BY VERN TURNER
Some days just sneak up on you with a confluence of events that may overwhelm the senses. If you’re paying close attention, however, something good and productive just might emerge at the end of that day; something that will guide your movements for the coming weeks, months or even for the rest of your life.
That day began for me yesterday when my very good friend came to visit and helped me design a project for which he provided needed assistance. We’re both engineers of a sort, so we decided on how we would approach the project and bought the necessary materials.
Late in the day the temperature topped 100 degrees, so we committed to the morning for implementation. We worked for four solid hours and finished just before the thermometer announced the century mark again. Then the day’s first lesson emerged.
He told me to let go of my anger and frustration with the political horror show in Texas and the nation. He said I should just fume it out somehow and then move on and stop letting it “eat me up” … as it has done for the two years or so.
It was a kick in the pants I certainly needed and it came from somebody who cares about me completely and isn’t afraid or reluctant to tell me what I need to hear instead of what someone thinks I WANT to hear.
As it happens, those who do that simply stop saying anything.
My friend reminded me that I am 71½ years old and that there is little I can do to change things except write about other things and otherwise be the jovial fellow he once knew.
“Let it go when you shut down the computer. Don’t carry the load for failed government after you put down the paper or turn off the news.”
These were the embedded lessons I learned from him today.
The second event today required me to euthanize my Maine Coon cat, Olivia. A greater pet and household personality never existed for me.
The lesson was re-learning the difference between pain and anger. Anger is surface-level emotion that erodes the soul and being of a person, but real pain let’s you know that you are still human and must deal with it.
Olivia suffered from polycystic kidney disease [PKD], but lived for 14 more wonderful months after the original diagnosis.
Today we ended her suffering. It hurt … a lot. But the pain welcomed me back to feeling real and not spinning my wheels on the loose gravel of a sick society that insists on destroying itself by its own hand.
I cannot stop it from happening. I can only watch it go … just like I watched Olivia’s eyes grow vacant today while her final breath went out of her lungs. Olivia spent the last few hours and moments of her life teaching me something more about my life.
I buried Olivia when we returned from the veterinarian’s office in 102-degree heat. It’s what I’ve done with my cats when they die. My tears tamp down the soil of their final resting places and I try to take stock of my life. Today, this essay is the result.
Subsequent articles and essays that I write are destined for other topics from my rich and varied life. I’m sick of the politicians, the political process that creates them, the graft, corruption, greed and shameless hubris practiced by people in both major political parties. My nausea continues with seeing and reading about the ridiculous and vacant minds of people who actually get elected. That speaks volumes about the quality of individual who votes for them. I’m outta here!
This final burst of anger and pain today became the lesson for the rest of my life. Oh, I’ll finish my next book that will not only detail the itemized horrors visited on the ordinary American citizen and ways to fix them, but I know nothing I say will change much during my remaining years.
A few of my readers will nod their heads in agreement; they’re already sold on doing what’s right. The bad news is that there are SO many who simply don’t read anything.
That said, I will try to enrich the lives of others if I can and if they’re inclined to accept and enjoy that. If not, no problem. I’m moving on and back to being the guy I was that made so many good friends.
Thanks, Olivia. I’ll never forget what you taught me today.
– Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. He lives in Marble Falls, TX, where he writes a regular column for the River Cities Daily Tribune. He is the author of three books – A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools, The Voters Guide to National Salvation and Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status – all available through Amazon.com.