Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Svelte 396

Pictured to the left is Jason holding one of the two new wheels I built for him last week.  I have known and been friends with Jason since 1987.  He is now 36 almost 37.  It is gratifying to know that there are  people in my life other than family members who have a long term history with me.  I did not know anyone for long the first 28 years of my life.  So Jason's friendship is pretty special to me.

When I met him, Jason was 13 and weighed 350 pounds.  Over the years his weight has been a problem.  He has weighed as much as 475.  Right now, you are viewing the new svelte Jason.  He just weighed in over to the clinic at 396.  He has lost 63 pounds in the last 7 weeks.

How did he do it this time?  Like every other time.  He rode his bike.  The man rides his bike all day.  He is not fast.  He just rides all day. When he can't ride, he walks.   Jason has a whole slew of health issues besides his weight.  He is diabetic and needs insulin every day.  He has had his pancreas removed.  He has had other surgeries and logged more than a few nights in the local hospital.

I hate the term "special needs".  But unfortunately that is the label Jason is stuck with.  He is a ward of the state and lives on whatever paltry stipend the state comes up with.  That stipend is supposed to cover his rent, food, and clothing.  Whatever is left might mean a couple of bucks to blow every month.  And I mean just that, a couple of bucks.

Jason is probably the kindest soul I have ever met or will ever know.  My first encounter with him was when I stopped some bone head kids from continually teasing him with words like "Fatso", "Big dummy", blah, blah blah.  I remember asking him why he did not grab them and crush the life out of them.  He is strong like bull.  He only said that they were just being mean because they didn't know any better.  And he knew that hurting them would be the wrong thing to do.  I have always thought that was so very cool and an indication Jason was not "special", just different.  Very different. 

Jason's calm demeanor and simple view of Life has more than once brought me back from some edge I found myself too close to.  Case in point was this past Saturday.  This past Saturday that has to rate as one of my top ten worst days at the bike shop.

I am not used to dissatisfied customers.  Oh, I have had a fair share over the years, but I focus my business on customer satisfaction first, money in my pocket second.  Saturday, it seemed every consumer who crossed my threshold had a hair across their butt.  Must have been 4 or 5 in a row.  It was awful.  I actually left the store and took a walk.  Door hanging open, register right there to be picked, bikes left vulnerable.  I just had to escape for a few moments.

All the while Jason sat in his chair at the back of the work area and looked at his wheels.  When I came back in, "You can't please everyone Mike, and tomorrow is another day.  And tomorrow you get to go for a bike ride. "

I looked at him sitting there calmly studying one of his new wheels and I began to chuckle.  Here's a man whose life choices are severely limited and have been his whole life.  A man whose health situation may mean he never sees age 50. If anyone should have a shitty outlook on Life it should be Jason.  Yet he accepts things as they are.

 And here I was getting all pissy over anal retentive consumers.  What a flounder I am. 

Thank you Jason.  You are indeed my good friend.


BBC said...

If he is your friend that is good but keep in mind that it you that helps support him.

He had better be a gentle soul if he wants the support of the rest of us. Maybe if he didn't eat so much he wouldn't have an issue with weight?

And I don't want to hear any argument that what the government gives you to eat when you are on the take is what makes one fat, I've ate the same food all my life.

Eat to live, don't live to eat. In nature, Jason wouldn't have lasted long, the world belongs to the survival of the fittest.

I lean toward having friends that can carry their own weight without me having to help support them.

Anyway, if things go to hell for you I guess that you had better be very nice to everyone so they will be willing to help support you.

The Blog Fodder said...

Some days, BBC, you are a complete ass.

MRMacrum said...

BBC - If survival is all you are after, your life must be pretty empty.

Blog Fodder - You nailed it.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Mike, it sounds like your friend Jason is a lot like my late friend John D., whose passing I wrote about just over a year ago. Now there was a man. He brought me back to a nice, level reality many times over the seven years I knew him.

You can't please everyone, and tomorrow is another day. Words for all of us to live by, really.

Anonymous said...

Big Jay! What a great guy :)

muddleglum said...

"...And tomorrow you get to go for a bike ride."

He has a good handle on life.

Hope you enjoyed that bike ride.