The Return of the Curse of the Writer

I struggled with the title for this particular blog post.  No matter what I came up with; it seemed to read like the title of a B-grade horror movie from the 1950’s.  That is what happens when you visit you blog site and realize that you have not entered a new post in over four months!

Over the past few months, I have been distracted with respect to my writing.  About two weeks ago, I happened to see a paperback copy of my book “Announcing a Flight Delay” sitting on the end table next to the couch.  It struck me that I had a manuscript residing on my laptop hard drive that was over half completed.  It was quickly apparent that I missed my chosen craft in the worst way!

The past dozen and a half weeks have been a whirlwind tour of emotion and distraction.  My wife has had some health issues that I was willing and indeed proud to support her with.  Work became intense as deals derailed, fired up, sputtered out, and then reignited.  It did not take long for me to realize that I was getting wound up too tightly.  I buried myself in a series of distractions as part of the relaxation process.  As a result, my writing productivity suffered.  Actually, it did not suffer; it simply died on the vine!

I opened up the manuscript file on the PC.  The fact that the last update to the file occurred six months earlier was not wasted on me.  As the Word document opened up, I was relatively certain that I smelled dust.  Over the course of two weeks, all of it at night or on the weekends; I managed to complete the manuscript.  Now, I am proud to say that my third book “At the Top of the Ladder; A Collection of Quotes to Lead By” has been published by Lulu Press!

So enthused was I by my publication accomplishment that I decided to launch an author’s website for myself.  Over the course of a weekend, I was able to design, construct, publish, and launch my literary internet presence!  Now you can visit www.JerryDollarAuthor.com to learn more about me and my works, including this blog.  It was right after I hit the publish button on my website development tool that I realized by blog was on life support, not having received any attention since last June!

That brings me to the keyboard at the present moment.  I have spent the day reflecting on what happened to my writing journey over the past few months.  Unfortunately, I took a fork on the path that lead me away from who I am.  It is only today that I can state that I am back on that path; after having spent to much time in the wilderness!  Today I can once again proudly proclaim that I am a writer!  I can also proclaim that I am cursed.

Many of you, I am sure, remember receiving those writing assignments in middle school.  You loathed having to take pen to blank paper, you found excuses not to begin writing, and you struggled with ideas on what topic to address.  I was quite the opposite.  Within minutes of being assigned an essay; I was already creating outlines in my mind, crafting witty and engaging opening sentences, and sculpting authoritative yet congenial conclusions.  Yes, even at the age of thirteen; I knew I was destined to be a writer!

Somewhere before embarking upon a dozen or so trains of thought; I mentioned the curse of the writer,  You see, we are not built the same way as most people.  We have a burning desire to create.  Our canvas is the blank page, our palette is our thoughts, and our brush is made up of our words!  We become restless when we cannot craft a tale.  Our minds are either completely blank or there are so many thoughts flying through our brain that we fail to keep up with all of them.  Some would say that we are cursed!

However, the true curse does not lie within who we are.  Rather, the curse lies within denying who we are.  That has been the case with me for the past four months.  It took seeing a copy of a book I wrote and published three years ago to reawaken me to who I am.  It only took a few hours to recapture my birthright; I am a writer!

All of us are blessed with unique gifts.  Most never discover these gifts or spend a lifetime denying and ignoring them.  A fortunate few find their true purpose in life.  I have been given a second chance to reclaim my essence.  For those of you who would write, paint, teach, sing, or dance; stand on the rooftop and scream out to the world who you are.  Live your dreams and seize your happiness!  As for me, it is time to finish that fourth manuscript that has grown cobwebs on my laptop!

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Posted in Blessings, Human Experience, Humor, Inspirational, Motivational, Self Actualization, Self-Realization, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Twirling Through a Life Defined by Cardboard

On the weekends, and the occasional weeknight; I will burn some of my hound Xena’s nervous energy by taking her for a car ride. She loves the breeze slapping up against her face, flapping her massive ears back and forth; I love the fact that I can let my mind roam behind the wheel. During one particular automotive jaunt last week; our master-canine drive took on a whole new meaning.

The evenings have been hot and dry in Colorado Springs for the past month. This is the result of unseasonably high temperatures, low humidity, and a series of forest fires burning all over the state. The smoke not only serves to insult the lungs; it also acts as a blanket that magnifies the heat on the ground.

Xena had grown tired of the hot air in her face and had nestled onto the center well between the two front seats of the car. She was now enjoying the benefits of a steady stream of air conditioned refreshment across her face. The dog’s long torso stretched well into the back seat, where she had balanced her haunches. Having come to a red light, both of us were looking through the windshield at the world in front of us.

Out on the corner of the intersection was a young man, a piece of cardboard in hand and sweat trickling down his face. I fully expected some message of economic misfortune to be scrawled in black marker across stained cardboard. Instead, I was greeted with a neon bright sign that proclaimed the mattress of my dreams was on sale at the nearby mall. The man was lifting the advertisement up and down as he danced on the blistering hot sidewalk. Ear buds lodged into his skull, he was fully enjoying what I presumed was hip-hop based upon the dance moves he was sharing with all of us. His next act had me chuckling; as he began to air guitar with the sign, his reflective sunglasses bouncing up and down on the bridge of his nose!

A series of horn blasts from the cars behind me signaled that the light had obviously turned to green and that I was delaying everyone from getting to their destination. I accelerated slowly and managed to catch the “salesman” in my rear-view mirror. In spite of the near 100-degree temperature, he was merrily executing a lively series of steps, hips turning, and a broad smile etched on his face. Even Xena looked up and gave me a “is he out of his mind look!”

Headed back towards home, I wished I could personally thank whatever brilliant individual had invented automotive air conditioning.  I was actually able to see waves of heat coming up from the pavement in front of me!  The heat was simply intolerable and yet moments ago I had witnessed somebody dancing in it!  He had to really be hurting for employment to take on his task in this weather.  I truly felt empathy for him, but at least he was working and trying to better his lot.

The remainder of the ride back to our air conditioned house was filled with my mental images of this poor soul out in the heat.  The odd part of it all was that he had seemed so happy in what he was being asked to do.  The smile on his face had been genuine and there was no mistake that he was enjoying his music and resulting dance.  In fact, it seemed like he was oblivious to the heat and the demeaning nature of his work!

The dots began to magically connect themselves in my mind.  This young human advertisement was indeed savoring what he was doing.  He had managed to fuse passion with the mundane; expressing a level of joy that is all too rare.  He was in such a state of ecstasy that the heat and the intense sunlight had little effect on him.  In short, he was truly in a state of bliss.

I started ticking off items on my mental list of why I felt pity for him.  First, I had thought his employment choice was demeaning.  Somehow, based upon the look of sheer joy on his face; I was sadly mistaken.  Second, I had equated his labor to a slave-like toiling in the basking sun.  Yes, he had been in a full sweat; yet he had managed to keep up his series of dance step, twirls, and air guitar renditions!  Apparently I was off on all counts!

We have a tendency to place a negative spin on all things related to work.  Toil, labor, employment, working in the salt mines, rowing the galley; they all imply our chosen work is a result of servitude.  Yet one young man, on a street corner, during a scorching afternoon, managed to prove all of that wrong! 

It appears that true joy cannot be extinguished by physical challenges!  The test is whether we can summon up that level of joy within ourselves.  Each of us facing a daily choice; we can trudge off to work with our heads hung low or we can put a spring in our step with our eyes held high.  As for me, I will be searching for some headphones, polishing my dancing shoes, and cutting out a cardboard guitar before Monday!

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A Toss of Gray

Without a doubt, a great number of you are assuming that there is a typographical error in the title of this blog post.  I assure you that I did indeed mean to use “toss” rather than “touch.”  That said; I owe my kind audience a bit of an explanation!

In the midst of what was a glorious Rocky Mountain late spring day this past weekend; Xena, my faithful hound, and I found ourselves taking an invigorating walk in the park.  My canine companion will only tolerate well-manicured grass and paved walking paths for so long.  Eventually, the victim of her lupine genetics, she feels the urge to go out into the wild.  Fortunately, our park of choice happens to abut against an area that has not fallen victim to urban development.  It is there that Xena is able to connect with her inner wolf!

Off to one side of the park is that feral parcel of land that is still dotted with gnarled old trees, deeply rooted into the silt soil.  At first glance, this broad basin may have even been an old creek bed.  Interspersed amongst the trees are a series of steel chain link cages hung off of metal poles; each used to demarcate the pin for a Frisbee golf hole.  At the other end of each hole is a small cement pad, presumably serving as the tee box.

At dawn or right after dusk, I will not hesitate to let Xena traverse through the ghost town-like Frisbee golf course.  She loves picking up the scents left by urban wildlife the night before.  On occasion, she will also pick up the trail of a dog that caddied for its owner on the links!  At any other time, the threat of uncontrolled plastic projectiles whizzing past our heads is enough to keep us safely on the periphery of the course.

On the particular morning in question, I was surprised to see that the Frisbee golf course was already thoroughly packed.  Colorful plastic discs were flying in every direction.  Much to my dog’s chagrin, there was no possibility of going out into the wooded area!  Looking over her muscular shoulder, Xena wiped the look of consternation off her face and grudgingly trudged down the path that circles the Frisbee golf course.  I have to believe that if an Oscar was awarded for “best hound actress in a supporting role” she would walk away with the golden statue!

In spite of the dramatics, my canine counterpart was soon trotting down the length of the path.  Suddenly Xena jerked back sharply in her harness; the result of me having come to a dead stop.  Jaw hanging wide open, I paused to wonder if I had somehow been transported back in time.  Waiting for their turn to tee off, and plastic discs already in hand; I saw two older men for whom time had come to a grinding stop!

I stared in awe at their attire.  I was reasonably confident that I had not seen that bold a tie-dyed pattern since the late 1960’s.  The frazzled cuffs on their blue jean cut-offs just completed the image of two free spirits reveling at Woodstock.  The overall look of nostalgia was completed by the heavy leather strap sandals that each of the men was wearing.  There was only one problem with my flashback into the golden age of the hippy; time had not been necessarily kind to the pair of men in front of me!

The first gentleman under my scrutiny had a long gray pony tail, neatly pulled back.  The only problem was that there was no hair to be found anywhere on the upper half of his head.  His companion had a full head of hair, down well past the shoulders, but it was neon white.  This breathing portrait of a time gone by was further accented by a full beard, streaked in a dull and lifeless gray color!

As I watched the twosome tee off from the first hole; two things became readily apparent.  First, my displaced hippies were no strangers to Frisbees.  Second, they were so at ease and comfortable in their attire that I had to assume it simply had not changed in the past forty to fifty years.  Physically they had both aged; yet mentally and spiritually they had not evolved with time!

Nose pointed to the ground and shoulders hunched forward; Xena served me a reminder that my purpose at that very moment was not to people-watch; rather it was to pay tribute to her need to explore!  As we meandered around the far edge of the Frisbee golf course, my mind wandered back to the pair of hippies I had run across.  Did they have any idea whatsoever of how out-of-place they looked?  Had they stayed stuck in their look as a sign of a half century-long protest against the establishment?  For that matter, had they simply lost a bet of some kind?

It was then that a strange thought popped into my head.  What if the pair of men knew that they were misfit relics in the present time?  What if they did not care what others thought?  What if they had found a comfort zone in their lives where they were completely at ease with themselves?  That inner peace of knowing who you are and not bowing to society’s pressures had to be nothing short of a complete liberation of the soul!

Off in the distance I could see a Frisbee golf party working its way towards me.  The bright colors of the tie-dyed shirts let me know it was the presumably misplaced cast members from the play “Hair” that I had seen earlier.  Staring at the happy bounce in their steps; it was then that I realized my former pity for them had blossomed into envy!

What better gift can any of us bestow upon ourselves than utter inner peace?  Imagine going through the rest of your life with that level of self-mastery!  As for me, I am busy looking for that lime leisure suit I had back in high school and my old “Saturday Night Fever” vinyl LP!

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Pack Your Trunk for the Grand Journey

The other morning served to make me question why I have a dog who obviously has no sense of what sub-zero wind chill means!  My teeth were chattering as my faithful hound Xena and I trudged uphill through ankle-deep drifting snow!  She was majestically strutting headfirst into the gusting wind, her long ears flapping out to the sides of her head.  I was on the edge of hypothermia and she was prancing in all of her glory!

I could see the frost beginning to build up on her muzzle.  My moustache was not faring much better; icicles beginning to dangle from the whiskers.  The only thing we were missing was a sled for my canine companion to pull; while I rode under a pile of toasty blankets, mushing her through the frozen tundra of our neighborhood.

In the very first light of the early morning, I was able to make out a heavily clothed figure bent over the trunk of an automobile.  While Xena paused to submarine her face into a snow bank, I observed the person across the street.  I was able to see that he was placing items into the trunk of his small sedan.  First came a children’s stroller, followed by a booster chair, that was then followed by an enormous folding crib.  Apparently somebody was going to Grandma and Grandpa’s for the weekend!

As Xena started to tug me back in the direction of our hearth and home; I looked over my shoulder at the car on the icy driveway.  The owner had pulled almost everything back into the garage; and they were now in the process of repacking the trunk!  Apparently not all of the items had fit into the trunk on the first attempt.  Now this person found themselves trying to solve the puzzle of stowing all of the toddler’s belongings anew!

Two cups of steamy coffee later, I was relatively certain that I had regained feeling in all of my extremities.  Xena had destroyed a couple of dental doggie treats, and was now sprawled out at the base of the stairs.  I thought back on the parka-clad stranger that I had observed just minutes earlier.  For a moment, I reminisced about the challenges of packing up my own daughters when they had been much younger.  I always managed to get everything loaded on the first try!  Then again, I owned a mini van at the time!

In all aspects of my life, I have a tendency to lean towards the Spartan philosophy.  Rarely do I consider including more than the bare necessities in my life endeavors.  The same thought holds true in packing for trips.  Why bring more than I absolutely have to?  My wife is always amazed at how quickly I can pack for a business trip.  It is virtually effortless when you limit the number of items that you bring along!  If you travel light, you always travel happy!  Besides, if you did not pack an item that you suddenly need; the concierge is more than willing to have it bought and delivered to your room.

In some way, shape, or manner; each of us is on an automobile journey on the highway called life.  We pack those things that we feel will be needed during the duration of the excursion.  The problem is that sometimes our luggage becomes baggage.  We forget that items can be taken out of the trunk as easily as they can be put in.  We go through life weighed down by those things that are no longer necessary.

Imagine that luggage is all that is good and important in your life.  Baggage, on the other hand, is made up of bad memories, bitter disappointments, unexpected let downs, and all sorts of betrayals and ill feelings.  Once these pieces of negative baggage are packed away in the trunk; it is easy to forget they are there, that is until you try to put a piece of positive luggage in the same trunk.  Either you give up or you have to try to repack the entire trunk before you can continue your journey.  It never strikes you to simply remove the baggage!

Before you take the next leg of your life’s journey; consider completely emptying the trunk of all baggage you have been carrying for years!  If you find yourself in need, you can always buy the luggage you need to continue the journey.  Can it be frightful to go through life with nothing to hold you back?  Yes!  Is it a test of faith to believe your needs will somehow be fulfilled in the future?  Definitely!  Are we skeptical of the notion that everything in our life can be positive?  Absolutely!

Look at it this way.  If the trunk is void of all that is negative; then it is wide open for as much positive as you can stuff into it.  Hey, it worked for the Spartans!

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Driven in a New Direction

My daily routine includes a 120-mile round trip commute to and from work. Some might consider this to be a burden; but I actually enjoy the time behind the wheel.  On the way into the office; I am able to sort out all of the tasks to be accomplished during the day, preparing myself to wow the healthcare world.  On the way back home; I am able to let go of the day’s business challenges, preparing myself for an evening of relaxation.  The two and half hours of combined windshield time allow the mind to flow effortlessly!

By the very definition of being a writer; I am constantly observing the world around me, most specifically human behavior.  There is no better place to witness both the best and the worst of humanity than behind the wheel of an automobile!  From the vantage point of the steering wheel; I have witnessed numerous acts of kindness, as well as too many deeds of malice!  Over the years as a motorist, I have come to realize that the roadway is a reflection of society as a whole.

Traveling on the interstate almost daily can be a test of nerve and resolve!  My favorite ride on this high-speed asphalt amusement park is the “Blind Spot Coaster.”  This is the person who drives right in that magic zone where they are invisible in both your rearview and side view mirrors.  You speed up, they speed up!  You slow down, they slow down!  It quickly becomes apparent that they have no mind of their own and live only to follow the actions of others!  I have to imagine you have run into this type of person before.

Then there is the non-stop thrill of the “Speed and Slow Go-Round.”  This is the vehicle that comes up behind you at a high rate of speed.  The driver lingers on your back bumper for a moment and tries to push you to accelerate.  When you do not comply, they use a single finger to inform you that you are number one; and then they fly around you.  The automobile quickly swerves into your lane and proceeds to slow down!  If you have the audacity to try to pass them, they floor the gas pedal!  Before you know it, you are playing the villain in “Blind Spot Coaster!”

By far my favorite highway game is the ever pulse-quickening “Bumper Sticker Hypocrite Twist.”  This involves a family style vehicle such as a late-model mid-range minivan.  The driver attempts to emulate their favorite NASCAR idol by tailgating, passing closely, darting in and out of traffic, and unexpectedly braking and accelerating for no apparent reason.  This is the vehicle that invariably displays a very large “Baby On Board” bumper sticker!  Now we know where Hollywood stuntmen get their beginning; in the car seat with an overly aggressive mother at the wheel!

My father managed to teach three of his children how to drive; all without having to ingest sedatives or seek professional counseling.  His credo was always, “Drive defensively!”  He imparted paternal wisdom with his tips on how to hope for the best, yet prepare for the worst on the roadways!  In short, we were taught to anticipate the vehicular stupidity of those around us!

I have taken this philosophy one step further as age has caught up to me.  I now prefer to “drive defensively and courteously!”  I am the driver who always has one eye on his mirrors; looking out for those who apparently cannot look out for themselves.  I manage to refrain from flying the one-finger salute at those who cross me.  In fact, I go out of my way to brake early, let merging traffic enter in front of me, and wave the other person on when we tie for the right-of-way at a stop sign!

For the record, please allow me to state that I am by no means a car-driving choirboy!  I have been known to slow down a bit below the speed limit when somebody is riding my bumper.  I have also sped up slightly to keep somebody from darting out in front of me.  These episodes of motoring mischief have never endangered me, my passengers, or the other person.  I guess I felt I had to simply impart a lesson unto them!

Over the years I seem to have become more mellow on the road.  It is rare when I feel compelled to teach an errant driver a lesson.  I tend to allow others to cut in front of me or take an undeserved right-of-way.  Perhaps I have simply learned that I need to appreciate the beauty of the journey rather than worry about how quickly I get to my destination.  The bottom line is; I have always gotten to the destination, so why not enjoy the drive?

Ask yourself two quick questions.  First, how many one finger salutes did you receive on the road last week?  Second, how may of those salutes did you fly at somebody else?  If the answer was more than “none;” perhaps it is time for you to be driven in a new direction!

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Life is Simply Another Day in the Airport Gate Area

I am sitting at the airport, enduring yet another flight delay; which hopefully will not magically transform itself into a flight cancellation.  It is amazing what an additional eighty minutes of waiting can do to an already anxious crowd.  The good news is that the mob at the gate has not yet lit torches.  The bad news is that this artificially assembled tribe might smear on the ritual face paint and declare war at any time!

By my estimation, and numerous airline records spanning carriers from around the globe; I have flown right at 1.2 million miles on some 800 or more flights.  I tend to be an early arrival at the gate area, so it would be safe to estimate that I have spent at least an hour waiting for boarding at each of my flights.  Do some quick math and you will quickly arrive at the fact that I have spent over a month of my life sitting in gate areas all over the world.

Most of you would lament what a colossal waste of thirty days my airport tenancy has been.  I do not share that mindset at all.  In fact, I have loved every second of having my rear end glued to an uncomfortable gate area seat!  It has given me a wonderful excuse for one of my favorite activities; people watching!  Now some would call it staring, and others might label it as prying or even snooping; I prefer to think of my actions as observing the totality of the human condition!

I have witnessed the teary eyed newlywed saying goodbye to her new spouse just one more time through the coldness of a cell phone.  Enthusiastic businessmen have high-fived directly in front of me as they celebrated their latest win.  I have sat across from the exhausted recently christened road warrior as he checked his email yet once again.  My ears have formed a safe haven for the frustrations being vented by a flight attendant as she realized we shared common ground in the form of too many air miles in too short a time frame.  Over the years, I have given directions to the baggage claim area in four different languages and a wide variety of universal hand gestures and charades.

The totality of the human experience has played itself out in front of me; showing me the very best and the very worst that lies resident within each of us.  The drunken frequent flyer lashing out at a hapless gate agent has made me want to jump in and spank the offender.  The woman who, no doubt frustrated by the flying experience, screamed at and berated her child publicly tempted me to call social services.  Then there was the young man, offering to take a later flight and give up his seat; all so an unknown elderly woman would not miss the birth of her first great-grandchild.  My eyes still tear up over the well-dressed businesswoman asking that her first class seat be relinquished to one of our returning soldiers.

At the risk of being sued by United Artists, I have enjoyed my very own personal screening of “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”  In short, I have seen the most commendable and the most despicable sides of the human coin.  It reminds me of how fragile all of us can be.  It also drives home the fact that I am part of the larger condition.  All of us have moments we are proud of and times we wish we were not so ashamed of.  We have collections of triumphs and disappointments.  In recognizing this, we arrive at the conclusion that perhaps we are not as alone as we think we are.

None of us can claim a victory that was not built upon the shoulders of others.  Even if the effort was solely ours, somebody has to be credited with giving us our work ethic or our education or our outlook on life.  The same holds for our defeats, which we tend to be more likely to create on our own.  How we handle these downfalls can also be credited to the many others who have influenced our life.

I find it ironic that I feel the most connected to the world when I am in the presence of total strangers.  I will admit that I am more hypersensitive than most and that I am readily willing to connect with anybody.  Nonetheless, I am confident that all of us have the ability to feel the human experience in its glorious totality.  The secret is quite simple; realize you are not alone, be willing to share of yourself openly, and realize that you have something to learn from everyone you encounter in life.  From there, the rest is simple.

As for me, it is time to wrap up this blog post.  I need to focus on the crowd forming at the gate area.  Who knows?  One of them may be people-watching me right at this very moment!  I would hate to miss out on the opportunity to touch another soul!

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Unplanned Obsolescence

As is the case on most Sunday afternoons; I had the opportunity to get caught up with my daughters on the phone today.  My oldest lives in Tampa and has always prided herself on being the technophile of the family.  Name the latest electronic gadget and she is all over it!  Today was her day to shine in the information technology limelight.

The second sentence that comes out of my mouth whenever speaking to one of my three daughters is, “So what’s new?”  The first sentence is typically, “Hey, monkeybutt!”  It is an inside family joke; but trust me, they still laugh at it!  On this quiet Sunday, little did I know the Pandora’s box my innocent second question was opening for my oldest daughter.

Within minutes the entire story of her new computer workstation was revealed to me.  I was able to follow the basics of her latest hardware behemoth; the 32 GB of onboard memory, the 1 TB hard drive, the dual HD video monitors, and the highly advanced graphics card.  In the past I have found myself searching computer terms on Google as we spoke; all so I could just keep up with her somewhat intelligently.

Today I was thrown a new techno-curveball as my daughter shared her latest high-tech acquisition.  As it turns out, she now owns her own cloud!  She and her boyfriend are currently in the process of moving all of their photos, music, documents, and all forms of games onto their private cloud.

If you are as technology-challenged as I am; please allow me to explain.  (And yes, I had to visit Google to get it all straight.)  By having everything up on a cloud, my daughter does not have to rely on storage within any one of her hardware devices.  She can go to any PC-like appliance and can access any of her files from anywhere in the world that has an Internet connection.  In other words, she has now become the Mighty Oz!  Ignore the twenty-six year old blonde behind the curtain!

I have to admit that the last time I got excited about a cloud was while lying on my back in tall grass.  All of a sudden, the thunderhead above me began to resemble a crocodile.  No, I was not an overly imaginative adolescent out on a summer’s day.  I am reasonably sure it was sometime in the past year or so!

Truth be told, I have always worked as a senior executive within high technology companies.  I can keep up with new concepts as they are introduced into the healthcare IT marketplace.  But I am also aware of my limits.  I carry a smart phone, yet primarily use it to make and receive phone calls.  I have a laptop, but use it for correspondence, spreadsheets, and my calendar.  My web presence is limited to my blog site; which mercifully is so highly automated and intuitive that I could not hope to screw it up!

There is an age gap of about twenty-six years between my oldest daughter and me.  By most definitions, that equates to a generation.  Yet there are some areas where we are separated by what seems like eras.  As I reflect on the conversation that my little girl and I had today; I feel like the victim of unplanned obsolescence!  I can truly say that I have become a relic in my own time!  I have ceased to keep up with the times.  Next stop will be black dress socks with sandals and tacky Bermuda shorts!

I have reflected back on my own father and how amused I was at his apparent lack of technological sophistication.  He was perplexed that I would need to carry a phone around with me at all times.  Forget the fact that it was the size of a brick and in retrospect looked ridiculous; I was riding on the leading edge!  My father carried an ATM card yet never used it; preferring instead to withdraw cash from the bank in person.

If there was one thing my father knew how to do; it was using his uncanny ability to make friends instantly.  He had an ease and humor that broke down barriers with strangers.  It became readily apparent that he genuinely cared for all people on a deep level.

Last week I attended a national conference that focused exclusively on healthcare information technology.  I bared witness to the very latest in high performance hardware and the most sophisticated software available.  In the process, I represented my healthcare analytics company; which is in the process of forever altering the healthcare quality and cost landscape.  I made some very solid connections and foresee some very lucrative deals coming out of my work.

As I contrast my performance at this conference to my conversation with my daughter; I have had a minor epiphany.  For all the technology in the world, nothing can replace the power of making a personal connection with another person.  The feel of a firm handshake, the look of acknowledgement in someone’s eye, the warmth of a hand on a shoulder; this is what the human experience is all about!

In an age of online meetings, emails, webcasts, podcasts, and virtual conferences; I am indeed a relic.  I am one of those few lucky individuals who still knows how to conduct business in person!  It makes me kind of proud to be obsolete!

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