Yes, it’s a song from the show “Rent.” It’s also a very appropriate title for this little tale. The opening, to the song, says so much:
“525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in the life?”
Yeah, when you break it down to minutes, a year seems so very long. Which means two years is over a million minutes. Think about that, a million.
Seems very, very long, doesn’t it? After all, a million of anything is a great deal, right. It’s not. Blink and a million minutes are gone. Ask any parent about the time they get to spend with their baby, their toddler, their child and their teen. They’ll tell you how brief those moments were.
For me, this story isn’t about my child, thank God. No, it’s about someone else, someone very dear to me, I won’t say who, other than dear and clos. I want to preserve his privacy.
It’s someone important in my life and he recently got some bad news. He has bone cancer. His doctor has told him that two years is the average survival time for someone in his condition.
Two years, 1,051,200 minutes, for my friend, 1,051,200 minutes live. When you see it written out like that, it seems so much. Again, it’s not.
My wife and I want to go visit him, but we’re poor. We don’t know when we’ll be able to pull together the money and be able to get away from work to make the journey. I just heard Jeb Bush talk about how people need to work longer hours to solve problems facing the economy.
Can this be true? How many hours a week do you work? Me, I’m pulling upwards of 70 to 80 hours between my three jobs.
How much more am I supposed to work? Oh, but none of those are full-time, none of them pay much. I guess that means I’m still a lazy no-good taker.
Guess I won’t be taking a vacation anytime soon. I heard where Scott Walker and other members of the GOP want to abolish weekends and overtime. Yeah, let’s give workers the “freedom” to set their own schedules; then they can “negotiate” things better with their bosses.
As one of those workers, I can tell you that’s not how it works. No, my bosses have told me. This is your schedule. This is what you are paid. That’s it. Don’t like it? There’s the door. There are a dozen workers willing to take your place.
No benefits, no breaks, no changing to full-time, even though I worked full-time hours for over a year. That’s illegal you say? I complained, I’d lose one of those jobs. I can’t afford that.
Right now, each of my jobs actually pays less than I would make collecting unemployment! If I could collect unemployment, I’d quit and go back on it.
Then, at least, I’d have time for that visit my dying friend. I can’t do that, not allowed, against the rules. After all, I can’t lie around and be lazy, can I?
That special person also faces the prospect of pain from his cancer. He’s asked my wife and I to advise him regarding a natural painkiller that won’t leave him groggy, won’t make him sick and will help him to eat so he can keep his strength up.
You may have guessed. He wants to use medical marijuana. Fortunately, he lives in a state that allows it and we’re helping him all we can.
I truly hope we’re able to spend as much time as possible with him in the coming months. After all, it’s only twenty-four months and when you say it like that, it sure doesn’t sound long.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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