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Opinionated Octogenarian 3C, Conclusion

September 7, 2014

When Chicken Little Meets Polllyanna-

Drawing Conclusions


            A doctor from an advantage health plan came to our house to ask questions about my husband’s health, which at this time is quite good. I believe my husband to be healthier that the doctor who questioned him. The retired doctor, a radiologist, seemed over-weight and was sweating profusely on that muggy August morning, in our air-conditioned home. He asked 27 pages worth of questions, marking the responses with a shaky left hand, examined my husband’s medications and vitamins, took blood pressure, and had him walk to the refrigerator while examining his gait. I hoped the good doctor was following his own good advice about diet and exercise.

Listening to the questions, I thought how many things can go wrong with a senior body. One of those items is bound to be Chicken Little’s acorn in my life. Something will eventually hit me somewhere, for I occasionally remind myself, “All men are mortal.” When all has been said and done, I am a senior, not quite a senile citizen, and two generations, my progeny, lag behind, waiting to replace me.

Seniors have stories and years of experience to look at incidents with a degree of sophistication, and we try to spread our opinions and give advice to each other and the following generations. Sometimes they listen. Most often, they don’t.

I am reminded of Cassandra. In Greek mythology, Cassandra, daughter of King Priam of Troy and Queen Hecuba, was loved by Apollo, and he gave her the gift of prophesy. But afterward, offended with her, he ordained that her predictions should never be believed. Like Cassandra, my predictions and advice are mainly ignored, if not totally believed.

The Greeks built a large wooden horse to enter the city of Troy and to win the conflict over the beautiful Helen who had been abducted by Paris, causing the Trojan War. The Greeks sailed away, pretending defeat, but left a fighting force inside the horse. Cassandra warned the Trojans that this was a trick, but the Trojans, pleased with the gift, pulled the horse inside the city. That night the Greek soldiers came out of the horse and engaged in battle with the surprised Trojans. They returned the beautiful Helen to her husband Menelaus. A Cassandra dilemma occurs when valid warnings or concerns are dismissed or disbelieved.

Often seniors have Cassandra moments. The advice and admonitions they attempt to give others are disregarded and unheeded. One needs to know history before seeing that history often repeats itself. We seniors have at our backs a lot of history. Wikipedia has other meanings for the Trojan horse. It can be a trick or stratagem or a malicious computer program, referring to a program which tricks users into running it, but often   contaminates the computer. Great! I may be rather deaf, like Dickens’ Aged One in Great Expectations, but I can still learn. Just give me “a nod”.

From the same Greek story I have learned to “beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” There is usually a stiff price to pay to the unknown or faceless giver – and I hope that does not refer to social security and Medicare.

Hey, it’s a wonderful life! Even George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart in the movie, eventually realized that unexpected incidents play an important role in it. Life has “very interesting situations.”

Readers of all ages learn from stories they enjoy. I know I must examine evidence, even empirical evidence, with caution and not make fatalistic judgments with it. One can try to remain optimistic in fearful circumstances. One can help to make a better tomorrow, or at least to minimize the falling skies in every life.


What if Chicken Little were to meet Pollyanna? Let’s be ridiculous.

Upon meeting the cheerful girl, Chicken Little says, “Why are you so irritatingly optimistic? Don’t you know the sky is falling?”

“Well. Well. Well. I am glad, glad, GLAD to meet you,” Pollyanna says to the little purveyor of doom and gloom, “This is an interesting situation. I see a bad bump on your poor little head. I’m sure it hurts, but let me get you an ice-pack.”

Ridiculous, incongruous, impossible!

This opinionated octogenarian enjoys stories and what she can learn from the retelling!

The End



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