It’s that time of year again when so many of us say: I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving already! Honestly, it did come quickly this go-round—incredibly so. The mystery of time accelerating deepens with each passing year. It also calls to my mind at least this Adam West Batman recitation to his trusty butler: “How little do we know of time, Alfred—a one-syllable word…a noun…yesterday’s laughter…tomorrow’s tears.” And, sadly, Adam West recently departed this earthly plain at the age of eighty-eight. How little do we know of time—indeed. For Adam West seemed eternally middle-aged—ever the man with the spot-on campy timing. Nobody could have delivered the How little do we know of time sermon like Adam West—nobody.
Speaking of time, I visited a local hospital’s emergency room this past week—not as a patient in this instance, but as someone offering moral support. Eleven years ago, I was in that same space as a patient. I can candidly say that being on the outside looking in is worlds apart from being on the inside looking out. Without my life on the line, I got to be more of an observer of the frenetic atmosphere that goes with the territory. Foremost, most of the people I encountered appeared to be there for non-life threatening matters. The worst cases were being tended to behind closed doors and curtains. An intern doctor did approach a woman within earshot of me to pose a couple of questions about her pressing medical concern. He asked, “Are you having trouble peeing?” and “Do you have a burning sensation when you pee?” I thought about a thing called medical privacy as I overheard the details—too much information—of this woman’s health problem.
If it’s an otherwise quality script, I can suspend my disbelief for fifty minutes or so. Still, when I recently viewed an episode of Wagon Train where Major Adams, Flint McCullough, and others were seated on the ground and chained to a wall for a week in sub-freezing, snowy Sierra high country—and fed only one measly square a day—I couldn’t help but notice that not one of them looked worse for the wear. Their clothes were pressed and clean and—remarkably—no one needed a shave.
(Photos from the personal collection of Nicholas Nigro)