Showing posts tagged personal

Who likes to get all personal-personal?

Sometimes we really like what we like. And yeah, it may just be something personal. It means whatever it means to us. Whether we blog about it or not.

lifethroughapinhole liked my Tony Judt post. Thank you, lifethroughapinhole, for letting me know. I checked out her (his?) blog. Today she has reblogged a piece by defyingcreon (July 6) about ALS and Lou Gehrig. I’ve reblogged that, too.

defyingcreon writes: “So, I don’t like to get all personal-personal. That’s not usually what I’m here for. But every once in a while, I gotta.” Then she (he?) pays tribute to Lou Gehrig and her father, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease (or ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the same illness that Tony Judt had). I’m not sure “tribute” is the word. This blogger’s intentions, I think, are humbler, simpler, resonating with the clarity and depth of her words.

I clicked the heart icon at the upper righthand corner of the Tumblr page. I genuinely liked what I’m “liking.” I was grateful for this technology that instantly let me let people know that something they said or did made sense to me. That’s not how I always feel about this “liking” thing. Never been a huge fan of popularity contests. But on this Saturday morning I felt good liking defyingcreon’s post and lifethroughapinhole’s reblogging of it.

Later I have to go out to buy some medicine. Then I’ll seriously consider making an appointment with my sister’s trusted doctor. Then I’ll Google other options, alternatives, so-called second opinions. Then get back to work, “real work,” or maybe something else. All that and more—to consider or reconsider—amid the passing of days, the failing of body parts and best intentions, the liking and unliking of this and that.

I don’t have ALS. Lots of other people don’t have it, either. But we all have something else to “consider or reconsider” sooner or later. Meanwhile, here’s a chance to connect with those who may be going through something like what we have to live with or suffer through. It’s not much. It won’t cure anyone’s disease. It won’t stop the pain or sadness or rage. It won’t make headlines, like the Higgs boson or TomKat divorce. But it’s there—the chance to let someone know that we are reading, that we care enough to read and say what we like. Reading, caring, saying in the limited but liberating ways that social networking can offer.

defyingcreon wrote: “Let someone know what an impact they’ve had in your life….” May sound mushy to some. Who likes to “get all personal-personal”? Perhaps not even me, especially not on the Internet. But as a semi-cynical, self-doubting tyro on Tumblr, I’ve been reconsidering my suspicions and hang-ups. I had feared I’d just clog up the blogosphere with more noise and clutter (mine, of course, would be sappier, crappier). I had wondered how one could go beyond the self-promoting, navel-gazing blog or shout-out or tweet. So thanks to all the bloggers on Tumblr (and elsewhere) showing me how. In many ways, we’re all in the same boat, the same cyberspace, often looking at life—living it—through our own pinholes. So yeah, let there be some space for empathy. Let’s blog and reblog all the empathy we can get and give.


So, I don’t like to get all personal-personal. That’s not usually what I’m here for. But every once in a while, I gotta.

These pics are from July 4, 1939. Seventy-three years ago yesterday, Lou Gehrig was being honoured at Yankee Stadium in New York because he was going to die. Sure, he was going to be honoured in the Hall Of Fame eventually for his baseball career, but a person only really gets these kinds of accolades when they’re a dead man walking, and that’s sad. We should work every day to make sure people feel loved and that they are so important to us. Let someone know what an impact they’ve had in your life even if they are the picture of health. It means so much.

“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. … So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.” -from Lou’s farewell speech that day, often referred to as “The Luckiest Man in the World” speech. He died nearly two years later. Even on that day at Yankee Stadium, he was too weak to hold his awards and trophies, and that’s why they sit at his feet.

My father has ALS, or “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” But it isn’t just Lou Gehrig’s. It’s all of ours. And there is still no cure, but more than that, there is no treatment. A diagnosis of ALS is just as much a death sentence today as it was when it was first diagnosed in 1824. That’s 188 years of people just dying from this with no hope. And yet, the patients themselves seem to be the most spirited, upbeat, hopeful people I know. I hope we find a treatment soon. Not just for my daddy, but for the woman whose family has been struck down generation after generation by ALS so that her children and grandchildren don’t have to live in fear and devastation anymore. For the families who are rocked by this disease. For the parents who bury their children. For the grandchildren who only get to hear stories and look at pictures and video of their “Papa” or “Gram.” And for the patients themselves, ever the patient warriors, waiting, walking, hoping first for a treatment. Then finally a cure.

(Reblogged from lifethroughapinhole)