Some things are just better left unsaid.

For the record, we didn’t turn around in the polite homeowners’ driveway on Cape Cod. But I should have pulled in and taken a photo of their sign instead of twiddling my thumbs as we drove past.

I would have gladly paid the 25 cents.

Posted in communication, driving, Irish Investigations, language, Travel, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s not a bucket list, it’s a GAF list

The principal of the high school where I taught English many years ago once showed up at a faculty picnic wearing a baseball cap with ‘DILLIGAF’ on the front.

When I found out what it meant, his approval ratings went way up.

I thought about that hat recently, because I’ve been reassessing what I give a … hoot … about, and how the list has changed in recent years.

Some things I used to care about no longer interest me. Most sports, television, movies, the news. I’m not becoming a grumpy old man, and my world isn’t getting smaller. It’s merely tilting on its axis.

I am sorting through my life as if it were a closet. Old stuff is going to the curb to make room for new stuff and a select few “keepers,” things I’m passionate about — the most urgent wants and needs, the most compelling causes.

A few years ago my interest in sports began to wane, and I thought about my father because the same thing happened to him. He was probably in his late 70s when he stopped following baseball the way he once did. (In retrospect, maybe he didn’t feel well much of the time and it was a struggle to keep up.)

I once followed the sports seasons like a madman, focusing on how my favorite players and favorite teams fared each day, each week. Now, on the other side of 55, I barely pay attention to anything except two baseball teams, Ohio State football and major marathons.

I watched some of the World Cup, but skipped the Super Bowl.

This, from a lifelong sports fan who learned how to do math by reading baseball box scores and figuring out batting averages and earned run averages.

Whatever’s “trending” or “breaking” holds little interest for me — rather pathetic for someone who used to work for a daily newspaper.

Most news these days I find depressing, polarizing or manufactured, designed to manipulate the masses and make money for the “digital content providers.”

This makes me more of a cynic than a skeptic. Not good, I know. So what the hell do I care about? What do I spend my mental and physical energy on?

Good stuff, primarily. My relationship, my kids, my family. My health, which is damn good thanks to being a runner and a vegetarian. My friends. Good books. Helping the homeless. Kids with cancer. And trying to figure out how to spend my remaining years in this body, on this planet.

That includes writing stories. About real people who aren’t “news,” but who are certainly worthy of our attention. People overcoming hardships and trying like hell to make it. People who give more than they take. People who stick up for what’s right, and who stick it to the man.

There is so much of this to do, so many stories to tell. Yet so little time and so many obligations.

Yes, I’m grateful that I have a reasonably fulfilling job that pays well and allows me to use my brain and not ruin my body. Last week I watched four younger men move a piano and a truckload of other furniture, and it hit home how hard that work is. How it must shorten life, lessen the quality of it.

I can’t afford to retire for a few more years, and I’d like to still be in shape mentally and physically to do the things that make me feel alive. To tell the stories of good people, and maybe achieve some greater good in the process.

DILLIGAF? Yeah.

Posted in family, fantasy football, Irish Investigations, running, Volunteering, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments