Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson



Friday, December 28, 2012

What a Day, What a World

This week I've been enjoying my end of the year "use it or lose it" paid time off from the day job. I'm not really doing much on my PTO. Just a relaxing Christmas with the family and getting some stuff done around the house. Today I took in a high school hockey tournament that my cousin played in. I wish I could say she got her skills from me, but she's way better than I was.

During her first game, a got a work email on the iThing that really ruined my day. No, it was an angry customer, something going wrong on the shop floor, or anything like that. It was a company wide email from the HR lady giving unbelievably bad news. A seven year old grandson of one of my bosses was killed in an accident on Christmas day.

I guess a neighbor was backing out of the driveway and accidently struck the kid. I don't know the specifics, but you can imagine how this could so easily happen. You get into your car, check the rear view mirror and see nothing. Look down for a split second to put the car in gear. Press the gas and... the world changes.

Just thinking about that scenario puts a lump the size of a softball in my throat. Like I said, I don't know the specifics. I don't know who the driver was. I never meet the kid. But my heart breaks for everyone involved. And it scares me because I'm reminded how fragile and brief life can be. I'm reminded how the lives of people, families and neighborhoods can change dramatically in an instant.

Between games I went to a neighborhood restaurant with group for a quick meal. We were a little short on space, so I ended up sharing the end of the table with a one year old in a highchair.

This was the first time the one year old ever saw me and was, understandably, a little uneasy with me sharing the end of the table with her. I broke the ice by making some silly faces. Then I handed her my iThing. I have a ship's bell app for it. 

It rings on the half hour the number of bells according to a four hour watch. You can also bring up a picture of a bell on the phone's screen and ring the bell by pressing the screen. When my new friend figured that out, she was having a ball. She pressed the screen, bell would ring and she would laugh. Over and over, louder and louder.

The little one was having so much fun she scooped up the phone and was waiving it around, making the bell ring while laughing the cutest laugh I've heard in a while. At this point the mom got motherly and went to take the iThing away saying "be careful, put that down. We don't want to drop Shane's phone on the ground."

This, of course, didn't sit well with the one year old. As she started to fuss, I said "it's alright, let her play. The thing can survive a drop from a table just fine." I thought this kid is having a blast and it's putting a big smile on everyone at the table's face. All from a simple bell.

That thought was still stuck in my head as I got into my truck to drive back to the rink. As I checked my mirrors an extra four or five times as I backed out of my spot; I said to myself "what a day, and what a world." Within two hours I was brought nearly to tears of sorrow by reading tragic news about a seven year old I never met, to being brought to tears of laughter by a one year old I had just met. 

I'm glad the restaurant was crowed and I had the share the end of the table with a toddler. That experience, along with the horrible news, really helped me put things into perspective. Life is precious and it can change in an instant. We need to pay more attention to what we do and what is around us. If you look the wrong way for a second, you may get hit by a car or hit someone with your car. If you don't make a funny face once in a while, you might miss out on a meal filled with laughter.

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