Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thoughts On A Very Eventful Week

Wow, what a week! Much happened that deserves some commentary.

• We accepted an offer for our condo yesterday and will be returning to Las Vegas in August. It was on the market only 32 days, a tribute to the still-robust Texas economy (memo to most of the other states in the union: Texas is clearly doing something right in its state budgeting and governance, and you should emulate what is done in Austin). Di and I met in Las Vegas, got married in Las Vegas, and bought our first home together in Las Vegas; it is fitting that our story will end in Las Vegas.

• This condo community is a gossipy one; it sometimes reminds me of high school. Here's proof: Di took one of our dogs for a walk about two hours after accepting the offer, and three people stopped her and said they heard we had sold our condo. Yet we never told anyone here!! It will be a relief to again live in a place where some people are not obsessed by other people's business.

• The cause of our neighbor problems was the rental of an adjoining unit to two adults who were not related to each other; this is explicitly prohibited by our condo association by-laws but, for some reason, our condo association and officers decided to look the other way. There are now several other units rented to non-related adults, most of whom are students at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. This week we met with an attorney who told us any unit owner would have a very strong case for a lawsuit against the condo association and its officers for permitting such widespread violations of association by-laws. Since we're moving, we obviously won't be pursuing any legal action. But I know some people in our condo community read this blog, and perhaps they might want to keep this in mind if the board continues to turn a blind eye to these blatant violations of the by-laws. A couple of the association officers are suffering from advanced hubris, and a lesson in humility---the kind provided by depositions and discovery----would have a salubrious impact on them.

• I was deeply moved by the death of Farrah Fawcett; I feel a connection to people like her (and Tony Snow) who have a cancer similar to mine and were diagnosed about the same time I was. Their deaths make me even more grateful to have defied the odds and survived as long as I have. But Farrah's story is also a cautionary tale for cancer patients and their families. The money quote:

Diagnoses of cancer routinely generate periods of what we might call "ritualized optimism." No matter what the reality is, surgeons announce they "got it all," and patients declare that they are cancer-free. It is hard to criticize these types of proclamations. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of other ways one might describe the first weeks and months after being diagnosed with cancer. Even if patients themselves believe or suspect otherwise, they want to reassure family and friends that they are on the road to cure.

I myself have fallen into that trap. The key is to know when it is time to renounce optimism for a cure in favor of a hard-nosed realism that acknowledges that cancer is going to kill you but also acknowledges there is much in life to enjoy before that happens.

• I saw my doctor on Wednesday and my new painkillers are oxycodone and darvocet. I was fearing an "upgrade" to methadone, and I'm glad to still not be at that point. I don't want to make Keith Richards envious of me just yet!

• Mark Effin' Sanford, governor of the great state of South Carolina! His press conference this week was something out of a David Lynch film; it was both hilarious and profoundly disturbing. What struck me was that he showed more empathy and compassion for his mistress than he did for his wife and, especially, his four sons. For those kids, every Father's Day in the future will be a reminder of the weekend Dad left them in Columbia and flew down to Buenos Aires to see his girlfriend. Sanford should be impeached, not for the adultery itself but instead for his breathtaking lack of judgment and common sense. Suppose Sanford was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and he abruptly vanished for a few days, telling no one at the company where he really was, and turning off his mobile phones so he couldn't be located. What would happen to that CEO? That's right, he would be promptly fired upon his return. And that's why Sanford must resign or be impeached ASAP; it's not about the sex, it's about his obvious mental and emotional issues. Sanford is nuts and needs some industrial-strength therapy.

• There really not much to say about the death of Michael Jackson other than how creepy the parallels are to the last years and death of Elvis Presley. Those two both had it all and threw it all away; both surrounded themselves with sycophants who told them what they wanted to hear instead of what they needed to hear. At the end, neither had anyone who loved them enough to pull them back from the abyss. And so their talent, careers, money, and eventually lives were squandered away. Such a waste. . . . . . .