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The Art of Being Human

I am not a violent person. On those rare occasions when I am forced to end the life of an insect because I feel unduly threatened and it's either him or me, I am Deeply distressed for some time following the hateful event. I have never struck another person and can't imagine doing so. I certainly have never held a gun or entertained the possibility of owning one. Still, I completely understand the murderous rage of the deranged man in Las Vegas who rained down bullets on the defenseless attendees of a concert venue from his hotel room high above. Basically, he just didn't like people very much.

And who could blame him? Personally I have never been that big a fan of the species, far preferring cats and dogs. But still, I married one and gave birth to another, both of whom I treasure, and have become very close to a number of folks who are wonderful when you treat them right. Treating them right is the key, and it's a tricky art to master. (One longtime friend who recently lost her adult son quite unexpectedly was greatly angered by my asking "how she was doing," finding the question too invasive.) Suspecting all along that humans are highly overrated, I never quite had the clear proof I've gotten over the past two weeks.

This morning a woman who I thought was a friend but I guess is really only a neighbor -- someone who lives nearby and passes directly in front of my house several times a day walking her dogs, and who often stops by for a chat and some goodies from our garden in summer -- contacted me for the first time since my heart attack (an event that has deeply changed how I see the world) by writing on my Facebook page: "Are you feeling any better?" This saddened me as I had been telling myself that she likely had no idea I was ill, had been hospitalized, or any of it, and thus, probably being busy or out of town, or perhaps blinded in some horrible accident that prevented her from looking at Facebook over the last two weeks, had not contacted me. That myth was destroyed by her question.

She's not alone. People I have known for years who I considered "close friends" have also been completely silent. Okay, so what, you're thinking -- so you had a fucking heart attack. How does that compare to who's on "Dancing With the Stars" this season? Okay, I get it. It's not important to anyone but me and my family, in fact anyone who doesn't count on me for something. People are expendable. (Sigh.)

So what I think is that the Vegas killer must have been hurt pretty badly by lots of people during his 64 years on Earth. That's certainly no excuse, it's just a thought. But maybe today you could be nice to someone for no reason. Call a friend to say hello. Stop and chat with a neighbor and ask how they're doing. Hey, here's an idea: Give a homeless person ten bucks! You know, just to be human.

This post first appeared on The Daily Droid, please read the originial post: here

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The Art of Being Human


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