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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Mr Advice Person

In which I become Dear Abby for a day.

I received this email this morning.

"I feel bad about Richard X.

Richard X came to the March - or was it the April ? - meeting and introduced himself and asked questions about the recorder society and about recorders. I encouraged him to consider taking up the recorder, but did not offer to give any assistance or lessons - and did not refer him to anyone for lessons. He came to the May meeting and, while Greta was conducting, gave his recently-purchased recorder and soft case to DD. Richard said something to David about arthritis pain, and that he could not play recorder and promptly left. He obviously purchased a recorder (and possibly a music book), tried to play and quickly gave up because of health issues or lack of motivation.

In retrospect I wonder if I should have been so keen on encouraging Richard. Perhaps I should have quizzed him more about his musical experience. Or, observing that he is a mature gentleman, perhaps I should have asked about his finger dexterity and so forth. I was so happy to see someone express a desire to play recorder that I did not think things through.

I feel bad about Richard X."

By way of adding background,the Recorder Society welcomes people to take up recorder playing if that is their wish. Playing recorder is note terribly physically demanding, and neither great talent nor years of diligent is not required to play well enough to have some fun. You can purchase a surprisingly playable plastic recorder and a good lesson book online for under $10. BTW, that's why schools use recorders.

Given all this, here's my response:

"IMHO, it is always better to just encourage. I do not believe it is my chosen role in life to tell people what they can't do (I leave that role to Law Enforcement). I prefer to see myself as helping people get a chance to try. You did exactly the right thing,as I see it.

I say this from personal experience of being disabled for about a year, with constant pain. It is healthy for a disabled person to want to find activities. Getting out and doing something a little social moves you away from the physical pain and the emotional pain of isolation. Not a pretty picture, but that's what it's like.

It is always better for a person in that state to try things, provided there is no danger or other serious consequences. Given that recorders are cheap and safe, it's OK to encourage anyone who's willing to try.

The key to surviving disability is to have a compelling reason to recover. That's not as easy as it sounds. It doesn't have to be a good reason or a rational reason, but a disabled person needs some reason, especially when there is pain involved."

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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