Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Antidote for Self-Pity

We have fallen in love so much with our own hyperbole that we no longer are assailed by hurricanes but rather by "Superstorms" and in January we are no longer simply dealing with winter but rather with "The Polar Vortex".  Ridiculous.  Our penchant for overstatement has had a not wholly unexpected side effect.  It has made us soft.  So soft that these days we practically melt in our own mouths.  And the softer one is, the easier it is to pass one's time at the Wallow of Self-Pity. 

Snap out of it.  If you live as I do in the Northeastern part of these United States, then in  January it gets really, really cold.  Remember how cold it is today and tomorrow and more days than not from now through the first day of Spring when - on a 97 degree day in July - you are fucking whining about how it is really, really hot.  Unless you work outdoors to earn your living or are unable to afford a roof over your head to keep you and yours warm at night, being cold is nothing more than a transient condition. 

Before you devote too much of today to feeling badly about the weather, the continuing legal misadventures of Justin Bieber or whatever other nonsense you were contemplating to allow to overwhelm you, take a moment and consider the example set by Gabe Hurley.  A moment is all you shall need.  I assure you. 

I have written of Gabe in this space before.  It has been my great pleasure and privilege to have known Gabe - and to a lesser extent his parents and his older sister - since he and Suzanne were grammar school classmates.  He was always one of my favorites and - likely much to his chagrin - remains so to this day.  An extraordinarily energetic, upbeat young man with big dreams and the willingness to do what he needed to do to maximize his likelihood of realizing them.  

And in a moment everything changed.  

Gabe was catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident that was entirely the fault of another, which accident forever altered the trajectory of his life.  It happened four and one-half years ago and in the immediate aftermath of it the doctors who ultimately saved his life were not entirely sure their best efforts were going to be enough.  They were.  Through their hard work and expertise, he remained alive. 

But being alive and living a life are two different things entirely.  A lesser man - including the one who stares back at me in the mirror every morning - may not have been up to the challenge of bridging the distance between the former and the latter.  Gabe was.  And you know what?  He still is.  Every day. 

The young man who I have known since he was just a boy is most assuredly not a boy any more.  He is twenty-nine years old.  His body was badly broken.  His spirit was not.  Among the things that occupy his day-to-day is going around the State of New Jersey and giving lectures and talks to various groups - including high school students - about the importance of safe operation of a motor vehicle.  Having been significantly injured by another's reckless operation of a motor vehicle, Gabe knows from which he speaks.  Apparently, he makes quite an impression.  As one who has known him for most of his life that is certainly not a surprise....  

....not even close.


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