“See What You Have Done”

A current ad on late night TV evoked in me a torrent of mangled thoughts.  It promotes a compilation of Elvis Presley singing music including the song “C.C. Rider.

Promotional photograph of Elvis Presley, taken...I was immediately transported back to my teenage days when I played in a rock band and particularly the one weekend we were the back-up band for Wayne Cochran & The C. C. Riders at the long defunct “Bud & Swede’s” in Watseka, IL.

My mind’s eye flitted around erratically from thoughts about Elvis and his mess of a life to suddenly and disconnectedly jumping to the mish mosh havoc multiple sclerosis inflicts on a person.  Yes, an odd assemblage of happenings, but a memory never dies: Memories become altered, sometimes reassembled, but generally hang around waiting for the firing of an obscure neuron to stimulate it to life.

MessThe lyric “see what you have done” (from C. C. Rider) stuck in my mind.  I could not shakefree of it.  I began to think about how the vast majority of people over 40 have done a lot, yet how much was of substance?  The maxim “Quantity does not equal quality” is spot-on.

Some wonderful opportunities slip by but most of us are still able to grab hold of at least a few great experiences from countless new encounters.  The question becomes; who defines what is standard and normal versus uncommon and exceptional?  That question indignantly whacked me on the back of my head a number of years ago when reading my ENT doctor’s written report regarding his findings.  He had examined me to determine if my “dizziness” like condition might not be neurological.  The report included the word “unremarkable.”  What?!  So, unremarkable is another word for expected?  I was insulted although no insult was implied or intended.  I suppose we all think we are outstanding but it is not good to be too “interesting” when it comes to our health.  However, the use of that word – even as part of the medical terminology – is disconcerting.

Being troubled and almost immediately after the first few seconds of the Elvis ad, I impatiently changed stations and watched a snippet about the late Annette Funicello (who had MS) and the Mickey Mouse Club.  hmmmmm  Are we duped into believing we can change what is to be?  Can we instantaneously jump from being run-of-the-mill to astonishingly outstanding?  Or, would it just appear to be instantaneous to others?

I am convinced the Mouseketeers’ lives were the most marvelous any kid could imagine. At least those of us who watched them thought it.  Conversely, a lot kids believe their lives are/were dull and going nowhere.  Reviewing and assessing our lives seems to be compulsory as teenagers and again when we begin to cross into our “senior” years as a “mid-life crisis.”

Perhaps we should simply take comfort in what Willie Robertson on Duck Dynasty once said  “The key is not to get discouraged in all the wrong turns you make.”  And as Jase, Willie’s brother, said about life’s twists and turns, “All in all . . . awesome!

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