September 09, 2007
Monday mission/Sunday seven
Originally published June 24, 2002
Time for the Monday Mission!
1. Do you wear glasses/contact lenses? If so would you consider going through Lasik surgery? (Or if you already have, please tell us about it)
I wore glasses from the age of 17 until I had the old-fashioned, done-with-a-scalpel radial caratotomy surgery in 1996. I've had 20-20 vision ever since, and it was the best $1,400 I ever spent.
2. Did you ever have to wear braces? How are your teeth? (any cavities, any pulled teeth, root canals, etc.)
I never wore braces. I have excellent teeth, probably from drinking huge quantities of milk when I was young. Unfortunately, I have TERRIBLE gums. When you see me smile now, you're looking at dental work that cost as much as a brand-new pickup truck. The dentist pulled six perfectly good teeth in advance of gum surgery, then capped eight upper teeth to fit the permanent bridge I wear now. The end result looks perfectly natural, but I had to learn to talk with a different mouth three times during the process. They do unspeakable things to you at the dentist's office.
3. What (if any) recent movies have moved you emotionally? Which one and how so?
I cry at sad movies all the time, especially if broken hearts and children are involved. I am an emotional man. That's why I prefer to watch movies on Dish Network, alone at home.
4. I visited my dear Mema in the managed care facility Sunday and while she is doing well, I was sad for her. Living out your final days/years someplace like that seems so lonely to me. Would you rather live the remainder of your golden years in a rest home, or pass away before it came to that?
I want to die like a man, knowing who I am and accepting my fate with courage. I never will go to a nursing home. I never will take chemo, or hormone treatments or radiation if my prostate cancer is not cured. I never will cling to a life that is not worth living. No, I'll make death take me on MY terms.
5. Sometimes, but not nearly often enough, I will just stop and marvel at the amazing planet on which we live. The eco-system, life and death, nature, the perfect balance that keeps us alive, the universe, it can all be mind-boggling if you let your mind get carried away. What natural creation or phenomenon just flat-out leaves you with a sense of wonder?
The millions of stars in a clear night sky, where I sometimes feel as if I am FALLING UP into that vast distance. The sea, when it's angry, moody and powerful, you're offshore beyond the sight of land, and you feel that eternal strength of the water pulsing beneath the boat. The mountains when you hike all day to reach the summit and find yourself amid the clouds, looking down on everything around you, especially in the fall when the leaves are a natural canvass of spectacular day-glow colors. A garden, where seeds and seedlings you planted grow to produce food for your table. Everything tastes better if YOU GREW IT! Mother Nature fills me with wonder all the time, and I love her to the point of worship. But I also know what a heartless, implacable, cruel bitch she is. That's why I am not an environmentalist.
6. Have you ever been in a fist fight or a situation where you had to get physically violent with someone else? How did that come about? Any consequences?
I was a short, skinny kid who spoke with a hillbilly accent. When I was picked on or insulted, I fought. I had more fights than I can remember growing up. I didn't win them all, but the same asshole never wanted to fight me twice. I learned to stand up for myself. I want to teach my son the same thing, but "zero tolerance" in schools today doesn't condone fighting of any kind. We're raising a generation of wusses and tattle-tails as a result.
7. Many times I look back in hindsight and think of how I should have handled a situation. Are there any recent happenings that you wish you would have handled differently? What happened and what do you wish you'd done?
A few years ago, I read the book Cold Mountain. It's a complicated story, but the central theme boils down to a simple question: Is it better to have known joy and lost it, or never to have known joy at all? At the time, I wasn't sure of the answer. I am now. I wish I had never met my ex-wife. I wish I had never sired my son. I wish I had stuck to my original decision and never gone for the prostate biopsy. The fact is, you'll never miss something you never had. But if you had it and then lose it, you'll miss it forever. And the loss is like a hole in your gut you'll never fill. Yeah, with 20-20 hindsight, I would love to relive a lot of what I've done in my life. I wish I could.