Tag Archives: Death

I’m Trying Ringo…

I consider myself a pretty patient person who doesn’t get angry often. In fact, the one or two things that really get under my skin relate to matters of disrespect.  It’s been a pet peeve of mine for as long as I can remember and the one thing that will cause me to say something I should probably keep to myself. But sometimes, that’s just not possible.

I have tried not to watch the news very much, as it relates to the coronavirus and believe little of what I might read on social media. Everyone seems to have their own agenda, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Facts are distorted or adjusted to meet individual agendas or platforms and what should be a coming together for the greater good of everyone has deteriorated into politics at its worst. It was disheartening a couple of months ago. I don’t know what word  I can use to describe it today.

But I’m getting real angry, and that’s a place I rarely allow myself to go. It’s even more rare when I stay there. In fact, I’ve stayed away from writing anything on here because I didn’t want to write about the virus or have it come off as a political statement. I’m pretty much sick of seeing or hearing about it every day. But I originally created this blog to be able to express what I felt regardless of what anyone else thinks. So why not throw down some thoughts. People can always hit the delete button.

Here in New Jersey and in neighboring New York, we’ve been pretty much locked down for almost four months. For the most part,  people here have done what was asked and the numbers reflect their efforts. In the last two weeks, things have begun to slowly open up and when they did there were two or three instances where bars/restaurants didn’t follow specific guidelines relating to crowds so the governor, seeing what happened in other states, pulled back anticipated openings. I have no problem with that except the greater majority was, once again, penalized for the stupidity and irresponsibility of idiots. An example of disrespect.

As I was sitting home all this time, I’ve had to read or view reports of people around the country who were upset because they were shut down for five minutes. People who refuse to simply wear a mask because they feel it infringes on their rights. People attending indoor rallies without masks to cheer for, encourage and stroke the ego of their leader, who, naturally also refuses to wear a mask. I’ve had to listen to state and local politicians who act like lemmings and play follow the leader, choosing to ignore the experts, data, stories of those who became sick and agony of the families who couldn’t be with their loved ones when the died fighting for breath. I’ve watched large groups of people, old enough to know better, play Russian roulette with their lives, just for a few drinks and a night out. But when your supposed leaders set the wrong example this type of behavior is inevitable. An example of disrespect.

There was a story the other day explaining how students in Alabama were having Covid parties. Apparently at least one person in attendance had to knowingly be infected.  When other guests arrived money would be placed into a pot and whomever got the virus first after attending the party, won the money. I didn’t wan to believe that people could be that stupid but authorities in Alabama have not yet refuted the story and in fact confirmed that some young people have confirmed the reports.

Yesterday I watched a video from Diamond Lake in Michigan of a large group of young people dancing close together in the water without masks on. The comment attached to it was written by Michael Stets, who said, “We had our chance as a country to get things under control., but ultimately, we were destined to fail. And that’s because the country is filled with reckless people who care about no one but themselves.” Disrespect.

It’s depressing to think that way, isn’t it? Depressing to think that, after all the images we’ve seen of  bodies stacked up inside refrigerator trailers, overcrowded hospital wards, pleads from health care workers, warnings from families who have lost so much and advice from some of the best minds in the country, we find that the simple task of wearing a face mask, keeping your distance and following specific guidelines for the welfare of everyone is too much to ask. Disrespect.

Instead,  leaders decided to open it all up because five minutes of inconvenience was too much to ask. Let’s ignore the deaths. That’s a small price to pay for a haircut, massage,  spay tan or a meal  that couldn’t be made at home. What’s a few more deaths when you can pack into a club to drink with your friends or go to the gym or grab a movie instead of watching one at home. The leaders will tell you they’re doing it for the business but let’s not kid ourselves, they’re doing it for the vote. Lives be damned. Four or six more years is what’s most important followed by money, depending on what side of the equation you’re on. Disrespect

I’m afraid it’s too late now. If we had a leader who led by example, if we  came together as a country four months ago and decided that, collectively, we would all do the right thing and sacrifice the materialistic things in life so we can all have a life, then we wouldn’t be where we are today. Disrespect.

I’d like to believe in a different outcome but it’s getting harder to get there. I’m reminded of the of words of Samuel Jackson in the movie Pulp Fiction. “I’m trying Ringo. I’m tying real hard to be the Shepherd.”

Unfortunately for all of us, a large segment of the flock is headed in a different direction.

 

 

Living With Dreams

 

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” 
James 4:14

Thirty-nine years ago today my father passed away suddenly, less than a day after we buried my thirty-two year old brother-in-law who died of cancer. When you spend a week and half sitting in a funeral home making final arrangements for two people of your immediate family, life has a way of changing you. Not immediately, and sometimes not even in ways you can understand or explain. But it does change you.

It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by and even more difficult to think about everything they missed and everything we missed sharing with them. We lost a part of our future and past in a matter of days. I don’t know if we ever really recover from loss or just throw a blanket over it to allow us to function each day. We carry on, we laugh, we welcome new family members, we enjoy life because there is no other choice. We live for the living and for ourselves. Still, there’s always a hole, always moment in days where we stop and maybe smile at a memory or what they might have done or said about a family situation. Or the way life has changed so much over the years.

Here’s the strange part of the story…

A couple of weeks before my Dad died, I had a dream. In my dream, I saw him in a coffin at the funeral home, exactly as he appeared after he passed away.
Ten years earlier, my grandfather, (my father’s father), died unexpectedly. A couple of weeks before he died, I had a dream. In that dream, I saw him as he appeared in the coffin. My grandfather lived in Brooklyn so I had never been to that funeral parlor. And yet, when I walked in, everything was as I had seen it. In detail. I remember it very clearly.

A couple of days after my father was buried, I told my mother about both dreams. For obvious reasons, I had never told anyone about them before. She wanted to know why I didn’t tell her. She wondered if there might have been something we could have done if she had known. But as soon as she said the words, she understood.

You can’t alter your life chasing those types of dreams, just like you can’t alter your life chasing what might have been. There’s no time for that, no secret recipe for the secrets of life.

So hold the ones you love close. Those that are here and those who are not. And if the ones who are here don’t understand, hold them closer.

 

 

 

 

Death And Sales

You probably thought the only sure things in life were death and taxes, didn’t you. Well, we can throw one more thing into the pot roast of life’s guaranties.

Death and sales. I don’t remember the last time it wasn’t a sure thing.

Chuck Berry died last weekend. A rock and roll pioneer without question; he was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and influenced generations of artists.  But Chuck’s last hit record was back in the early 70’s and he had been averaging 39 album sales prior to his death.

But then he died and his record sales increased 11,684 percent. Really.

Now this is not unusual. The same thing has happened following the death of other musicians and I’m having a difficult time understanding the mentality. Then again, the human mind is difficult to figure out on a good day.
But really, what compels people to buy an artists music after they die when they had no interest in doing so before they died? The music has been out there for decades, readily available. Why are they enough of a fan now to buy their music, but not before? Chuck’s songs have been around since the fifties. They’ve been all over the radio, movies, television, etc, forever. If people liked these songs before, why did they wait until he died to download them? It’s the same song. Sung by the same artist. But they like it better today? Are they afraid it’s going to somehow disappear or that Apple will go out of business? Do people sit around and wait for the evening news to decide what they should download that night based on the obituary reports? Does the music somehow sound better after someone dies? It all sounds a little macabre to me.

In some ways, this same phenomena happens in food stores the day before a snowstorm. People rush out to stock up on essentials because the roads may be snow-covered for maybe a day. Maybe. I always feel like they’re expecting Armageddon to arrive and bread will be have to be bartered with a laptop.

I wonder if all my blog posts will suddenly be in monetary demand when I’m no longer around. Maybe I should fake my demise, stay away for a couple of years and reap the financial rewards after I decide to return from my self-imposed disappearance. Sort of like an Eddie and the Cruisers thing.

Okay, I think might be getting a little carried away.

 

Greed, Violence And Sports

There is a 56-year-old man in Baltimore clinging to life today because he was beaten inside the stadium of a Baltimore Ravens football game.

In Alabama, the first three months of football season are the deadliest months of the year because of DUI fatalities.

Not long ago, before a college football game in Nebraska, police had to breakup a tailgate and force 3000 people to leave, after arresting fifteen individuals.

In separate incidents at different stadiums across the country, a group attacked a single man and stabbed him to death, two other people were shot at different times and two men suffered irreparable brain damage after being attacked outside different stadiums.

A two-year old girl who was out on a pumpkin picking trip with her parents will live her life as a paraplegic because of a head-on collision caused by a man who was driving drunk after leaving a professional football game.

Philadelphia Eagles fans are notoriously brutal; so much so that in the late 90’s the club installed a jail and courtroom in the bowels of their stadium where unruly fans were arrested, put on trial and sentenced by a judge who was forced to be in attendance for every home game.

These examples are a microscopic sampling of what goes on before, during and after sporting events in this country. Football games, both college and professional are especially  guilty of this type of behavior. I’m not even addressing the rioting that goes on after teams win or lose championships, as if celebrations need to be intoxicated examples of boorish and irresponsible behavior.

Why? In part, the short answer is alcohol, though the parties involved will quietly move away from that topic because of the financial implications.

Now, I have been a season ticket holder for New York Giants football games for 40 years. For the first 30 years I rarely missed a game, attending well over 300 during that 40 year period. I’ve seen some pretty ugly stuff during that time. I’ve also attended countless baseball games in several ballparks. Also not a pretty picture.

When you take upwards of 80,000 people, many with testosterone issues, and you place them in a parking lot where they’ve been drinking for 3-4 hours before a game starts, then cramp them into a stadium where large amounts of beer is sold, considering there are fans from both teams at these games, you have the strong potential of several thousand angry and drunk individuals. That’s a potent combination and a recipe for dangerous confrontations in and outside of the stadiums.

Statistics tell us that those who tailgate are fourteen times more likely to be legally drunk during or after a game and that one in ten people leaving these games are legally drunk. So in a stadium that holds 80,000 people, 8,000 people are walking out impaired and many of those are getting into car and hitting the roads. Multiply that by hundreds of stadiums across the country on any given weekend.

And yet, very few restrictions are put on these individuals before or after a game.

Look, I love a good tailgate as much as the next person and even though I don’t drink, I don’t have a problem with people who do, as long as they do it responsibly. But if I want to take a child to a game and it’s going to cost me upwards of 250.00 for two tickets, another 30.00 to park and who knows what else inside the stadium, I want to be able to enjoy the entertainment in front of me without  someone throwing around four letter words. I want  to know I can cheer for a team without being attacked because of it, regardless of what stadium I’m in. I want a safe environment and considering the billions of dollars these teams and leagues are generating in revenue, they should be able to provide that for me. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

But they won’t do that because the product would suffer. They don’t want to alienate the crazy fans who buy $120.00 team jerseys and they certainly don’t want their beer concession sales to suffer. Both would be a financial hit to the bottom line, and regardless of the smoke and mirrors they place in front of us, it’s always about the bottom line. Restrictions, random testing, increased security, removing people from games before incidents occur, implementing proactive measures to avoid injury or death; these are all things that should be considered but probably never will.

So lives will continue to be altered, families will continue to mourn the loss of loved ones or face a future of long-term care and the games will continue to be played.

Because greed and violence is as much a part of sports as the play on the field.

Anyone who tells you differently works for a team or a league office.