Biff America column: Tragedies and skin conditions
July 22, 2016
I've found the best way to deal with a horrific situation is to ignore it.
Case in point, last Monday I had two choices: Give attention to a ghastly summer of violence, intolerance and ignorance … or go on a bike ride. Yes, it helps that none of the horrors of hate occurred in my zip code but, rather, France, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, etc. But that said, no locale is exempt from the anger that seems to be scorching our planet.
And certainly I'm loath to make this all about me, but on that same day, I also had a nasty road rash on my buttock. Just the day before, I took a fall on my bike and installed an apple-sized raspberry on my left cheek.
Admittedly, it seems a little self-centered even mentioning my inflamed bottom considering the magnitude of grief and suffering of recent events — but that's just how I roll.
Juxtaposition of Stickers
So like any good escapist, I ignored the spate of this summer's tragedies to focus on my own needs and took a bicycle ride. As if to illustrate our nation's political dysfunction and negativity, just before I left the pavement and headed onto a trail, I was stuck behind two vehicles; one had an old bumper sticker with a drawing of George W. Bush with the words, "Somewhere in Texas A Village is Missing an Idiot" and a newer looking sticker on the second car, "Honk if you hate Obama."
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But the beauty of having attention deficit disorder is that as soon as I left the road, I forgot all about the wrongs of the world and instead focused on my heavy breathing, wildflowers, crisp air and my good fortune to live this life. The beauty and exertion allowed me to put both the summer's sadness and my bothered butt on the back burner.
Earlier in the day, I had alerted my personal physician of my rash issues and he called in a prescription for cream that he guaranteed would, in time, return my glutes to their once mint condition. So on the way home, I stopped at the apothecary.
At the front counter, I was asked, "Do you have any questions about the use of this medicine?" "No I'm just going to smear it on my butt."
It was then that I noticed the pharmacist's nametag. In all truth, I have since forgotten his name, so I'll just make one up — that's just how I roll — his name was Keith. But that isn't important. What was notable was that on Keith's nametag, along with his moniker and title, were the words "I love my wife."
I swear those four words did more to soothe my wounds and depression than any medicine or bike ride ever could.
Focus on what you love
Would we be a different planet and a happier people if we all put more time and energy declaring what we loved, liked, approved of instead of what we hated or feared? How refreshing if politicians said, "That guy/gal I'm running against has done his/her best, but I'd be way better for these reasons …" How about if the alleged news channels — on both sides — mentioned the good work and good people of those folks, who we might not agree with but who are doing what they think is best and doing it in a legal and moral way?
Perhaps those same news outlets could give attention to the Muslims, Christians, Mexicans, immigrants, blacks, whites, cops, rednecks and tree huggers who just want to live a good life and be happy, loved and appreciated? Of course, there is no question that the media needs to cover terror incidents and our leaders enact policies to promote our citizens' security. But the truth is, you are way more likely to be killed by a bee or a bathtub than by a bad guy. (I was afraid to look up the stats of "death by butt rash.")
So your choices are to either focus on what you fear and dislike or what you love. The world is full of lovable possibilities — your wife-husband-children-job-dog-environment-biking-reading-skiing-church. The lucky ones are those who love a lot and hate nothing.
I'm here to say I love many things, including my wife. And she says she loves me even more now that my rash is healing.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff's new book, "Mind, Body, Soul," is available at local shops and bookstores or shop.holpublications.com/products/biff-america-mind-body-soul.