Tuesday, March 8, 2011

If I'd Known ...

James Hubert "Eubie" Blake (February 7, 1887 - February 12, 1983) was a composer and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music, as well as a lyricist. As you may recall, he uttered this memorable quote: "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."He died in 1983 in Brooklyn just five days after celebrating his "hundredth" birthday (he was actually 96).

Yep, there are many of us walking around with the "If-I'd-known" blues. Back in the day we'd "walk a mile for a Camel," and thought nothing of smoking, anywhere, anytime. It was socially acceptable to offer one's guests an ashtray and a few non-filtered cigarettes when they visited your home. A two-martini lunch was a common business expense and rare red meat was standard dining fare. Seat belts were non-existent and the 55-mile-an-hour speed limit was yet to be invented. No respectable motorcycle rider would wear a helmet, let alone a bicycle rider. Salty foods tasted best and the best pie dough was made from lard.

Today we live in a healthier, safer world, yet we still seem to find ways to join the If-I'd-known club. For example, fast and convenient, fried food seemed to be an answer to how to provide inexpensive meals to a growing population. Today we see the effects of a long-term diet of burgers and fries. The cell phone offered an inexpensive way for people to have a one-stop communication device that extended the workday, was great for getting help in an emergency and allowed teens to stay in touch with their parents. Today, we reap the results of death and injuries caused by distracted drivers and all the other issues now familiar to a world linked by the ubiquitous cell phone.

Men, we do know. We have a vast storehouse of wisdom and knowledge we can share. Let us not be shy about imparting what we know. Oh, I know most of our advice will fall on deaf ears, our younger brothers not heeding what their older brothers say, but that should not dissuade us from persistently and patiently sharing the knowledge gained over a lifetime of mistakes.

If just one young man heeds our words and wears a helmet, hangs up the phone to drive, doesn't start tobacco or refuses to succumb to the lure of fast, fat food, we succeed.

Now, if only someone would have told me about standing next to the speakers at a rock concert.

Can I hear an "amen"?

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

We spend way too much time worrying about living a healthy and long life. As a result, we miss many opportunities our good health should let us accomplish. And regardless, there is always some surprise that can make all of your good efforts meaningless. Like the 20-year-old who was exposed to Dioxin and now at 60 finds that doing his duty didn't stop when he returned from Viet Nam.

My Dad, who like many in his generation rarely missed opportunities to strike forth for Christ, worried about consuming butter, so, on the advice of Physicians, consumed margarine instead. Of course, neither butter or margarine had an opportunity to contribute to his death.

I think we frequently forget God's providence.