“Men resemble the gods in nothing so much as in doing good to their fellow creatures.”

– Cicero

The above quote is etched in stone above the fire truck doors at the Stillwater fire department on the southeastern edge of the Oklahoma State University (GO POKES!) campus. As an idealistic, unjaded, starry-eyed undergraduate, I had great respect for these words. I use the word respect because, knowing what I know now, I can say that I didn’t know what they really meant.

I’ve since experienced things that have given me a more complete understanding of Cicero’s words, taught me the true meaning.

Some are quick to say that man, by nature, is selfish and motivated only by things that will advance his station in life. Still others will point out that man is a social animal.

What is the point of all this philosophology? My point is that, I’ve been blessed to meet a crapload of people who have successfully suppressed their selfish nature and become gods in the sense that Cicero was talking about above.

I refer to these people as “my favorite people”. Being “differently abled” like I am, I get the privilege of seeing the altruistic side of the everyday person and the godlike individuals who have chosen to work in some variation of human service. In no particular order, I’d like to recognize these awesome people –

Emily, Occupational Therapist
If you were to go to the Pate brain injury rehab facility in Anna, TX, you’d find a very pleasant blonde working with a patient with a wonky arm. If you were to go inside my head, you’d be covered in neurons and gray matter and all other matter of brain goo…Let me rephrase, if you were to see inside my mind, you’d see the head of a very pleasant blonde floating around, reminding me to use my left arm more often.
I’ve been fortunate as concerns the therapy game – I haven’t had to work with any crazy, ex drill sergeant “therrorists” (well, there was one who put electrodes on my arm and shocked me, but that’s a different story…). Still, it’s not hard to get cross with one who hounds you to click when a dot appears on a computer screen and constantly reminds you to grab that…whatever, with your left hand. I think that’s why she’s so good at what she does. She continuously hounded me, but I couldn’t get mad a at her soft voice and diplomatic word choice. For being the occupational therapist inside my head, Emily is one of my favorite people.

Here is her driver’s license photo, you know how those don’t always turn out –

Hand

I jest. I don’t have a picture of her, so this is what I think of when she comes to mind.

Teresa , Bosslady
My education is in sociology with a focus on research and statistics. Even though I chose to switch gears and become a teacher, sociology has never been far from my heart.
I figured that, having been away from research and statistics for almost ten years, I wouldn’t have a chance to use that skillset.

Enter Bosslady.

image

I didn’t like my facial expression on the original, so I fashioned myself a new one.
She took a chance on me and now I get to use those skills to pay the bills. Sometimes, as I’m writing the narrative for a grant or calculating the percentage of people with diabetes in south central Oklahoma, I think to myself holy cow! I’m getting paid for this!

I remember in my first week working with her she made me a list of statistics and data she wanted, I looked at the list and thought who does she think I am? Stephen Hawking? Then I started to think, she believes I can do this so I can, NAY, WILL do it! It’s been like that since I’ve been working there. I’ll be faced with a task that I reckon is too difficult, then her perky voice pops in and says, “Just try it!” And my personal motto is “Try not, do or do not, there is no try.” As such, Yoda and my boss have instilled a great sense of worth, of purpose (porthose?) in me.

It occurs to me that some of you, dear readers, might be thinking I’m just sucking up. I’m willing to grant that. Thing is, everything I’m saying is true and I’ve already said this stuff to her in some capacity.

For being the inspiration to tackle all obstacles inside my head, Bosslady is one of my favorite people.

Allen, Orthotist
I don’t walk so good :), I’ve had quite a variety of assistive devices for my left leg – Donjoy Fullfource knee brace, Swedish knee cage, a black mesh knee brace number that certainly has a name that I don’t know, and two AFOs (Able Foot Orthosis, read more HERE).

The latter three have been acquired through Allen.

Listen, I am pretty hard on these things, have a look at how I violated my first AFO –

wpid-20150913_163505.jpg

You see, the protrusions at the opening by the Achilles tendon had adjustable rubber stoppers to increase or decrease the angle at the ankle, but I found the max angle offered by the stoppers to be inadequate, so I concocted all manner of home modifications. I screwed with it so much that the stoppers feel out, leaving me with no option but to continue to jack it up. I had exhausted my ingenuity as concerns sustainable solutions (solutainable?), so asked my father of he had any MacGyver worthy ideas. He actually had a wonderful idea – get a new one. This made me happy because 1.that brace was done for, and 2. I’d get to hang with Allen.

Here’s the replacement –

wpid-20150913_163617.jpg

They only have one color/style at Happy, Smiley Orthotics of Sunshine & Happiness in Gainesville, TX

Allen is the kinda guy you’d want to sit next to on a plane. He is very pleasant and very knowledgeable about orthotics, and I can’t say this about most people, but when he asks “How are you?” It feels as if he really wants to know, rather than to exchange platitudes. I think of Allen every time I go to the gym and put one of his devices to the test. For being the orthotist inside my head, Allen is one of my favorite people.

I don’t have a picture of Allen, so like I did with Emily, I’ll put an object that comes to mind when I think of him.
image
Two reasons for this comparison – they share the same first name, and 2. EVERY device I’ve gotten from him requires an Allen wrench of some size to loosen or tighten various parts.

I’ve more favorite people, I’ll introduce them from time to time. In fact, a favorite who was originally meant to be on this list didn’t make the cut after all – his back story is too long – I’ll talk about him next time.

FIN

@JarrettLWilson