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The Idle American
"If Dilemmas Had Horns..."
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 • Posted October 16, 2013

If dilemmas really had horns—lodged precisely between the two points—one could better understand my Uncle Mort. That’s where my 101-year-old kin abides mostly, with a built-in gyroscope guiding him toward the left horn at times and the right one at others.

He claims this location as the one they’ll carry him off from. He wants to be remembered as a man with opinions extracted from deepest pools of thinking, alternated with those dredged quickly from the shallows.

“If I toiled for a newspaper, they’d probably put me in charge of the editorial page,” I’ve heard him say. “That would put the newspapers straightway on the trail to an editorial policy known for the publications’ ‘but on the other hand’ stances.”...

    *****

When Mort calls, I listen. Actually, that’s my only option, since he clatters away without pauses on topics from the closest hither to the farthest yon. “Hmmmmmm,” or sometimes, “You don’t say,” are the only expressions I can cram in. (Remember, Mort talks at 250 words per minute, with gusts to 300.)

Recently, he called to discuss diseases, one in particular—fibromyalgia. He doesn’t think he’s come down with a case of it, but he wants to know more about it.

His specificity surprised me, since he’s so rarely ill and passes his infrequent physical exams with colors flying in the breeze. With him and the dilemma business, doctors are on one horn and his self-prescribed herbal treatments on the other….

    *****

“I’m thinking fibromyalgia is on the rise,” Mort said. “I’m always getting emails with warning signs about it,” he added.

He claims the emails have prompted no orders for pills offering quick relief. However, he’s glad to know about the signs, anyway.

“It gives me something to talk about at the domino table, and when I get my next physical exam, I like to point to some disease the doctor may want to check me for,” he concluded. “Besides that, I enjoy saying a long word that rolls off the tongue so easily and gives my friends one more thing to Google,” he chuckled….

    *****

His reference to fibromyalgia got me thinking about our Sunday school class. To start each session, the most of us snack—and often get seconds—of brunch-like foods not allowed in our homes.

But hey, can’t we get off the straight and narrow once weekly at the Lord’s House? Let’s just justify it as being “soul food,” or, in Sunday vernacular, “food for the soul.”

Jesus’ biblical words often underscore the importance of eating, saying, “And after they ate”….

    *****

The next quarter-hour includes the rat-a-tat-tat conversation of small talk that finally gives way to prayer topics for, uh, the “sick and infirm.”

Finally, there’s delayed reverence as names are called of those facing health issues.

Unless travails are super-serious and already known to others, some members choose to keep conditions to themselves. Revealing “hitches in git-alongs” can invite comments from the peanut gallery that fall short of sensitivity….

    *****

A while back, our friend Lynn Thrash told about a problem believed to be temporary following cataract surgery. He’s seeing double.

Uh oh. Admission of it threw the doors for derision wide open. Even with thousands of comedians out of work, some of our guys are determined to audition for comic roles, even with no openings in sight.

One warned that if Lynn sees two bridges while driving, he should be sure to cross on the real one. And another, a golfing hack, opined that such double vision would be handy on the links. “You could always play your best ball,” he advised….

    *****

Claiming so much to be right with their world—their football world, anyway—are clergy whose unabashed allegiance lies with Baylor University. (Parsons with long memories admit that they’ve not always had such warm feelings toward the Bears in October.)

One preacher with accouterments all green and gold, crows regularly about BU leading the nation in scoring. He announced that henceforth, he will preach one minute for each point the Bears score the previous week.

Those 70-point averages in mind, a deacon countered, “Go ahead if you must, pastor, but if you do, most of us will leave at the half.”…

    *****

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Speaking inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com. Twitter: @donnewbury.

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