I am staring down the barrel of 50. As I write this I am three days away from turning the big five-O and it’s about this time in life you realize there is more life in your rear view mirror than there is in your headlights. I still believe my best days are ahead of me. To quote Monty Python “I’m not dead yet!”, but as I get older I think about the people I have met in my life and this one guy keeps popping up. I don’t know his name and we met for all of five minutes, and I hope he is doing well.
I was in the Philadelphia are and it must have been 2005/2006. I was working for Merck at the time and I was waiting for Pete Van Bemmel to pick me up so we could go to dinner. I was sitting on this bench out front of the hotel and this guy walks out wearing all kinds of Philadelphia Phillie gear. Me being Captain obvious ask this guy if he’s going to the game and he replies affirmative. We sit and wait together and he offers up that he is excited to see some old buddies as he is making the rounds.
Making the rounds I ask? Dude goes on to tell me he’s in a bad spot with inoperable lung cancer and he’s making the rounds so to speak…seeing old friends and preparing for whatever the future may bring him. I’m totally speechless. We go on to discuss family and where we both grew up. He grew up in NJ and went to a high school my high school used to play in lacrosse. We do some quick math and we figure out there is a distinct possibility we played against each other. And then my ride shows up. We exchange handshakes and I wish him well and I get into the car a little stunned, but grateful for meeting this guy.
Fast forward to today, now when I find myself waiting on a bench waiting for a ride I am usually playing with my cell phone. The bench could be full of interesting people, but we all have these pocket computers we need to check….conversations be damned. It’s truly a dying art talking to a stranger. Looking back I hope my stranger is OK, but from the way he was talking it did not look good. GOD tell that guy I said hello and let him know that I think about him from time to time. And while you’re at it GOD…help someone find a cure for cancer and also a cure for cell phones. Peace.