Senior Questions

Every seventeen and eighteen year old has heard them.  “Where are you going to college?” “What are you going to do when you grow up?”  Their parents, their teachers, their friends’ parents, their parents’ friends, and even strangers ask them to stop whatever they are doing and to answer these questions.

The questions return four or five years later.  “Are you planning to attend grad school?”  “Do you have a job lined up?” “What are your plans?”

These senior questions end until you turn 65.  Then they begin again.  “So, when do you plan to retire?”  This is the ultimate senior question.

I had heard these questions before, but they began in earnest after I turned 65 last year.  “How long are you going to be doing this?”  The questioner is usually (but not always) someone I have just saved money or had a difficult issue that I was able to solve.  Now that I have justified my existence as an insurance agent, they don’t want to find someone new.  In truth, my wellbeing is the often the least of their concerns.

My stock answer has always been that I need to be dead three years before I can retire.  The question have become so frequent that I have started to number them.  “Gosh John, you are the third person to ask me that today!”

The time may come that I retire.  It may be voluntary.  It may be involuntary.  Either way, it is not today.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – An Empty Park At 5 PM – David L Cunix 

Say The Secret Word

Old movies filled many a winter Saturday afternoon when I was a child in the mid-1960s.  That was when I was introduced to the Marx Brothers.  I didn’t know that Groucho Marx had been a movie star.  Until then I had only seen him on his TV show, “You Bet Your Life”.  The show would consist of Groucho talking with people selected from his audience.  They would win $100 if they said the secret word.  That’s all it took.  If they happened to say the right word they won a prize.  This is a link to some of his most amusing comments.

We recently celebrated July 4th, the commemoration of one of the most innovative and daring political documents of all time.  The sheer audacity of the crafting of the Declaration of Independence is celebrated in the movie 1776.  Sadly, if you talk as I do with the men and women who serve us in Washington and Columbus, it is hard to believe that such a thoughtful, high-minded document could ever again be created.

Instead of a thoughtful articulation of political positions, our elected representatives are searching for the secret words that will win the two prizes they crave, campaign donations and our votes.  And yes, I put those in the apparent order of importance.

When is a politician most honest?  Is it when he/she is interviewed on a Sunday morning TV show, speaking to the constituents at a town hall, or are their fundraising letters the clearest insight to their innermost thoughts?  I don’t recall the last open forum town hall in our area.  I wonder how many of us would recognize our Congressman, State Representative, or State Senator if they were picking out apples at the grocery store.  So I will rely on the one thing I have in abundance, fundraising letters.  I believe that their solicitation letters accurately reflect their true beliefs.

Below is a list of politicians and a selection of excerpts from their fundraising letters.  The challenge is to match the politician to the quote.  The letters are all from Republicans.  I get as many unsolicited and unwanted solicitations from Republicans as senior citizens get from AARP. This is partially because I live in the gerrymandered 14th District and partly because they have the mistaken belief that insurance agents are all Republican gun enthusiasts.

Politicians:

  • Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) – a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus
  • Senator Rob Portman (OH) – his letters only stopped days before he announced his decision to not seek reelection
  • Jane Timken – formerly Chair of the Ohio Republican Party now running to replace Rob Portman
  • Steve Stivers – a far right Congressman from Central Ohio who recently resigned to serve as the CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce
  • Ronna McDaniel – National Chairwoman of the Republican National Party

Here are the quotes:

  1. In the closing days of the campaign, I’ll be attacked by multiple liberal groups from every angle. But we won’t give in.  We have a conservative agenda to advance and with you by my side, we will win.
  2. But if the Democrats win the presidency and retake the U.S. Senate, America’s shining future will go up in smoke.
  3. Joe Biden, Kamal Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer make good on their promise to take the country we love to the farthest left extreme of the political spectrum.
  4. Just like President Trump warned us, our rivals are pandering to their radical base and endangering our nation by espousing open borders, full amnesty, extra benefits for illegal immigrants and an all-out effort to defund the police.
  5. The contrast between Republicans and Democrats today couldn’t be clearer. While Republicans are working to bring safety and security to our communities, defeat the coronavirus, rebuild our economy and resort our way of life, Democrats appease and accept violent riots, call for the police to be defunded, embrace socialism, and erase our nation’s history.
  6. Mr. Cunix, as a registered participant in our 2021 Canvass project, you are on the frontlines of our efforts to shape Republican priorities as we work to better target our message and devise a winning Republican strategy in Mayfield Hts. Today, I am counting on your involvement to ensure that Joe Biden and the Democrats do not turn our nation into a socialist welfare state.
  7. Our campaign message is sharp, clear and compelling. We will build on President Trump’s accomplishments and stop the Biden Socialist Democrats dead in their tracks.  Our rivals believe in the beauty of the Washington Swamp and the brilliance of Big Government.  Some of them hate America and all of them hate Donald Trump!
  8. Democrat’s liberal instinct is to grow government, increase spending, raise taxes, bust the budget, drive national debt deeper, socialize medicine, open the border, enact a radical environmental agenda and obliterate our Second Amendment rights.
  9. Which candidate or solicitation specifically asked for a donation of $150 or $200?

Did you spot the secret words?  I find these letters depressing.  And yes, I’m sure that some/most of the elected Democrats are just as complimentary of their fellow lawmakers.  The questions remains – do they really believe this stuff or is it just what they need to say to raise money for their campaigns.  These letters motivated me to post this blog.  No checks were written, at least not to them.

Dave

www.againreally.com

Picture – Tell Me What You Really Think – David L Cunix

Answers:

  1. Dave Joyce – October 2020
  2. Rob Portman – October 2020
  3. Steve Stivers – February 2021
  4. Jane Timken – February 2021
  5. Dave Joyce – October 2020
  6. Ronna McDaniel – March 2021
  7. Jane Timken – February 2021
  8. Dave Joyce – February 2021
  9. All of them. It seems that $150 and $200 are the perfect requests to Republican donors.

 

The Next Step

I spent time this week with two of my favorite clients, and yes, I do have a few favorite clients.

Perry (name changed) has been a client for over twenty years.  He owns and operates a small business.  He is a true professional, dedicated to serving his customers, and a tough but generous boss.  I have referred many of my clients to him over the years.  He and his staff always get excellent reviews.  We spent over two hours on Monday talking about politics and the current state of our country.  We don’t agree on some issues, but we listen and learn from each other.  We only talk about his insurance needs After a long talk and time for him to take a couple of cigarette breaks.

My friend Perry is turning 65.  He could stay at the helm of his business for another decade or more.  But should he?  We discussed his succession plan and even had a quick visit with the employee who may buy the business.  Most advisors focus on money when confronted by this issue.  I don’t.  My first questions are “Do you want to leave and what will you do once you aren’t going to your office each day?”  Since this wasn’t the first time we’ve talked about this, he was somewhat prepared.  We also discussed whether he would make a clean break or “pull back”.  Six months ago he was leaning towards slowing down and gradually phasing out of the business.  On Monday he was clear that slowing down wasn’t realistic.  As long as he was part of the business he would be the boss and he would insert himself into every aspect of the business he created.  That was huge.  The next step is to get an independent evaluation of the business to determine the price.  He turns 65 soon.  My guess is that he will hand in his keys on December 31, 2022.   There is a lot to do till then.

*     *     *     *     *

Bob and Janet (yes, names changed) have been clients since 2010.  Janet has had a number of health issues.  Bob had his fair share of aches and pains but was always the healthy one.  My staff has always loved Bob.  He had been in the military as a young man, worked hard his entire life, and had lots of stories.  We all looked forward to their visits.

Janet’s issues impact her mobility.  She currently walks with the aid of two canes.  She wasn’t moving well this week, but I’ve seen her on worse days.  No, the surprise was Bob.  He looked me in the eye and introduced himself.  Bob didn’t know me.  I knew that he was suffering from early stages of dementia when I saw them in November.  Now, now he didn’t remember me.  I snuck a peak at Janet and asked her how she was doing.  She just said that she is taking this all one day at a time.

Bob is totally unaware that he is taking the next step in his life.  There will be decisions to be made, but not by him.  It is all a sobering reminder of how lucky Perry and I, and possibly you, really are.

Dave

www.againreally.com

Picture – A Day At The Beach – David L Cunix

A Positive Commandment

 

I try to spend each Saturday morning in Shabbos services at my synagogue.  You may or may not have ever attended a Jewish prayer service, let alone a Saturday morning.  One thing you won’t find is anything that looks like, “G-d, please give me ____”.  The Jewish prayer book focuses on our relationship with G-d, our place in this world, and most importantly, our responsibilities to our G-d, our fellow man, and to the world in general.

We are all familiar with the Ten Commandments.  The first five deal with our relationship with G-d.  The second specifically deal with our relationships with our fellow man.  But there are actually 613 Mitzvot, the dos and don’ts of Judaism.  The daily Jewish prayer service touches on many of them.   Though most of the prayer service at my synagogue, Chabad of Solon, is principally in Hebrew, our prayer book includes English translation.

I was reading part of the opening daily Blessings yesterday.  This is a section that one is supposed to read at the start of each day.  I was struck by this paragraph:

“These are the precepts for which no fixed measure is prescribed: leaving the crops at the edge of the field for the poor, the gift of the first fruits, the pilgrimage offerings when appearing before the L-rd, on the three festivals, deeds of kindness, and the study of Torah.”

In other parts of the service, whether daily or on the Sabbath, there are numerous mentions of our responsibility to provide “food for the wayfarers and charity for the needy”.   How we treat our fellow human beings is an integral part of the practice of Judaism.  Can we / I do better?  Of course, but our failings are no excuse to not attempting to do better.

Today is the Yahrzeit of Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson.  It is our custom to do a Mitzvah in honor/memory for someone who is no longer with us.  It is an even greater Mitzvah if one can motivate others to participate.  I will be donating to our local Kosher Food Bank in his memory.  I invite you to find a food bank in your area, it doesn’t need to be Kosher, to help feed those in need.

Together we will perform the positive law of providing food.  And we will make the world a better place for everyone.

Dave

www.againreally.com

Picture – A Good Read – David L Cunix

What Is Important To You?  Part 2

1290, 1394, 1492, 1496, and 1619.  These are not random numbers.  We’ll get back to them in a few minutes.

It is hard to say which was worse, the last act of vengeance of an alcoholic doctor selling his house in a previously restricted neighborhood to a Jewish family or the unscrupulous real estate agent who knowingly guided my trusting father to a house on the “wrong side” of town.  We had no idea.  The house was beautiful and sat on four city lots a few blocks from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  It had a circular drive!  We had been living in a tract house in a Columbus suburb.  My father took a job as the manager of a large, downtown jewelry store and moved us to Canton.  Technically, we moved to Plain Township, literally a couple of blocks outside of the city.

In September of 1967 I became the first Jewish boy to attend Avondale Elementary.  Our previous school, Pinecrest, was so close that we walked home for lunch each day except when the   weather was particularly bad.  Sometimes your teacher even came with you.  Our new adventure began with most of the students transported to school by bus.  Lunch was at school and prior to our first day we received a menu for the first month.  I begged my parents for the opportunity to buy lunch.  One of the first lunches included a bologna sandwich.  We didn’t keep Kosher outside out of the house, so that seemed like a good place to start.  I was dumbfounded by my first school lunch.  Two pieces of white bread, with butter, and a thin piece of meat(?) that could have been anything, anything but baloney.  I asked for rye.  Nope.  I asked for mustard.  Nope.  I realized that I now lived in a very different place.  I ate the buttered bread and brought my lunch from home most days after that.

My biggest shock came in a Social Studies class a few months later.  Somehow the text book and curriculum touched on other peoples of the world.  And here we made a cameo appearance.  The Jewish people were mentioned in passing as nomads, wandering indiscriminately from country to country.  I raised my hand.  I noted that forty years in the desert hardly qualified us as nomads.  Now it was the teacher’s turn to be shocked.  I don’t know if I was the first Jew she had ever met but I was certainly the first to question her lesson plan.  She pointed out that Jews had migrated from a number of countries.  Well, yes, I told her, that was true because we had been kicked out of England (1290), France (1394), Spain (1492), and Portugal (1496).  I think I even knew the years of our expulsion from England and Spain.  Now she was really off balance.  In an effort to get back on track she decided to tell the class a little bit about Jewish culture.  Falling back on to her notes she cited an example of Jewish food, the Reuben Sandwich.  I had never heard of a Reuben Sandwich and with nothing to lose, I asked her to describe it.  When she detailed a corned beef sandwich with Thousand Island Dressing and Swiss Cheese, I stopped her and explained how a food mixing milk with meat could not be considered a “Jewish” food.

It has been over 50 years and I am still surprised by both the teacher’s ignorance and my bravery.  Let me put this into perspective for my Irish Catholic friends.  Could you imagine a public school teacher talking about the hearty corned beef and cabbage dinners Catholics eat every Friday night in the spring?  How about great Hindu brisket recipes?  You get the idea.

I don’t expect non-Jews to be experts on either my religion or culture, but dismissing either as irrelevant, or worse, ignorantly teaching and spreading disinformation is offensive.  I was lucky.  I was sent to a separate Hebrew School three times a week to teach me the Hebrew language, religious practice, and culture.  I knew who I was and how I got there.  I knew why my grandparents had fled the pogroms of their Eastern European villages to find freedom in the United States.I recently engaged in a little thought experiment.  I asked Sally to tell me the first thing she thought of when I said “Egypt”.  She said pyramids.  Jeff said Cairo.  My daughter also said pyramids.  I then asked Jennifer what she thought my answer was.  Without hesitation she said “Passover”.  Of course she was right.  Specifically, the first thing I think of is the beginning of the Answer at the Passover Seder, “We were slaves of Pharaoh in the land of Egypt”.  It has been over 3000 years and we are still talking about our enslavement.  We are told to remember and to understand that had our ancestors not been freed we might still be there.  Our freedom, and the fact that we had to take action to be free, is important to me.

And that brings me to another number, 1619, a time when human beings began to be sold as slaves in Jamestown.  Technically indentured servants, many of our Black neighbors view this as the start of slavery in the colonies.  Others may point to Christopher Columbus, but his focus seems to have been in taking people away from the Western Hemisphere.  Many of our neighbors and friends can trace their heritage to a plantation, a slave auction, a slave ship, or even to Western Africa.  What they know is that their ancestors didn’t come here by choice.  And when they think of American history, many of them see their history as a central part of how the United Sates was formed, the laws that guide us, and the officers that enforce them.  It isn’t necessary for you to agree.  We haven’t been taught enough about the lives and struggles of the African-American community to have an educated opinion.  Need proof?  There are documentaries airing this week about the 100 year anniversary of the massacre of Black Wall Street.  We weren’t taught about any of this in school.  That wasn’t an accident.

A great effort has been made to sanitize the Civil War (white-washing it seems redundant).  Why would anyone take offense at the flying of the Confederate Army battle flag?  Alexander Hamilton Stephens, the Vice-president of the Confederacy, clearly stated the purpose of the breakaway country in this excerpt from “The Cornerstone Speech” he delivered in Savannah, Georgia on March 21, 1961, weeks before the start of the Civil War.

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery – subordination to the superior race – is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science.

This could not have been clearer to Mr. Stephens.  There was no reference to this in our textbooks.

It is surprising how my school had time to tell me about Thousand Island Dressing but never had a chance to teach me about the pain and suffering of others.  We needed a more comprehensive examination of our country’s history.  That’s what is important to me.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – Important – David L Cunix

What’s Important To You?

The client called my office while I was on vacation.  He left a message that he wanted to verify that he was “getting all of the Medicare benefits he was entitled to”. (Yes, he used the words from the awful TV commercials that feature washed up sports figures and aged television personalities.)  If everything was OK, I didn’t need to return his call.  I called Don (name changed) my first day back.  I reminded him of what he has and why.  He thanked me and let me know that the commercials, the phone calls, and all the crap he gets in the mail was driving him crazy.  I told him that I understood.   I also explained why I had to call him.  If I didn’t, he wouldn’t know if he was OK, or whether or not I got his message, or worse, if I had chosen to ignore him.

I would never want someone to think that I wasn’t paying attention, because I hate to be ignored.

The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital both have online systems for the patients to access their medical records and for communication.  They pride themselves in their ability to connect their doctors with their patients.  And this would be great, if the doctors read their emails and responded to questions and concerns.  The jury is still out for me.  Two different doctors have failed to respond to me.  I don’t know if they simply don’t read their emails or if they have chosen to ignore my questions.  If I was too busy to check my emails I would delegate this task to one of my employees.  Otherwise why have the tool if you can not or will not use it?

I hate to be ignored.  What is important to you?

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – Waiting For The Call That Never Comes – David L Cunix

Held Captive

I couldn’t move.  Stuck.  Captive.  There wasn’t a gun or restraints involved.  Think more like being in a dentist’s or a barber’s chair.  I was a captive audience, unable to move.  The conversation started with the seemingly benign comment from Rueben (name changed for obvious reasons) that he was no longer a Democrat.  No stranger to political conversations and unable to leave, I figured “What the Hell” and bit.  “Gee, why not?”

His first issue, seemingly the most important grievance in his life at that moment, was transgendered Americans demanding acceptance.  Actually, he was agitated about gays, Lesbians, and the transgendered almost equally.  I asked how any of this had any impact on him.  We both confirmed that we had professional relationships with people who identified as G, L, and T.  He even admitted that he personally liked some of them.  But, he wanted me to know that none of this was natural.  I reminded him that the definition of natural is fluid.  At one point not so long ago, marriage between Jews and Christians wasn’t considered natural and interracial marriages were illegal.  At that point he moved on to COVID and the overblown coverage of January 6th.   Though he supposedly doesn’t watch television, he was surprisingly fluent in the most common conspiracy theories.  I’ll spare you the details.

It seemed twice as long as the half an hour I was there.  Reuben is really good at what he does, which has nothing to do with his politics or his opinions.  I just don’t know that I need to subject myself to another visit.  And if I don’t return, he will just complain that he is another victim of the cancel culture.

#     #     #     #     #

“Mr. Cunix, I will need to get my supervisor involved. May I put you on hold?  This may take between 5 and 10 minutes.  I am very sorry.”

I had already invested 20 minutes on this call to this insurance company’s agent helpline.  This was the only way to solve a big problem.  Now I was stuck.  Captive.  I couldn’t move.  I had to be available whenever the service rep or her supervisor returned.  That could be in a few minutes or I might be bounced around, like I was a couple of weeks ago, for the next hour.

With time to kill I clicked on Facebook.  My longtime Facebook page was hacked last September.  Through a combination of errors and Facebook’s decision to not have human tech support, I’m locked out of my page.  I may never get it back.  So I created an access page, a mere shadow of my former one.  The first posts I saw involved food.  I like food.  One friend/client is a well-known foodie who posts both pictures and recipes!  There were other posts about dogs and grandchildren.  I was five minutes into my wait.  The next posts were neither calming nor entertaining.

Since this new site has so few friends, I see everything each of them posts or even the comments they make on others.  One of my friends is somehow, unexplainably, connected to Congressman Jim Jordan, someone she truly despises.  Every one of his self-serving posts demands a response from her.  She comments and others agree, or more commonly since it is his followers, others disagree and then attack her.  She, of course, responds.  This may go on for hundreds of posts.  This was one of the first threads I encountered.  The second thread was just as long and contentious.  Somehow this other friend routinely accesses posts from his liberal or Democratic friends.  He can’t ignore these posts.  He must share his personal, religion-inspired opinions.  Subtlety and nuance are not part of his vocabulary.  He attacks and is quickly counter-attacked.  He doesn’t comprehend why everyone in the thread doesn’t immediately renounce his/her previously mistaken beliefs and quickly accept his!  Surely it is a moral failure or an unwillingness to accept Truth that is blocking their conversions.

You might view one of them, possibly both of them, as trolls.  Don’t judge so harshly.  In truth, they are captive, unable to escape.  Social media has chained them to their computers, addicted to the conflict.

The service rep only had me on hold for 15 minutes or so. The problem was solved.  And I was no longer captive.  For now.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – Held Captive – David L Cunix

For Better Or For Worse

The challenge of any marriage is to withstand all adversity, to persevere through both the best of times and the worst of times.  Some marriages survive.  Some do not.

A large percentage of our country is in the middle of a difficult marriage, one that is being challenged, one that is not at the precipice of what could be considered the worst of possible situations, but close enough to give many of us pause.  That conflict, that issue that could force so many of us to affirm our commitment to For Better Or For Worse, is between the Democrats of the US Senate and two of their own, Joe Manchin (D-W VA) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ).

We once had liberal and conservative elected Republicans as well as both liberal and conservative elected Democrats.  Some of our elected representatives defied even those two recognizable labels.  Each issue merited deliberation and consideration prior to a vote.  Those days are pretty much over.  The “country-club” Republicans  are gone.  The two Republicans known to cross the aisle and explore opportunities for bipartisan action are Lisa Murkowski (R- AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME).  Congress once had a large Blue Dog Caucus, a number of conservative and centrist Democrats in the House and Senate.  Now we have Manchin and Sinema in a 50 / 50 Senate where every vote counts.

The last eight years have been difficult for the Democrats.  They watched Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans obstruct President Obama’s agenda.  The sat powerlessly as McConnell blocked the appointment of District Court Justices and then refused to consider the appointment of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.  And they could not stop the appointment of countless marginal appointees to the Courts and three, three, Justices to the Supreme Court.  Now that Democrats are in the majority of the House, control the Senate, and enjoy the Presidency of Joe Biden, they are ready to move.  What could possibly keep the Dems from fulfilling their campaign promises?  Right now the answer is the current version of the Senate filibuster, Mitch McConnell, and two Senators unprepared to go to the mat for the Democrat’s agenda.

Divorce is not an option.  Push too hard on the centrists and you run the risk of them simply moving to the other side.  If that happens now the Dems get nothing, literally nothing.  The Republicans successfully convinced Collins and Murkowski to go along with most of their agenda and all of the judges.  The Democrats now have that same challenge with Manchin and Sinema.  There will be hurt feelings and pressure both private and public.  Deals will be made, some that will never be made public.

The marriage between the Democratic Party and Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema is for better or for worse.  The next month or so will include plenty of both.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – An Imperfect Union – David L Cunix

One Week Post Shot One

My inner introvert was having a knock-down drag out fight with my innate contrarian.  Their only points of agreement seemed to be their disdain for their host and their displeasure with the turkey pastrami sandwich passing as lunch.

We are a full year into this pandemic.  I consider myself lucky.  We are healthy as are our children.  We have had friends and clients touched by COVID, some were hospitalized, and a couple who succumbed to the illness.  But my innermost circle has remained healthy, at least physically.  Who amongst us has not been impacted emotionally by the threat of illness or the forced isolation of the last twelve months?

I had lunch with my friend Larry yesterday.  We were socially distanced, safely apart, at the local POKE restaurant.  It had been six months since I had seen him.  We had eaten lunch outdoors at Aladdin’s at the end of August.  I don’t know what was stranger, sitting inside a restaurant or visiting with a non-family member.  Thank G-d I’ve known Larry for over 30 years.  It took a while to get into the flow of a normal conversation.  We have regressed, socially, in this year of relative isolation.  Our connections to the world have been the television and (anti)social media.  We will have to unlearn the tendency to either vehemently agree or aggressively disagree with our fellow human beings now that we are getting back to seeing them in person.

My friend David came by today for a walk in the park.  Three miles!  Sally got me a Fitbit like device for my birthday so I got to measure the distance.  I treated us with a couple of Liranja cigars from my humidor.  They had been patiently waiting for the right moment since I got them in October.  Sixty degrees and sunny, March in Cleveland can be such a tease.  We all know that there is still at least one more big snowstorm coming, but for the moment it feels like spring.  And for the moment, it feels like normal.

I could get used to normal.

DAVE

www.againreally.com

Picture – Tuesday In The Park – David L Cunix

Thank G-d for the man who put the white lines on the highway.”  Michael Stanley 1948 – 2021

Accepting Reality

 

Reality sometimes interferes with our self-image.  And vanity only complicates the problem.   I understand this.  I should have written this post two weeks ago, but I couldn’t.

Clients, especially Medicare clients, bring their lists of medications with them to review when we discuss their health insurance.  Their prescriptions may also come up when we are talking about life insurance.   Some are on only a couple of prescriptions.   Some bring in laundry lists.  Inevitably they inquire about my meds.  Many know about my little health adventure in 2016.  And my answer has always been the same.  I point to my humidor and say that I am on “a stick a day”.  That’s it.  The only prescription I take is a cigar each evening.  Well that ended two weeks ago.  I am now on a blood pressure medication.

My doctor noted that my blood pressure was elevated in 2003.  By changing to a low-carb diet and with a lot of focus, I lost over seventy pounds and got my blood pressure under control.  Now, eighteen years later, I could stand to lose a few pounds but not enough to make a difference.  And though I personally blamed Trump, at 66 it is time for me to get some medical assistance.  Let’s hope the Rx works.  I am looking forward to my next appointment at the end of April.

#     #     #     #     #

Here is something you didn’t ask for – Josh Mandel is back.  Did you miss him?  Probably not.  Ohio will have an open Senate seat in 2022.  Rob Portman may retire early so that Governor DeWine can appoint a replacement.  Regardless, 2022 will be so wide open that even Mandel could be a contender.  It is important to remember the last time he ran in 2012.  This is what I wrote after that election:

Thanks to Nikki Ferrell of the Beachwood Patch, we now know that Mitt Romney lost nine of the ten Beachwood precincts.  Some people find that unsurprising.  After all, Beachwood is a highly educated, traditionally Democratic leaning city.  The shock was that Josh Mandel, a Beachwood High School alumnus, underperformed Governor Romney.  Not only didn’t Mandel carry any precincts, but his opponent, Sherrod Brown, actually received more votes than the President. It only took two reprehensible campaigns for Josh Mandel to wear out his welcome.  It will be interesting to see what kind of campaign he mounts two years from now.

Josh Mandel looked in the mirror while he was still a suburban city councilman and saw a US president.  His mirror lied to him.

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My time as a Rabbi has ended.   I volunteered weekly at an Alzheimer facility for the better part of twelve years.  I created a Friday evening service for the residents and their families.  I mixed the pronunciations and tunes of forty / fifty years ago with a little humor and an occasional sermon that was geared to triggering long lost memories.  It worked.  Families were often surprised that grandma knew Hebrew.  Many of the residents enthusiastically participated in the service.  Some only attended for the challah and grape juice.  One woman had a beautiful voice that really added to our Sabbath prayers.  I used to joke that she hit every note while I just assaulted them.  But COVID ended my access to the facility.  It has been a year since I’ve been there.  Alzheimer’s is a terminal illness.  The last of my congregation has passed away.  Even if / when I could return I would be starting all over.

I never intended to make my Friday afternoon service a permanent activity.  But I formed a bond with the residents and their families.  My congregants died but there were always new ones and new families, spouses, children, and grandchildren to serve.  And now that is over.  I remember the first time I conducted a Sabbath service at the facility.  As I was about to start one of the residents turned to the woman next to her, and in a stage whisper that could be heard in the next county, asked if I was the new Rabbi.  I looked her in the eyes and said, “No Ma’am. I’m not a Rabbi.  I’m the next best thing, an insurance agent.”

My congregation is another COVID casualty.  My Fridays will never be the same.

Dave

www.againreally.com

Picture – The Dispensary – David L Cunix