Monday, December 05, 2011

Losing Time ~ My Column from Sunday's Paper

At my age, I can ill afford to lose any time, but I lost a day this week. No, it wasn't an anomaly in the space/ time continuum, and I certainly was not traveling faster than the speed of light. It was a stomach virus, and for a whole day, it caused me to form an unnatural connection to my commode. I remember nothing else.
When I wasn't “in there,” I was on the couch. My guts sounded as if I had an angry orangutan in there trying to gnaw its way out. At one point Jilda asked if I was “OK,” as she put more distance between us on the couch. All I could manage was – the jury is still out.
I'm betting they set atomic clocks by these little babies because exactly 24 hours later, I started feeling human again. But for all intent and purposes, I'd lost a day of my life.
The only thing that comes close to this feeling is once when I was in college at Jeff State. One of my rocket scientist buddies brought a fifth of Evan Williams Sour Mash whiskey to school in the dashbox of his car. 
We headed out to Turkey Creek after class to have a snort. I'd never drank before but I wanted to be hip, cool, and fit in with the guys. So I swigged liquor like it was lemonade. 
I remember laughing like a hyaena as my tongue got thicker. I felt a little smarter, taller, and better looking at first, but that was before the whiskey decided to come back out the way it went in. 
I don't remember who took me home, but I remembered telling my mama that I had a virus. 
Uncle Pete had brought us some coal that afternoon and stepped in to check me out. He knew instantly that I was as drunk as Cooter Brown, but he didn't rat me out. He told my mom that he'd had those viruses before and that he thought I'd live.
The next morning the smell of frying bacon turned my stomach and my brain felt like an 18-inch seam of Black Creek coal being drilled and blasted by miners.
I was young and had plenty of days to spare, but even then I hated losing a day of my life. 
I made a mental note to myself — Evan Williams is no friend of mine.
One positive thing that came out of my “lost day” this week – I was in “the moment.” I didn't think about tomorrow nor did I think about yesterday. All I could think about was how I was feeling at that moment. 
Now some folks are fast and loose with their time-wishes – some wish for Fridays or wish for summer. Some can't wait until they retire. 
I realize that for most, these are simply daydreams and they don't really want to fast forward their lives. But I believe every day is special. 
There is a poem that Bear Bryant often read entitled, “What Have I Traded?,” that goes like this:
This is the beginning of a new day.
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or I can use it for good.
What I do today is very important because I’m exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes this day will be gone, forever,
Leaving something in its place I have traded for it.
I want it to be gain, not loss, good, not evil,
Success, not failure, in order that I shall not
Forget the price I paid for it.
The only thing I got from that lost day as a whiny couch slug is the idea for this column. 
But it reminded me that a day is a gift and should never be taken for granted.


  1. Anonymous10:25 PM

    oh my gosh that was a great post, you made me laugh and made me think, I'm still smiling and I'm still thinking, very good advice .

  2. Anonymous10:25 PM

    The young seem to be always "wishing their lives away". I remember, no one could tell me to just enjoy each day, each stage of my life. I was always in such a rush to get to the next level; to drive, to drink, to graduate, to marry etc etc.....NOW I know better. Oh well.....

  3. Ohhh how you made me laugh at your college virus! I needed a good laugh. Thanks! Great post.
    Sorry you "lost" a day - that's a tough way to lose it. You'll need to live in double time one day to make up for it.

  4. Well, that is one way to "live in the moment." Why is it when guys first drink they almost kill themselves? I'm glad you are over the flu.

  5. Oh you sound as if you are in such pain! :-( Hope you continue to rest and let the days blur together - you need to get better!! You'll find these days soon enough! :-)
    Take care

  6. Been there - done that. Time does seem to come to a standstill during those hours of being sick - no past, no future , just the present moment. I agree we should always live in the moment.

  7. Hmmm...are you really sure your Momma didn't know the real reason for your illness? Us Moms are usually pretty smart! I hate being sick, I hate missing work (even the crummy days!), I hate not being able to get things done...I truly hate the stomach virus that makes you so sick you're afraid you won't die!


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