I have helped move swing sets for Jeff and Scott, removed snow for John and Jason, dug cars out of the snow for Dave’s girlfriend and provided pro bono physical therapy care to Jeff, John and Mallory. I have never said “No” to a neighbor in need of help. I consider these to be the traits and characteristics of a good neighbor.

. . . .

I prefer to drive home, pull my car into the garage and close the door behind me. I am incapable of pretending that I enjoy talking about the weather with Dave. I do not have the energy to feign interest in John’s political views. I do not care about the exploits of the children in my neighborhood, nor can I engage in “conversation” with other parents in my neighborhood watching them falsely act as if they think my child is as cute as I do. Apparently these are the traits and characteristics of a selfishly disconnected and aspiring curmudgeon.

I would disagree, but no one has asked me for my opinion.

.    .    .    .

I came to understand that I was not all that I had once claimed to be; I was tearing myself down, no one else.

Things became awkward between us as I began to question my own understanding of the deeper (shallow?) model of my physical therapy practice. By proxy, she felt her model was challenged as well.

. . . .

I did not think that I was smarter than her; I never said that I had all of the answers. In fact, I confess to knowing” less now than I have ever known before.

I would have told he so, but she never asked…probably because it would not have mattered.

.    .    .    .

She had been told once before that AJ needed “work” on his mouth; I only wanted to know why. After all, I know that he has a cross-bite, but am skeptical of a field that believes that nearly half of the population needs their services.

She took AJ to his appointment while I was working; I asked her to make a few inquiries with the “doctor“, asking for literature to support his recommendations. Some of the questions that I wanted answered included:

  1. What is the prevalence of cross-bite?
  2. What happens if it goes unchecked?
  3. Beyond cosmetics, what functional problems may result from cross-bite through adulthood?
  4. Might it resolve without intervention?
  5. Is it better to intervene now or later? How much later?
  6. If he has his bite “corrected” now, how probable is it that it will “stick”? What percentage of patients need intervention again later in life?
. . . .

When I returned home later that day, she told me that AJ had once again been recommended for an appliance. It would cost approximately $1500-$2000 and would probably be in place for 8-12 months.

I asked her if the orthodontist had been able to provide any literature to support his recommendations, but she had not even bothered to ask…

“If you want to be the difficult parent, you can call him.”

 .    .    .    .

A colleague from my old work place is pregnant and has begun to suffer from low back pain; she cannot go to the clinic that she works at because they do not accept her secondary insurance, so she is going to the local hospital’s satellite office instead. When I heard of her infliction, I wondered aloud whether or not I should have her come to my home for pro bono treatment, mentioning that she would be better served not receiving the wrong information about her pain from someone else.

“Why?”, my physical therapist-wife (practicing in pediatrics) asked…

Her: What would you do different for her?
Me: I would help her understand where her pain is coming from.
Her: And where is it coming from?
Me: I understand that there is not some specific tissue “giving” her pain, but I get sickened by the fact that wherever she goes, they will be very certain that there is. Where do you think it is coming from?
Her: Well, her ligaments are loose, so her SI could be out, or the weight in her front is throwing her posture out of whack. I suppose you would just tell her it is coming from her brain, right?
Me: Why do you say it that way?
Her: Because, it seems to be your go-to answer lately.
Me: Are you arguing that I have a fundamental misunderstanding of how pain manifests itself? Is your argument that you can have pain without the brain?

“No, but this phase that you’re going through is annoying…”

.    .    .    .

It is a track program, for four-year-olds. Every Sunday, the participants go to the high school track and “learn” how to long jump and leap over hurdles. No surprise, there is some running involved too.

The program is designed to increase a child’s interest in track to eventually feed one of the country’s elite cross country teams every fall and one of the state’s best track teams every spring. AJ does not attend the same school district, but has common friends who participate, so my wife signed him up. It was my responsibility to take him last weekend.

I stuck out like a sore thumb. I stood by myself, away from “the action” and let AJ explore what it is like to be part of a group of children, receiving instruction from a high school track athlete, padding their resume with volunteer work to impress an admissions officer at the university of their dreams. He is going to be in kindergarten in less than 3 months and I understand that it important for him to build his self-esteem without the omnipresence of his father and to learn how to follow directions as part of a group of children.

Meanwhile, the parents of the other children would not leave the side of their prodigies. Holding their hands between activities and running along side them cheering at every event, I found their over-attention nauseating, but they were even less impressed with me:

“It’s a shame he’s not more involved.”

Originals: Pt.1, Pt.2, Pt.3, Pt.4, Pt.5