August 8, 2010
Last week was strange to say the very least, it was a week so bizarre that if it were measured on the Richter magnitude scale, it would be deemed a 7.3, with enough destructive force to cause serious damage over larger areas. The Joule equivalent, a formula based on Newton’s law to measure the amount of energy traveling one meter would assign it 11.3 but I won’t bore you with the mathematical equations or the details.
Today is my birthday, so I thought I would find my own unique way to celebrate. No party, no parade, no merrymaking but instead, a one-of-a-kind assessment. After much introspection, I have decided to sum myself up…literally. I’m not talking about financial net worth but my human worth. To calculate that, I will have to begin at the beginning and combine the Richter/Joule formulas to examine every nuance, every quirk and cranny to determine the effect my actions have had on me and on others. To reserve Internet terabytes, you will receive the condensed version. At the end of my calculations, I will have the mathematical number that will yield my true value.
I was born with a Calcium deficiency that I was told caused me to have mild to moderate seizures until I received a Calcium injection in the superficial temporal vein, located on the side of my head. This is proof enough to me that I just wasn’t right in the head, so I will have to receive a Richter of 6.7 and Joule of 708 for damage to myself and to my mother for making her worry.
When I was two, I wandered out of the house when I was supposed to be taking a nap and was somehow able to get into our car that was parked in the driveway. After releasing the parking brake and pulling the gear shift out of park, the car began rolling down the driveway. My mother happened to be washing dishes at the time and through the kitchen window, saw what was happening. She screamed and ran from the house but was unable to get to me as I was refusing to keep my arms and legs inside the vehicle until it reached a complete stop. As a result, my right leg was caught under the front left tire and if it weren’t for my then flexible bones and the miracle of missing my pelvic bone by centimeters, I escaped being physically disabled for the rest of my life. I give myself a Richter of 7.8 and Joule of 31.6 for being disobedient, causing damage to myself and giving my mother a halo of gray hair at her hairline… and of course for making her worry.
On a beautiful spring day, when I was five, I was standing at our front door screen gazing at the beauty of the giant Sycamore tree in our front yard. A large stray dog happened by on the sidewalk. He stopped abruptly and looked directly at me before bounding toward our door. I couldn’t have imagined what happened next. He slammed though the screen door, knocking the door off its hinges while running over me. It seems he spied our cat standing on the back of the couch behind me and acted on his basic instincts. It took both of my parents to evict the dog from the premises. I have to give myself a Richter measurement of 5.5 and a Joule of 2.0 for causing damage to the door, inconveniencing my father, having screen impressions on my face for three days and of course for worrying my mother.
When I was ten, I had my tonsils removed. The medical field considers this a minor procedure however not for me. I hemorrhaged. My throat had to be packed and as a result, my Uvula healed to the back of my throat directly over my nasal passages. My nose was useless, nothing more than a face ornament. I needed a second surgery to clear my nasal passages and bring the Uvula down to normal position. I believe my surgeon resigned from surgical procedures shortly after and became a dietician. I have to give myself a Richter of 8.0 and Joule of 63.1 for ruining someone’s career, running up a large medical expense and causing my mother to worry.
So far, in the early years of my life, I had accumulated a total of 28 on the Richter scale and a whopping Joule of 804.7, numbers never before recorded in history; a destructive force needing to be reckoned with.
My teen-age and adult years have been packed with continuing drama resulting in an even larger accumulation of shocking numbers due to personal problems, divorce, financial challenges, work related issues and loss of loved ones, all of which worried my mother.
My life has slowed to a comfortable pace now, which gives me time to ponder. I am more at peace. I think the reason for this might be my willingness to go back and find that drama has served a purpose in my life and in those I have come in contact with. It did you know, all of it, and since I am a writer, I can complete the stories and imagine outcomes that explain the reasons for the need to perform these dramatic acts in this mysterious stage play called life.
I can imagine that the doctor who injected my infantile noggin went home and cried to his wife that he had to perform a ghastly procedure on a two week old infant. This display of emotion caused her to rethink her decision to divorce the man she thought was void of feelings. They went on to have three children of their own.
The neighbor that drove us to the hospital when my leg was run over, along with my mother, became more vigilant to secure the safety of her children. My Pediatrician gave me the nickname, ‘Lucky’ and had a positive tale of the miracle on Cohasset Street for the rest of his patients.
The dog that trampled me under the screen door was taken to a nearby animal shelter where he was adopted by a family with six children and no cats. His quick instincts made him a hero when he alerted the family of a fire in the laundry room during the night. He saved the entire family and caught the fire early enough to save the house.
The doctor who removed my tonsils, and as I said, went into the dietary field? Well, his wife made the worst brownies in the world. They were really bad…dry and chewy. He decided to market them as an appetite suppressant; they became so popular by his patients, and then the world, that he became a millionaire.
Someone said, marriage is grand, but divorce is fifty grand. Truer words were never spoken. My divorce and the financial difficulties resulting from it created a stronger me, and as sure as broken bones have more strength in their broken places once they are healed, my confidence has grown, my inner strength has emerged and I am blessed with the knowledge that I can rely on myself, I am resourceful, smarter and more creative than I ever imagined and from these experiences I have learned the lessons I have needed to learn. This is true.
Sad to say, my ex suffered multiple injuries in a car accident when his girlfriend at the time began swatting at a bee. She hit my ex in the face several times with a rolled up Cosmopolitan magazine before a gust of wind caught her skirt and wrapped it around the steering column, locking up the steering wheel. The red mustang convertible careened through several red lights before plowing into a gigantic pile of manure waiting to be picked up by a local landscaping company.
To end my fiscal year and sum up my accumulated Richter and Joule numbers would be impossible because, you see, there are so many lives we touch that we aren’t even aware of. The serendipity of life threads its way through our experiences, our lessons, and we all have a hand at creating the most breathtaking tapestry that remains hidden to us until we step over to the other side.
My mother passed away over twenty years ago but before she died, she had the most beautiful silver hair I have ever seen. When the sunlight danced on it, I swear it looked like she was wearing a halo. I’m glad I was able to help in creating it by making her worry so much.
And the other loved ones I’ve lost? Well, they weren’t lost at all; they were a gift to me and to the many other lives that they touched. I’m happy to have known them, to have loved them and to know they loved me. That is without measurement and is priceless.
Love the people you love. You never know the last time you will see them.