THE RED ZONE!
It is 3AM on Tuesday and I
can't sleep – the pain medication that has helped me to sleep
has worn off. Fidgety, restless, I stumble over to a computer
Phoenix keeps in the living room. It has been a few days since I
have checked my e-mail. The orders from a side business I have
need to be attended to; the e-bills have no doubt piled up as
As I scan my e-mail I am
astounded by all the e-mails I have received from people all
over the globe. All of this outpouring triggered by a simple
posting my friend Maxwell had put on my site during my time out.
My heart swells with gratitude from the kind words by people I
have never seen - and from some people I have never corresponded
with and will likely never hear from again.
As I sit in the semi-darkness – I
am grateful for the kind words, grateful that the omnipresent
pain in my head, my neck and my jaw has subsided, thankful that
the feeling of dry heat in my brain pan is gone and that some
semblance of metal clarity has returned – like friend long
departed who has come home.
My reprieve from long dreaded
medical concerns have been mostly alleviated. I feel a new lease
on life – a refreshed outlook on what is important in life and
what is not.
Though some of my previously long
held medical concerns have been quelled I am not completely at
Something has been gnawing at me,
something I have done that was wrong. With the return of my long
lost clarity the gnawing is stronger, more insistent. It has to
do with lying. I hate lies, I hate when people lie to me. Yet,
if were to tell you that I have never lied… I would be, well, I
would be lying.
I cannot escape the fact that I
have lied and lied to people I care about, to people I trust and
who I think trust me. This makes my lies more painful to bear.
For all my faults and weakness –
which to me seem legion – this is the one sin I rarely engage in
– specifically to friends and family. I don’t lie on my tax
returns, Even during my highly sexed youth I never lied to women
like many men do – to get what many men wanted – I never told
them that I desire monogamy when in fact I wanted to practice
promiscuity; I simply told them like it was and damn the
potential rejection. I did not lie to save my skin or my job
with the Postal Service. I would not lie by omission like they
asked to me to for the six figures they would give me – if I
promised to keep quiet. (I sometimes regret that I did not lie
Yes I hate lying and I am simply
not very adept at it, so I generally avoid it like a bad case of
On the rare occasions that I do
lie, I generally do it to save other peoples feelings or even my
own or to protect my privacy, to hide my fears or concerns or to
spare people I care about feeling fear or concern for me – to
spare them discomfort or pain. I may even lie to say a friend
from stupid rules by an evil bureaucracy.
Since I hate lying and admittedly
not very good at it – the rare occasions I lie to others, I use
sneaky methods, such as lies by omission – what people often
call white lies, or like a disingenuous politician I will
sometimes resort to verbal misdirection, or humorous quips to
evade the truth. I also at times lie to myself – after all, no
one else really gets hurt… only I pay the consequences. But is
that really the truth?
In the scheme of things it seems
as if lying is not near as bad as stealing or cheating on your
wife or girlfriend or murder; and in some ways it is not. Yet,
in other ways I think lying can be worse and in fact is often
the seed that leads to other more obviously harmful
Being guilty of any sin makes me
feel like that a day of reckoning is going to come and come hard
and lying feels no different – even from white lies and
omissions. The reckoning may not come from God, but come it
will… this I am certain. For those of you who do not believe in
fire and brimstone for our misdeeds, the Greeks’ definition of
the word sin or the root from which it comes – means to fall
from the path – to lose the light. I think this is what lying
does – takes us off the path of clarity, transparency and
ultimately if can drive a wedge between us and the people we
In the darkness I think of all
this and I think about why I lied to certain people I care about
and I struggle against my fear, my embarrassment and wonder how
I will repair the sin I have committed. Will I be forgiven? I
want to be.
I sit and ponder this until I
fall asleep in the chair, in front of the computer. My friend
gets up and rouses me and offers me coffee. As we sit – drinking
our coffee – I pour out everything. He is after all one of my
best friends and I have no need to protect myself around him or
to hide my concerns and fears from him. Around him I can relax
and just be myself. He more than most people knows what I have
endured in my life. He knows the heartache that I still carry
over my mother. He has known my mother and loved her like a son.
He knows the things I dread and how I chose to deal with them;
usually with humor, but not, at times without a good measure of
fear or uncertainty.
How do I begin to repair the
I’m not sure, but here goes.
Last Saturday I was forced
to go the hospital. I could not drive there myself, but instead
one of my closest friends - Phoenix shuttled me to Urgent Care.
I had been having medical issues on and off for about a year and
these issues and symptoms had stepped up with increasing
intensity and frequency since this past summer. Like too many
men I chose to ignore these symptoms instead of doing something
I did not ignore these
symptoms for the typical reasons men do. No, it was for reasons
beyond simple machismo. I am like many men in that I do not like
to show weakness - which I suppose one could argue is a form of
weakness. Also, I realize it does no good to dwell on such stuff
- worrying never makes an ailment disappear and certainly,
despite the kindly assertions from friends and loved ones, most
people really don't want to hear about the pain and fear of
I hid my illness for what
I felt to be practical reasons. What practical reasons you may
ask? It is a fair question, a question I have asked myself; a
question that needed answering. In the past six months, I lived
with the dread that I was developing Alzheimer's disease; it is
a disease from which my mother died at the early age of 62. The
disease hit my Mother brutally in her mid forties and it took
her down hard and it dragged out long.
During my time on earth,
like most people I have experienced the loss of many people
close to me. They have died from cancer, heart disease,
accidents, drug overdoses and various other events. In my
opinion, nothing can match the brutality that Alzheimer’s
inflicts. It takes away a persons physical health, their
personality, the independence and autonomy and their dignity. It
leaves them helpless to attend to their own bodily functions. It
is hell on earth – for them and the people who love them.
The possibility that this
could one day be my fate always lingers in the backdrop of my
There are those in the
medical community that believe there is a genetic link... and
this certainly was reason for concern. Although the fact that
even identical twins who have the alleged genetic markers for
Alzheimer's there is some confusion as to who the disease will
chose to strike and who it will spare. One twin may get the
disease and the other will never show any signs of developing
any sort of dementia.
This gives me hope, but the
concern is still there.
Obviously genetics is not
the only factor - otherwise all identical twins with these
genetic markers would get the disease. Still, knowing all this
has not completely wiped away all of my concerns. Up until the
past six months I really have not given the possibility that I
may be at risk much thought – I had been too busy.
Though the thought that I
may be at risk for Alzheimer’s on occasion springs out now and
then - I am not one to worry unduly about things I have no
control over. Worrying about such stuff does not help and in
fact could only hinder your health. Since there are obviously a
whole constellation of factors and events needed to trigger this
disease, I simply chose to live a healthy lifestyle. Simple
really - eat good, get your sleep, workout, have good social
networks and keep your life stimulating and hang out with people
who fit and follow that criteria.
Years ago, shortly after
my mother died, I decided I needed to develop a strategy in the
event that I showed signs of developing Alzheimer's. Option A
and Option B were my back up plans. With Option A, in the event
that I started exhibiting symptoms to a definitive degree I
would increase my frequency of the dangerous sports I most enjoy
- such as scuba diving and sky diving and I would just let
nature takes it's course. The simple formula of: as cognitive
abilities diminished - the greater likelihood that fatality
would occur. Not a bad deal I think... dying while doing
something you enjoy. I even toyed with other dangerous
activities of which I had never engaged in and have always both
intrigued and scared the hell out of me - such a bull riding,
extreme motocross and perhaps even marriage to a former ex -
though the last choice may be too extreme.
In the event that
symptoms of Alzheimer's came on too quickly, or if perhaps I
waited too long for Option A to fulfill its desired outcome -
then Option B would be my back up. Option B is where I go up
beyond the snow line with some rocking music, a bottle of grain
alcohol and grapefruit juice and perhaps I will try heroin for
the first time. Why not? I won’t develop a pesky addiction.
If I am unable to get to
the snow line on my own, I have a few close friends that care
for me enough to put me out of my misery - although I have
acquired more than a handful people who are anything but my
friends and they would be all too glad to take me into the
wilderness and do the honors themselves - though I am sure -not
without lots of abuse first of course.
Why do I bring all this up
if I had indeed made peace with the possibility of becoming
afflicted with this horrible disease? As I said, I must repair
the lies and I hope for forgiveness, release from my fears and
refreshed optimism for the future.
In the past six months I
have been suffering some startling symptoms - many of which my
Mother experienced in her mid-forties. To complicate matters I
had put off getting my financial affairs and estate in order to
best provide for my loved ones when it is my time to go. I
found myself in the unenviable position of not having enough
life insurance - I needed more - something to increase the
quality of life for those I care about while all of the assets I
have acquired over a lifetime become frozen for the year during
probate and of course my 'Last Will & Testament' also needed
some serious updating
Sky diving and other
dangerous activities I loved in Option A: had to be put on the
back burner until I settled my affairs.
Blinding headaches were
almost daily along with the sensation that my head was in a
drying kiln... my brain felt if it was cooking - like the
commercial - this is your brain on drugs. Some days were fair,
just low level discomfort - my Mother had those days of reprieve
as well - but the bad days were as bad as you can imagine, the
brain - dry and hot; my Mother had those days as well and as
time went on those days became more frequent for her.
As distressing as all of
this was, life still has its blessings; a blessing to be working
at a regular job with people I have come to care for is both a
source of therapy and ironically - stress.
Arriving at work
everyday provided the therapy – my job was interesting and fun;
my boss and the three women I work with are a joy to be around.
Being around them made both the good days and even the worst
days more bearable.
My symptoms made my job
stressful; most days sometimes the simplest cognitive processes
proved to be daunting. A year prior I could still after twenty
five years memorize and recite most of the physiology and
Anatomy texts that I had studied in college. I was able to
visualize and discuss the wonders of atomic energy valences and
how some atoms were prone to covalent bonding while others are
attracted to each other by ionic bonds. I knew and often
utilized the mathematical formula for power which is:
Force/weight multiplied by Distance divided by time and I often
utilized this when calculating workout protocols for myself and
lifters I coached. Hell, I had even written a six hundred page
manuscript describing the various energy systems of the body -
diagrams of ATP breaking down into ADP + P releasing energy for
the use of various cellular functions. I had outlined detailed
explanations of which muscles were involved in any given
exercise and where these muscles attached insofar as origin and
insertion and whether it caused abduction or adduction and
exactly which nerves were responsible for their innervation -
all from memory.
I had done so well - a
friend of mine - a physical therapist and world record holder in
the bench press paid me the highest complement. "As a physical
therapist and a competitive power-lifter your book is a must
have item for me and all weight trainers."
Many people would be
surprised to learn that in my youth - my I.Q. had measured
higher than the famous physicist Richard Feyman. I am not
offended that most people who do not know me would shocked or
doubtful. No one is more surprised than me – especially that
even during the healthiest of times not everything comes easy.
Needless to say, despite acknowledgement of my intelligence and
my limitations of areas of intelligence, I still secretly
enjoyed the knowledge that I have on numerous occasions applied
myself to various intellectual pursuits and have done well. No
doubt this is why I have been entrusted with the honorable and
prestigious e-mail address of
firstname.lastname@example.org by my employer.
I have learned that one
should not get too smug and comfortable with their gifts,
otherwise laziness or complacency could set in, so I am often
self-deprecating. Also, the fact that I have as yet come up with
any invention or concept that will improve the lot of mankind as
some geniuses throughout history are prone to do, with my only
claim to fame is a workout manual of questionable value to
My former abilities feel
as though they are being stripped away.
the past six months I found increasingly difficult to do simple
tasks or instructions. At work one embarrassing incident still
sticks out sharply in my mind. A team leader in another
department gave me a simple task that a trained chimp could
follow. He said, “Okay, go into BCS; tab until you get to SPL
then hit F2, code ROUT, tab down, type in e-mail, hit the space
bar once, then type in
then hit F3, tab down and put Y for yes for hard copy, then hit
F3 and then choose send subsequent notice to customer, then F3
all the way out – repeat as necessary.”
Hell, even the retarded
Charlie in the book ‘Flowers for Algernon' was able to follow
the far more complex instructions of running the flour mixing
and dough kneading machine at the bakery where his highest level
of competence was simply sweeping the floors”
Not a minute had gone by when
after this team leader had given me verbal instructions along
with a visual example and after dutifully repeating verbally
back to this person what I needed to do - that I took the
opportunity to sit at my computer and happily set out to perform
such a simple repetitive task. How long had I stared at the
screen with my mind blank - I cannot say. When awareness
returned it was a struggle to remember what the correct sequence
I was suppose to perform. Uncertain if I remembered correctly
I’d often sneak to a trusted coworker or a person that had not
previously shown me the basic tasks that I should have already
learned. This is only one of many examples of my recent and
I thought I could allay my fears
that I was losing it by reviewing many of the subjects that I
had aced in college – subjects that I had many times tested over
the years and scored high marks. If this failed I hoped that
reviewing such familiar subjects would slow my decline.
I explained the presence of these
books to my coworkers, telling them I was reviewing these
subjects because I wanted to eventually challenge the courses
and go back to school. It was after all the truth – I do
eventually want to go back to school.
Reviewing these books did not do
much to allay my concerns – though I can still remember volumes
of material… the amount of information I could not recall
compared to the prior year was alarming.
Other bothersome symptoms were
cropping up. Rarely known for my brevity, I found myself taking
much longer to express my needs or thoughts – often stumbling
through rambling diatribes and just like my mother had done, I
found myself stopping in mid sentence searching for the thought
or word I needed to communicate. Even my coworkers sometimes
frustrated would say, “Two seconds please.”
My coworkers have chided me for
being too hard on myself insofar as to how I felt that I was not
picking up new information or memorizing procedures we had
learned fast enough. They thought my lack of confidence was part
of my normal operating procedure.
They simply did not understand,
could not fathom that this is not my normal perception of self
that I carry. They could not understand the level of insecurity
I was feeling about life in general - filling the place of where
seemingly limitless confidence had once resided. I could not
bear to share where I feared ending up – just like my Mother.
I'm not saying that I would have
been able to perform better than my bright teammates had I not
from these symptoms, it's just it would not have been such a
struggle to keep up with them.
My declining health and
diminished mental acuity made me all too aware that I am living
in the Red Zone. In addition, it has been increasingly apparent
that many of my close friends and family are also in this zone.
In the past year I have lost about one person per month to heart
disease, cancer, accidents, drug overdoses and various mishaps
that life throws all of us. My beautiful 14 year old niece her
life cut short by the complications the medical treatment of
Leukemia she has battled for years.
Tragedy abounds all around us. My
coworkers are not immune. One coworker - young, beautiful and
athletic has developed permanent heart damage and struggles with
the uncertainty that this brings in her life.
Another coworker - a wonderful
and sweet woman - reminding me of my favorite Aunt - gave us all
a scare the night she had to be rushed to the hospital. I am
not a man prone to tears - sure I can get misty-eyed from
powerful feelings of sadness or joy, but weeping for me is not
common. The few times tears threaten to spill forth - my
conditioning to be stoic and manly kept me in check. Not since
my mother's death from Alzheimer's or the death of my Niece have
I broken down and wept openly.
Out of the blue, this wonderful
coworker is faced with a life-threatening event and all of us
are concerned. My boss is noticeably worried as she has grown
fond of this woman. I was most surprised as to how I reacted.
Considering my life and the issues I live with, I normally try
to keep emotional distance from people - preferring to keep
things light. Despite my best efforts and to my surprise her
medical scare had me close to tears. I don't like to cry and
certainly not in front of other people and yet, this is exactly
what I almost did. It was then I realized how fond I had become
of my boss and my teammates.
Thankfully, my coworkers survived
their ailments and thankfully they are moving forward with their
lives. Once again, another reminder that we are all in the Red
Zone and we should take nothing for granted - especially each
other. I am grateful that my coworkers merely had physical
concerns would likely become resolved or at least be endured and
dealt with. My concerns seemed more problematic, more shameful,
not as easy to share with people that in time I would become a
drooling mess unable to control bodily functions - unable to
maintain my dignity.
Then came the lies.
My coworkers asked the usual
questions that men my age who have been never married tend to
mean you've never been married?"
you ever get married?"
you have against relationships?"
you ever want to have children?"
"Wouldn't you like to be in a relationship?"
usually come in quips .
that I want to brag about."
have the emotional endurance."
I can find a woman who won't press charges."
I have against foot fungus?"
are easier to train."
but it would get in the way of my love life."
Verbal misdirection in the form
of quips - not too bad.
Next are the lies of omission.
These I save for the life insurance companies.
I committed no fraud, but I have
lied all the same.
No lies about family medical
history. No lies about personal lifestyle.
Just lies by omission - No
mention of blinding headaches, no mention of arrhythmia, or of
the monstrous fatigue and the loss of mental functioning. No
volunteering my fears of rapid decline. My only thought is to
get as much life insurance for the people I care for - As much
as I can get without having to submit to a medical exam, under
the scrutiny of over linear bean counters. I hate doctors.
Next came the outright bald face
These I save for myself, my boss
and my teammates and other coworkers.
Questions about my love life had
been broached the previous year by a few of the women I worked
with. Some of these questions were from a few women interested
in checking me out... some of the questions from women asking on
behalf of a friend or they simply were curious about why and old
guy like me has always been on the loose.
These questions often make me a
little nervous and amused.
In the past few years I have been
very wary of relationships - I am open to having a relationship
- but I know that the likelihood of finding a woman that would
be my compliment is as likely as President Obama reversing our
National debt and halting global warming or engineering a
workable health care reform that will insure all citizens will
get adequate care without further mortgaging our children’s
I told all sorts of lies to keep
their interest at bay.
One woman - eleven years my
senior made the offer that we should perhaps move in together as
soon as I sell my house - so that we could share living expenses
and not live alone. Not certain that she was serious I was still
nervous and stuttered excuses as to why I would not be a good
roommate. She would have none of my excuses.
Later, another coworker had told
me that this wonderful woman was serious. She asserted that this
woman would not make this offer to just anyone. I was certain
this was true and
I felt honored to be thought of
with such affection and trust; and this was the source of my
anxiety. I had no concerns that this woman had romantic
aspirations for me, but I was anxious just the same.
I found myself making desperate
excuses at a fast and furious pace as to why I would not be a
suitable roommate. I tried to paint a picture that I was just an
old single promiscuous letch set upon having a turnstile of
women of questionable character lying about.
This is a bald faced lie. In past
ten years for various reasons, I am no longer promiscuous - or
at least I have become very discriminate.
I lied for two reasons - the
first is that in the absence of life mate or a love interest I
simply prefer to live alone; the second is I simply could not
share my fear of the future. I could not share the fear that I
would not be able to fend for myself - much less be there to
My anxiety prevented me from
saying the simple truth - a truth that is certain under healthy
conditions. I prefer to live alone. The only exception would be
if I were to run into a woman that I was sexually attracted to,
in love with and if I were to decide that she would be an
appropriate life mate.
Even then it is likely that our
life together would be made easier if we owned a duplex – each
of us residing in our own side.
Instead of telling the truth I
complicated the situation from my lies.
The lies don't stop there.
I have lied to myself for so long
and in the worst way; lies to help me avoid intimacy.
To avoid possible relationships
with people who show promise - telling myself that people never
fail to disappoint; and not just me... all one has to do is
converse with practically anyone that has been or is currently
in a relationship.
I cannot express the desolation
that comes from a lifetime of disappointment from the belief,
and from the evidence that most men and women are superficial,
base, and simple primates lacking the tools or integrity to put
out nothing but the most minimal effort to act in their own long
term self interest in any given relationship. It is why I have
given up looking.
I have found the most people -
not all - but too damn many talk a good game when it comes to
what they would do if only they could find the right significant
other - but they lack the desire to put out the requisite effort
to sustain any meaningful relationship. They will tell you how
great and loving they would be, if only they could find a person
that would fulfill their laundry list of needs and desires.
Rarely do I ever hear men or women ask another person what they
would want from a significant other. Rarely do they mention what
they would do for another.
Generally, I have observed people
in relationships and interactions with others and I just know
that they and their spouse have a bleak life - created by one or
the other's lack of regard for the person they are in bondage
I been through the mill and as
you can probably surmise I have been and am woefully unimpressed
Out of the blue - in the past few
months I have been in the company of a remarkable woman - in my
mind too good to be true. After all, I have seen many men and
women who are capable and high functioning - with oodles of
personal resources to offer the best of who they are - as I have
said, only to observe that they simply will not put out the
effort to sustain long lasting relationships.
To my surprise and with great
pleasure I have found that she is the real deal; a person that
does what she says - carries her own water and is generous and
loving to her family and coworkers - even under intense stress.
I can not adequately describe how
wonderfully inspiring and refreshing it is to meet such a rare
person. I can not begin to explain the bitterness I felt for not
being lucky enough to have met someone like her in my youth. I
can not express how desolate I felt knowing that my life and my
illness would make it impossible to have a relationship with
anyone - especially a woman of such value.
I cursed my luck that I was
losing my health, losing my mind.
I could not however help feeling
fits of real pleasure being in her company - she was after all a
source of joy to be around. I could not but wish and hope that
my illness was a passing thing and that one day I would have an
opportunity to bond with such a woman. She was after all proof
that single woman like her do exists - rare as snow
leopards perhaps - but they obviously walk the planet.
The week prior to my visit to
Urgent Care the headaches were the worst yet - my brain on low
cook - a God awful taste was omnipresent in my mouth and no
amount of brushing, flossing or mouthwash offered any real or
lasting relief and a pain in my jaw had become my Universe.
Dizzy spells increased and a simple walk up three flights of
stairs had me seeing stars and short of breath with my heart
fluttering like the wings of a bird caught in a snare.
Something was wrong.
My fear of impending Alzheimer's
disease was pushed into the background... I needed to tend to
the universe of pain in my jaw. My Dentist has been putting off
a root-canal that I had needed six months prior and that had
required antibiotics. The infection was back and in spades.
Fuck an appointment; I went
straight from work on a Saturday and demanded immediate
attention. After a few X-rays and a through exam - it was
determined that I had been carrying around an infection for
quite sometime - very likely low level for six months.
I was sick and in rage.
"I've been calling you guys for
six months begging you to get me in for the root-canal. You
assholes never call back."
He apologizes profusely.
He assures me that this oversight
is not his fault, he is after all only filling in - my previous
dentists had retired.
"We must put you on antibiotics"
He rushes off to get me a script.
The dental hygienist tells me how
lucky I am to be alive.
"That infection is close to your
brain", she says. People die from that."
I am not feeling pleased by her
Her voice is shrill, even
accusatory, as if the infection and close brush with death and
disability is somehow all of my fault.
"You just don't know how many
people get permanent heart damage from such an infection... if
it doesn't kill them outright."
My thoughts focus on the bird
fluttering in my ribcage.
"Ah, perhaps that explains the
I am feeling angry. I am feeling
dizzy, disorientated and I am feeling spent... like if I lie
down and sleep, I won't wake up.
I go to Freddies and get
my script filled.
My head is pain. My jaw is a
throbbing universe. The bird in my chest feels as if it is going
to escape the confines of my ribcage.
I am short of breath... each
flutter takes my breath away.
I can barely focus.
The simplest thoughts are a
struggle - like wading waist deep in hot mud.
Out of the mire of consciousness
one thought dominates.
I don't want to die.
Strange thought for a man who
often pondered inventive ways to die while having the most fun
possible; just to avoid the bondage of Alzheimer's disease.
Only the responsibilities of the
previous three months kept me from Sky diving in my state of
The first reason: I had to get my
financial affairs in order for the people I care about.
The second reason: I had become
enamored with the mission my workmates, my boss and I had taken
on; and why not?
After life time of observing
family and relatives piss-farting around - with half heated
measures of love, loyalty combined with chronic neglect and
abuse; after years of government buggery and neglect from
previous coworkers and friends - killing a handful of people I
loved and swore to protect (and failed) - as they buggered their
own self-interest - I fell in love with the mission.
I fell in love with my team mates
and my boss.
I wanted the mission that we took
on to succeed - I wanted my life and my death to have some
meaning. I hoped to see the mission bear the fruit that we were
desperately tending, I hoped to see it happen before every brain
cell in my skull burned out.
I wanted my teammates and my boss
to enjoy the fruits of our labor. As sense of duty, a sense of
destiny to know that I may be a part of a project that if
successful, the company would enjoy the profits it wants (and
should have); my teammates and my boss would be assured that
they would keep their positions in a division that brought the
company profits and they would hopefully enjoy greater income
and job satisfaction as well.
In my own muddled way I wanted to
help make this happen. Each one of them after all had a full
life ahead of them and a shit load of concerns and
responsibilities as well.
I pondered many times how I had
failed my mother, my lover, my former coworkers and I vowed that
I would give my all with the hopes that they would succeed.
The third reason was because of
my boss: I would be lying if I said that because she is an
exceptionally attractive woman - across the board attractive -
with oodles of sexual charisma - and around her the dying embers
of what had once been a passionate man had flamed high - had
absolutely no bearing of how far I would have pushed myself.
I would have gone the distance
for that reason only... for the gift of renewed vigor - making
my pain and fear and growing dysfunction more bearable, making
everyday worth living more - not without bitter remorse however.
I can recount the times that she
put a friendly and commiserating touch to my shoulder,
emphatically thanking me for staying overtime to get the job
done. Of course, to hide my pleasure, to hide my fear that I
would never live long enough to reciprocate... I would stupidly
say, "My pleasure, it's what I love best, coming to work
Another partial lie.
I could have said the truth.
I could have said, "Helping you
with your mission and being in your light, basking in your
warmth makes my life more bearable... at times even ecstatic."
I could have told her another
I could have told her that even
if she was unattractive and unfeminine and bland of personality.
I still would have went the distance for her.
A few times I made a miserly
effort to state this simple fact, but always fell short for fear
that the other stuff would erupt forth - stuff that a man with
my life has no business sharing.
But the simple and wonderful fact
is that my boss has the gift, the common touch with those she
works with and manages. She inspires my teammates and I to work
long and hard - even to the point of compromising our health.
Each one of us fell ill from the effort and each one of use
would have gladly worked for free if it were legal to do so.
That is the love we all had for
our boss and our mission.
My boss of course was the hardest
on herself... working from sunup till past midnight - often
taking on the tasks of other departments.
She lead by example and she was
heroic and magnificent; as were my teammates.
Each one of them exhibited many
of the strengths and qualities that the finest woman I have ever
known - My mother who died so unfairly and so tragically from
How could anyone not love such
women? How could I not put my fears and concerns on the
backburner for such women as they?
And so I did.
It is with great misgivings that
I may have fell short in my efforts to help them achieve their
I think of all this as I struggle
get to Eugene - where I will feel safer - closer to my doctor
The inspiration of my boss and
teammates make me want to live. The fact that some or all of my
frightening symptoms may in fact be due to a massive infection
originating from my jaw gives me hope.
An old mindless Catholic
programming rears it's head and I find myself making deals with
God - whom I am not entirely sure exists.
"Please God, Let it be just
permanent heart damage instead of Alzheimer's disease."
"I want to live. I want my health
I want my life back - so that one
day God willing (If he exists) I may find and bond with a
remarkable woman such as my boss, such as a few of the other
remarkable women I know.
After all permanent heart damage
would be a fair trade for such a life with such a mate.
All of this is what led to the
lies – lies to my self and to the people around me – to people
care for. I have even lied in some of my recent writings
such as 'Falling for Your Boss' and
'Remarkable Women Often Ruin
Men'. Though mostly accurate I engaged in slight deceptions -
mainly to protect people I care for, to protect their privacy -
also to hide my fears, to protect my privacy. For the sake of
self-reckoning I will make these right.
Many of the Stories I write have often been altered to protect the
innocent and the guilty and to insure the privacy of both the
remarkable and not so remarkable people that have inspired me to
write about the many life lessons I have learned from them.
The names of people, places or business and even sequences in
time have been changed - If I mention them at all - for their
protection and privacy and any resemblance to any person, place
or thing is likely just coincidental. I write to merely share
what I have experienced, what I think and feel of such
experiences and events of which we share in common that most of
us face in our lives.
Take everything I say with a healthy block of salt.
"What I write about is not necessarily the truth or a lie - it
is simply what I know."