THE STRANGE MIX OF BLESSINGS AND CURSES
Life Sucks. Nevertheless, I know that if you address a pain in life, which often makes it suck, you will be rewarded. I have known this truth for a longtime. Three years ago, Dr. Zorn, who was on staff at the University of Chicago Hospital removed my cancerous prostate robotically, but a little bit of the cancer had gotten outside the prostate. My PSA was fine for nearly three years, but it rose slightly. I returned to the University of Chicago Hospital that saved my life the first time, and they addressed that problem along with a kidney stone. After a laser zapped my kidney stone in a half hour procedure, I returned to a normal life.
As for prostate cancer, I have been taking hormones pills, shots, gold implants seeds and radiation, most of which will last for the next two months. I am absolutely confident this will work and will put an end to the prostate cancer issue. The University of Chicago Hospital is the place to go. Trust me.
However, with all blessings there are some curses. I have to go to the University of Chicago Hospital everyday from Crown Point, Indiana for radiation. That's a hundred miles round trip every day. While I'm not concerned about radiation, the curse occurs because my wife and I have to babysit for our grandson, Jack. The curse is that I can't go to Indianapolis where he lives. His parents make us come down to babysit him every Tuesday, which means we go down every Monday afternoon and come back Tuesday evening. While that babysitting is considered a great burden by us, we have and will continue to face the ordeal. We have told Jack's parents that we will do this for no longer then the next 20-years. Because of my daily radiation treatments, there is no way I can go down to Indy for the next two months.
Knowing from a lifetime of pain that good can emerge from it; I started to look for a blessing that came from this curse. Before I croak, I want to have interviewed Barack Obama, Aung San Suu Kyi, and the Dalai Lama. Being a world traveler, I know I can't go to Washington, DC, Rangoon, Burma, or Dharamsala, India while having daily radiation treatments. However, the second next best thing would be to interview two locals and a visitor to Chicago who will be in the Chicago area during my radiation treatments.
For over a decade, I have attempted several times to interview the Dalai Lama. In fact, I went to Dharamsala, India at the suggestion of the Dalai Lama's brother, Dr. Norbu. Nevertheless, I was unable to get through clearance since I hadn't notified them before hand. Dr. Norbu told me to merely go to his residence and knock on his door. Fortunately, the Dalai Lama will be in Chicago in a couple weeks, and I am going to make another request to interview him while he is in town. It is critical to get this done while he is in Chicago. While Dharamsala, India and Rangoon, Burma geographically close to each other, they are a long ways away from Chicago and my radiation treatments.
Of the two local Chicago residents, one is the new mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel. The other is David Axelrod who is the head of Barack Obama's re-election committee.
Why is Rahm Emanuel a needed interview for my website? First, my wife thinks that he and I look like each other. My wife has eyes for people in their late 30s. While I am over a dozen years his senior, we come out of the same basic generation and would have similar attitudes about racism, sexism, war in Vietnam, etc. I would like to know about what his insights are on resolving some of those issues. In addition to looking similar, we have the same personality...very pleasant up-front but both of us are very driven to complete a task and have it done well regardless of the obstacles.
While I would ask Rahm Emmanuel what it was like working for the president, but I would be more interested in the way he deals with the nair-do-well people that he confronts whether in Washington or Chicago. I would like to come up with a useable game plan for myself to deal with obstructionist and naysayers in college teaching. I see this all the time in education whether it is with professors or students. Often, both groups don't carpe diem. We need to seize the day quickly in the 21st century, and I believe Rahm Emmanuel has figured out how to do that more effectively than I have.
My impression of David Axelrod is that he is a cool, calm, loyal, intelligent strategist and advisor. He understands the political system and how that system affects those inside and outside of politics. The first thing that I want to find out is whether my observations about him are accurate. The next thing that I would peruse in my interview would be to find out what his modus operandi to get President Obama re-elected in 2012. One of the concerns I have is the healthcare reform issue, which is viewed by some Americans as being some radical left proposition. The fact is that every Western nation has had already a universal healthcare program and many of the rest of the world have one. Since I teach at the college level, the healthcare issue arises in several of my classes. We as a nation aren't on the cutting edge of healthcare reform. We are merely bringing up the rear. I would want to push Axelrod on how Obama is going to help American better understand the absolute necessity of healthcare reform.
Another thing I would like to ask David Axelrod how he functions so smoothly and pleasantly in the often-dangerous political arena. How was it that he developed that tact? I fear that I become too defensive and therefore more argumentative than need be.
I would also like to have David Axelrod describe Obama's moral compass. One of the examples of Obama's moral compass was seen in the recent commando raid that killed bin Laden. Instead of acting like a Western sheriff and sauntering up to the podium having just put away is six-shooter, he addressed the issue honestly and straightforwardly. In addition, he had bin Laden buried at sea in accord with Muslim tradition. I would like to know about how Obama sets his compass. I would love to have David Axelrod flesh out the process of the president setting and then reading his moral compass.
We have a president with a clearly defined moral compass, and both this supporters and his opposition could benefit from learning about how Obama develops and utilizes his compass settings. Once they see how he does it, they could develop their own moral compass successfully.
As for sharing knowledge, I will be demonstrating how each of us in our own lives can deal with setbacks in a positive manner. We need to look for the positive opportunities within a negative environment. Often, in a negative situation, we will personally, within a family, or within our world, wallow in deep despair. That is a non-starter. We merely reinforce despair. However, without pain, there is no gain.
After I get through eight weeks of radiation and then return from our trip to Greece and Turkey, I will begin again my efforts to interview Barack Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi. I wonder how many more months it will take me to get those two additional interviews. However, the blessing of my radiation treatments is a good chance of getting an interview with the Dalai Lama, Rahm Emanuel, and David Axelrod. Besides, I'll be in Chicago for the next couple of months at the University of Chicago Hospital each day for radiation treatment. I could get a blessing by interviewing those three leaders while my doctor busies himself killing cancer cells.