Lists of Infamy


© 2019 Bill Murphy

If Carol and I ever part company, or jugular veins, it’ll not be over money, sex, or family.  Nope!  It will no doubt be over the infamous shopping list, the fly in our happy ointment.  I guess you could say that we can’t see the list for the list.

     I’ve learned, through past misadventure, that ‘peanut butter’ means JIFF.  Pity the poor soul who brings home anything less.  I’ve attempted to explain to my dear wife that there are no massive manufacturing and packing facilities under the KROGER name, where they bottle, can, grow, bake, and build everything from mothballs to baby food.  None.  Nada.  But when we travel, she keeps a keen eye open to find one of these magical, all-purpose facilities.  I’d like to seen one too.  It must be massive!

     In my defense, I’m not psychic – psychotic maybe – but I can’t read minds, nor can I, obviously, read lists, or labels.  GRAPES the list says.  Yes, I know the difference between grapes and bananas.  No problem there.  But there are more varieties of grapes in the produce department than commercials on TV.  And Kroger purposefully confuses the issue.  The ‘white’ ones sure look green to me.  The ‘black’ ones look blue.  The ‘red’ ones are definitely purple!  I have a college DEGREE in art, and I know my colors – just sadly, not my grapes.

     I seldom get everything on the list correctly.  She lists one way.  I list the other. My vain attempts to ‘help out and do my part’ quickly goes to Hellman’s in a hand basket.  I can’t understand why we have these demon-list-problems we have.  The woman who takes hours to find simple sneakers at the shoe store, can’t understand why I’m in the grocery store 45 minutes and still can’t locate the correct yogurt.  (Kroger has more yogurts than grapes!)

     Don’t get me started on CEREAL.

     Alas… it’s a good thing we’ve ‘matured’ beyond the ‘feminine products’ stage of our lives.  That’s one good thing about growing old(er).

     Have you seen my list?  I’ve lost the list.  Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr… 




© 2019  Bill Murphy

     A few months ago, I turned 78 and Carol turned 73.  If we were driving automobiles this age, they’d surely be in a shop a lot!  Carol and I both have been ‘in the shop’ numerous times lately.

     4 years ago, Carol discovered a ‘bump’ on her neck.  She had it examined by a local clinic.  “Oh, that’s cancer,” they said, “We recently had a patient die of the same thing.”  NOT exactly encouraging words!  So a dear friend put her in touch with a, shall we say, more ‘knowledgable’ doctor.  It was simply an easily treated thyroid issue.  Problem solved – and another problem discovered!

     God was in control from the start.  

     During her examinations by this new doctor, a very, very tiny ‘spot’ was discovered on her left lung.  Her new doctor made note of this, and began watching it closely.

     Fast forward to earlier this year.  The tiny spot had slowly begun to grow.  It was still very, very small – but yet slowing enlarging.  “It’s time now to take action,” her doctor said.

     Carol was put in touch with an oncologist in St. Louis.  He was shocked that anyone had discovered this tiny spot so early.  “If…” he began, ‘if this is malignant, we never have patients present themselves at such an early stage!”

     That very day she was seen by a respiratory surgeon.  He too was dumbfounded by her early diagnosis.  A few days later, Carol was in surgery.  A biopsy was done.  It was malignant.  The spot along with 1/4 of that lung was removed.  They got it all!  No radiation treatments necessary.  No chemo.  Praise God!

     My turn.

     A few weeks ago I had my annual ‘wellness checkup’ by my doctor.  I passed with flying colors, well, for a man my age.  Then the doctor asked if I had any ‘issues’ or changes in my well being.  I mentioned some very slight ‘discomfort’ in my lower abdomen.  There was no pain, no real soreness, just a nagging ‘something’s not right’ feeling.  He set me up for a CAT scan.  

      The scan revealed that I had several ‘cysts’ on my kidneys. But it was unclear as to how serious they were.  I had an ultra sound done for a better look-see.  But that didn’t show anything more.  Next, I had an MRI.  

     Within 3 hours, the doctor called me in for a consultation.  Oops!  In addition to the cysts, I had a suspicious dark ‘solid’ spot on my left kidney.  My local doctor explained that there are no qualified urologist in our immediate area, and suggested that we go to St. Louis to see a specialists.  Now it was my turn to be in the shop!

     Tuesday of this week Carol and I traveled to St. Louis, were I saw a specialists.  After studying my previous test results done here, and examining me there… he had very encouraging news, and a suggest path to take with this issue.

     Let me say that both Carol and I really like this doctor.  His ‘bed side manner’ is extremely comforting.  He speaks with knowledge.  And he reeks with and experience.  We trust him.

     He explained that the ‘cysts’ issue is a non-issue.  This is common, and my cysts are not ‘aggressive’ in nature.  As of the dark ‘spot,’ it also may, or may not be, a big issue.  He explained that a spot of the current size that I have does not scream ‘get me outta here – now!’  He told us that age matters – it maters in the fact that these things are very slow growing in patients in my age bracket.  Basically he was saying that I could easily out-live this problem!  

     The bottom line is… we will watch this thing inside me.  In 3 months, I’ll have another scan, and we’ll see how it is doing.

     On the plus side, I do have TWO kidneys… and the other is A-Ok.  A V-6 will still run on 5 cylinders – maybe a little slower and less smoothly – but it will get you to the grocery store and back.


Another Word for Freedom

© 2017  Bill Murphy

Remember the words, Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to give from Janis Joplin’s big hit, ‘Me And Bobby McGee?’ 

The song was written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster.  Kristofferson says that he got the inspiration for the ‘freedom’ line from the 1954 Italian movie La Strada, written and directed by Federico Fellini.  The storyline of that dark movie illustrates that freedom can bring both joy and misery. 

The message of ‘Me and Bobby McGee,’ is that freedom is a two-edged sword.  It truth, FREEDOM is much more than that.

Today’s America is a home divided, a family in dispute and heading toward divorce.  The dividing lines are drawn, each daring the other to cross.  We know that a house divided cannot stand, yet we still want the other side out of ‘our’ house.   

The fact is, although our great nation was founded on ethical, moral, and Christian principles, it was built through many unethical, immoral, and un-Christian actions.  And here lies the seed of discontent.  

The cry of the Left today is for socialism, whereas the cry of the Right is for free-enterprise.  Although history well proves that socialism is a dead end street, truth also teaches us that free-enterprise, like freedom itself, is also a two-edged sword.

When I turned to the word FREEDOM, I discovered some most interesting things… things which closely correlate to the words of Me and Bobby McGee.

When you consider the true meaning of the word FREEDOM, it’s not actually the glorious rallying cry of which we hardily sing.  Freedom is not 100% positive.  Freedom is fraught with negativism and danger!  You see, by its very definition, freedom has no limits.

True freedom is not limiting.  True freedom is the bird set free from the constraints of the cage, free to soar where ever it pleases.  The free-bird is free of it’s cage, where it has found shelter, food, and safety.  Now it’s truly free, to find its own food (if it can), to find its own shelter (if it can), and free of safety also – free to now be caught and eaten by creatures who see him only as food.

FREEDOM means that there are no constraints.  None.  Nada.  Zip. 

Another 1969 hit, People Got To Be Free by The Rascals tells another totally false version of freedom:

All the world over, so easy to see

People everywhere just wanna be free

Listen, please listen, that’s the way it should be

There’s peace in the valley, people got to be free 

That’s what they sing in the streets today.  They foolishly sing of freedom without understanding what that they’re sing about!

When you’re free,  I’m free also.  We’re ALL free.  We’re all free of all constraints. No one will be telling us what to do.  That’s true freedom.  No rules, no laws, no constraints!  We’re freeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

And that my friend, is the definition of ANARCHY.

We see anarchy on the news all the time now… when people throw off the constraints of reason and law, and embrace the ‘freedom’ to do whatever, to whom ever, when ever, and how ever it pleases.  Never mind that you become a victim in the process. 

The truth is, we don’t really want (or shouldn’t want) freedom.  What we want is LIBERTY

Liberty is ‘freedom’ as that ‘freedom’ is defined by and limited by certain previously and mutually AGREED UPON constraints.  

These ‘constraints’ are simply rules, regulations, and duly agreed upon laws designed not to LIMIT our freedom… but to PROTECT US from unlimited (destructive) freedom.

Believe me, you want the LIBERTY to possess and use an American Express card… not the FREEDOM (Where other’s are free withoutconstraint to steal and use your monies as they so choose.) 

We want OUR freedom, but we don’t want OTHERS to have that same freedom that WE enjoy –  especially if their freedom will will harm US! 

There’d be very little peace in the valley with everyone free. 

Listen, please listen, that’s (not) the way it should be.