Can we stop thinking bad thoughts for just a few minutes? Can we turn off the rancor, put down the phone, click out of Facebook, look away from the comments, take a breath and clear the bedlam from our heads?
Can we block out the tweets and take our eyes off murder, mayhem, road rage, corruption, cancer, low T, high fructose corn syrup, cyber crime and sports felons? Can we take a couple of minutes to admire the good people among us?
Because there are beautiful motherfuckers all around us, making life livable if not downright wonderful: healing our broken brethren, shaping our future geniuses, nudging those in need of a nudge and just easing the pain a little bit for those who are suffering or maybe just having a shitty day.
Can we put aside our schadenfreude and our fearjones and mindfully meditate for a few moments on the neighbors in our community who are right this very moment lifting hearts and mending vertebra and shrinking tumors and expanding minds and scrubbing burnt, metaphorical caramelized onions off the great stovetop of life?
Because right now, a team of selfless doctors, nurses and technicians are quite likely patching up a shooting victim somewhere in this shiny, postmodern possibility city in the land of the mostly free and home of the marginally brave. And some other healers are lovingly stitching together a fellow human being who had the audacity to venture into our vehicular cityscape as a pedestrian or a cyclist. And they are doing this all the time!
Think about this: Daryl Isaacs, our legendary Hefty Hammer or Heavy Hitter or Beefy Barrister or Corpulent Counselor or whatever your favorite pet name is, had his neck tragically broken for him and a brilliant medical team at University Hospital patched him up so he can live to sue another day, which is, after all, the American Way. What all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not do, a team of Louisville healers did.
And dwell, if you please, on the fact that teachers all over this great city are opening the minds of our most-hormone-besotted youngsters, cramming into their knowledge-holes Jefferson and Euclid and Curie and Hobbes and Dickinson and Whitman and King and Hawking and Seuss and Angelou. We are collectively getting less dumb and teachers are the reason! If you don’t hug (and, where appropriate, French kiss) a teacher today you are making a huge and unconscionable mistake.
And somewhere, right under our noses, some compassionate counselor is convincing some disconsolate soul not to commit suicide. On this, just another rainbow day in my happy life, another hero quietly and without benefit of ticker tape parade or PBR tallboy of thanks is giving someone the courage to keep on trying.
And somewhere, maybe right in your very block, a gallant hospice worker is gently helping one of our dying neighbors into whatever lies beyond this life, which, let’s face it, nobody knows — not the priests nor the pope nor the imams nor the lamas nor the swamis nor the scientists nor your grumpy, opinionated, slightly racist aunt, nor Google, not even Oprah — and so it’s scary but yet the hospice worker toils on, making it just a little bit easier to let go and isn’t that the greatest gift — to make the unknown path a little better lighted, a little less rock-strewn, a little less precarious?
Hold a saltine in your mouth without chewing and soon it will break down and begin to taste sweet because the enzymes in your saliva convert the starch to sugar and so it is with our salty, starchy world. For every homicidal maniac there are millions of heroes of loving kindness. For every mentally ill road-rager there are millions of polite motorists, waving someone in. For every bloviating wanker ranting about schools who couldn’t last five minutes in an actual classroom, there are a thousand dedicated teachers busting their arses every day to teach our children to read and write and climb to the motherfuckin’ mountaintop.
The hard part is to hold the saltine in your mouth long enough to taste the sweetness. The hard part is to not chew.
So just for a few minutes, let’s gaze away from the panicscape and pause to admire the beautiful people who feed the hungry and shelter the homeless and clothe the naked and heal the sick and make the bored giggle. Because they are everywhere, hidden in plain sight.