Saturday, November 29, 2008

Worried About Being Bored on the Eve of Christmas? Here's an idea!

Greetings to all my friends and bloggers around the world. This has been an interesting Thanksgiving break. First and foremost, my sincerest condolences to the family of the Wal-Mart employee in New Jersey who got killed by a senseless, irrational horde that ran over him to get a cheap discount on Black Friday. This is one of those moments where we really need to sit down and reflect if letting our wallets and not our brains rule our decisions is really worth it. It is one of those times when, if I have to pay an extra buck or two and in the process I save the life of a store clerk, it is a dollar well spent. Life cannot be on sale. I read those news and they made me sick and even ashamed of the human race. I also want to extend my condolences to the victims of the (here we go again) senseless, irrational acts of a terrorist group in Mumbai. It is unfortunate when people have to resort to violence to prove a political point (yes, it is a million times more shameful when they resort to violence to buy something on sale, but I digress). This kind of reminded me of a scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day between John Connor (Edward Furlong) and The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger):

John Connor: We're not gonna make it, are we? People, I mean.
The Terminator: It's in your nature to destroy yourselves.
John Connor: Yeah. Major drag, huh?

May all these victims of irrationality rest in peace.

As I did the last time, I will save you all from the updates on my nieces. In a few weeks, I'll reprise the role of the annoying uncle who shoves his nieces down your throats with a super-long update (followed by a very critical blog about how we're turning into the Truman Show... just stayed tuned... A Gonzo 2.0 Christmas will be something else!!!!)

But, for now, on to the blog...

Still Wondering What to Do on Dec. 23 or the Morning of Dec. 24?
The Blogger, the Thinker, the Provocateur has an idea for you!

Oh, Christmas (sorry, but 1995 called and said they had totally run out of political correctness to supply the blogs in 2008... so if say "the holidays" is simply to spice up the narrative. I actually PREFER Christmas, thank you!), that wonderful time of the year when school is out and we all start thinking about what to do until classes begin again, in the case of students. In general, it is the time to take a break and celebrate with friends and family and give an honorable goodbye to the year that soon will be over. For those of us who live abroad, we may be blessed to go visit our families in our native countries, or some decide to stay in their university campuses most of the time because of either school or money issues, sometimes both. Regardless, we are all thinking about what to do during Christmas and it is very likely that we will make arrangements not to be all by ourselves during the holidays.

Unless you do not know me or do not read my blogs (like some of my school and college friends on Facebook - told you I'm going all Carlos Mencia on this one!), you already know I have had an 11-month situation with my right leg. I am still in the process of recovery (slow but steady) and I will be home by the time there is one year after the surgery. It has taken quite a toll on my whole family, I know it has taken a bit of a toll on my girlfriend even. I have been thinking of doing something to celebrate my recovery. While talking to my beloved the other day, I came up with an idea to celebrate. I want to share it with you in hopes that you also find this inspirational and follow suit as an activity for 12/23 and Christmas' Eve in the morning

I had my leg surgery on the 23rd and was discharged from the hospital at 3:00 on Christmas' Eve. For a moment, I thought I would spend that day in a hospital room. Even though I pulled a Neo on this one and dodged that bullet, I imagined there were folks at this hospital who were not so lucky. Then I thought of a visit I did to a children's hospital and an orphanage in Medellin 10 years ago and how much that moved me. Putting two and two together, this is what I will do. Again, I share this not to sell myself as a good samaritan (I believe what the Good Book says about not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing... plus, I believe that showboating is something I myself do as part of being in the academia... showboating and charity go together just like caviare and pumpkin pie do!) but to maybe give you some food for thought.

It dawned on me that on Dec. 23, there will be children at that hospital and orphanage who will be left to their own devices and very likely spend Christmas at a hospital. I will not be able to spend that day with them, but at least I can brighten their holidays a little bit. So, I will contact these two places and will take some presents for some children. I am no Bill Gates, so my funds are very limited. I will narrow down my options for the hospital to children about to have surgery or recovering from it and who will be hospitalized on 12/24. I will visit a few of them and will at least give them a toy and a warm wish for their recovery. That for me is the best way to celebrate the blessings from my recovery.

In fact, I will officially make this pledge to you, my friends and bloggers around the world: Beginning this year, I will do this every Dec. 23, no matter where I am. I will visit a hospital and keep some company to children who do not have anybody else, or maybe to elderly people who have a surgery and nobody to keep them company. Life blessed me with resources to have the surgery and amazing friends to be with me. It is time for me to pay my dues.

This is my personal pledge. But, think about it: All you will do on those two days is probably veg out and watch TV. Spending a few hours spreading holiday cheer might make a huge difference to those children, elder people, etc. who may possibly be all by themselves otherwise. Plus, if some people have time to stand up for 12 hours in front of a store to get cheap electronics, I think we can spend a twelfth of that time visiting someone who will REALLY, TRULY, UNEQUIVOCALLY "appreciate our business." I already have my agenda for Dec. 23 figured out... it is up to you to decide in which direction you spread joy.

That's it for now. Till my next blog, I bid farewell.

The Blogger, the Thinker, the Provocateur...

Raúl A. (El Patrón)

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