Recognized Social Butterfly



Throughout my adult life, I have inadvertently bumped into anything in my path. Sometimes the collision is harmless; sometimes it is painful and lasts for weeks. I am now slowly recovering from stubbing my shoe on a raised piece of cement a few days ago.

Yesterday, as I plodded along on my walk around the block, I noticed a man who was in much worse shape than I was. He lifted his right foot, grimaced, and whacked it against the pavement. After pausing for almost a minute, he did the same thing with his other foot. He wasn’t making much progress, but he persevered. The next time that I lament my persistent arthritis, I will recall how excruciatingly hard it could be for me if I was in the same predicament as the man I saw on the street yesterday.

I had another ah-ah moment when I was watching the Netflix series Longmire last night. Detective Moretti, as she began to chase a suspect, stumbled against a table. She gasped but quickly resumed her pursuit, although she proceeded with a limp that lasted for three more episodes. The plot didn’t require Moretti to smash against the countertop. It was an unforeseen accident.

Watching other people struggle with their infirmities doesn’t give me pleasure. But it reminds me to be grateful for the bounty that I have. After all, I would not have enamored my wife-to-be if I hadn’t been my clumsy self. On the first day that I began teaching at Kent State University over fifty years ago, I said “excuse me” to a trash bin that I bumped into at the beginning of class; and then I began teaching as if I was oblivious to that accidental encounter.  My wife, who was one of my students then, was so enchanted by my unselfconscious remark that she was determined to date me.

And what a blessing my life has been since then.

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