27 July 2013

The Best Laid Plans...

The day before I was born, my mother went to the hospital to prepare for my birth. My father decided he would surprise my mother and go home and clean the entire house -- top to bottom. He cleaned the house, left open all the windows to make sure everything was aired out and smelled great, and returned to the hospital. As is pretty common in this neck of the woods during July, a whopping huge-ass dust storm came through that night. When my father and mother returned home, the interior of the house -- once spotless -- was completely coated with dirt.

20 July 2013

Helen Thomas RIP

I wanted to be many things growing up -- paleontologist, translator at the United Nations, oceanographer, actor. I tried my hand at a lot of these things, but always came back to writing. There are two people who I admired growing up: Edward R. Murrow and Helen Thomas (1920 - 2013).

It was because of Murrow that I got into radio news. I wrote and produced documentaries because he did. He touched millions of people through his war reporting and his later documentaries (radio and television).

It was because of Thomas that I got into writing for newspapers and magazines. Every time there was a presidential press conference, she was there. She always had insightful, probing questions. Many of her questions -- a journalist trying to get to the truth -- got her in trouble. I admired her for having the strength to ask those very questions.

I think our profession is diminished greatly at her loss; but our profession has been losing its luster over the years because of so-called journalists spouting opinions as facts. Now, understandably, the public doesn't know whom to trust, so they suspect every journalist -- the real ones and the pretenders.

The job of a journalist is not to make friends; it is to interview people, gather facts, put information into a timeline so that people can understand what is going on. A lot of people have lost sight of this, but Thomas never did.

02 July 2013

Would my father still be alive?

Would he still be alive if he had sought out medical advice when the cough first started rather than waiting TWO YEARS? Would he still be alive now, nine years after he died?

I don't know.

Would my father still be alive if I tried just a little harder to convince him to go to the doctor? Would it have helped to have had just one more fight with him about going to see what was wrong? Would it have mattered if I forced him into the car and drove him to the doctor myself?

I don't know.

It's possible nothing that he or I or anyone could have done would have meant he would still be alive today to celebrate his 81st birthday. But, there's no way to know for sure, is there?

No, there's not.

All I know for sure is that he was a stupid man to not go to the doctor when he could have treated the lung cancer that eventually spread to his brain and killed him.