Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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It’s About the Other Person: Sunday musings…10/29/2023

1 Value. A measurement of the relationship between quality and cost. In its simplest stating value would be defined as high quality at low cost. This could be something quite rare and very expensive–think maybe a base-level Ferrari–or something that provides almost the same quality as that rare thing but with less scarcity and a dramatically lower cost. Sticking with cars, your average Corvette fits here quite nicely.

Thinking along these lines can be kinda fun no matter what your predilection might be. Very shortly I will be heading out to buy libations for a large upcoming family gathering. I plan to stock up on one of the best values in all of winedom, the most recent version of Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc. Once again it is rated above 90 by pretty much everyone, is made is massive quantities so is not difficult to find, and is ludicrously inexpensive (~$14 or so).

Pretty much the definition of value, soon to appear in a wine glass near me.

2 Did. There is a nearly endless number of gripes I have with autocorrect and spellcheck. Microsoft Word seems to have some sort of stylecheck built into both of the above. Maybe it’s just me, but it sure feels like the mean-spirited bot behind the curtain has it out for me and my very personal writing style.

More than that, the modern whateverchecks seem to have been co-opted by the pervasive deviations from the English I was taught as a child in school. T’was a time when dictionaries and English teachers could be counted on to hold the line against the incursion of the vernacular, both standing strong against the various vagaries of the trendy.

Need an example? Hows about the “who” and “that” of “did”. I was taught that when someONE did something the reference was “who”. “The teacher who did that should receive a medal.” A non-person, whether animate or not, would receive that reference “that”. “The chair that keeps biting my pinky toe is on its way to the dump.” And yet, each time I write “who” in reference to a person who has done whatever I get red underlining or a blue-out. When did the rules change, and if they really haven’t changed how come those of us who remember the rules are forced to suffer this indignity?

I’d like to get ahold of the person what did this.

3 Cellphone. Our texts are polluted with ads and admonitions to purchase the latest iPhone. Mine is 2, 3 yrs old, max. Admittedly there is a software update waiting for download, and last time I looked all 40 or so apps taking up space on my screen need to be updated. Still, all in all, my apparently ancient cellphone continues to provide me with everything I need, while at the same time giving me all kinds of things that I could want. Pretty sure Beth and I spend way more than $100/month just for the phone and the stream of electrons flowing in and out of it.

Among the things coming across my screen on some of the stuff on my phone I don’t need are stories about how important it is that every human, certainly every American human needs to have a cellphone. Has a need for a cellphone that borders on having a right to have a cellphone. But not just a cellphone mind you, a cellphone that has as much unnecessary stuff on it as mine does. In a time of meaningful inflation that has had an impact on the real ability of folks to afford housing, healthcare and food, we are informed that an iPhone or the equivalent is a comparable need.

In all honesty I can readily get on board with the contention that having the ability to make and receive a phone call, send and receive a text or other type of message, and participate in the basics of commerce (buy necessities, communicate with government, landlords, school, etc). To do this you need a phone, a browser, and a very basic camera. Memory needs are negligible. Excepting mandatory job-related apps there is nothing else you need.

Such a phone can be made for a few dollars, and connecting to the network can be accomplished for a few dollars a month. I am on board with the need for having such a basic cellphone. The basics of modern life almost demand it, and we aught not deny anyone the ability to obtain that which they need for want of such a basic implement.

4 Wedding. Or more exactly, Vance, Steph and a wedding.

As I foreshadowed above in “Value”, we had a family wedding here this weekend in Cleveburg. It was a new experience for most of us, a second wedding. Doesn’t matter at all why the celebrants were coming together in a second marriage for both; we were all together to celebrate them, and that’s where my friend Vance Thompson and Steph Curry (who I have never met) come in.

Steph Curry of basketball fame once gave an interview in which he was asked what the most important ingredient was that explained his success on the court and in life. Mr. Curry has been quite successful in pursuits that range far beyond the 3-point line, as it were. His response was: “It’s about the other person.” My friend and professional colleague Vance Thompson is wildly successful in our shared profession, and like Steph Curry he has been similarly just as successful in pretty much everything he has done outside of eye care. Vance goes one step further than Steph when asked how he has pulled this off: “It’s about loving the other person.”

About now you are probably asking yourself what the heck does this have to do with a wedding? Think for a minute about the difference between getting married and having a wedding. To get married all you need is about 15 minutes, a working pen, and $50 or so to get your marriage license and cover the costs of the Justice of the Peace in whatever ‘burg you call home. Voila…married. A wedding, on the other hand, is a whole nuther kettle of fish. A wedding is about a bunch of folks, including the bride and the groom (or bride and bride, or groom and groom, or…) gathering together for the other person. Clearly the couple at hand are there for one another, but the rest of the guests are there for AT LEAST the couple on stage.

Especially if it’s a family wedding. Then you really want Vance to be the one who’s right, that it’s about loving the other person.

And for this one weekend at least, that’s what we all saw and did. Family came from all over the country to join with the “chosen family” of the couple’s friends in an intimate display of love. If there were conflicts afoot you’d never have known; inside the venue there was nothing but love. Everyone was about the other person. Everyone was about loving a bride and a groom who were getting a little bit of a mulligan in the game of life, one that they deserved as much as anyone ever has. Every guest, whether family born or chosen, was there for this very special couple, and in so being ended up there for each and every other guest.

As you probably know I often end this tiny “musings” with some sort of teachable moment or take-home message, but I’m not really sure there’s too much more than this: in a world in which it seems everyone is about no one but themselves, that no one seems able to think beyond the tip of their own nose when it comes to what someone else thinks or feels, in reality we all have it within ourselves to let it be about the other person. To MAKE it about the other person. And yes, even to LOVE the other person, even if you’ve never met them before that very moment. We were, all of us in that room over those hours, there for the happy couple, and indeed, for each of the other people gathered to celebrate them.

I guess if there is a lesson here it’s that Steph Curry is right: it’s about the other person. And if you’re very lucky, well then, Vance Thompson is right, too: it’s about loving the other person, because they just might be loving you right back.

I’ll see you next week…

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