Sunday Morning Coffee — March 31, 2019 — What Are We Waiting For?

March 31, 2019 Family, Observations 15 Comments

My brother took a long look at the two ladies sitting in a booth by the window. One had ordered a pastrami sandwich that was piled higher than an architect’s rendering of The Wall. The other a turkey and Swiss, about the same height. Individually the sandwiches weighed more than the ladies did collectively.

At Bagel Express, Las Vegas’ answer to the Carnegie and Stage, Mike slowly ate his spinach and cheese omelet, staring at the pastrami on rye, salivating in the right corner of his mouth. “That’s what I should have had,” my kid brother moaned. A combination of regretting the aftershock and knowing it wouldn’t be what the doctor ordered lead him to the boredom of three eggs smushed together.

Four days later I was at the funeral of a thirty-six year old I didn’t know. He was a UNLV classmate of my son Scott. By all accounts Allen Ladd was a great, fun-loving, do-anything-for-you guy. Scott spoke to him a day before and they made plans to meet for lunch. The next night, Allen went to sleep and never woke up.

The following week a doctor, who’s a cardiologist, visited our house. All is fine, thank you. It was a family dinner party and he brought with him eight cigars to host anyone that wanted to participate with a cordial for dessert. In my case it absolutely wasn’t what the doctor ordered. Two years earlier I would have smoked all eight.

Fifty-two year old Luke Perry died overnight from complications of a stroke. Two mainstays of our lives — Alex Trebek and Olivia Newton-John — both revealed Stage 4 diagnosis almost simultaneously.

What are we doing? Avoiding random indulgences for what guarantees in return?

A longtime friend, a fitness buff and careful as she could be with her diet, passed after a long and ugly battle with pancreatic cancer, the dreaded diagnosis that Trebek is determined to beat. A high school friend, we were estranged for forty-years and reconnected for the last couple, had a heart attack in the wee hours before his wife could summon help. One of our employees, a lady in her fifties, didn’t show up for work one morning and lay dying in her living room. It was too late when the paramedics arrived.

Sadly, we all have experience with this. You can fill in your own names and circumstances. As we get older it happens more frequently. It’s sad. And sobering. For those of us on the back nine of life, and especially for those who are on the sixteenth and seventeenth tees, it’s also scary.

It used to be, as kids, the only three-letter acronyms that mattered were ACT and SAT. Nothing else counted. Today, the PTA has become the PSA. We are consumed with A1C, CBC, TIA, CVA, DVT, EKG and ICU. And then there are the three letters that all men dread the most— PMS.

After my cinco de bypass in August, 2017 I was told to watch my diet. Docs told me if I wanted to have a steak a couple of times a month, that’s okay, just don’t abuse it. Cigars, which I enjoyed two or three times a week on the golf course or my porch, are no-go’s. When my A1C came back pre-diabetic that meant no more carbs:  breads, pasta, pretzels — all staples of mine. There could be no life without them, right? My afternoon Diet Pepsi bit the dust. And no more sugars, which never was real important to me other than in fruit.

I’ve had three cigars over the last eighteen months and progressively disliked them all. Which doesn’t mean I’ll never have another one, but when the cardiologist brought the stash over to our house that night, I wasn’t tempted.

So, let’s be reasonable with the time we have left. Even though I am in the gym six mornings a week and feel as good as I probably ever have, I don’t have any great desire to be the healthiest guy in the cemetery.

I think all the time about those who have left us, not wanting to be one. But also wanting to enjoy the remaining holes on the course. If I want three steaks a month, I’ll have it. Whole wheat pasta gets old, so maybe I’ll cheat with some real spaghetti tonight. Every Sunday morning I ditch the otherwise daily green apple with a peanut butter schmear and Greek yogurt for a couple of slices of whole grain toast. I’m living large. Pizza is on the avoid list so instead of having it every night, we bring it in once a week. Big deal. That won’t kill me. However, driving I-95 in Miami might.

A couple of months ago I was at a banquet and really wanted the ice cream served for dessert. I’m not a big ice cream or dessert guy, but for some reason I was beyond tempted. I told the colleague sitting next to me that I would love it but I shouldn’t. He said, “life is to enjoy, not to avoid.” It was strawberry and it was magnificent.

So, the next time the server comes over to the table and wants to know if you’re ready to order, look ‘em square in the eye and say with authority, “I’ll have the pastrami on rye, piled high please!”

Life is too short for egg white and spinach omelets.


  • Pam Zanky Somerville says:

    All so true! Glad you shared your blog on the Westbrook Park FB page!

  • Helen Claire Quarles says:

    I just love your blog! It’s my Sunday morning wake up!

  • Cele Montgomery says:

    Wonderful!!!! I agree life is too short to avoid everything that we love. My father was put on a strict diet which he taped to his refrigerator door and looked at each day (but didn’t follow it). When doctor asked him if he was watching his diet he said “ I watch it every day.” He lived to be 95.

  • James and Diane says:

    Totally agree! Great sentiment, and you’ve allowed me to enjoy the cinnamon roll i’m about to create without the guilt….. embrace what makes you happy.

  • Richard S. Horowitz, D.C. says:

    At a certain time in our life we learnd to “Ad-Lib” with our life style.
    No more “just do it”. Or Live with it”.

    Ad- Lib.

  • Steve Lerner says:

    Roy, very insightful blog. Please keep sharing on the Impala page.
    Steve Kerner

  • Valeria Pacheco Rubi says:

    As always, you never fail to bring your readers to pay attention to what’s important in life with the touch of Larry David’s sarcastic sense of humor. As for health, everything in moderation is good, except for the things that will indeed get you too fast to the grave – like addiction to diet Pepsi 🙂

  • Beth Blumenthal says:

    Carpe diem. In moderation, says the 20-year lymphoma survivor.

  • George says:

    This may be the ultimate “speaking truth to power.”

    At a certain stage in life why not do what gives you joy?

    I had a heart attack nearly seven years ago, and while I had good intentions during the recovery period, I came to that realization that I got joy from potato chips.

    And corned beef.

    And really good ice cream.

    Good for you. Good for us.

    Those around us are probably also reaping the benefits of having less cranky versions of ourselves as a result of not following every last bit of well intentioned advice.

  • David Moses says:

    Thanks for the wisdom, my friend. Having just lost our WSU President at the young age of 70, I too, have been having sobering thoughts of vulnerability. That said, I agree with your colleague “life is to enjoy, not to avoid”! Give my best to the family.

  • Larry Lane says:

    Every six months I see my cardiologist and he never fails to lecture me about how important my diet is. A couple weeks ago I walked into a restaurant and caught him eating a slab of ribs with french fries. I guess sometimes you just have to say, what the F___!

  • Lee says:

    I agree 100%

  • Eric Fairweather says:

    Sunday Mornings on CBS News with Charles Kuralt, followerd by Charles Osgood for 22 years and now Jane Pauley have been a mainstay in our house for over 30 years. I have now added to my routine by pouring a second cup of coffee and reading your blog Sunday Morning Coffee! Great writing Roy! Look forward to Sundays and what new story you’ve been working on!

  • marsha genard says:

    If you don’t already take cinnamon every day you should. I take 2000 mg every day in capsule form and I lowered my glucose level 20 points.
    Look for 1000 mg capsules in one pill, they are hard to find.

  • Richard Balaban says:

    The thing that keeps life interesting. We never really know when our times up. Everything in moderation and my wife taught me this one. Share a meal!

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