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Saturday, June 10, 2017

MENTAL HEALTH DAYS


There was a guy I knew way back when, and his outlook on life was one of life should be cheap but good. He always favored the good times and he made you feel at home. He was a man of great intellectual ability and a great heart, his name was John.

John was many things to me, but most of all he was like a brother, and in his final days I tried to stay as close to him as possible. My decision was not one of his needing me, but the opposite, I needed him. I even shared his final hours with him holding his hand as he lay on his deathbed.

John was perhaps a man with a real moral compass, he chose not to make enemies and put up with a lot of people who could annoy him. Many a summer night, being a Mets fan, after the game was over, my TV screen would come alive with ‘Caller ID'. On the screen was his name and phone number and I would hear these words: "Joe, your Mets stink!" then he would hang up. We NEVER argued over that.

He worked for Big Blue, the computer giant AKA: IBM and his job was to go from one company to another and fix their computers. Dressed in a nice suit with wing-tipped shoes as a corporate identity, a customized briefcase filled with tools and meters, off he went about his business. It was from that experience he drew philosophies about life that he shared with me.

One day I was about to hitch a ride with him to school, and it was a beautiful sunny day and he suggested we take a "Mental Health Day". Not sure I knew what he meant, he explained it to me. You see, in the business world and everyday life, it is incumbent upon one to take an unscheduled day off, to rest one's brain from the vigor of life's challenges. This meant to call in sick, the boss need not know what was it you were treating.

When I graduated from college I carried that tradition to my own career and every time I did it, I naturally thought of my good friend, John.

Now, after all these years retired, I have many ‘Mental Health Days' I'm still using.

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