Good Kind Bad Kind: a different perspective

As I was going to sleep last night a random memory passed through my mind. I do this often. Kind of like counting sheep. This memory was of a friend who I have not seen in years. Jim was an Olympic hopeful from my home town. An exceptional skier a few years older than me. He went to Vietnam and returned minus his legs, from just above the knees. He eventually put things back together and became a successful athlete again. He won the Boston Marathon in a wheelchair of his own design. This lead him to start a business in his garage building chairs for wheelchair athletes. It quickly grew and offered various chairs, snow skis and water skis. A very successful business indeed.

During that time I helped him write and produce most of hes sales literature. I would often spend time in the shop getting details and going over ideas with him and others there. Almost all the employees there were paraplegic and used the product full time.

Jim is a great guy and well respected by all who know him. I could see this when I talked to those who worked with him. Jim also had a unique situation. When he returned from Vietnam he was fitted with prosthetic legs. He learned to walk quite well with a cane. And he added an inch or so to his height (something hr loved to point out).

One day I stopped by his house when he was washing his car (an International Scout). He smiled and explained how before his wounds he could not have reached to wash the roof so easily. He excused himself for a moment and came back out in his chair. Smiling again he explained how this made it easier than ever to wash the sides and wheels.

A couple years later when I went to the new shop to meet with him I asked an employee if he was in. "Yes, I think he is in the warehouse on his legs" he told me. "Np" another replied "He's in his chair today". "Man, he has the best of both worlds" the first guy responded. "I think it's much better to be a double amputee than a paraplegic!"

So, I guess good kind bad kind depends on your point of view.

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Comment by Jacob's mom on March 6, 2012 at 10:04am

Thanks for sharing a great story Randy! I love stories like this. I'm not as much of a story teller but I loved reading budhist tales to my children growing up when they would sit and read with me, one of my favorite memories of their earlier childhood. anyway this one reminded me of your story. life deals out suffering and trials there is no doubt but true life and growth happens when we process it and move on the best we can .. best wishes...

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically. "May be," the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed. "May be," replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. "May be," answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. "May be," said the farmer.
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Comment by LaGuitariste on March 6, 2012 at 10:23am

Great stories, y'all. Perception and perspective are critically important when it comes to our tragedies and misfortunes. I have congratulated myself several times in recent years for being "too poor" to buy a condo via a zero-down, adjustable-rate mortgage in 2008!!! Whew.

Comment by Randy on March 6, 2012 at 10:46am

Thanks, I remember when the comment was made what an impact it had at the time. When it came back last night I knew I had to share it. A perspective I probably would never have considered otherwise.

As or mortgages; I looked in 2008 and refused to consider anything but a fixed rate, so rented again. I did buy in 2010 though. Guess that's a good thing considering how much more upside down I could be today.

Comment by Teena on March 6, 2012 at 5:49pm

Thank you for sharing this Randy. Beautiful story. Considering there was also a point in my life that I thought I wasn't going to be able to walk again. Perspective, love for life and determination played a major role :)

Comment by Mimi on March 6, 2012 at 7:32pm

A positive in everything, it is all in how you look at it! I loved your story!

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