Taken For Granted

Friday 3 January 2003

This Monday, I was off from both jobs and out running errands. Between two of them, I stopped at Ryan's Steakhouse (it's an all-you-can-eat cafeteria-type place, if they don't exist in your neck of the woods) for lunch. Anyway, the guy at the table next to me was about 80 years old and only had one arm. I sat there for half an hour shoveling food into my system while thinking about this guy and what he must have been through in his lifetime. He was wearing mechanic coveralls, I think from a local auto shop, and he had a tattoo that made me think he was ex-military. Maybe he lost the arm in World War II back in the 1940s. I just don't know.

What I do know is that everything I've complained about in my rants, and all the counter-rants I've gotten back from some of you about those rants...it all means nothing next to having lost an arm and then living for years (perhaps decades) learning to adapt and even thrive. This guy at the restaurant had more to be upset about than you or I, yet I'm sure he's complained less. I think the vast majority of people go through life taking things for granted, at least most of the time. I often do it myself, until I'm reminded that things really aren't that bad for me. Then I keep it in my mind for a while, until I forget, until I'm reminded again, and so on.

The moral of the story is: be thankful for what you have, even if it's "just" a "normal" life. Some people don't have that choice.