An in-law of Dan and Irene’s put on the fireworks show the other night. He has the rep of always being late for everything, and so we sat around on plastic chairs in the meadow, waiting while he finished wiring.
Uncle Dan and I sat in his Gator, drinking beer and talking. There were people of all ages gathered, chatting and setting up their blankets and chairs and passing around food. The mosquitoes were nasty; we kept spraying ourselves with bug juice.
He pointed to an older woman with long silver hair. She might have been in her late fifties, early sixties. “She retired last year. Said she’s never felt better. The stress of her job was making her afraid she was going to get sick.”
“I know someone who retired last year at fifty-eight,” I said. “He liked his job, but yeah, lots of stress and a two hour a day commute on top of it. He’d get home at night and collapse. Weekends were for errand running and resting up for Monday. After he quit, he felt one hundred percent better. He started working out every day and taking walks. Ate and slept better. Lost some weight and got happy.”
We pondered our words for a few minutes, and then he said, “We’re doing something wrong, aren’t we? The media keeps telling us we have to eat healthy and exercise, but while we’re working, we never have time to do it.”
“And what does a lifetime of that kind of abuse do to your body? No wonder people retire and die. It was the stress keeping them alive.”
Bad joke, and we laughed weakly.
Here’s something to take your mind off what you do for your daily bread. How would you like to find this needle in your haystack?