Canceled

They came one after another. A work event I’d been helping prepare for months. Both universities where I teach canceled classes and would move the rest online. A trip to Boston with my youngest daughter for her first basketball tournament. Another local tournament for two daughter’s soccer teams. Then the postponement of the youth soccer season altogether. Then their basketball season. Then one’s theatre program, another’s gymnastics etc.…


Are you contagious?

Contagion is the second most popular movie on Netflix this year as people turn to this 2011 thriller for some combination of information and escapism. I watched this movie when it first came out and remember it as absolutely terrifying. But not for the reason you might think.

Yes, the physical effects of the virus that spreads rapidly across the globe are devastating and graphic (it is portrayed as exponentially more lethal and dangerous than the coronavirus.)…


That’s Weak

Over the last two weeks, I have spent more time on my back than on my feet. I cannot recall a flu that has hit so hard and lasted so long.  While there were the usual aches and pains, nothing has been more persistent and debilitating than the constant state of fatigue and weakness.

There is a helplessness that goes with such weakness. You have no strength for much of anything — to stand, to walk, to eat, to read, to watch, to work, to talk. …


Healthy people’s problems

I’m sure you’ve heard the term or made a joke about  “first world problems”, “rich people’s problems” or “white people’s problems”.  All are used, sometimes offensively, to diminish the seemingly insignificant issues that more privileged groups face.
 
My guess is that you’ve never heard or used the term “healthy people’s problems” – unless perhaps you or a family member has suffered through an all consuming health issue. …


What does a child feel?

We’ve all been there. Seemingly out of nowhere, a child just loses it.  These meltdowns have an almost surreal beginning, leaving us wondering, “Where the hell is this coming from? “  They quickly escalate into an exorcist-like demonic possession. What else can possibly explain what is being spewed from the mouths of babes?  The litany of complaints, grievances, and injustices fly out like one speaking in tongues.…


Are we measuring the right things?

This morning, like most, I stepped on the scale. This routine measurement is designed as a nudge to guide that day’s eating.  If I’m happy with my weight I might indulge more than if I’m bummed that I packed on an extra pound.

It also acts as a proxy for what kind of shape I’m in. The idea that if I am below a certain weight  (no I’m not telling) it indicates that I’m good health.…


A Labor, then Love

In 1894, Labor Day became an official federal holiday.

The year before a different kind of labor inspired a 26-year-old nurse to become one of the most important social reformers the country has ever known.

Lillian Wald was teaching a homemaking class on the Lower East Side when a little girl burst in begging for someone to help her dying mother.  She had struggled in labor before giving birth but was now badly hemorrhaging blood.…


The Drive

It was my first experience driving on the left side of the road.  A task made more challenging by the vehicle Enterprise had given us. Their self-proclaimed party van could seat eight comfortably and still have room enough for four suitcases and five backpacks.
 
The roads seemed incapable of holding both this van and the oncoming traffic – which apparently consisted exclusively of campers, busses and eighteen wheel trucks 
 
They say that the drive from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye is majestic but I couldn’t tell you, as my eyes were exclusively focused on the road five feet in front of me every minute for four hours. …


You’ve got some nerve

Several years ago, I pinched a nerve in my neck. Unbeknown to be, this was cutting off signals that extended down through my left arm. When I finally went to see my doctor, we discovered that I had lost 50% of muscle strength in my left triceps.
 
My muscle had atrophied and there was some question as to whether that strength would ever be recovered.…


The Storm before the Calm

On a recent podcast, Kevin Bacon told a story about what it was like to act in a movie directed by Clint Eastwood. (It’s starts around the 1:49 mark)

On most movie sets, he described a pre-shoot experience marked by commotion, noise and stress. 

People chaotically running around, barking “quiet on the set” and “rolling” and then slamming down the slate board that marks the scene as loud as humanly possible before the director screams “action.”…