Thursday, December 08, 2011

Is it LAZY or ASTHMA?

My brother called me a worthless piece of lazy skin once because I couldn't play football with him.  Yet little did he know I was sitting on the couch watching TV because I couldn't breathe.  That was over 30 years ago.

Mom and I sat in a Chinese restaurant with two steaming hot cups of tea between us.  She said, "You were a good kid.  The only thing I remember getting mad at you about was your messy room."

We laughed as we reminisced about some of our fights.  Once mom took an entire drawer and dumped it onto my floor.  She wouldn't let me leave the room until the entire thing was clean.  I wish now that she would have taken a picture of it, because you wouldn't be able to see any surfaces.

When we were finished laughing I reminded mom of one other moment I remember better than all those fights.  "We were sitting at the kitchen bar after dinner.  Dad and my brothers were gone, so it was just you and me.  You said, 'John, I've decided I shouldn't get mad at you about your room anymore.  I was thinking that you spend more time in your room because you have asthma.  Instead of hanging out with your friends and your dad you become involved in creative projects in your room.  You draw and collect baseball cards.  Creative people are messy.'  You said that, and it meant a lot to me.'"

"I said that," she said, smiling.

"Yeah," I said, "And then you yelled at me about my messy room again."  We laughed.  

I think my mom had a point.  Even now as I look around at my desk I see a clutter of papers.  My desk at work is clutters, so it my car and so is my locker.  They aren't filled with a bunch of junk, they are filled with papers and books and things I've written ideas on for writing.  

There's this old saying:  A cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind.  Instead of doing things I've filled my mind with clutter.  In a way, I wonder if this is the reason so many asthmatics report being anxious.  The more you think the more you have to worry about.  Asthmatics tend to do a lot of time thinking.

There are times I feel lazy.  I have felt lazy the past two weeks since I had an asthma attack cleaning my basement.  I am afraid to participate in any cleaning activity, so my house is sort of a disorganized mess. So instead of cleaning I spend my time here on this blog.  

There's another saying that my dad used to say a lot when we were kids.  He said that if it weren't for lazy people nothing would ever get invented.  An example he gave was Louis Sands, a local lumbering millionaire who lived in the late 19th century and early 20th.  

He made a fortune chopping down trees and floating them down the river to the Louis Sands sawmill.    He had a sleigh he rode in the winter and he didn't want to get out of the sleigh to open the gate to his mansion on 5th street.  So he invented this thing where as soon as the sleigh rode over this ramp the gate automatically opened.  It, in essence, was the first garage door opener.

He invented it because he was too lazy to get out of his sleigh.  Yes indeed, lazy has produced a ton of inventions.  The horse carriage was invented by a person who was too lazy to walk, and so was the car.  The airplane was invented by someone too lazy to drive.  The lighter was invented by someone too lazy to take the effort to light a match.

So lazy isn't so bad after all.  Lazy has made the world a better place for everyone.  So the next time someone calls you lazy, just remind them of all the good things that have come about because of lazy people.

I jokingly reminded my brother of what he said to me 30 years ago and he apologized.

"Yet you were right about one thing," I said, "You were right that I am lazy.  I'm a lazy asthmatic.  And that's not such a bad thing."

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