Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Choosing Best Among the Worst

With apologies to Mrs. C Hall, my high school English teacher, this first paragraph is not really a summary of the body of this essay, I promise, I’m not taking you on a political ride.

I hear a whole lot of people expressing disappointment in our choices for President of the USA this cycle.  In all likelihood we will have to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Drumpf, oh my bad, Trump.  Most everyone I know does not like our choices.

 It’s kind of like going to a restaurant and only getting to order liver or sweet breads, most don’t want either.  The good thing is we don’t have to go to restaurants like that; we get to make other choices because we have alternatives, in politics, in life, at times, good choices don’t happen, sometimes only hard choice happen, hard choices that absolutely require you select one of the bad choices.

Marty and I, like all of you, sometimes get to choose between hitting our thumb with a hammer, or the other choice, hitting our thumb with a hammer, harder.  That’s life, sometimes our choices simply suck and either way you turn your thumb is going to hurt.

As a young white male growing up in middle class America I have to admit, I was a bit shocked when I discovered that all of our choices weren’t good choices.  I was surprised to learn that sometimes you have to pick things that you don’t particularly like. 

And to top it off, in too many cases, not choosing is not an alternative.  Not voting, not choosing between two candidates you don’t particularly like means you don’t participate in one of the most important acts of a citizen.  Sometimes you just have to suck it up and act, as one of my really smart bosses once told me, “Grieve and get over it,” and then make a choice.

About five years ago while in the hospital for a routine infection  Marty had a bad seizure and broke her right arm, her good strong right arm, the arm not affected by the stroke, the arm she used for everything from support when standing to eating to drinking, you know, little things like that.  We sat in the hospital with two choices, surgery to repair the shattered bone or do nothing and let the arm heel with some level of disability in that arm.  Both choices were real clear, both choices sucked big time.

I, we, talked to each other, we talked to Great and Wise and the Orthopedic guy, we talked to our kids, we talked to friends, we did pros and cons, we thought, we mulled, we cogitated, there were no good choices, none.  It seemed wrong to make the intentional decision to NOT heal a broken wing.  It was frightening to think we would decide to have Marty undergo surgery and all of the associated risks for an unknown result.

We sucked it up and made the decision to not do anything, it wasn’t the best choice, there wasn’t a best choice, it was pick one and live with it, “Grieve and get over it.”

Did we make the correct choice?  I don’t know.   Marty’s life was not jeopardized by anesthesia and invasive surgery, she did not have to go through the pain of recovery and she did not face possible deadly infections.  She does have to endure somewhat limited movement in her arm.  That was the choice; it’s the choice we made, it was a choice she lives with daily.  That’s how life works some times.

We, all of us, are consistently confronted with choices, some good, some bad, some really awful.  Sometimes, like a Hobson's choice, we don’t really get a choice; we have to pick the only real option open to us.  It really is indicative of life, sometimes it all amounts to making the best of what is.
I don’t particularly like the choice between Clinton and Drumpf.  I know who I think is the best qualified of the two and I know who I will probably support.  I won’t tell you who that is but I think, if we can get past some of her baggage she will be fine. 

Marty is not where she is today because anyone would choose her life, but rest assured she is here because she, we made a conscious choice to live the best life she, we could given the options.  Life is not about easy choices or even good choices, but it is about choosing.

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