Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Who Are You … My Biggest Fear

Aging is not for wimps.  Boomers are living longer than previous generations and often without the benefit of role models; our parents, in general, die or died at a younger age than we will.  Fiftieth birthdays used to be the entry point for final chapters of life.  Now they are the turning points for beginnings.

No matter how healthy we are at 50, however, we will begin to experience losses, some little, some large.  If we are not careful, fear of those losses can get in the way of living more than the actual losses.

My biggest fear is not cancer; there are cures and support.  It is not loss of mobility; physical therapy and wheelchairs can help with that.  Lack of libido?  Not a problem.  Losing a job because I can’t keep up with younger workers?  Not me.  Diseases related to family history, in my case diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease?  Plenty of ways to manage both.  My biggest fear as I get older is Alzheimer’s Disease. Although my parents and their siblings experienced some dementia in their final years, nobody in my family was ever diagnosed with “Big Al”.  But the thought of losing my memory and cognitive abilities in the way Alzheimer’s takes them scares the hell out of me.

You see people you’ve known all your life but you don’t know who they are.  You stubbed your toe but you can’t find the word for that body part you stubbed.  You see things going on around you but you can’t comprehend them. 

I saw a PBS show the other day… I think it was a PBS show … about Alzheimer’s and one of the guests was someone diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.  She is only 59 and was diagnosed a couple of years ago.  She talked about some new medical advances that delay the symptoms and even the disease.  Oh yeah, the show was on RLTV.  By the way, not remembering little things like which channel that show was on could be viewed as the beginning of a memory-robbing disease.  Forgetting where you put your keys too.  But those kinds of things are also just normal forgetfulness; we are bombarded with so much data in our 21st Century lives that we can forget little things at any age.  So I’m not worried yet when I forget little things like that, especially because I have such a crazy recall for the littlest details of so many other things past and recent.

My Mother’s dementia didn’t really begin till the last year of her life.  The main thing I remember about the last time I saw her was that she didn’t remember who I was for the first three days of my four-day visit.  It frustrated her but it depressed me.  And my sister told me there were times when they’d be having a conversation about something and my sister would realize mid-paragraph that Mom through she was talking to her old childhood friend and not her daughter.

I don’t have any conclusion to this.  I just wanted to write about a fear.  I think I might finally start a journal, a very private but thorough journal expressing facts and feelings about my life so that if my fear ever happens, people around me can read what I was thinking when I the thoughts connected.

Oh, and I did see this today and thought it was pretty poignant.  It is sort of an Alzheimer’s person’ prayer.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Freaked Out and Pissed

I love technology.  Let me update that … I used to love technology until today.  I got an odd text message with a code verifying my request for a name change on my account.  It said if I didn’t make this request I should call customer service.  Hell no, I did NOT make that request and I did call.   

During the hour-long conversation with two different customer services reps and their fraud department I learned that someone tried to change the name on my account and upgrade the service.  They used the automated system and had the proper verification information.  They might have succeeded if I hadn’t called customer service when I did.  Customer service changed the information back to the original info and put an alert on my account.

How the hell did someone get my verification information?  Nothing is missing, that I know of.  I checked my bank twice and nothing has happened there … yet.  I carry very little personal information in my wallet and I rarely give out detailed information like SS numbers, PIN numbers, etc.   While I was on the phone with my cell phone carrier I also checked to make sure my home computer wi-fi was not on … I actually still have wired internet, partly because I have been procrastinating when it comes to buying a wireless router and partly because I am afraid of exactly what happened today.  Of course it is possible my phone’s wi-fi is partly the problem but how did someone get my verification info?

I am pretty freaked out by this.  And pissed off.  I feel sorry for the person who did this in the unlikely event I ever find out who it was.  Most people have never seen the side of me that would kick in if I knew who did this.

This phone is looking kind of attractive to me right now …

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


This made me smile.  Well, actually it made me laugh ...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What In Your Life Made the Earth Move For You?

What comes to mind if you are asked the question, “What in your life made the Earth move for you?”  The phrase ‘make the earth move’ often refers to great sex, but this question and this post refer to something much broader than that.

I stumbled on an HBO special this morning called “Bruce Weber: A YoungArts Masterclass.”  Basically it showcases how fashion photographer Bruce Weber mentors six young students in the art of photography.  His basic assignment is for each of them to create a visual representation of an important milestone in their life, something that was so powerful that it ‘made the earth move’ for them.  The results varied from photo collections and collages to videos.  One showed a student’s transformation from girl to woman, another showed the impact of an orphanage that student lived in at one time, another explored the topic of love.

As I watched this incredible program I also began to think of what my own answer is … what in my life made the Earth move?  You should try this.  Try thinking about it and try doing their assignment.

I have a few.  Following the usual vernacular of ‘earth move’ I can say my first sex was one of those moments, not for the reason usually associated with that phrase.  Mine was powerful in how incredibly awkward and unsatisfying it was.  The blind leading the blind.  I’ll let you figure out the rest.  Fortunately I recovered nicely.

Three different scenes during my year in the Army were earth-moving; more earth-shattering, actually.  My first day, when reality set in, a day on the firing range when I actually prayed, asking for a sign relating to my thoughts of trying to get out of the Army (and I got that sign) and my last day.

The earth moved the day my furniture moved from my house in Dallas, beginning its journey to my new life in Baltimore.  Almost thirty years later I can still remember standing in my empty living room crying, sobbing, as the full weight of an entire life change hit me.

Another earth moving day also involved crying.  At the end of my Dad’s funeral, moments after they slid his coffin into the ‘drawer’ at the mausoleum, I was pushing my Mom in her wheelchair down the hall on the way back to the car when I broke out sobbing, loud sobbing echoing in those marble hallways.  Dad’s death was expected and almost predictable and I calmly went through all the other activities that week, being strong for my Mother and sister, being the logical man my Dad was when helping to make all the decisions relating to the funeral.  The reality exploded within me as I walked down that hall.  Earth-moving.

One more moment stands out … seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time.  That was more a series of moments … first glimpse of the North Rim in brilliant late-afternoon sun, photographing a sunset there a few hours later, photographing a moon rise moments after the sunset, seeing the South Rim for the first time two days later and watching a sunrise from a trail 30 minutes down into the canyon.  Those indescribable sights made the Earth move for me.

No matter how ‘normal’ or boring our lives might be, we each experience life-changing moments.  Love, death, disasters, school, leaving home, travel moments, religious events, concerts, job changes, performing on stage, assisting with a birth; the list is as unique as each of us is.

So what made the earth move for you?

Here is a 2-minute montage of the program: