Military spouses given deserved recognition
Veterans Day has come and gone, and as a veteran I do appreciate the expressions of thanks I often receive if I am recognized, as well as the parades and programs from area schools. But there is someone besides the veteran who also deserves your thanks, and that is the one who stays behind to keep the home fires burning, as they used to say.
My 20-year career was not “normal”; it consisted of two 10-year periods, and the second 10 years I was overseas five times at various places for various amounts of time. But regrettably, I have come to understand that sometimes when I returned home, I didn't always behave as I should. So not only did my wife, and I suspect many other wives and/or husbands, have to take care of things at home, but then had to deal with a somewhat out-of-sorts returning spouse. I still feel ashamed today knowing that.
Indiana has it right, though. When I had my official retirement from the Air National Guard, the state presented me with a Legion of Hoosier Heroes certificate and letter. But my wife was also recognized with her own Legion of Hoosier Heroines certificate and letter, as the state recognizes that spouses also serve and also make many sacrifices. This is a wonderful thing and entirely appropriate. I have them both framed and hung proudly side by side.
No one serves 20 years in the military just so they can be thanked for their service, but you should know that your thanks is gratefully received. Just remember to sometimes thank the spouse, too, because those who stay at home also serve in an important way.
Simple procedures could be life-savers
While your parents, friends and other loved ones gather, please replace the often-argumentative talk about politics with a possible life-saving discussion about health.
It is the perfect time for you to talk with family and loved ones about a couple of simple procedures that could save their or your life. The first and possibly most important is a colonoscopy, for those older than 50. (Some insurance covers the procedure at age 45.) You may not have any visible signs of trouble, as with my wife. When she got her first test at age 65, she was already at stage 4.
The next procedure is a $50 heart scan (for those 40 and older). On my first one, they noticed something in my kidney. It was biopsied and turned out to be cancer. (We caught it before it metastasized, and it was removed.) This is the cheapest and easiest scan you ever had. It takes 15 minutes and most people are found to have no problems. Insurance does not cover the cost. You must pay $50 cash ahead of the procedure.
So, this year, fill their hearts with all the love you can give by discussing these life-saving procedures. We love you all.
Stranger's kind move on behalf of cats
A few weeks ago a nice young man came to my front door with a grocery bag filled with about 20 cans of cat food. I did not get his name but hope he sees this and knows how much I appreciate it.
Somehow he must know that I am feeding a stray/feral cat this winter. So, thank you!
I will pay it forward to our local SPCA and Animal Care & Control.
A Santa surprise at Steak 'n Shake
After cataract surgery, my daughter and I stopped at Steak 'n Shake for breakfast. Upon leaving, we were told by our waitress that our bill had been paid in full. This act of kindness from a stranger shows there is a Santa. Believe.
I'll definitely pay it forward.
MARY MILLER and daughter HEATHER
Social Security change will cause public pain
Recently, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration Andrew Saul announced that offices would be open all day on Wednesdays nationwide. Currently, offices are closed on Wednesday afternoons.
I have worked for Social Security for 18 years and currently work in a local field office. There will be consequences to this new policy that Saul did not disclose. Local workloads will increase. Staff currently use Wednesday afternoons to reduce workloads. That time will now be spent taking in more work with even less time to process it. Processing times will increase as the workloads increase.
Social Security staff take our service to the public seriously, and we want to do the best job we can. However, as workloads continue to increase, so does the pressure to process the work more quickly in less time. There will be a significant increase in employees who retire or leave as a result of the added stress. The majority of employees who leave are usually not replaced and it takes years for new employees to become proficient because of the complex and technical nature of the job. The employees who remain are even more stressed and the cycle continues.
The problem started when the agency made the poor decision to cut staffing when workloads increased as baby boomers aged. The problem will continue until the agency decides to hire enough frontline employees for us to be able to do our jobs correctly and provide the level of service the public deserves. With enough staffing, we could be open all day on Wednesday and allow time for employees to process work in a timely manner.
I feel the work I do is important, and I want to provide the best service to the American public. However, Saul is implementing a policy that will make my job more difficult and ultimately affect the service to the American public.
Letter unbecoming of publication
Shame on The Journal Gazette for publishing Carol Gibb's letter, “A starting point for new crusade (Dec. 16).” Disagreeing with Rep. Jim Banks is one thing, but this kind of juvenile rant is unbecoming to a quality Midwestern newspaper. I hope my short letter is one of many that call you to task for putting forth this person's ridiculous vitriol.
Some help for Trump in tilting at windmills
I read that President Donald Trump wants to get rid of windmills because they are not environmentally safe, in that they stir up dust and kill too many birds.
I'm proposing to three Indiana leaders (Banks, Braun and Young) that they ask the president during a break in the impeachment hearings to build a wall around the windmills.
We would ask Superman, Spiderman, Underdog and Rocky the Squirrel to patrol the perimeter of the windmills to chase the birds away.
It would be important to have a gate to enter the windmill area in case Don Quixote returned from his adventures and needed to get in.
Behavioral exam in order at holidays
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I agree.
In that spirit, examining my own personal growth and psychological development (or lack thereof), I humbly present a Christmas Spirit Adult Behavioral Hierarchy:
1) Master Level: I care about the well-being of all people and the planet I live on. I will do whatever is within my power to actively demonstrate my love for both, with no regard for what the consequences might be, simply because it is the right thing to do. I want to offer as much as I can while I have the opportunity to do so.
2) Pro Level: I love my family and will do my very best to act on that love, even when it's tough and I don't feel like it.
3) Apprentice Level: The world doesn't always make sense to me. I make a lot of mistakes, but I am willing to learn and willing to put in the effort to change and grow. I want to be a better person.
4) Amateur Level: I get that certain things are expected of me. I'll suck it up and deliver, but I won't enjoy it, and I will find little passive aggressive ways to let you ungrateful people know that all of this is entirely against my will.
5) Substance Abuse Level: I will show up but quickly get loaded in order to numb my feelings. Of course, I know that won't work because all my childhood trauma will boil ugly and unfettered to the surface. I will say or do all manner of hurtful things to wreak havoc with no regard for anyone but myself.
6) Entitlement Level: When do we eat? When do we open our gifts? I don't like this. I don't like that. Do you still have the receipt? I'm bored.
Interesting line of thought, n'est-ce pas?