The P-Word

Pall is a useful word, although not one I want to dig into particularly.  But we are in pall territory.

One of Julie’s coworkers at the university passed away suddenly and mysteriously this weekend.  The father of a friend also died on Sunday.  And while this is more distant grief, most of it empathetic, there’s a cumulative nature to most things and bad news in particular.  More layers, more shrouds, more loss.  A little gloomy.

And, of course, it’s November, Pall Month.  It now looks like this year we’ll experience a neutral weather environment (“La Nada”), which means unpredictable and the type of system in which our big storms often happen.  Wind, snow.  It might get interesting, and not in a good way.

And Thanksgiving?  NEXT WEEK?  How is this possible?


Like the mail that is slowly being read and dealt with, the news of the world was set aside for a week, visible but not engaged.  The election held no surprises for me except that it was a surprise to so many people.  People apparently completely locked into a fantasy in which their ideology transformed itself into a real thing, a thing shared by most people, a thing that would ignore numbers and data and produce results they wanted because…they wanted it, I guess.  Interesting, but again: I’m not all that engaged.  Time enough.


I now have health insurance, after four years in the wilderness, although it feels anticlimactic.  I could have gone to get a physical without breaking the bank.  I have absolutely no health concerns, and a pretty solid personal philosophy about staying away from physicians in most cases, aside from this basic health maintenance/prevention stuff.  This could, of course, come back to bite me, some lab test that leads me down another path into disease that could have been arrested had I only taken the time to put on a gown and offer blood, but I have a suspicion that my four years only means 48 months without paying premiums.  I wouldn’t advise it, I wish it hadn’t been the case, but I suspect there will be no regrets.

And with luck maybe millions of others will get health insurance in the next few years, and soon we’ll have exchanges and uncouple our healthcare from our employers, etc.  This is a good thing, and I still believe the ramifications of Obamacare will be eye opening to a lot of Americans who remain hooked up to the FOX feeding tube, but still: It’s possible to see the advantages of collective action, a giant pool of health insurance consumers that smoothes out the market wrinkles, and still come down hard on the side of personal responsibility.  Too many years of reading medical records has left me a little skeptical when it comes to Americans and what we expect at the doctor’s office.  Sticking to my guns, then: A physical exam once a year, basic lab tests, and I’m done.  Most things get better all by themselves, and until one of the exceptions pops up in my life this is all I want, a check-up and send me on my way.

The pall will get better, too.

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