Sunday, February 11, 2018

3 kinds.

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. 
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. 
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. 
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference."

- Elie Wiesel

I was sitting in the bedside chair talking to a Grady elder. I'd finished rounding and had come back by to spend some time in the late afternoon. This was a practice I've had since my intern year, taught to me by one of my favorite attending physicians. "Just pick one person or two every day. And go and sit with them. That's it."

Best advice ever.

The television was on over our heads and was on "The Jerry Springer Show." I realized then that, were it not for moments such as this one, I'd not even know the show still aired. Two women were fighting. Allegedly, the same gentleman had fathered their children within like 2 weeks. Instead of being mad at him, they were mad at each other. The crowd was screaming and roared even louder when one person lost a clip on pony tail.

Me: "This is a mess."
Her: "Bless they hearts. Poor chil'ren."

Another woman came flying out of the audience like superman. Her arms were swinging like windmills and legs kicking in the direction of the woman holding the pony tail. The security dude on the show feigned some deep interest in holding her back. The only thing less believable was the quasi-alarmed and stunned look on Jerry Springer's face sitting in the chair across from them.

Poor chil'ren indeed.

Her: "You know what Dr. Manning?"
Me: "What's that?"
Her: "There's three kinds of people in this world."
Me: *turning my head toward her and readying myself for this good word*
Her: "There's the ones who wish you WELL, see. Then there's the ones who wish you HELL."
Me: *silence*
Her: *silence*
Me: *turning my head from the TV to her* "That was only two."
Her: "Two what?"
Me: "Two types. What's the third type?"
Her: ""Oh the last one? Those the ones who don't even see you. They the worse ones of all."
Me: "Hmmm."
Her: "See, they the ones that don't give a damn if you live, die, or fall off in a ditch never to be heard from or seen again."
Me: "Dang."
Her: "Worse than that. They don't even know you there. And they don't even know that they don't know, neither."
Me: *raising eyebrows* "Wow."


Things on the television got calm for a moment. But then another guy came from back stage as some kind of surprise. He was reportedly the boyfriend of the two-baby daddy. The crowd went berserk again. And, once more, Jerry Springer looked fake-stunned.

Her: "You know what? I'll take a person who wish me hell over the one who don't see me any day. I'd rather you come at me fighting, kicking and trying to punch me than just walk by me altogether. 'Cause at least THEN I know you feel something."
Me: *silence, just listening*
Her: "If you hateful to me, it just say something about how you feel about your own self. So those folks I just feel sorry for and steer clear of, you know? But them ones who don't even acknowledge you?" *shakes her head* "They do the most damage 'cause you can't even change they heart. They cold as ice."

This time I moved my whole body in the bedside chair to face her. I thought about all that she'd seen in her nearly 8 decades and all of the people she'd experienced. She knew what she was talking about.

Her: "Just 'cause you look in somebody direction don't mean you see."
Me: "Wow. I have to remember that. 'Some people wish you well and some people wish you hell.'"
Her: "And the rest you can't tell. . . . 'cause you so invisible that they don't give a shit."

So sad. But so true.


Happy Sunday.


  1. You live long enough and you figure some stuff out. You are wise to listen to these elders.

  2. No wonder you love Grady! LN


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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