Posts filed under ‘stories’
If you get a chance, read His Heart Whirs Anew, a very interesting article in the Style section of this weekend’s Washington Post. The article discusses Peter Houghton, a 68 year old man who underwent an operation seven years ago that replaced the dysfunctional left ventricle of his heart with a titanium turbine. Mr. Houghton’s heart no longer thumps with blood, instead he says it whirs like a washing machine. But Mr. Houghton says the mechanical device has done more than prolong his life. He believes it has also altered his emotions. He says, I would describe myself as less intuitive. More of a thinking, more rational, less intuitive person. Less sure if I can do things by inspiration.
Scientists are uncertain why Houghton feels this way. Could it be machinery, drugs, depression, the lack of hormones excreted by the heart, or even that for hundreds of thousands of years, human brains have been optimized by having their oxygen delivered in pulse-driven spurts, not constant pressure. One of Houghton’s doctors said, It’s hard to measure being a human. …we do know that good restoration of blood flow restores health, a good experience of life. Implant recipients are normal again, restoring physical conditions. How they go on with their lives is what they do, now what doctors do.
The article discusses the clear distinction in modern day medicine between treating the body and treating the mind. Rather than realizing that changes to one causes drastic changes in the other, modern day doctors tend to treat the two completely separately.
When I became unexpectedly ill two years ago doctors thought I could have long term implications on the health of my heart. Shortly after being informed of this possibility I read an article that said patients with heart problems often suffer far greater depression then patients with other medical ailments. It seems there is a strong correlation between the heart and human emotions. When the heart is broken, the spirit appears to break too.
Over the last two years I have often found it difficult to deal with the emotional aspects of my illness and I know that my emotions have often caused further physical pain. The reciprocal relationship between the mind and body is often ignored by doctors. In an effort to heal both my spiritual and emotional well being I often sought comfort in the hands of acupuncturists and massage therapists who clearly saw the connection between the two.
The author says, in some subtle ways, our sense of self — who we are — is shaped by our carcasses. Shaped by the containers we drag around. When you become unexpectedly ill it can be quite difficult to rectify your new sense of self with a body that feels less than ideal.
This article was near and dear to my heart as I underwent an echocardiogram last week to rule out disease and dysfunction of my heart. By the grace of God it seems my heart is working just as it should. Although I have other physical limitations and pain as a result of my health issues I feel a relief that is impossible to explain. With the knowledge that my heart is healthy it seems my spirit has been lifted. In fact, it may be reaching a higher plateau than it held in my previously healthy state.
The Washington Post has an inspiring article in this week’s Sunday Source called Reinvent Your Life. The article divulges the details of for individuals who gave up their boring, unhappy lives in search of adventure. Everything from a software engineer turned model to a help-desk support technician moving to Antarctica. The article takes a look not only at the positive side of changing careers, but also the darker side, which can lead to loneliness and perhaps an even unhappier future.
The article says more than half of Americans across all income brackets are dissatisfied with their jobs today. Up from 39 percent in 1987. One of the profiled individuals encouraged unhappy individuals to consider alternative career choices. But first she said to ask yourself the following, “Do I need a total change of scene, or do I just need a vacation? Do I need to change my whole entire career, or do I just need to change the company I’m working with?” She suggests considering changing the company you work with before considering changing your career completely.
Just this week I met with a friend of mine who has been encouraging me to change careers. I’m unhappy with my job but the pay and benefits make a monotonous job much more bearable. I would love a fulfilling job but I’m not certain what I want to do with my life or what career path I’d like to take. My friend drastically changed careers a few years ago, but she knew that she wanted to be a teacher. It is much easier to jump ship when you have a goal in mind and much more difficult when you are unhappy with your career but uncertain what you want to do. Nevertheless I did find inspiration in this article.
This past weekend I returned an unwanted cordless phone to Target. I patiently waited in the customer service line for quite some time. There were only two customers in front of me and neither one of them had an extraordinary number of items. With two customers and two or three items each it seemed that the line should be moving much faster.
I discovered the reason for the delay when I reached the front of the line. I handed the cashier the box with the unwanted phone and the receipt. The cashier proceeded to open the box, pull out the phone, compare it to the picture on the front of the box, and then place everything neatly back into the box it came in. Only then did she take my receipt and begin to ring up the return.
The cashier informed me that the store had an influx of customers returning empty boxes or boxes filled with rocks and bricks. She said the customers all provided receipts, so it seemed they had legitimately purchased the item, removed the item from the box, filled the box with rocks, waded up paper, and in one instance bricks, and then returned the box for a full refund. The problem was caught when the merchandise was restocked and other customers complained that the item they purchased was not inside the box. The store now requires all cashiers to open items, even if they are sealed, to ensure that the proper item is in fact inside.
Return fraud is estimated to cost retailers $16 billion in losses each year. 95 percent of retailers say patrons have stolen goods and then returned the stolen merchandise for money or store credit. 69 percent of retailers say consumers returned merchandise that was originally purchased with fraudulent or counterfeit tender and 52.4 percent of retailers had consumers return merchandise with counterfeit receipts. Another 56 percent of retailers encounter consumers who return items that have been worn or used.
These fraudulent practices are forcing each and every consumer to pay a little more at the register to pay for these crimes and retailers are making their return policies stricter than ever. It’s a sad day when a cashier has to open a box to make certain the item you are returning is actually inside.
Before I proceed with this post let me tell you that I am 29 years old. Although I ride the line between Generation X and Generation Y, I am not out of touch with recent graduates. After all, graduation was eight short years ago, and had I taken an extra year or two to graduate, I would only be 6 years out of college.
So when I came across this
dribble tonight, I suddenly lost sight of my 29 years and began to think of myself as a stodgy, hard working 60 year old. The author of this post discusses a make-believe world in which he will work hard for ten years and then quit the rat race to spend time at home with his imaginary wife and children. He estimates he’ll have about a decade to become a successful business person.
Everyone in the world can talk about who they want to be, how much they want to make, how much they want to save, and when they want to start a family. But not everyone can live up to their potential, meet their needs, or heck even have the goods capable of producing children. I realize that bloggers can blog about whatever they want no matter how willy-nilly their thoughts may be, but I wonder how closely this gentlemen represents the thoughts and feelings of other young workers.
The author goes on to say he’ll start some type of business and build it for ten years. When it’s time for work to take a backseat to family, I will be able to hand over the reins to my impatient apprentice and I will only work when I need to. Although, the goal of spending time with one’s family is noble, does he not realize that it is the goal of almost everyone. There are few who prefer their work families to their own wife and children. Since 23 wasn’t so long ago, I can remember how naive I was about the working world, but come on… talk about illusions of grandeur.
Rather than talking about imaginary successes why not discuss the steps you’ve taken to achieve success or provide the details for your grand business adventure. I hope this gentlemen continues to blog. I’d love to see what his real future holds.
The San Francisco Chronicle has a unbelievable story about a woman who literally chased down and caught a perpetrator who had stolen her identity. By breaking into the victim’s mailbox the thief managed to capture social security numbers and debit and credit cards in the victim’s name. With this information she was able to forge driver licenses that enabled her to continually open new accounts. When the victim recognized the perpetrator in a Starbucks one morning the chase was on.
Check out the article. It’s a reminder to ask your bank to stop sending secure information through the mail.
I witnessed something interesting last week when I purchased my lunch at a Subway restaurant near my home. I was in line behind a group of young girls, I would estimate their age somewhere between 15 – 18. The restaurant was really busy, as Subway tends to be in the middle of the day. To make matters worse the poor girls behind the counter were horribly understaffed, as two girls were making sandwiches for a line of people that wrapped nearly all the way to the back of the store. Two of the girls just in front of me ordered their subs, I didn’t notice what the first girl ordered but the second ordered something with turkey on it. I know because she asked to have it toasted, which meant she ended up in line just behind me. The line at the register had really backed up, and the people at the counter were making sandwiches for those about 10 steps away from the cash register. When the cashier asked the girl in front of me what she ordered she answered, “a veggie sub.” I didn’t think anything of it. I paid for my meal and was putting the change in my wallet, when I heard the cashier ask what the girl behind me ordered. The second girl said, “a veggie sub.”
Could the girl have forgotten what she ordered? Is it possible that she usually orders a veggie sub, but today ordered a turkey sub and forgot? Or could the girl have realized that the line was long, the cashier was busy, and thus opted to tell the cashier she was purchasing the veggie because it was cheaper? It’s difficult to know whether this was a legitimate mistake or a blatant lie. I’m hoping it was a mistake, after all what kind of world do we live in when a consumer won’t tell the truth about the type of sub she ordered?
There were two interesting articles in the Sunday edition of the Washington Post.
The first: Sudden Overload discusses the large number of mortgages adjusting upwards as borrowers of interest only mortgages as payments of principal become due.
The second: A Horror Movie For Our Times discusses a new documentary and companion book, which focuses on the issue of easy credit in America.