Thursday, June 13, 2013


“Babies are meant to lie on their backs,” Ben’s great-grandmother would have said. “they develop faster when they can see the world.” Ben’s great-grandmother had experience with babies. “babies must be placed on their stomachs,” his Granny said to her mother, when she was raising his mom. “all the experts tell us it’s safer for them. On their backs they can’t so easily choke.” “Babies must be placed on their backs,” his mother says with conviction. “Studies show they will be at reduced risk for crib death.” So much conflicting information. How is a fellow to know whom he ought to trust? So ben has taken matters into his own hands. After five-and-a-half months of listening to the opinions of experts, he has developed a system for flipping himself from stomach to back, back to stomach. No more staring at that boring ceiling! no more flattening the nose against the mattress! It’s the new freedom, the final proof that babies know best, the revolutionary discovery that changes everything! Perhaps ben will take out a patent some day, sell the knowledge to other babies. He’ll call his discovery ‘The turn-Right system’. With so many babies out there wondering whom to believe, he’ll be rich in no time. But all the work of that will have to wait. For Ben is, at this very moment, hatching and testing the validity of a new theory. If babies can turn themselves, he reasons, might they not also be able to move from family room to kitchen by placing hands just ahead of the shoulders and then bending the knees up under the torso, thus advancing the body forward, a little at a time?

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


“Inspiration is arousal, awakening, creativity, deep thinking, elevation, encouragement, enthusiasm! Let's Share It.” INSPIRATION IS BLISS “Inspiration is the act or power of exercising an elevating or stimulating influence upon the intellect or emotions;” Wikiquote Being an inspiration to others is one of my favourite pastimes these days. There I sit, charged with the job of spotting and reducing depression in elderly people. More often than not they have recently endured multiple disabilities or losses, Now they are trying to build a life with partial vision. “You are an inspiration to me,” they say, and I am pleased because their words indicate signs of arousal, awakening, creativity, deep thinking, elevation, encouragement, enthusiasm, the vibrant positive emotions that push aside the symptoms of depression. They will need to engage all of these positive qualities to deal with the daily challenges they will face. It seems strange to me now, but I used to bristle if someone said I was an inspiration to them. It happened often enough back in the old days when I worked with elderly blind people. They were 79, I was 29. I guess I was thinking more of what I needed and less of what they needed. I needed assurance that I was competent, professional, a normal person who just happened to be blind. They, I believed, needed a white cane, or a braille watch, or an attitude adjustment. I needed to provide those things in a most professional capacity. I was younger back in those days, still proving myself to myself. Elderly people with partial sight are probably not much different than they used to be, though they are a little older on average. I, however, am quite different. “You are an inspiration to me,” they say when we have explored the alleys of the mind where depression lurks. The words ring differently these days when I hear them from people who are 89. I hear them through the ears of a woman who is 59—though I don’t hear as well as I used to, and my bones break these days when they never used to, and my back isn’t what it could be, and my knees pop and crackle when I move. I realize that what they are experiencing is not the simple loss of vision, but a new insult to the body heaped upon layers of insult that have been accumulating for years. If inspiration is the act or power of exercising an elevating or stimulating influence upon the intellect or emotions, then an inspiration I am proud to be. For the best defence against the gloom that accompanies depression is the power to rise above it, and anyone who is still looking for inspiration at the age of 89 deserves to find it. The least I can do is make it easy to find.