Periodic Pingback: Louis C.K. on how thankful we SHOULD be

26 November 2010

(Blogger’s note: from time to time, I run into something on the Interwebtenternet that’s too good to not share — but I don’t want to clutter up my freinds’ e-mail inboxes with more forwards.  So I put it here.  I call it Periodic Pingback, and I hope you enjoy it.)

Let’s face it — we are very fortunate to live in the time and place that we do.  Life in the developed world in the early 21st century is filled with so many blessings that our minds can get too boggled to be appropriately thankful.

Well, I know mine can.  In fact, so often the sheer tonnage of goodies can so blind me that I start griping when everything isn’t absolutely perfect.  Which is incredibly ridiculous, if you think about it.  F’rinstance, I have a pipeline into my house that brings me news, live sports, weather reports, full-length movies, games, and a library larger than any in existence a hundred years ago, all at the push of a few buttons.  (You’re reading this on it right now; it’s called the Internet.)  I’ve said to my wife, “how did we ever get anything done without the ‘Net?” at least three times in the last week.  And yet if my DSL modem is disrupted for a minute or two, I go out of my gourd.  How’s that for gratitude?

So to bring the perspective on just how good we have it these days, I invite you to watch this clip of comedian Louis C.K. from an old episode of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” where he goes into several examples of how much better things are now than they used to be.  We may not live in a perfect world (far from it), but I’d tend to say this is the best era to live in that’s existed since Eden.  At least until the next one.  Thank you, God.

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The first Thanksgiving

25 November 2010

(Blogger’s note: This is sort-of part two of a 2-part reminiscence — you can read part one here.)

It’s 8:45 p.m. as I sit down to type this.  My wife and kids are all in bed.  All the food is packed away.  The house still resonates with the smell of well-roasted turkey and store-bought pie.  I’m sitting her with a steel bottle full of water, wondering how much I’ve added to my waistline in the last twelve hours.

Thanksgiving is over.  And much to my (pleasant) surprise, it went rather smoothly.

Surprise?  Yes, surprise.  Because, for the first time in my life, it was me — not my mom and/or her mom — that was making the Thanksgiving feast.

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Year one

2 August 2010

This is a post I put off for a few days.  I needed to think about it some more before I wrote.

To start with, we need to turn the Wayback Machine to just over a year ago, July 31, 2009.  Nina and the kids returned yesterday from a day trip to see her parents in Cupertino (near San Jose, and  Sean is acting oddly — no energy, not hungry, just not himself.  We’re thinking he might just have a case of heatstroke; it had been a warm day …

Well, if you’ve been in this space for any time, you know it wasn’t heatstroke.  Or a cold.  Or a viral infection.  Or West Nile.  Or epilepsy.  Those were all thrown out as possible diagnoses before tests came back almost forty days later with a clear answer: Leigh’s disease.  What he had, in short, was a death sentence.

Except he didn’t die.  Still hasn’t, actually.  I can only attribute it to the hundreds, possibly thousands of people worldwide who are praying for his healing (and if you’re one of them, THANK YOU!), but he’s become the outlier, someone who’s actually slowly recovering from Leigh’s.  All the doctors and therapists are thrilled and amazed.  The Supermodel and I would be, if we had the energy — taking care of him and helping him in his recovery has been a stressful, exhausting business.  But it’s the war we’ve been called to fight, and we’re willing.

Besides, not everyone gets to fight the war.  And sometimes, people pray and God has other plans …

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Scrubbing the walls — and the silver lining

5 July 2010

Whew, I’m pooped.

Sorry, but it’s been a busy day, including more than the usual amount of physical labor.  In addition to two exercise sessions with my son Sean (still working his way back from Leigh’s disease), I had to get him in and out of the bath, mow the front lawn and — this was the really energy-intensive one — scrub the west wall of our kitchen, including both sides of the door to the utility porch.  So yeah, I’m a little winded.

But also pretty happy.  Doing a lot of stuff means getting a lot accomplished — and it’s really fulfilling to get things accomplished.  Even if they aren’t very important — woo-hoo, I’ve now read over 90% of the novelettes and short stories nominated for the Hugo Awards for science fiction! — it still gives me a good feeling to do and to finish.  I’ve never been one of those people who can float through life without impact; I need to be in the fray or I get depressed.  I’m not depressed right now.

In fact, I’m downright thankful to God for it all.  And that means I’m overdue for another edition of “Polishing the Silver Lining.”  Really overdue — my last official one was in February ’09!  So no more delays — let’s get grateful!

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I’m not making this up, it actually happened!

14 July 2009

I had an experience yesterday that was so out-of-the-blue strange that I have to share it with you.  I’m still parsing out the meaning of it all, and I hope you’ll forgive me if this sounds like some horrible “prosperity gospel” testimonial — WHICH IT ISN’T — but to paraphrase Jim Bouton, “This actually took place, Doctor.”

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Perspective and silver lining, thanks to the Joads

1 July 2009

Sometime, when you think you’re in a bit of a spot, you need a little bit of perspective.  You know the old saying about “I once cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet”?  That’s the kind of perspective I’m talking about here — the “it could be a whole lot worse” kind.  The “you have no idea how good you’ve got it” kind.  The kind that says, “hey, our home state’s not so bad — look at California, they can’t even pass a freaking budget!”  I don’t mean being cheered at the misfortune of others; I mean being thankful that for whatever reason, God has chosen to protect you from that misfortune.

In my case, being thankful that my last name isn’t Joad.

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The curious case of Brian Grant

22 June 2009

(Blogger’s note: This post is the first in a series of five or so that is part of what I’m tentatively referring to as “Life Change Week.”  Basically, I’ve had a lot of difficult stuff come up, the sort of things that pile up Life Change Units on one of those stress tests you’ve probably seen before.  As part of dealing with it all, I’m going to be writing about it here.  Hopefully, it will be helpful for you as well.  And now, to paraphrase Bette Davis, fasten your seatbelts — it’s going to be a bumpy week …)

I mentioned last week that my wife’s latest edition of ESPN: The Magazine (published in New York: The City) arrived, and that it was their annual “athletes-take-over-the-mag” issue.  Now, usually this magazine has a feature near the front called “This Just In,” an editorial about something going on in the sports scene, written by one of their top writers.  Being that it was the jocks’ issue, though, the slot this time around was filled by a former NBA player named Brian Grant.

I remember Grant from when he first came to the NBA with my hometown (well, home-region) team, the Sacramento Kings.  He was a 6’9″, 250-pound power forward with a decent shooting touch, a good rebounder.  His basketball career never quite lived up to expectations due to some injuries, he never made an All-Star team and he won’t be going to the Hall of Fame.  But he did play twelve years in the Association and made more money than I’ll ever see in my lifetime, so you can’t say he wasn’t a success.  But basketball was not the main thing he was writing about in his column — he has a challenge to deal with that’s a bit tougher than going one-on-one with Karl Malone.

Brian Grant has Parkinson’s disease.

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