Thursday, August 26, 2010

In A New York Minute...

If you've ever stood by helplessly and watch a mechanic, repairman or computer consultant work on a pricey beacon of utility within your daily existence -- a car, an appliance or a Quad-Core PC -- you know all too well the possibly sickening feeling you experience when he/she advises you that the object of his/her attention is in need of replacement, not repair.

However, when that consultant is a doctor and is advising you that the object of his/her attention is a human being -- specifically, someone about whom you care a great deal -- it's far worse. Audi keeps producing cars, GE microwaves are plentiful, and if today's PC goes tits up, tomorrow's Newegg shipment brings replacement parts with UPS efficiency.

However, less than a week ago, we were in the dubious, precarious, repugnant position of being on the receiving end of some incredibly distressing news about my grandmother. Without going into specifics, the prognosis we were given -- by a team of phsyician-assistants at Columbia Presbyterian -- was worse than grim and took an indelible toll on us all.

It was only two or three days later that this prognosis was rescinded and we were advised her condition was neither fatal nor permanent. And being that she's 90, anything unusual or different is, usually, not a good thing.

After the initial shock, sadness and disappointment we experienced as a family, both immediate and extended, elapsed and we were left to face the reality of the fact that she's 90 years old and probably won't be celebrating her 150th birthday on this earth -- at least not vertically -- we resigned ourselves to mortality, both hers and each of ours, and proceeded to ensure her situation was addressed expeditiously.

And when the prognosis was soon thereafter rescinded, I suppose the first thing we each experienced, after relief, was a strong interest in the names of the morons who made the ridiculous, irresponsible decision to suggest her time on this Earth was soon drawing to a close.

In hindsight, after enduring that particular experience, one could harbor anger, resentment and sentiments akin to vengeance.

But the truth is, beyond the relief of knowing she's going to be around for quite some time longer -- perhaps long enough to watch Kaia and I exchange vows, etc. -- I can only focus on the relief part and not the anger. I'm not sure if this confirms I'm a happy person, or that my anger management genus is still functioning, or that I'm a wuss. But overall, after the relief and gratitude and that big talk with The Man Upstairs, I think the main emotion I've experienced as of late is acknowledging our time here -- on this planet, I mean -- is too short to be consumed by anger, resentment and anything other than happiness.

I don't see my overwhelmingly pointed sense of sarcasm waning -- if anything, it gets sharper each year as if its been treated to daily whetstone applications -- but at least it's for laughs and not for the jugular...mostly.

So the next time you and/or a loved one happen to be near or visiting Columbia Presbyterian, bring clown outfits and red foam noses for the physician assistants and a big bag of questions. Inasmuch as these people think they know what they're doing, just remember -- they're playing God, but they're not even remotely accurate in their portrayals.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Tomorrow's Another Day

Invariably, we humans are a curious breed; we never fail to see the optimism of tomorrow. While we rarely manage to address everything in our inexplicably busy lives today, we know with certainty that tomorrow the sun will rise in the East and, given our best intentions, we will accomplish what we've needed to address by the time tomorrow's Sun sets in the West.

Except we don't call into question whether we'll be there to witness both of these daily certainties. Of course we will; why would we even question it?

A friend of mine, Neil Dublinsky, seemed to be that type of realistic optimist. He was always quick with a smile or a good word or support, someone who seemed to get it. I hadn't seen him since September when he'd visited New York, but we'd been friends online for more years than I can remember. We'd met through J-Date, he of the moniker Hip Lawyer Man LA and me of the Boogie Booginacious moniker. We'd worked opposite coasts but we'd both benefited by the fact that we just enjoyed interacting with others and enjoying every minute of every day. Once we finally had a chance to hang out in September of last year, I'm glad to note that he was the same generous, easy-going mensch in person that he had always been in the virtual world.

Going through the myriad minutae of Facebook, I suddenly discovered he passed away this past July 25th. "Neil? No, that can't be." Somehow I just couldn't believe it. It didn't seem to make any sense -- I'd spoken to him somewhat recently and he didn't mention he'd been ill and didn't seem to be off in any way. After some digging I'd confirmed what I was hoping I wouldn't. So many people left their thoughts and prayers and sympathies on his Facebook wall, and further prepared and posted entries about their thoughts on Neal's all-too-brief life. I'm still shocked and saddened by the fact that his is a life that is no more. I want to somehow believe that I'm not in reality and that tomorrow will bring news that this was all part of some alternate reality, one that he and I will laugh about the next time we meet up in NYC, whether at Vynl or somewhere uptown or wherever. We might even commiserate about the passing of Captain Lou Albano, the famed pro-wrestling personality we both admired in the 80's. Or just muse over the intricacies and vagaries of life in general.

Unfortunately, I know this won't be so. Of course my thoughts and prayers and sympathy extend to his family and friends, and I'm sure at some point I'll re-visit his wall and read through the additional comments from his other friends equally saddened by this news as am I. And each time I think of his easy-going smile and seeming happiness in this life, I'll hope that -- wherever he is -- he's happy and at peace and sharing his smile and his genuine good nature and generous spirit with whomever he's with.

Rest in peace, much as I'm glad to have known you I'm sad that your time here was so brief. One thing I know for sure -- whether yesterday, today or the tomorrow that is yet to come -- you'll be smiling and so will be whomever you're with.