ConnectionsPosted by Fred
As I sit here quietly spooning oatmeal onto my bib, I recall a certain piece of wisdom a sales manager gave me when I was still a madcap youth: “When you’ve got ‘em by the short ones, their hearts and minds will soon follow.” I don’t really know if his words ever had the desired effect on my sales technique but, through the years, they have served to remind me how connected everything is to everything else — and how connected all of it is to your head.
This is my twentieth anniversary of life without nicotine-stained fingers. After many years of a habit that made small utility smokestacks blush, I became a non-smoker and have never missed the little poison cylinders or was tempted to fire one up since. The deal is that I didn’t quit — I became! I had tried everything from ‘cold turkey’ to some goofy gadget that I programmed every time I had a cigarette; then it told me when I was allowed to smoke as part of a weaning process. It was sort of like Mom saying “No more milk sweetie,” back in my pre-crumb-crunching days.
Nothing worked until my head was convinced I was a non-smoker. Another profound bit of wisdom I managed to absorb along the way was, “Decide what you are and be that thing”! People would ask me if I was trying to quit and I would say, “No. I don’t smoke”. I took great pride in sitting in the no smoking sections of restaurants and actually developed an allergy to the foul stench! As Fred’s Third Law states, “The mind is like a wife: it’s the one in control whether the rest of the body knows it or not”.
Six months after achieving non-smokerdom, I had my first angioplasty. The doctors didn’t ask me if I smoked — they asked me, “How much” I smoked. My surgery was followed by several weeks of a workout program at the hospital. The attending nurse and I generated some serious sparks about her insistent reference to me as a ‘patient’. In fact, they had signs all over the place serving up little tidbits of advice for those of us grinding it out on the treadmills and exercise bikes: “Heart patients are reminded not to shovel snow”. “Heart patients must be sure to eat a healthy, low fat diet.” I had to get out of there before I got sick.
What I couldn’t get across to ‘Nurse Ratchet’ was that, as far as I was concerned, my patient status ended when I was discharged and returned to work. I now thought of myself as a healthy person and felt that way. To this day my heart and mind are doing just fine but, once again, there’s a sign on the wall that is trying to impose someone else’s reality on my life. It’s Section 1233 of HR 3200, the currently proposed House bill for alleged reform of health care. It reads, “End of Life Counseling”.
As strongly as I object to the possibility of this section’s mandates leading to euthanasia or some coconut in Washington limiting my future, I don’t think in terms of an END approaching and neither do most of the people I know. I have experienced several new beginnings in my life and believe my Senior years will be yet another. It’s the beginning of a time to enjoy the fruits of nearly a half-century of labor — the beginning of a time to share new dreams with Vigi and finally get to spend some quality time together.
I reject the thought that any mere mortal may have me by the ‘short ones’ and try to dictate what I should believe. As everything else is connected to the head, the head is connected back to all the rest and a bad connection may be hazardous to my health — or simply be too much to fit into that little pocket at the bottom of my bib.