No New Shoes or No Legs

We rant. We moan. We bellyache.

Usually about inconsequential things: The 36-Channel Astro with nothing good to see; the clowns at Puzzle Palaces; the minimum-wage waitress who delivered the wrong food; the pesky mosquitoes; the frying pan that got scratched; the weather; the ugly driver who cut you off from the wrong side…the list goes own. Most of the time we complain at things we do not have control of, and we whine because whining is about whining, and anyway, it is of no consequence.

We cry because we have no new shoes…until we meet a person with no legs. Let me tell you about some people I know with “no legs”.

Just yesterday I went to a funeral of a girl whose mum and dad I knew well since young. The girl was born healthy, developed a fever (and meningitis probably) within a few days and her health deteriorated. Her doctors could not bring her health back and she became a severely handicapped baby. She died 34 years later four days ago. I can’t imagine the sadness and anguish, and the supreme efforts of both parents in taking in care of their child—bed ridden, unable to feed herself, and mentally handicapped—for 34 years.

Just 2 days ago, an old friend was traveling from Semporna to Lahad Datu as a front seat passenger when they had an accident. In an instant their Hilux Vigo lost the road, flipped and went wheels up among some oil palms. Thankfully he and the driver were not hurt—just some dented emotions. The Vigo was another story all together.

Life can cut off the legs from under you in the heartbeat moment that a moth flutters its wings.

Last week I went to visit another old friend at KPG Medical Center. He was admitted because of heart problems. Later I found from the daughter that his heart had already been zapped 3 times as the doctors tried to tame his really bad tachycardia. He was literally a heartbeat away from death.

As I finished my greetings, he looked up at me with regretful eyes and said, “I know. You had told me many times.” Indeed I did. He was referring to the numerous times I pestered him to try drag him to see my doctor about his hypertension.

There is no satisfaction in being right. Who wants to be right in a situation like this? I don’t even know I am right; maybe it is all one big nebulous genetic sweepstake. Some have teflon-coated arteries; some don’t. I am happy to know that after going to IJN, he had a defibrillator installed, and stents done, and he is on the road to recovery.

They say, to a bacteria a pin’s head is an Everest to climb. Perhaps rather than whining that the mountain should be lower, we should grow taller instead. I know I would like to. Maybe we should look more inwards, look for a place we find some solace, and apply a speed throttle to that dissatisfaction engine. If every thing fails, let us heed baseball great, Yogi Bera’s entreaty to “take it with a grin of salt.”

God bless.


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