| Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Love is in the air — or somewhere

Posted on 07 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

There’s not much one can count on these days but February is still loyal, and comes around every year touting “love” — whatever that is or is about to be. I have this very scary cartoon patched to my kitchen wall. It pictures a human woman with her arms around a shrimp about her size. The caption reads, “The other day I told my A.I. (Artificial Intelligence, in case you’ve been hiding under a rock) that I love shrimp tempura and it said, ‘What’s that?’ And I repeated in a surprised voice, ‘What’s shrimp tempura?’ and it said, ‘No. What is love?’” Do you have an answer?

When I wrote my first February column those many years ago, I interviewed a bunch of people and received a variety of responses none of which had any connection with the others.

Of course, there are all kinds of love: for children, relatives, pets, friends, country, eggplant, sports cars, football teams, Paris, a new kitchen, Bradley Cooper or the beach. (I know, left out a few things). But I am talking about what is referred to as “romantic” love — the kind that is supposed to last forever but half the time doesn’t. One of the tidbits I recently read in an academic psychology magazine suggested that research showed that “romantic love” (undefined) lasts an average of 18 months. Perhaps, it was referring to lust. I never actually followed up on that because it rang very possible to me.

On another angle, I recently received the following answer, in all seriousness, to ‘What is love?’ from the male half of a 60 year plus marital union: “Love is always giving in to your partner.” Try passing that around at your next dinner party and let me know who starts the fireworks and how it turned out.

In a recent Sunday New York Times “VOWS” section, an inspirational love story about a couple who met through an Internet dating site, proceeded to find out “everything” about each other through e-mails because they were geographically distant and, after two years, finally met and — yay! — married!

Both had been widowed, she 85; he, 87. Cynic that I am, when I hear a story of such compatibility, I generally ask for a report on the relationship after about 20 years. Check mate!

I will not seriously address a recent New York Times article about people falling in love with their robots – presumably “programmed” to be the perfect mate — and the subsequent fallout of massive changes in sexual identity, suggesting the label “digisexual” — a discussion for another time.

But what I do know on a very visceral level is that between social media and the unstoppable coming of a profusion of A.I. gimmicks presumably on the market to enhance our lifestyle, human “touch” is on the wane and that is so very sad. A simple touch as an expression of love is losing its relevancy and, along with that, the intimacy of human contact.

Perhaps, Skype can fill that void for some people; but, for me, there is nothing like just plain holding hands and piercing the eyes – the tunnel into another soul. Love is so many things and its’ essence so differently defined and accepted by each of us.

I wish you bundles of whatever love is to you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: — Bye bye ‘18

Posted on 03 January 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Seems like only yesterday that ’17 was gone

Now ‘18 too’s behind us like a marathon

All in all – not so good

Can’t wait for Version Hollywood

Crazy folks with guns ran wild

307 mass murders filed

Parkland survivors crammed the media

Some famous enough for Wikipedia

Politics up front till early November

A midterm turnaround to remember

Khashoggi the journalist wrote the truth

And the Saudis hacked him in his relative youth

The worst California fires, scientist says

And global warming denied by our prez

Families separated at the borders

Kids lost to parents at government orders

Me-too”s have watched their numbers increase

Celebrities shamed as their names are released

Kavanaugh judged by the Ds and the Rs

Became a “Supreme” after hearings bizarre

Mueller team silent but guilty ones sentenced

The “Russian Probe” endless – few show repentance

Mattis resigns, as that “Tweet” was no “oops”

Defying advice, “T” said – “Bring home the troops”

The market went crazy as Christmas was near

The government shutdown caused even more fear

McCain and the Bushes revered in their death

Worshiped as never when they still had their breath

How fragile a country that depends on one life

When we learned that Ruth Ginsburg “went under the knife”

And now we are facing the year of nineteen

And only the Lord can predict that new scene.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: A very special gift

Posted on 06 December 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

It took me 70 years of Sundays — that’s 3,640 Sundays — to appreciate one of the greatest gifts I ever received. I finally remembered that it was Mr. Steinberg, my high school English teacher, whose only textbook that senior year was the Sunday New York Times — Mr. Steinberg, who gave me 3,640 (give or take) precious Sundays.

I remember now, that although our class took The Times apart and thoroughly examined it section by section, mostly, we actually studied the Book Review in the greatest depth. We learned to read reviews and to evaluate both the reviewer and the book reviewed. We talked about each “interview,” the quality of books on the bestseller list, those that were highly recommended by the editorial staff of the newspaper and even the advertisements for books yet to be published or previously reviewed. We were encouraged to choose books of our favorite genre and to write our own reviews.

Now, so belatedly, as I savor my Sunday morning book review read time, and find myself traveling all over the planet geographically, intellectually and spiritually, I am aware of how each issue is an education in itself. I see how each issue opens my mind to something new, and how even the genres to which I am least attracted offer another way to see the world and to see myself in it. And, by golly, each week I am swept away by how easy it is to get a genuine “high” without even a cup of coffee at my side — not that I am knocking coffee.

More and more, we are getting translations of especially fiction, ranking high on the list of new releases. There are writers from Africa, Asia and South and Central America sharing their culture and traditions, and stories opening doors for us to learn about people unlike us.

Of course, science, business, sports, government and all the arts are subjects to which many “someones” have devoted a major part of their lives, researching, opining and writing their hearts out. And it’s all so easily accessible in a morning read. Thank you again, Mr. Steinberg, for your indefatigable patience in, at first, forcing me to “study” the newspaper.

While we’re on the subject of intangible “gifts,” let us not forget our libraries, one of the greatest community assets ever conceived by man. If you are a really disciplined person, you can save a bunch of money on higher education tuition by organizing your own curriculum in a library.

But, since we are a consumer society, I’m guessing many of you already have your gift lists made and perhaps even at least half attended to. I’m hoping you have included books and some items that will challenge the minds of the young people — yes, even the old people — on your list. We can’t allow Google to do everything for us. We will soon be entrapped by A.I. (artificial Intelligence) in all aspects of our lives, and will be tempted to give into the laziness of thought which will follow.

This is too grim a note to leave you with so soon before an impending joyous holiday, so in all optimism I know that there are many Mr. (and Ms.) Steinbergs left in this world who are still willing to fight for one of our most precious rights – the right to think for ourselves.

Happy Holidays to all.

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November two-fer

Posted on 06 November 2018 by JLusk

By Emily Rosen, M.S., M.A

erosen424@aol.com

Happy November, dear people. This month is always a two-fer  –  Elections and Thanksgiving. I was about to begin this with an exhortation for everyone to get out and vote. And then I remembered references I had heard about countries which had mandatory voting laws. And good old Google sent me to good old Wikipedia where I read several paragraphs about the pros and cons of it. Too long and complicated to go into here, but I strongly advise you to “do it yourself.”

The interesting long and short of it is that 12 countries currently have such laws on the book which they do enforce.  There are 16 countries that have such laws, but do not enforce them;  and 11 countries tried it, but subsequently removed such laws.  I do not see any such laws enforced in the foreseeable future in the U.S.A. so I’m back to square one, urging you all to make your voices heard. Feelings are strong on both political sides and this is no time for excuses or for stay-at-home gripers.

We constantly get polling stats which change with the wind and the only real way we have of knowing the true trends, and the actual needs and values of our populace, is to count the votes.  So, if you’re “mad – and don’t want to take it any more” – on either side, the best way to tell it is at the voting booth.

Whatever happens on Nov. 6, we will have 16 days to remember that we have so very much to be thankful for. Flawed and fragile as it is, we still have the freedoms for which most of our immigrant forefathers came to these shores.  Although there will always be people who struggle and suffer, conditions we are certainly duty-bound by our humanitarian values to reduce and hopefully obliterate, we are currently living in an economic upturn. Many of our young people have shown leadership qualities. Good things are quietly happening in small communities all over the country.  Families still get together for this holiday and, hopefully, will be able to peacefully, and respectfully, express their views on everything from the election to the Oscars, to the pumpkin pie.

There must be some karmic reason for these two occasions – Election Day and Thanksgiving Day – to be juxtaposed as they are in such a timely manner – with just enough days in between for losers to simmer down and for winners to finish gloating, but for everyone to remember that there is strength in unity.

So if you have access to sunshine, food, a roof over your head and a bed, if you can still listen to the voices of other people and music and birds, if you can still see stars in the sky and the green-ness of grass  –  or, if indeed, you can do even some of the above,  be thankful  that you live in a great – albeit distinctively flawed  — land of the free.

 

 

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Torn apart

Posted on 01 November 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Within the last several days, I’ve started this column a half dozen times. But with events moving faster than it takes a palmetto bug to scurry under the furniture in Florida, I’ve had to change its course that many times. I think I have alighted on its final theme: Senator Flake’s small “stitch” in the fabric of our country, citing his sad lamentation that it is being “torn apart” (in reference to Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination.)

In a review of the book, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War by Joanne Freeman in last Sunday’s book review section of the New York Times, the reviewer, began: “So, you think Congress is dysfunctional? …there was a time so polarized that politics generated a cycle of violence in Congress and out of it that led to the deadliest war in the nation’s history.”

Freeman unearthed an 11 volume document written between 1828 and 1870 revealing several of the most extreme physical clashes, almost to the point of murder that occurred on the senate floor leading up to and after the Civil War.

The review ends, “Freeman doesn’t make explicit comparisons between them and today. She doesn’t have to: a crippled Congress, opposing political sides that don’t communicate meaningfully… a seemingly unbridgeable cultural divide. Sound familiar? All that is missing is an Honest Abe to save us.”

From my own personal life experience and background, I easily honed in on the most significant truism above: the lack of meaningful communication. Meaningful communication is a skilled art that escapes many people especially during high tension emotional moments when dealing with the very core of their rigid belief system. We all have rigid belief systems. That’s what makes us who we are. And how we handle these differences in belief systems, when it comes to relationships with others, is a function – not of our IQ but of our EQ – emotional intelligence. This is described by Daniel Goleman in his book Working With Emotional Intelligence and his many other subsequent writings on that and related subjects. It is a lesson in how to deal with people with whom you disagree without causing deadly combat. It’s not a secret, but you’ll have to read it for yourself.

Calling people derogatory names, demeaning them in public utterances and lashing out with damaging stereotypes rallies a crowd. And it also emboldens hatred of what is being sold as “the other.” This is so especially damaging because it is unnecessary when often those who engage in that kind of rhetoric have legitimately positive accomplishments to hype, which, alas, is boring compared to the hostile spate of playground warfare.

And so, Jeff Flake took the small step of displaying a willingness to be open-minded. But in the context of Congressional “steps” taken, it was an enormous step as he plowed through the vitriol wafting over the committee. Was it the elevator experience, or the sounds of a country being “torn apart?”

At this writing, there is no clue regarding the final outcome of the Kavanaugh nomination. (Since this column’s writing, Kavanaugh has been confirmed as a Supreme Court judge). So much of it went wrong on both sides. But there is much to say about the power of one vote, and much to say about the need to lower the rhetoric, to reach across the aisle, and to recognize that we are indeed living in a country that is being “torn apart,” and is crying out for leadership to bring us together.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen:Torn apart

Posted on 04 October 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Within the last several days, I’ve started this column a half dozen times. But with events moving faster than it takes a palmetto bug to scurry under the furniture in Florida, I’ve had to change its course that many times. I think I have alighted on its final theme: Senator Flake’s small “stitch” in the fabric of our country, citing his sad lamentation that it is being “torn apart.”

In a review of the book, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War by Joanne Freeman in last Sunday’s book review section of the New York Times, the reviewer, began: “So, you think Congress is dysfunctional? …there was a time so polarized that politics generated a cycle of violence in Congress and out of it that led to the deadliest war in the nation’s history.”

Freeman unearthed an 11 volume document written between 1828 and 1870 revealing several of the most extreme physical clashes, almost to the point of murder that occurred on the senate floor leading up to and after the Civil War.

The review ends, “Freeman doesn’t make explicit comparisons between them and today. She doesn’t have to: a crippled Congress, opposing political sides that don’t communicate meaningfully… a seemingly unbridgeable cultural divide. Sound familiar? All that is missing is an Honest Abe to save us.”

From my own personal life experience and background, I easily honed in on the most significant truism above: the lack of meaningful communication. Meaningful communication is a skilled art that escapes many people especially during high tension emotional moments when dealing with the very core of their rigid belief system.

We all have rigid belief systems. That’s what makes us who we are. And how we handle these differences in belief systems, when it comes to relationships with others, is a function – not of our IQ but of our EQ – emotional intelligence. This is described by Daniel Goleman in his book of the same name and his many other subsequent writings on that and related subjects. It is a lesson in how to deal with people with whom you disagree without causing deadly combat. It’s not a secret, but you’ll have to read it for yourself.

Calling people derogatory names, demeaning them in public utterances and lashing out with damaging stereotypes rallies a crowd. And it also emboldens hatred of what is being sold as “the other.” This is so especially damaging because it is unnecessary when often those who engage in that kind of rhetoric have legitimately positive accomplishments to hype, which, alas, is boring compared to the hostile spate of playground warfare.

And so, Jeff Flake took the small step of displaying a willingness to be open-minded. But in the context of Congressional “steps” taken, it was an enormous step as he plowed through the vitriol wafting over the committee. Was it the elevator experience, or the sounds of a country being “torn apart?”

At this writing, there is no clue regarding the final outcome of the Kavanaugh nomination. So much of it went wrong on both sides. But there is much to say about the power of one vote, and much to say about the need to lower the rhetoric, to reach across the aisle, and to recognize that we are indeed living in a country that is being “torn apart,” and is crying out for leadership to bring us together.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Coincidences?

Posted on 05 September 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I don’t believe in co-incidences. I truly believe that the “all powerful” has created the ordered chaos we are feeling in our collective unconscious. Strange things happen in the universe but somehow the chaos does have order and meaning. We need not ponder very deeply to interpret it.

This past weekend, amidst warnings of violence and economic collapse, divisive talk, disparagement of many of the most stalwart pillars of democracy — our free press, our intelligence community — our need to prevent foreign intrusion into our Democracy — and a deep divide about the definition of “fake News” — amidst all that, we were pulled into the vortex of the real meaning of leadership, role-modeling and patriotism. The symbolism is not lost to those of us willing to acknowledge that some higher power has been working overtime to have produced this synchronicity of events — even to the matching death dates and alike diagnoses of John McCain and his across-the-aisle buddy Ted Kennedy.

Who cannot fail to recognize the juxtaposition of the timing and the impact, short term as it may turn out to be, of contrasts so stunningly illuminated? Who cannot be moved by the significance of character in leadership, and of the desperation with which we are now seeking a role model for the healing of our tribal severances? Are we asking too much to actually require a soupcon of virtue from our leadership — in addition to the nitty gritty of being or purporting to be — an “artful negotiator?”

And here’s the ultimate philosophical conundrum. We are a country worshipful of “winners.” We tend to throw our “losers” — as in second place-holders and even further-down-the-line losers — into the scrap heap of nonentities. And yet, in the lives of all of us, we have experienced “losing” at something. Losing often teaches us important lessons, often makes us better people. And, surely, losing is humbling. Humility counts for a lot in relationships, in accomplishing big things. It is a kind of secret quality, not often touted in expansive resumes but it has subtle life-enhancing power. It tends to even the playing field. And, contrary to some held opinions, it is not the antithesis of confidence or expertise — quite the opposite. It says I know how good I am and I can show it. I don’t need a bullhorn to make it understood.

So now, all the hoopla is over, and we’re back to reality. We’ve actually had it spelled out to us with the simplicity of a 1st grade reader. We’ve come face to face with contrasts. The non-coincidental acts empowered by the “all powerful” stand etched electronically for the world to see and repeat, and will, undoubtedly, be brought to the fore at each anniversary or as a reminder should any further act degrading our democracy come into play.

And even the Good Lord Herself will no doubt breathe a deep sigh as She intones the famous saying, “You can bring a horse to water. But you can’t make him drink.”

Or can you?

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Widowhood

Posted on 01 August 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

My late husband trained me to be a widow. Well, of course, that was not his intention. Dead at age 87 for almost five years now, after our 59-year marriage, I thank him every day for my ability to meet the challenge of a new and different life after his life ended. I mourn the loss and think of him daily as I step into a world without him.

A product of marriage in the early 50s when men were breadwinners and the “little woman” stayed at home, he took his role to its maximum literal implication. At the end of each work day, his “job” was completed. Anything that had to do with “home” was included in my “job description.” And guess what, I did not know it could be otherwise. My dad had done the same.

I was “in charge” of mostly anything that kept our household together, including assignations with plumbers, electricians, general contractors and the kids. Well, that’s not entirely fair. It was pretty much 80-20 regarding most of the above. But, for sure, he was always there when we were choosing furniture — and ash trays (He was a cigar smoker!)

He never went to a bank. His secretary did that, then I did. And, in his later days, he had no interest in assembling or becoming informed about his tax information, which I did, obtaining his permanent signature. All this when he was in perfectly good health, mentally and physically.

Eventually, I trained him to remove dirty dishes from the table, and he actually graduated to removing dishes other than his own, placing them in the sink … dishwashers and washing machines — not his “thing.” He did learn how to “make” tea and turn on the toaster. I know, I know — but we’re not discussing co-dependency here. It worked for both of us.

Frequently, we traveled together to foreign destinations, and, at first, somewhat grudgingly, but eventually acceptingly, I traveled without him to wilderness locations in which he had no interest. We gave each other space to go places and do things that had no appeal to the other of us.

So now, I am alone with a very independent life – rich in its diverse nature. I am never lonely or bored, and I pursue activities that fulfill my need to be productive — often engaging in nostalgia, which translates into memories of pleasurable times. I hang on to my valued old friends but also have new much younger people in my life. It may be “a couples world,” but I have never felt uncomfortable navigating it. I savor my freedom to be my authentic self, to come and go and change my mind about both or either. And there is no household chore, or major choice that I am incapable of doing, “getting done” or making.

My children are loving and supportive and are probably waiting “for the other shoe to drop,” but, meanwhile, have no responsibilities — or even, decisions to make — regarding my life.

Sometimes I wonder if such independence makes me a social aberrant or might affect my ability to establish close relationships. I may never know the answer to that one, but it is just one more thing in life about which answers will never be forthcoming. I accepted that long ago.

Although I may not be the original “Merry Widow,” I discovered a new and exciting phase of life to which I have easily adapted — much thanks to my late husband.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Sprucing up your life — finding your bliss

Posted on 05 July 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

A few days after her 85th birthday, on one of my frequent visits to her, my mother sidled up to me hesitantly, and almost apologetically said, “I’d like you to take me shopping.”

Of course, Ma,” I said.

What else is new?” I thought to myself, asking, “What do you want to buy?”

A new living room set,” she announced in the same tone as she might have said, “A bottle of milk.”

A what?” I asked.

A new living room set,” she reiterated,” this time in her most defiant voice.

What’s the matter with your living room?” I asked, sweeping my hand dramatically around the room, eyeing each piece of furniture as never before.

It’s old and I’m tired of it and I feel like sprucing up,” she said as she sat back in her comfy chair in her “I dare you to deny it” pose and folded her arms around her belly.

I sputtered a bit, shushing my thoughts, struggling to keep them away from my voice, “For God’s sake, you’re 85 years old — how much longer do you think you’ll be using new furniture?” and indeed, I silenced that voice. Eventually, I regained my equilibrium.

Ok, Ma. When do you want to go — and where?”

My mother lived eight more years, approximately 2,820 days, basking in the pleasure of her “spruced up” living room.

So why, at the age of 91, do I stare at my used underwear and think, “I can’t throw them away. They still fit, and are not torn and are undeniably serviceable — and how long am I likely to use new ones?”

Remembering my mom, I decided to “spruce up” from the bottom up.

And the more I think about it, the more I become an advocate of living as if there were no such thing as dying.

In deference to my progeny, I have always said that I can’t die until I clean up my desk, and throw away some more of the trash I didn’t throw away last time I threw away trash. So, tell me the truth: Isn’t the act of cleaning my desk tantamount to suicide? It paves the way for a smooth, easy, guilt-free trip to the hereafter. But what’s the rush?

People are living much longer these days — and for some, living now is better than the stressful days of their youth. For those of us who have managed to eschew doctor visits as the social activity of our daily lives, there is so much to be said about this time of life as being a new phase – a challenge of discovery. Even for those of us who are more sedentary now than in the past, there are more places we can go on the Internet than ever we might have imagined – physical places and places of the mind.

Joseph Campbell famously exhorted: “follow your bliss.” And, alas, after years of total immersion in family matters – bringing up kids, caring for elders, developing careers, creating social enclaves, too many people have lost their sense of bliss, or are unable to articulate it even to themselves. It is most likely something beyond buying new furniture, or bras. I’m thinking of giving a class to people over 80 in “Finding Your Bliss.” I hope some of you will enroll — or send a loved one.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: The sun will come out tomorrow

Posted on 07 June 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

It was one of those endless rainy May days — this one, and at that particular moment, especially torrential. It was the kind of day that anyone who had a slight inclination towards depression could latch onto as an excuse to inhibit a smile or a warm hello. And there I was waiting for an elevator in the lobby of Boca Regional Hospital shaking out my soaked umbrella and shivering as my wet clothes were assaulted by the icy air conditioning. My ultimate destination: a visit with a friend who had experienced a series of orthopedic screw-ups landing her here for the second time in two weeks, and, she was a legitimately unhappy “camper.” What’s more, the elevators were operating on a “don’t-rush-me-I’ll-be-there-eventually” current.

You’re one smart lady,” said the 60-ish-year-old tall well put-together gentleman sitting on the waiting-bench, in clothes that looked like they hadn’t reached the washing machine rinse cycle, evidently unprepared for the sudden deluge.

Uh — you mean the umbrella?” I asked

Yeah. I usually keep about a half dozen of them in my car. And, dummy that I am, they are all still there,” he said in mild self-deprecation.

Well, here, would you want to use this to get one from your car – and I’ll wait at the entrance for you to return it?” I asked.

No, no, no, thanks. I’m going to visit my mother. I will probably be here for hours. Maybe the rain will stop by then, but thanks anyway,” he responded.

The elevator arrived and we entered together and, as it creeped vertically at a horse and buggy pace, this stranger, whose last name, “Friend,” I could read from the hospital ID pasted to his jacket — made my day.

Ya know,” he told me, “I buy a bunch of umbrellas at Walmart for a couple of bucks, cheap, ya know … and every so often, when it rains, I give them to people I see in the street — some of them homeless, others just caught in a mess of rain getting battered and wet. They are so surprised and grateful — and I just keep on driving.”

What a great thing to do!

Then, “Friend” exited from the elevator on the floor below mine — poof and gone!

I had just enough time to reconfigure my negative thoughts for the day. By God, the “good people” are going to win. Assaulted day and night in all venues by the ugliness and selfishness, and corruption and veniality, that seemingly has overtaken our social norms, we tend to forget — or not be exposed to — the inherent good that goes on behind the pages of newspapers and the cable newsrooms. And I reminded myself, as I so often have to do lately, that good and evil have been in conflict since the beginning of time. Nor is that conflict ever likely to abate. And, by my calculation, “good” still had the statistical edge.

And with an extra bounce, I entered my friend’s hospital room with this story on my tongue noting the quick change of expression on her face – from a deep frown of physical pain to her old smile. We both know that the sun will come out tomorrow — well, maybe the next day — but eventually.

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