Tag Archives: Bob Deason

From LOL to LMAO to ROFL ©

A Story by Bob Deason

LOLI am on my afternoon walk, letting my mind wander as I usually do while walking, and I start thinking about my friend Retha.  As one of her birthday presents, she received a red, plush version of what is basically a blanket with sleeves in it.  The name of this contraption is the “Siamese Slanket,” because it has four sleeves in it so that a couple can snuggle together while still eating popcorn (or something like that).    However, when her son saw it, he put his legs through one set of sleeves and his arms through the other, and ended up wearing it like a toga, a la John Belushi in Animal House.  As I let my imagination run away with her description of the scene, I start chuckling to myself.  This quickly progresses to laughing out loud (LOL), and then to laughing so hard I have to stop to catch my breath (LMAO).

At this point in my walk, I am on an uphill section of my normal circuit, right in front of a pediatrician’s office.  There are people in the parking lot on their way in to see the doctor, and some others coming out on their way to their cars.  Imagine their surprise to see a heavyset man in his 50’s doubled over in the road.  They can’t tell I am laughing, but it is obvious that I am having trouble breathing.  They immediately think heart attack.

So two people come rushing over, and one person runs inside to get the doctor.  They try to make me sit down on the curb, and I try to tell them I am OK, and that I am just laughing at a story.  But that just makes the whole thing funnier to me, so I laugh even harder (ROFL).  I try to explain, but since I am uttering phrases like Siamese Slanket and Toga Party, they assume that I am hallucinating.

Now the doctor comes out, and we know each other because his office used to be in our building.  He says, “Bob what’s wrong?”  I realize people are worried so I manage to compose myself a little and start to explain.  Turns out the doc has seen the ads for the Siamese Slanket, and he thinks it’s hilarious that someone would put their legs through the second set of arm holes, and he starts laughing, which gets me going all over again.  By now the first responders have figured out that I am not having a heart attack. I am merely a lunatic.  So they grab their children (pediatrician, remember?) and beat a hasty retreat to their cars.

This happens to me sometimes.  I start laughing at something, and it turns into a full-on, roaring belly-laugh.  When it is over, I feel so good.  I know it has something to do with the release of endorphins, but I just think of it as a release of stress.  Laughter really is the best medicine (LOL).

photo by Bob’s dad

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Encounter In The Park ©

In the park with Bob Deason

parkLast winter, I met a friend in the park every morning at 7 to go for a walk.  It is good exercise, and it is just a good way to start the day.  However, it was usually pretty cold.  Now I don’t mean New England winter cold, but it was almost always right around freezing. 

One morning when I got to the park, there was a woman in a sleeping bag on one of the park benches.  She had a number of parcels pulled in around her, as if everything that she had left in the world was right there.  I felt the usual “There but for the Grace of God go I” moment.  Then my friend arrived, we went on our walk, and the woman in the park was forgotten . . . until the next day.  We were there bright and early, and so was she, curled up in a ball to preserve body heat.  It was clear that she was staying . . . at least until someone moved her.

There she was, right in front of me each day, so it was no longer a chance encounter with someone who reminded me of unpleasant realities.  I had to make a choice to either do something, or treat her as one of the “invisibles.” It really was no choice.  I had to do something, but what was the best thing to do?  I want to help, but I really don’t want to get involved.  I could call the welfare office to get her some help, but is that what she would want?  I finally decided on the direct approach.  The next morning I brought a cup of hot coffee and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and left them next to her with the words, “This is for you.” She nodded but said nothing.  We repeated this pattern for the next 2 days, and then she was gone.

Her absence left me wondering where she had gone, and also forced me to examine my own motives.  Did I do what I did out of true compassion, or just to try and make myself feel better?  I certainly did feel better each morning that I left her a modest breakfast, and I lost that feeling when she moved on.  I just hope that what I did helped her make it through a few days, and that she has somehow found her way to a better place.

photo by Bob Deason

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Four-way Stop©

A different view of traffic by Bob Deason

Stop,   Look,   Listen

trafficThe main drag in the town where I live has a number of signal lights.  If you spend any time in the downtown area, you will see lots of traffic laws being broken.  Drivers will speed up at a yellow light and end up running through the red, or turn right on red in front of someone who has the green.  There have been a number of close calls where a pedestrian (me) has almost been run down when he had the right of way . . . in a crosswalk . . . with the little “walking guy” light on (venting with righteous indignation).

However, if you move one street west, the traffic environment is totally different.  This is still an important business street, but there are no signal lights, just four-way stop signs.  People who would pull out in front of you or run you down at a signal light will come to a complete stop, smile, and wave at you to go first . . . even if they have the right of way.  I’m pretty sure that at least some of the same people travel both streets, so what is this amazingly civilizing effect?

I think it is because at a four-way stop, you actually have to look someone in the face.   Sometimes you can actually read her lips, “You go ahead.”  Then you nod or wave and say “Thank you.”  Yes, you actually say it out loud even though she can’t hear you.  It’s just the right thing to do.

I really think this is the secret to something.  When you look at someone’s face, and they look at yours, there is a connection.  You recognize that you are neighbors in one sense or another.  So my prescription for improving the world is obvious.  Eliminate signal lights and returning to stop signs.  OK, that is unrealistic and would probably cause gridlock, and maybe even economic chaos.   I guess I am just recommending that we all slow down a little and get to know our neighbors on this tiny planet.  If everyone would do that, we would all feel happier, more connected to each other, and safer crossing the street . . . in a crosswalk . . . with the walking guy light on.

photo by crazyfilmgirl

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