The Tin Man: A View from 50

Let us gaze in the mirror alongside the subject as he assesses life on the morning he crosses the half-century point. He needs a helpful, objective view. Thank you for helping.

From the top, the hair. He has a full head of hair, and the ratio of follicles that still produce dark-brown versus white interlopers remains 80-to-20 in favor of dark brown. He has a single white hair visible on his right hand, which he has nicknamed “Memento Mori.” There is white in his beard, so he shaves, but white hairs have not yet appeared on his legs.

The ratio of brown to white is such that a friend asked him several years ago which brand and color dye he uses, which shocked and pleased him at the same time because he does not dye his hair. This is because he is proud of his full head of dark hair as if it is a comment on his positive qualities as an individual rather than an accident of genetic inheritance.
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3000 Days of Somehow

I do not recall July 14, 2010, which was three-thousand and one days ago today. What is more, I left no social media footprint that day, so I do not even have any words or sentences or “Mark is feeling :-)” emoticon that I may have typed that morning on Facebook that could spark a memory.

Of course I looked. I looked just now with a grimace of anticipation on my face in the worry-slash-hope that I would find something I had written that day to someone about anything at all. Nope. (In fact, I do not enjoy looking at anything I typed before July 15, 2010, for reasons that I hope will become clear.) There is no journal entry, no blog post.
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Better and Better

A friend told me about eating out with her “sarcastic” friend—we all have one—when the two of them saw a toddler, bundled up in winter layers, bounce off a closed glass door and fall because the child had not perceived the door.

The sarcastic friend said, sotto voce, “Get used to that, kid.”

Life is a clear, freshly cleaned, plate glass door that I haven’t noticed is a door, even with a shiny metal door handle at every-door-you’ve-ever-seen’s-door-handle-height on it, because I have been too busy thinking about life (or “thinking” “about” “life”) until I bonk into it. Loudly.

When are we too young to learn that? or too old to be reminded?
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#RareDiseaseDay 2017

In 2015, when I wrote about Rare Disease Day, a friend asked, tongue firmly in cheek, “Why not have Rare Disease Day on February 29th?” I admit that when I learned about Rare Disease Day several years ago, after I was diagnosed with one, a similar joke crossed my mind.

Each year, the last day in February is the date for International Rare Disease Day, and Leap Day or not, today offers the opportunity for us to remind the world that rare diseases are not at all rare.

Today, February 28, is International Rare Disease Day, and “Research” is this year’s theme.
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A Marathon, Not a Sprint

If you look at this page via a Windows browser, there should be a logo on left side of the tab at top, a little green-brown-yellow blob.

It is a photo of a duck. I first placed the picture there, seen full-size at top, as an inside joke with myself, but the story is worth sharing. (Most of this first appeared in a post from December 2013, “A Duck About Town.”)

The photo was taken in 2013 (with friends alongside: LT and HG), and it was added at the very last second on the very first post written later that same year. If you have looked at this web site once or a thousand times (thanks, mom!), the duck has been there, on whatever device you use, each time. It is this site’s mascot, a companion to each piece I write.
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Enthusiasm Cap

I have a head cold. Like all head colds, its arrival is poorly timed. By that I mean the cold is in me and my body and there is no time I want anything like this to befall a person I lovingly refer to as “me.”

It has sapped my enthusiasm for any event, game, task, or chore that may require the following: me, my participation, an ability to inhale and exhale without a death rattle, and/or me.
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Hard Times Come Again No More

No, it is not your eyes. The photo above is a clear photo of a blurry moment.

The photo above was taken two nights ago while I was taking photos of the sun striking some clouds over a Walmart parking lot and the car door that I was holding myself steady against decided to remind me that it was not all the way open. It is an inadvertent action shot.

When I looked at the photo, at first to delete it, I recognized the scene like I was seeing an old friend that I had not hung out with in a few years: my old, uncorrected vision. From age seven till two years ago, the photo above pretty neatly captures what the world looked like when I took my glasses off, which I did quite frequently, as my eyes were often tired.

For me to tell you that the world was blurry was for you to tell me that rain is wet.
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My Duck Companion

If you are reading this page on a Windows browser, there should be a logo on left side of the tab at top, a little green-brown-yellow blob. I first placed it there as an inside joke with myself, but the story is worth sharing. The full-size photo is at the top. (Most of this first appeared in a post from December 2013, “A Duck About Town.”)

It is a photo of a duck. The photo was taken in 2013, and it was added at the last second on the very first post written later that year. If you have looked at this web site once or a thousand times (thanks, mom!), the duck has been there, on whatever device you use, each time. It is this site’s mascot, a companion to each piece I write.
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