I’ve now donated blood 149 times. The only two times I’ve ever had difficulty were time #59, obviously several years ago, and time #148, in April 2012. The commonality was that I was sitting in a chair each time, rather than lying down. The April visit was brutal, with three different attendants manipulating my arm, the needle…it took well over 20 minutes, when it generally takes me 6 or 7; I’m talking about the actual blood flow time, not the preliminary exam, et al. I was so exhausted and bruised afterwards, that I went home and went to bed, instead of going to choir, which had been my intent.
So when I went again last week – getting “back on the horse,” as it were – I made sure I went to a place (Empire State Plaza, for you locals) that had cots. Sure enough, 7 minutes and 6 seconds and I’m done. The medical person helping me this time insisted that lying down is better for the blood flow, and easier for the recovery, but that people prefer the chairs because they are more comfortable. She also noted that 5 to 8 minutes is optimal; some guy who bragged about being able to donate in 4 minutes would be in serious trouble if HE were ever in a serious accident.
For Father’s Day, my wife gave me a ticket to the Old Songs Festival at the Altamont Fairgrounds, about a half hour from here. When I was younger, I went all the time, but I think the last time I attended was 2002, the year my wife went to Ukraine. She did not go with me this time either because of church obligations; she is on the Administration Committee and is helping sort through over 100 resumes for a part-time church secretary.
But the Daughter went with me on the Saturday, June 23. We spent the first hour trying to wash sunscreen out of her eye, but eventually we could enjoy the program. Went to see a couple called Magpie, and another couple, Kim and Reggie Harris, perform songs of Phil Ochs, the noted folk singer who died over 35 years ago. Sunny Ochs, Phil’s sister, was there, too, and she has long encouraged singers of Phil’s songs to change the lyrics to more contemporary references when necessary. I knew LOTS of the songs, but I got a big chuckle out of my daughter vigorously singing the chorus to Love Me, I’m a Liberal, one of those songs with changed verses. (No one knows who the late talk show host Les Crane was anymore.)
Then we went to the Songs of the African diaspora with Peace Train, a black woman and a white woman from South Africa, assisted by Kim and Reggie Harris, who had come from about as far on the fairgrounds as one can. Kim noted that the girl who was sitting in front at this show (yes, the Daughter) was dancing at the Ochs show (true) and that Kim wishes she had that kind of energy.
The last Sunday in June, the whole family attended a high school graduation party. Ever have a real good friend you lose touch with, even though they aren’t that far away? That was the case with my friend Debbie, the mother of the graduate, who was one of my very best friends in the 1980s, but who I’ve talked with only intermittently since. It was good to see her again, though she was so busy playing hostess that we didn’t talk much. Maybe next time…
So what did you think of that Supreme Court ruling last Thursday? Oh, not that health care thing, the decision that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional. “The Stolen Valor Act…makes it a federal crime to lie about having received a military decoration or medal, punishable by up to a year in prison if the offense involved the military’s highest honors.” I support the ruling that the law was unconstitutional on First Amendment/freedom of speech grounds with the same biting-of-the-lip sensation that had when I agreed with the Court allowing Nazis to demonstrate in Skokie, IL. I support the principle more than I hate the action.
As for that OTHER case, I had taken a “Well, it’s better than the status quo” take on that 2010 health care bill, the Affordable Care Act. But with the meltdown by its opponents, I am enjoying its affirmation by the Supreme Court far more than I expected. Meanwhile, CNN should slink off in shame for reporting, for seven minutes, the absolute wrong outcome. (FOX News also muffed it for two minutes, but it HAS no shame.) The term “Obamacare” had been designed as a dis, but that putdown may now work in the President’s favor.