One in Five

One in Five

It’s a new year. I hope for all who read this column that it proves to be a good one. I hope we all have peace, good health and prosperity in our future. Sometimes we don’t know when we are well off.

This article was literally written at the last millisecond. In Hollywood terms, it was a “Stop the Presses” moment.  Linda actually had to call our printer and pay a substantial penalty for jumping out of their production schedule.

If you follow my articles you know that I had a tough year in 2016. Frequent stays at Holy Redeemer Hospital, a huge number of visits to every “oologist” known to man, oxygen in the bedroom and a medicine cabinet in the bathroom that resembled an apothecary. Thank the Lord above, things have gotten much better and I am gradually returning to my normal nasty self.

I did little if any work during the last three months of the year and my little wife … my companion and trusty editor, was forced to handle the total shooting match by herself. Trust me, this was not an easy task.

Two publications, six editions per month, over one hundred advertisers to deal with, a graphic and design team that required her attention and a very demanding bookkeeping department can make things very tough. But she handled it all magnificently and I want to congratulate her publicly. Well done Linda, you’re not only very pretty, you’re very talented.

While she was working, I was basically sitting home recovering. And as I got stronger I began to read more, spend more time on the internet and watch some television. Quite honestly, what I saw has scared the living “luppy duppys” out of me.

The more I read, the more I listened, the more I saw, the more I put two and two together, the more I came to believe that the biggest threat to our nation was not ISIS or Schmisis or any of the other external terrorist threats we face. While they are all a serious danger, all can hurt us and all can affect our way of living, they are not our biggest danger.  That honor, in my opinion, goes to the NEA.  This may shock you, but I honestly believe the National Education Association … aka the teachers’ union … is the nation’s biggest threat.

In fact, I spent three solid weeks at home researching my thesis. As I felt better and better and the juices began to flow, I felt more and more like a graduate student again, working on my doctorate. And the more I read, the more I studied, the more I researched, the more concerned I became.

I really worked at putting together what I believe to be a superior piece. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t shooting from the hip, and that I could defend everything I wrote in response to those who may be infuriated by my premise. I wanted to make sure I could defend my thoughts against anyone or challenge.

The work was exhausting, the re-writes never-ending and the clarity never done, but finally I decided that it was the best I could do and it was time to go to print. I pushed the “send” button on the computer in order to forward my work of art to Linda for a final grammatical check and turned off the Mac.  I grabbed a coke, a couple of pieces of toast and headed into the living room to watch the noon time propaganda. (Pick your own station.)

And that’s when I got hit between the eyes with a sledgehammer. I came upon three commercials in a row on different stations for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I am not ashamed to tell you that I sat there with tears in my eyes. Perhaps you’ve seen these commercials. I looked at these kids … missing legs and arms, bald and in pain, some in wheel chairs and many with shallow, drawn, pale faces … asking for our help.

Here I was, in the “Golden Years” of my life bothered by minor health issues I faced when these little heroes looked me in the face and sent this wonderful message of hope and joy at such a difficult point in their lives.

Let me say openly that I can’t imagine being the parent of such children. I am not certain that I could muster the strength and fortitude they must possess to go through the hell they must be experiencing. And here I sit and complain at my age of my “issues”…

And then, at the very end of the commercial, a little message appeared on the bottom of the screen. It states simply that one out of every five of these kids do not survive. Again, let me repeat the message … one of every five of these children do not survive … they lose their battle.

OK … so I’m a pussy. Every time I see this solicitation I well up. So, no more complaining about my medicine cabinet, no more bemoaning that I tire easily, no more, no more thinking about me.

Thank you, Lord. I have had it easy. My NEA article, and it is one hell of a thought provoking piece, will have to wait a month to shake, rattle and roll our readers thought processes.

For now I say hug your kids, take your grandchildren to Disney World. Kiss your spouse. Go outside and smell the flowers. Throw a snowball at your wife. Stop in at any house of worship. Look up to the heavens and thank the Lord above. Enjoy every moment you are given. Remember, it can always be better and it sure can always be worse.

Enjoy and make it a happy New Year. And If you have a chance, send a contribution to St. Jude’s. Don’t how it happened, but these little munchkins have become very important to me.

Allen Herman

Your opinions are always welcomed.

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