I do not know how many people write columns hours before they go for brain surgery but with dictation I am going to try.
I have been a columnist since 1971 for the Hofstra chronicle and this is what I do and this is what I have done, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it; never considered it work and I am a publisher and writer. So publish I will. Frustrated that I have never published a book, but I have thousands of columns at home with so many thoughts and words I can’t always find, like the one on Disney’s small world after all. We all share a boat together though, crossing generations of lives and lives and losses; goals and gains — shared experiences, friendships and rides together and apart.
So why not take one more turn at bat from a batting cage in a hospital bed here at the UM brain cancer center in Miami?
I can still swing this pen into words. It turns out this Wednesday morning is actually Game Day plus 1, and I am already 1 for 1.
I did not realize when I checked in on Tuesday morning just what the “embolization process” was. It in fact was a two-hour surgical procedure on my heart that the University of Miami began Tuesday and employed to freeze the arteries that lead into the brain so as to diminish the likelihood of bleeding and flooding blood into my brain during the primary and more difficult and serious procedure which begins early in the morning today before I get to play box baseball in Brooklyn or stickball on Hungry Harbor Road in North Woodmere again.
It all started out Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. But there I was, Tuesday night at 8 p.m. watching the Phillies crush homers on cable TV while enjoying a Shepherd’s pie and sugar-free chocolate pudding in a UM hospital on 12th Avenue, not far from where the Marlins lose all their games, mostly because the owner did not let Derek Jeter sign Nick Castellanos to play left field or me to play third base. But I had a Yoo Hoo from Nathan’s by my side. Today’s surgery will be administered by Dr. Ashish Sha, a young surgeon who exudes excellence and confidence. He and his surgical team can play anywhere on my squad. He is just like Vic Morrow in "Combat," though you may have to be as old as my brother Richard, at 75, to know who I am talking about. Nowadays, you can always google him. Anyway, I have just treated myself to the sugar-free Bazooka Bubble gum Amazon shipped me, and I am ready to get this show on the road. I still have to vote.
So far this delicate procedure has been like prepping for a trip to the Keys, packing a nap sack and a change of clothes. Don’t feel like it is the darkness ahead but like Dylan Thomas I will not go gently into the good night. I will rage against the dying of the light. Today is a big game and I am going to rise to the challenge, score a couple of hits and have a beer with the team tomorrow. I am ready for a fastball or a curve and either way I am going to try to hit it out of the park and be on the field in Vero Beach with my friends this Fall. A bunch of us, straight guys with wives and cigars, will first head to Arizona for Spring Training and some Molson’s Ale, at Salty’s in Scottsdale.
It’s our life, and we can only control the here and right now. Today and only today. Before you lie only this moment. Tomorrow is beyond us. The past is forever written, etched in the sands and stones of time. Can’t be changed. Like the circle game, you can only look back on the ferrous wheel that has already spun around.
Look beyond it.
You don’t ever see a downhill skier look over his shoulder, only at the ice in front of him. Look at the opportunity and options in front of you.
Become all you can still be. Who you really want to be. Don’t stand still. Look forward to this day, right now, to a blessed day. You and you alone control it. You can meet new friends, find new opportunities experiences you enjoy and treasure tomorrow. Each day is the dawning of a rising sun. Make it measurable. Make it a treasure hunt.
The world is not a dark pit from pole to pole. You have the magic of an unconquerable soul. That is the beauty of the Indian prayer about the rising sun. Each day is truly the first day of the rest of your life; the day you and you alone can make a difference, for yourself, a friend, or a loved one, even perhaps someone you have not met. You matter. Make it so. Our country, America, may have injustice on every corner and at every turn, but individually we have in our own hearts the power and create sunshine and hope; be architects of destiny to seek a newer world, as Robert Francis Kennedy called for in his powerful book, which so motivated me 50 years ago.
May today be the day you find your own rising sun. I go into this surgical procedure knowing I have my own. Every day we control the rising sun with each and every choice we make. The better choices we make, the luckier we get.
God bless you all. May you enjoy today as much as I will.