Thursday, February 2, 2017

Washing my hands of blog requests

I’m thinking of asking Buck to install one of those medical scrub sinks up here on the Tin Lizzy’s third floor to bestow my blog composition with some gravity.

I always love watching M*A*S*H doctors at the 4077th scrubbing up before they head into another 14-hour session of meatball surgery. They appear so confident, so assured what they’re doing really matters.

Blogging is to writing what meatball surgery is to medicine.

It’s gritty, mistakes happen and it’s bound to leave a scar.

Unfortunately, most of those scars wind up on my darling wife who I’m sure reads the blog and wishes I’d instead devote the time to something — anything — that pays even minimum wage. 

I’m thinking of this today because last night a reader/friend asked me to perform a sort of operation.

Two of her loved ones are in need of urgent care. That both are of precious ages  only adds cruel poignancy to her family plight.

Could I, she asked, write something uplifting today? Something that’ll give her some momentary hope in the midst of so much painful uncertainty.

Sorry, but nope. Can’t do it.

I wish I could. Honest. I wish I could write something that inspires faith, cheer and instantly transforms her situation.

This happens once in a while and I know I always let down a core reader when I refuse to turn jukebox.

I just don’t take requests. I’m too innately contrarian.

Ask me to write something funny and I’ll say, “Funny? What’s funny? Haven’t you been reading the fake news? How can anybody even attempt to be funny in a world so rife with injustice, deprivation and the understanding the Patriots could win another Super Bowl.”

Ask me to write something about the sorry shape the world’s in and I’ll respond, “Don’t be such a Gloomy Gus! Things aren’t that bad. Gas prices remain stable, “La La Land” is nominated for 12 Oscars and you can bet the geniuses at Apple are feverishly working to make your 6-month-old iPhone seem uselessly quaint.”
Know my favorite type of blog to write?

The easy kind.

I try not to be controversial, but if I wake up with a controversial idea that seems easy to write, then controversy rules.

Many readers tell me they like my light-hearted approach to the news, but if something that seems cerebral seems easy I try to turn channel Einstein.

So the topic and reaction are secondary to degree of difficulty with easy being key.

Can you imagine the pressure real doctors or clergy feel when someone distraught asks them for hopeful solace?

How do they deal with it? I mean how do the sober ones deal with it?

What do you say when a struggling friend asks you to give them reason to hope?

Do you say you’ll pray? A lot of people really believe that works. I have my doubts, but I pray I’m wrong.

I think one of my most hopeful lines I’ve ever written — it’s one I use in all my talks — is No. 498 from “Use All The Crayons!”

“Enjoy being human and enjoy human beings.”

It’s so simple, yet so elusive. It means in essence to embrace life and all its flaws.

These days we’re all too hard on ourselves and one another. Everyone’s looking to fight. We forget how precious life is and go through our days in one long mope.

I can’t help my friend, but maybe I can help someone struggling stranger.

It’s why I try and extend the benefit of doubt to antagonists knowing they may be feeling some hidden stress over a job, a failing marriage or the sickness of an innocent.

Encourage when you can, pray when you’re asked and cheer if you’re able.

It’s really kind of easy.

And easy does it.

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