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 Texas : Feature : Columns : 'The View from Under the Bus'

CIRCLING THE DRAIN

by Gael Montana
"Tonsorial Artist and Hill Country Contrarian"
Comfort, Texas
We can only cheat the future in our minds. There are those who run and walk and do everything exactly right then drop like a stone on their 40th birthday from some unpronounceable malady. Meanwhile many of us smoke, drink and sit around like slugs only to live into our 80's & beyond. To make matters worse, we spend more money & energy trying to lose weight than we do putting it on. If only we hadn't been raised to consider gravy a 'beverage' all those years ago we wouldn't need to take nearly as many preventative measures.

As a society we have allegedly stripped the land of nutrients so thoroughly that our only hope is the vast ocean of supplemental flotsam...your vitamins, minerals and electro-lit-up beverages, etc. It's just plain hard to know what to do. When I finally quit smoking I got fat. Then nearly quit drinking only to find how mind-numbingly boring I have become. Without coffee I have no personality whatsoever. Now, hovering on the verge of elderly, not only does an answer elude me, but the question seems to have fled, as well. Oh yes, now I remember.... what the heck happened?

Our parents warned us to enjoy our childhoods while we could. Encouraging wide-eyed awe at Christmas and Easter along with all the many little joyous diversions in the run of the year. Of course, there was no way for us to know how it would all run together as we grew older and increasingly jaded. How these celebrations would become tiresome and more of a nuisance than a party. Over the years we tend to forget how terribly important the simple rituals are and until we lose them it's impossible to appreciate just how much they really mean.

I try to share the fun with my Grandchildren, ignoring the glazed, young eyes rolling up into their tawny heads, the stifled snorts of derisive laughter. Heck, we don't even share the same language anymore! I look quizzically at the text message on my cell phone & They're all 'waz goin on?' and we're all 'wot?' then they're all 'oap...woot, sot mg' then we're all ... well... 'AARP'! I feel like I'm knee deep in erroneous letters with no idea how to glue them all together! Among other things, we watch too much TV, hooked on programs like CSI, which is really no surprise since there's (at least) one on every night, and they span the entire USA: CSI LA, CSI NY, CSI MI, EI EI O. See what I mean?

Anyone with children will recognize the abject panic that comes over the little dimpled darlin's when fiscal reality rears its ugly head. The inevitable wake up call 'you're going to have to buy your gas, renew your insurance and keep your car maintained on your own nickel'. 'WHAT?' they snap...'buy gas?...but I don't have a JOB!!' How terribly unfair of us to suggest they earn their keep! My cousins & I learned to drive on an old Farmall tractor. It took awhile to figure out how to turn with only one brake when I finally got behind the wheel of the car, but I adapted. (Can you sense those eyes rolling back? Did I also walk 10 miles to school in the snow, barefooted, while children were starving in China?) Now the kids drive brand-new Hummers, signature trucks and suv's. Why aren't they busy inventing the next hybrid? Even out here in this rural, once-mostly agricultural community we have the thumping vehicles that you 'feel' long before you hear or see them coming. They seem to have speakers the size of Cincinnati in their trunks grinding out bass notes and nothing more. Sigh. Ok, there's good in everything, they're great for cleaning your teeth if you happen to be behind them at a stop sign.

Last week one of our close friends went to the hospital for a check-up after suffering sustained shoulder pain. He's probably the youngest in our close circle of pals and very attentive to his health. In fact, he's been in the medical field for most of his working life. Within 24 hours he'd had a 4-way bypass and is currently working on pulling up from a substantial reality check. It's a thing that we take lightly until we're there, until we're almost NOT there, actually. The upshot is this, (imho): We're always just a little too slow at the switch to make much difference. We might succeed in buying enough time to spread the good word about arterial health, etc, to the youngun's...But, wait, they're busy just like we were! Otherwise we'd be around forever and, frankly, just the thought of that makes me want to take a long nap.
'The View from Under the Bus'
June 30, 2007 Column
Gael Montana

See Comfort, Texas
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