BROKEN PROMISES

Has anyone ever told you, “Work hard and one day you’ll be rewarded for your hard work?”  I’ve heard it more than once!  My parents and teachers reinforced this mantra repeatedly as I was growing up.  So, I worked hard for 40 years and here I am today.  I’m not convinced that my parents were right.  As a matter of fact, I no longer believe it to be true at all.  I think success is decided by luck!

Emotionally, my family, friends and patients continue to make me a rich man.  Physically, I’m broke!  Today was the fifth day in a row that Renee and I biked and my legs are killing me.  No matter what I do, my health is going to get worse.  Hopefully, exercise will slow the process.  Financially, well, we won’t go there.  Owning two houses is a killer! Retiring too early doesn’t help either.  Spiritually, I’m in a better place.  I no longer blame God.  

I always planned on my house in Long Grove being a major part of my retirement fund.  I didn’t realize that my plans had several glaring problems.  In North Carolina, houses are selling like hotcakes.  Taxes here are relatively low. In Illinois, your real estate taxes are the equivalent of a second mortgage and that, unlike a bank held second mortgage, is one that can never be paid off. The housing market is apparently dead. Yet, in November, Illinois will re-elect the same politicians that have bankrupted the state.  What a pity! 

The second glaring problem I failed to account for are generational differences. Generational differences have always been the norm but I could not possibly have anticipated how strongly the younger generation would feel about having an open floor plan.  Frankly, I think they are nuts.  I liked having the kids playing in the “other” room.  It allowed them to be somewhat independent, yet still under my control.  It allowed Renee and I to have some semi-private time together. Covid-19 has taught us that too much together time is not necessarily good, and an open floor plan is like going back in time to the days of a one room cabin.  Talk about cabin fever.  I’m glad I’ve spent my last winter in Illinois.

There was no way to account for the third problem.  Even Steven King would have problems imagining Covid-19 and its impact on the world. I always told Renee that, at retirement, we would have to do lunch and dinner at Costco.  You can’t beat $1.50 for a hot dog and drink.  Thanks to Covid, we can’t even do that.

Now, I’m not complaining.  I don’t know anyone my age who is totally happy with their circumstances.  As a younger, more optimistic man, I came up with the concept of “Wellthy.”  I, like my parents, stressed that investing in your emotional, physical, spiritual and financial accounts would lead to good health and happiness.

I still believe in “Wellthy” but now believe that luck plays a major part in actually achieving “Wellth.”  Unfortunately, luck is not something you can manufacture.  A few days ago, I asked, “Whose fault is it?”  Today, my answer is it’s no one’s fault. It’s a matter of luck!  Sometimes it seems that if I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.

I’ve been trying to stay positive but some days it’s impossible.  As I approach my 69thbirthday, I don’t feel very “wellthy.”   It’s time to pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again. The older I get, the harder it is to start anything new.

“For a long time now, I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.”

Ernest Hemingway

This time around, I’m going to concentrate on writing better than I can.  I know I have a story in me, I just need to find it, and I need your help.  Please send me your best Doc Segal story.  Sometimes I amaze myself as prior patients remind me of my role in their lives.  Email me at ssegal@lztc.com with any story and your permission to publish it. 

Here’s your music and a joke.

Joe wanted to buy a motorbike. He doesn’t have much luck until, one day, he comes across a Harley with a “for sale” sign on it.

The bike seems even better than a new one, although it is 10 years old. It is shiny and in absolute mint condition. He immediately buys it, and asks the seller how he kept it in such great condition for 10 years. “Well, it’s quite simple, really,” says the seller, “whenever the bike is outside and it’s going to rain, rub Vaseline on the chrome. It protects it from the rain.” Saying so, he hands Joe a jar of Vaseline.

That night, his girlfriend, Sandra, invites him over to meet her parents. Naturally, they take the bike there. Just before they enter the house, Sandra stops him and says, “I have to tell you something about my family before we go in. When we eat dinner, we don’t talk. In fact, the first person who says anything during dinner has to do the dishes.”

“No problem,” he says. And in they go. Joe is shocked. Right smack in the middle of the living room is a huge stack of dirty dishes. In the kitchen is another huge stack of dishes. Piled up on the stairs, in the corridor, everywhere he looks, dirty dishes. They sit down to dinner and, sure enough, no one says a word.

As dinner progresses, Joe decides to take advantage of the situation and leans over and kisses Sandra. No one says a word. So he reaches over and fondles her breasts. Still, nobody says a word. So he stands up, grabs her, rips her clothes off, throws her on the table, and fucks her right there, in front of her parents. His girlfriend is a little flustered, her dad is obviously livid, and her mom horrified when he sits back down, but no one says a word.

He looks at her mom. “She’s got a great body,” he thinks. So he grabs the mom, bends her over the dinner table, and has his way with her in every position right there on the dinner table. Now his girlfriend is furious and her dad is boiling, but still, total silence.

All of a sudden there is a loud clap of thunder and it starts to rain. Joe remembers his bike, so he pulls the jar of Vaseline from his pocket. Suddenly the father backs away from the table and shouts, “All right, that’s enough, I’ll do the fucking dishes.”

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