Of Hearsay and Public Figures

This meme popped up in social media recently. As one can easily imagine, the creator was likely poking fun at Democrats and many media outlets. Admittedly, the “Cheryl’s She Shed” meme is a one-sided attempt to satirize a serious issue. Yet, the meme points out a problem that needs to be addressed in some manner.  

The political and legal systems in the United States have never been perfect. Yet, they have been better than other models throughout history, and the envy of many. Of course, not everyone would agree with that statement. There are, and have been, those who believe the freedoms and processes inherent in the U. S. systems are impediments to orderly governance. 

In case the last sentence has you scratching your head, here are few names that might fall into that category. For instance, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, and Fidel Castro were never in favor of freedom of the press, due process, and innocent until proven guilty. They, as well as many current leaders around the world,  might argue that we pay way too much attention to individual rights in this country. After all, if we must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone is guilty, we may not take every bad guy, or person we dislike, off the street.

So, you ask, what does this cumbersomely and grammatically challenged meme have to do with totalitarian governments or the reality of the situation in the United States today? The answer to that is simple. A well-meaning and totally legal decision made in decades past concerning some aspects of personal liberty, due process, assumption of guilt, and related issues are being subverted and used to establish a system of prosecution based on innuendo, false statements and total disregard for the rights of the accused.

That last statement is not the beginning of some hackneyed defense of Donald R. Trump. Rather, it is a simple statement of fact the Democrat war on Trump highlights. Using the power of their positions and exploiting one of the most egregious exemptions in U. S. civil laws, the mainstream media and many politicians and their supporters on both sides of the aisle have mounted a campaign to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency.

For the record, the president made himself an easy target for this attack. Whether that was due to his political ignorance, his ego, or a belief he needed to stand up for something bigger than himself is unknown. Still, his political rivals have declared war on him, and unlike others in a position such as this, he met the attack head-on. Only time will tell who, if anyone, wins this battle. Regardless, of that outcome, the way the battle has been waged needs to be examined.

Stay tuned.


© oneoldcop.com – 2020


Posted in Civility, Ethics, Leadership, Manners, Morality, Political Extremes, Politics, social media | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seriously Doc?!

The practice of medicine today is probably one of the most important, frustrating, and confusing professions in the world.  For example, through a series of events recently, I ended up in the cardiac unit at my local hospital. It wasn’t my first time in that hospital or unit, for that matter.  Still, no matter how many times someone deals with a medical group or issue, some aspects of the current experience can bring out the “Seriously doc?” reaction.

In this case, I held my tongue as it was a well-meaning RN named Matthew, who poked the nerve.  He was going through the ever-growing list of questions, diagnostic and just plain nosy, asked of patients today.  To be fair, my interaction with the medical community over the previous two days had me primed and ready.

First, I spent a very uncomfortable night on the last Sunday in January to avoid going to the Emergency Room.  After two similar instances in years past, I was certain this was not an ER situation.  Accordingly, I waited until Monday morning and went to my primary care doctor.  After checking me from top to bottom, he sent me to, you guessed it, the ER.

For the next twenty-six uncomfortable hours, I was confined to the ER.  During that period, my condition was “monitored,” I underwent a couple of scans, multiple blood draws, tests, and spent a lot of time twiddling my thumbs while waiting for a room. So, I was not in a great mood when I was finally rolled into a room with a real bed, a bathroom, and a window.

Matthew started down his list of questions, and I managed to answer him in a relatively cordial and coherent manner.  Then he reached the question that just about drives me up the wall every time it is asked, “On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever experienced, what is your pain level at this time?”

Every time I am asked that question, I want to scream, “Seriously, doc!?” Of course, Matthew was a nurse, and he had to ask the question. Still, what were the medical powers-that-be thinking when they came up with it?

All of us experience pain in different ways. I’ve known folks who would say their pain was a 10 while someone else would say a similar injury was a 2 or 3.  For example, I once experienced an injury during a rugby match that rendered me almost immediately unconscious. It was, at the time, the worst pain I’d ever experienced, and that is saying something. It was my 10 from then on, until it wasn’t.

Twenty years later, to the month, I had the pleasure of suffering pain that almost made the fact I passed out two decades earlier embarrassing. This pain occurred during a medical procedure, instead of an athletic contest.  That is why it was a med-tech who noticed my distress. Shutting everything down in the middle of the procedure, he came out of his lead-lined control area to check on me.

When he asked how I was doing, I replied through clenched teeth, “On a scale of 1-10, this is a 15, how much longer.” He replied thirteen minutes, and I managed to tell him to finish it without resorting to profanity. That may sound braggadocious and hyperbolic, but it is true. Only the slow onset of the agony and the importance of the procedure kept me from calling it quits. He finished the exam, and I had a new level 10. In case you are thinking I’m bragging or a masochistic, hold your horses.

As a former police officer, amateur athlete, life skills coach, and student of the human condition, I’ve known people who worked through pain that would have incapacitated others.

I’ve also seen people suffer through and survive injuries or pain levels that could have easily led to unconsciousness or something more severe. Likewise, I’ve seen some of those same people seemingly come to their knees with an injury many people would tape up and move on.

Within limits, pain is subjective. My 5 might be your 10. My 10 might leave you writhing on the ground, and in both cases, our emotional states might dictate our response to some degree.  That may be one reason we have the prescription of painkiller problems we have today.  We no longer expect people to “tough it out.” Instead, people expect their pain to be eliminated immediately, if not sooner. Doctor’s played into that for years, and we are reaping the rewards of that behavior today.

Is it any wonder I sometimes want to shout, “Seriously, doc!” when they start, “On a scale of one to ten…………?”

Posted in Civility, Daily Life, Medicine, Science, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Dates With Destiny?

Destiny has always sounded so final to me. I mean, one definition of destiny is “a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency.” If not final, it certainly sounds foreboding, and something beyond the individual’s control. Well, perhaps it is not always as final as I imagined.

In Date With Destiny, I attempted to humorously discuss a serious matter that seemed to fit my thoughts on destiny. I traveled a path that was mostly out of my control and ended up undergoing a medical procedure I had no intention of accepting when first proposed. As it turns out, that may have been the first stop on my journey to a date with destiny.

Sunday, January 26, 2020, was not your typical Sunday. I’d been dealing with an upper respiratory situation of some sort for more than a week. On Friday, my condition improved a good deal, and by Saturday, I felt almost normal. Sunday morning, I felt great. I went to church with my lady, sang in the choir, went to lunch with friends, and we spent the afternoon watching golf.

As the day started fading, I began to feel my condition slipping toward something not entirely healthy. By bedtime, I had the beginnings of a headache and felt fatigued. Just before midnight, I awoke with a horrible headache and tightness or pain in my chest.

As a heart patient, I have the essential tools necessary to check vital signs at home. So, I slipped out of bed and checked them. All the routine indicators of heart function were in the normal range, and I went back to bed.

Understandably, that last sentence may raise an eyebrow or two. Why would a septuagenarian with a heart condition try to ignore or sleep through something that might be a heart attack of some sort? Well, the answer to that is simple.

This was my third episode of this type since 2007. The 2007 event started in the middle of the afternoon, and by 4:00 pm I was in a great deal of pain that met all the criteria for heart attack symptoms. After double-checking with my primary care doc’s office, I went to the Emergency Room. That is when I discovered that a sixty-year-old guy walking into an ER with chest pains goes directly to the head of the line. The thirty or so other patients and family members in the waiting area looked more than surprised when I was immediately taken to the examination area.

After multiple tests and an interrogation by the doctor to see if something else could have caused my pain, I was admitted for observation. I was released the next day with a diagnosis of “We couldn’t find anything.” Basically, they had no idea what caused the pain but were reasonably sure it was not my heart. I say reasonably certain because medicine is not a science, and even the doctors will admit they cannot be confident in some cases.

Fast forward to September 2011. It is 2:00 am, and I awake with excruciating chest pains. After almost two hours of hoping, they would subside, it was ER time again, same hospital group as above but a closer location. Again, I went straight to the head of the line. The waiting area was full of people with minor injuries, or one malady or another. As with the previous visit four years earlier, there were no signs of any cardiac event that would have caused the problem.

Before going on, I must share the rather humorous side of the 2011 event. We were scheduled to leave for an Alaskan cruise later that morning. With my previous experience, I was very concerned we would not be making that trip. I am thrilled to report we did make it. The ER staff was great, and they fast-tracked everything they could, having us out of there by 8:00 am. Even then, their efforts did not cease.

Of course, we took a bit of ribbing from the nurses and techs over the possibility I would not be able to go. There were several offers from folks who said they would accompany my wife, and even the ER doc got into the mix.  After I was released, he chased us down on the way to the car to be certain we had copies all my records. He wanted me to have them in case the problem manifested itself again came on the cruise. He wanted me to have them for the ship’s doctor or other medical personnel. Talk about service and customer satisfaction!

Okay, back to my latest experience. I suspected this event was going to turn out the way the 2007 and 2011 event did if I went into the ER, so I waited. In some ways, I was correct. After a week of testing, the doctors could not explain why I had the chest pains, and the tests all indicated whatever I experienced was not a cardiac event. On the other hand, my doctors had something new to worry about.

The highly irregular rhythm of my strangely developed heart had changed suddenly. No, the change could not have caused the pain, nor could the pain cause the change. On the other hand, the pain forced me to visit my doctor, where the new rhythm could be detected. So, once again, some force appears to be driving me toward whatever my ultimate destiny might be. I might have been in big trouble if this third episode had not occurred. Something in my heart had changed, and the medication I was currently taking was making the problem worse. With today’s insurance guidelines and government regulations, I might not have seen either doctor before this new issue with my heartbeat caused a problem more severe than chest pain.

All of us have a final destiny, at least as far as our earthly body is concerned. Apparently, it is not time for me to meet my ultimate fate, but this might have been a wake-up call. I have been dragging my feet on a few critical matters. Perhaps, it is time for me to get my backside in gear.

© oneoldcop.com – 2020

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Language Games

Honesty starts with language.  No! It does not start with the language used. It starts with the way that language is used. For example, one might send a colleague an email stating, “I cannot believe you are so ******* dumb you can’t say @@@@ without screwing it up!”  Or, if the critic was feeling a bit more genteel, the email might say, “I was totally disgusted to see how poorly you represented our position before the committee today.”  In both cases, the recipient would understand the sender was not happy. Sure, his or her reactions to the two emails might be different, but the meaning is essentially the same.

Now that the groundwork is laid, where is this going?  Well, it is going somewhere I have ventured before to some degree, but before you click away, give me a second to expand on the title and why you should be interested in what I have to say.

As noted here several times in the past, the way people handle social media is an issue. In some cases, it seems to bring out the troll in us. That reaction is usually accompanied by a lack of veracity. This point came to mind recently when a meme concerning a particular school district mandating a new sex education curriculum started making the rounds. The “mandated” sex-ed curriculum reportedly covered topics some might feel are more abomination than education.

My first thought was to move on. Sex education is one of those topics the right, the left, and much of the middle could argue about for eternity. I did not however, because the meme catching my attention used the word mandated, and the school district in question has a good deal of political clout. Besides, I am always interested in the way others respond to such claims. So, I did a bit of research.

As it turned out, both sides of the issue in question played fast and loose with the truth.  If that comes as a surprise to you, please do not tell me.  I still have a bit of faith left in humanity living up to its position on the sentient being scale.

Skewing the truth, if not outright lying, is a standard tactic in many political, professional, and neighborhood debates, especially when social media is involved. I keep hoping that will change, as we become more acclimated to communicating in this manner. Sadly, that does not seem to be case. Accordingly, I wanted to see who might take liberties with the truth.

The hot button on this particular issue was not just sex education. It was the kinds of sexual activity included in the classes. Some aspects of the curriculum are considered topics one does not discuss in polite society by many folks. For the record, it does not matter which form of sexual contact or activity you envisioned reading that last sentence. The problem here is not the legality, morality, or the risk level of the behavior.  The point here is the liberties some take with language to support their point.

The piece starting the controversy was posted by a right-wing pundit who makes his living through hyperbole.1 The other side of the issue was a somewhat well respected fact-checking site. To be as objective as possible at this point, I must clarify the fact-checking entity in question is considered somewhat liberal by many conservatives.  Still, I have found them trustworthy, if one keeps their possible biases in mind when checking their analysis of a “fact.”  With that said, it is essential for anyone doing online research to keep the way language is used in mind and read carefully.

Here, the biggest problem on both sides was the term mandated.  The right-wing pundit claimed the school district was mandating students to be taught about sexual activity many adults might be embarrassed to acknowledge, much less talk about. The sometimes left-leaning fact-checking organization labeled his accusations false because he used the word mandated.  They did not, it should be noted, say his other claims were false.  Instead, they linked to the federal guidelines which essentially required school districts to establish curriculums in which such activity could be discussed. Which brings us to the crux of this matter.

The pundit claimed the ISD was forcing students to attend the sexual activity-related lectures in question. The fact-checkers claimed it was not mandated or forced participation as there were ways to avoid the classes some felt controversial. They stated the school districts did not mandate attendance as the parents had the right to file paperwork requesting alternative classes for their students.  Therefore, the pundit’s comments were false.

The pundit, and others, responded the classes were mandated because the students had to attend unless the parents took steps to remove them and request alternative classes. In essence, the students were mandated to go, unless the parents paid attention to notices the school claimed to distribute and then filed for an exemption. Whichever side of this dispute you come down on, keep a couple of things in mind.

The school district did not start this controversy. The U.S. Department of Education issued the guidelines concerning sex education. In the minds of many, the DOE is mandating, there is that word again, ISDs set up these programs because failure to adopt the programs could result in the loss of millions in federal aid, not to mention lawsuits and complaints from activists and outside parties pushing their agendas.

Another thing to consider is the impact to the children, if they are moved to an alternative class. For one reason or another, the odds are the majority of students will attend the DOE recommended classes.  This means those whose parents are paying attention, caring about the matter, and willing to rock the boat a bit will be in the minority. This will make their students likely targets of bullying or good old fashion childish behavior.  Additionally, they will undoubtedly hear the more salacious details of the classes from their fellow students.

They will not hear the, hopefully, thought out and objective presentation about the pros and cons of certain behaviors from teachers. Instead, they will hear the uninformed, what seemed funniest, strangest, or grossest sexual behaviors in which some people engage. They may hear something akin to the admonitions from my public school days such as, that’ll make you go blind, or worse.

The bottom line is this.  Everything you find on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media outlets, including the piece you just finished reading, should be considered suspect.  Before, you share,  blast, or dismiss the item, do your own research.

  1. Please note, this comment is not meant to be an indictment of the individual involved. It is meant to be an indictment of the way many use social media. If one wants to make money from their writing, research, whatever through social media, click-worthy content and design is essential.  Therefore, hyperbole, distortion, and shading the truth to some extent is considered essential.  If you doubt that, click in on a post with a headline beginning “10 Shocking Facts about …”, and you’ll likely find ten yawners or slightly amusing anecdotes.

© oneoldcop.com – 2019

Posted in Civility, Daily Life, Entertainment, Ethics, Journalism, social media | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Of Climate Change and Exploitation

First, there is no doubt climate change is real.  Doubts arise when activists begin to claim climate change is the result of humanity’s ignorance concerning the fragility of the ecosphere. Yes, climate change is real. The questions are how much of an impact do humans, cows, and industry have on the changes, and what are the short and long term prognoses for the planet.

The doomsday crowd may be correct, and the world as we know it could be changed dramatically for the worse in a short time, relatively speaking. On the other hand, the climate disaster crowd’s record as prophets is not impressive. Either way, this piece is about another issue that is being revealed by the climate change debate.

Greta Thunberg is the new darling of the climate change world, and rightfully so. She has done a marvelous job of pushing her understanding of the pending disaster and what must be done to avoid it. In fact, her efforts led to Time Magazine naming her person of the year, as well her becoming the target of some who feel the whole thing is a plot of one sort or another.

Whether Thunberg is a child prodigy or is simply being used by others makes little difference. The fact she is even the topic of conversation and debate points out a long-term strategy of the Left that should have everyone conservative or moderate worried.

Believe it or not, there have been other doomsday prophets in the past. Some with much more credibility than the group for which Thunberg is now the poster child. When I was a bit younger than Ms. Thunberg, I was being trained to defend my family and my homeland from the coming Russian-Cuban invasion.

My homeland defense training was after years of being indoctrinated into the duck and cover practices of the impending nuclear war worries. I have no idea how many times I watched doomsday related news stories. Buildings were flattened by atomic bombs, and communist soldiers marched in parades to show their country’s might.

Not only were my brother and I trained to survive, our dad, like many people today, made money off of the doomsday prepping of the time. He designed and sold bomb and fallout shelters. Since we were in Texas, some of those could double as tornado shelters, but no bombs ever dropped.

While there are similarities between the doomsday cult of the 50s and 60s and the doomsday propagators of today, there were significant differences. For one thing, my brother and I were not allowed to skip school to protest. We were never allowed to organize student walkouts, strikes, or protests, and if we had tried, no one would have paid much attention. Which brings this back to Ms. Thunberg and others.

The word exploitation is used in the title of this piece for two reasons. One is to get a potential reader’s attention. The other is to bring up a potential problem Greta Thunberg represents, whether she or anyone else realizes it.

The extremes of both the Left and the Right exploited the likes of Ms. Thunberg for decades, if not longer. The World War II era was the time of Hitler Youth and teenage Kamikaze pilots. Earlier in the 20th Century, it was the Soviet Youth and Communist youth movements. In more modern times, we have teen and younger, terrorists, and soldiers. These and other examples show impressionable youth can be utilized effectively to help bring about radical change, whether they know what they are doing or not.

The current movement, of which Thunberg is the staring example, has been in motion since at least the 1980s. That is when I first became aware the Left in this country is attempting to change practices and laws to bring the likes of Greta into the world of adults and politics. Their goal is to lower the voting age to sixteen, and Ms. Thunberg is a stellar example of why they wish to make such a change.

What I will say now, will label me an “adultist” in the eyes of many of my old friends and associates in higher education. By that, they will mean I am engaging in adultism by implying a sixteen-year-old should not have the same rights as a fifty-year-old. Especially when it comes to voting and political activities.

Whether anyone is purposefully exploiting Ms. Thunberg is not the question. She is being used, even though at the moment, she probably feels she is empowered and in control. To her credit, she appears to be handling the spotlight and notoriety very well, either that or she has the best puppeteer behind her anyone has ever seen. Still, she is the poster child for two positions on this issue.

First, and the one most important to those who applaud her current notoriety and role, she is representing their position of climate change doom. Not only is she doing so, but she is doing it with passion and elegance far beyond her years. Second, she is precisely why the idea of lowering the voting age to sixteen or further emancipating teenagers wholesale is dangerous.

Someone has frightened this child to the point of near hysteria. Now, they are manipulating her, keeping her agitated. Too, it seems they do not care about the long term effect of her involvement in their doomsday view of the world.

Of course, Ms. Thunberg is not your average sixteen-year-old. She is, reportedly, a sixteen-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome. A syndrome her mother flippantly calls her “superpower,” which likely means her mother does not understand the danger of that superpower.

Whether she is being used or simply allowed to act on her own, Ms. Thunberg’s behavior should be concerning. It should be especially bothersome to her parents or anyone with any knowledge of special needs individuals. For example, one effect of Asperger’s is increased anxiety and depression.

Ms. Thunberg has displayed both of these in spades during her public presentations. These characteristics and others may lead to uncertain outcomes for a person with Asperger’s. I will not mention them here, but anyone with interest in the matter can easily find them. Here, let’s just say it does not bode well for someone in Ms. Thunberg’s position, should she fall out of favor with her supporters and fans.

Personally, the circumstantial evidence surrounding Greta Thunberg’s rise to notoriety leads me to believe she is being used. Admittedly, there is no definitive evidence that is the case. Still, the idea that a sixteen-year-old special needs child could orchestrate her rise to fame seems a bit far-fetched. If she is being used, those manipulating here are playing a dangerous game with her physical and mental well-being.

© oneoldcop.com – 2019

Posted in Civility, Daily Life, Ethics, family, Family Vaules, Morality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Wisdom Isn’t

Don’t you love these little bits of wisdom that Anonymous1 and others publish to help us find our way? Of course, one cannot forget the friends and associates who help spread these so-called truths in one way or another. Take the one on the left, for example, so wise, so meaningful.

Snarkiness aside, there is some truth to this bit of anonymous wisdom. Who cares if St. Louis Style barbecue is better than Memphis Style. Does it really matter if the Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team or if the Pats are the best team ever to put on cleats? Oh! If I have offended anyone by not mentioning the Packers, the 49’ers, or your favorite team, I apologize.

Just kidding! Even though Jerry has pretty much neutered the ‘Boys throughout his reign, their star will rise again when the time is right. As for Brady and his crew, we all know they cheat!

Back to reality, so to speak. The problem with the quotation above is what it does not say. There are times when it is crucial to make it clear one’s position is the right position, regardless of the consequences. For example, consider domestic abuse.

When one mentions domestic abuse, most people immediately envision a battered or abused wife. That assumption is wrong on at least two levels. First, not all abuse is physical. Second, the husband is not always the abuser. A third, misconception is the belief all abusers have a history of abusing others or entered into the relationship with the intent to dominate the other party, through any means necessary.

True, some abusers have a history indicating their propensity for violence, either physical or psychological. Yet, that is not always the case. Either way, as the article on abuse referenced below makes clear, the wronged party may be able to avoid or stop the violence. By the way, apologies are likely not the answer.

Apologizing to an abusive, pushy, or overbearing individual may be a poor strategy.   In fact, apologizing, and letting the other party feel vindicated may be feeding his or her need to assert power. With that said, let’s avoid digging farther into the domestic abuse issue. For a better understanding of how or when to deal with abusers check out an article on the topic in Psychology Today. That piece deals with that issue more effectively and deeply than is necessary to debunk the meme above.

Here, let’s focus on that friend, associate, or relative who always needs to be right or have the last word. You don’t appreciate their attitude, but for whatever reason, you feel the relationship is more important than appearing to have an overblown sense of self-importance.

For example, consider the coworker who continually pushes your buttons in one way or another. Failure to confront this issue may result in everything from merely making the workplace uncomfortable to what might be considered a hostile work environment; for you and others. Of course, serious issues may need intervention from HR or management, but anything short of that might be up to you.

Consider the office gossip, for example. You know! The person who regularly shares some salacious update concerning a coworker, client, or celebrity. For whatever reason, you do not want to be part of that particular game, but it is not an HR worthy issue.  That means, you either put up with it or say something.

Should you decide to address the matter with the gossip, he or she will respond in one way or another. For instance, the person may go off in a huff.  In that case, you can rest assured the individual will not bother you again. On the other hand, you may become the focus of the gossip network for a time.

It is possible to minimize the negative impact of telling the gossip to take a hike. For example, do not use the term “take a hike.”  Find a more respectful way to make it clear you wish to be left out of the gossip loop. One, that does not give the person an easy excuse to be offended. It is also likely, no matter how diplomatically one tries to handle the situation, the other party will feel hurt, angry, or unliked. If a negative response is apparent, you may, as the meme above suggests, feel the need to apologize to save whatever is left of the relationship. Don’t do it! Here is why.

You will be impowering the other party. He or she may see your principles are a convenience, that the appropriate challenge will cause you to surrender. People who make inappropriate comments are often testing the waters, especially in a new relationship. Accepting their overture, without comment, can be a problem. Anyone not making it clear he or she does not play that that game, may find the level of inappropriate activity increasing. They will be seen as an ally.

Keep in mind, people attempting to drag others into their circle of gossips, bigots, or whatever will be prepared, consciously or unconsciously, for a negative response. They may act hurt, angry, or confused. Whether that is a genuine response or a tactic, makes little difference. If you genuinely believe your comment or position was apology worthy, it may be appropriate at some point to issue an apology.  Whatever you decide, do not say the words “I am sorry.”2

Yes, it is possible to apologize without compromising your position on a matter.  Unfortunately, digging into that subject is more appropriate for a workshop, seminar, or coaching session than a blog post. The point to remember here is that a blanket apology may give the other party the idea they can try again in the future.

The point to remember is this. The unattributed comment above is not a blanket statement of truth. Compromising deep-held beliefs or agreeing to something one knows is wrong to save a relationship is a mistake. If maintaining a relationship means compromising one’s standards, the relationship may need to be reconsidered.

Finally, many of these tips or bits of wisdom aren’t what they seem. Yes, they sound lovely, warm, cuddly, etc.  Still, in many cases, regardless of who authored the statement, they are nice-sounding platitudes with all the depth of a bottle cap.

  1. I find these “anonymous” attributions amusing for several reasons. First, it is likely the true attribution is “unknown.” Second, there often is someone willing to take credit for the quotation, but determining the true source is too much trouble. Also, if it sounds good, and I want to publish it without running into copyright problems, I’ll just attribute it to the all-knowing, Anonymous.
  2. Some will argue “I’m sorry” is more sincere and remorseful than an apology.  I regret that is the case, as people can use either word and not mean it, but the number of non-apology, apologies coming through the media and social media certainly taints the process.  While there are ways to make an “I apologize” as meaningful or even more meaningful than “I’m sorry,” that is the topic for another essay.  On the other hand, when you’ve hurt someone’s pride, and say “I’m sorry,” two things may happen.  You may feel negatively about yourself, after all, you said you were sorry, and they may be thinking, “You sure are!”

© oneoldcop.com – 2019

Posted in Civility, Daily Life, family, Manners, social media, Uncategorized, Verbal Communication | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

When an Age Spot Isn't!

Okay, boys and girls, I hate to be the grinch who stole Christmas, but! I’d rather put out something not joyous today than read something really sad next year.

For those of us in late-late middle age, maybe even a bit younger, we have these things called wisdom bumps, age spots, or some other innocuous name. Sadly, as I found out a few weeks ago, not all of them are harmless signs of the fact one is closing in on his or her final years.

For the record, I am not one to avoid doctors because he does not want someone to tell him he is overweight, eating poorly, or indulging in vices that may shorten one’s life. I listen patiently, read the doctor’s suggestions, and then follow the ones with which I agree. That does not mean I ignore them completely, but I do no obsess about the fact my fiftieth birthday is a fading memory. Okay, my fiftieth is not even a memory, but I have pictures of my sixtieth.

What I am trying to say is this. I go to the doctor and add doctors as it seems appropriate. One of those optional docs in my book was the dermatologist, but I finally agreed to see one regularly a few years ago. If nothing else, it is amusing to sit in a waiting room watching clerks, nurses, and other staff members who all look like they could have been on the cover of some fashion magazine, and most of them can still smile without straining.

All right, I went for a cheap life there. Still, it is interesting to see how attractive the staff is at offices such as this. Anyway, my doctor is great, snide remarks about plastic surgery aside. She has helped me fight the effects of years in the sun, no interest in keeping my skin moist, and other male shortcomings when it comes to how one looks, other than our hair and waistline, in some cases.

Well, even the most health-conscious of us with great doctors can miss some danger signs. Mine was a small brown spot the size of a dime just below my left knee. It seemed to be a large freckle or small age spot. It was there for years, and I only thought about it when I went to the dermatologist. In fact, it had been there so long, neither my doctor or I checked it regularly.

Then one day in the reading room, it caught my eye. The brown spot had paled a bit, and it was no longer a solid spot. In fact, it looked a bit like a splash of coffee that dried on a countertop. An oval spot with little spots splayed out in front of it. Since my regularly scheduled visit to the skin doctor was just a couple of weeks away, I did not worry about it. I did, however, remember to show it to the doc. She was not happy but said it was probably nothing. To be on the safe side, she sent a piece of it to the pathologist.

My suspicions of trouble began when we started playing telephone tag. Normally, if she had not reached me directly, she would leave a message on my phone saying everything was okay and see me next year. This time, it was please call back, and it took several tries to connect. I was certain it was not good news, and when she returned my last attempt after hours, I knew what was coming before she told me.

Okay! I did not know the exact diagnosis. I did know it was not going to be a good one. Yet, as these things go it could have been a lot worse. The spot was a melanoma in situ. If you clicked on the link, you know this is the least dangerous stage of melanoma. In fact, my surgeon said it was essentially a pre-melanoma. Whatever one calls it, it is something that needs to be addressed.

The spot on the left is similar to the spot on my leg as it had existed for years. The spot on the right is similar to the change I noticed and is a possible indicator the spot is degenerating into something dangerous.

Just so you know, fixing something such as this is not a walk in the park. They must treat it as real cancer, and that means some real surgery, depending on the location. In my case, I had four procedures for this one spot.

First, was the attempt to remove it in my regular dermatologist’s office. She got a lot of it, but knew she did not have it all. So she referred me to a surgeon. He cut a hole in my leg just below the knee that was a bit bigger than a quarter, removing the skin all the way down to the muscle. That sample went to the pathologist, who found he did not get it all. The third procedure enlarged the hole to about the size of a silver dollar, and when that report came back clear I had a fourth surgery to close the wound.

So, I have another scar to add to my collection. If anyone remembers the commercial from some years ago of two old codgers standing on the edge of a swimming pool comparing scars, I can be their buddy if they want to do another one.

To wrap this up, I will go back to what I said earlier. I hate to publish something like this just before Christmas, but I’d rather have you a bit worried about those age spots now so you can schedule an appointment after Christmas than have you wake up in the spring one day, saying what’s this thing on my leg, or wherever, and finding out simple surgery will not fix it.

I’ll be praying for all of you to have a great Christmas and New Year, and that your age spots are just that.

Operating room image courtesy of  JAFAR AHMED on Unsplash

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