Blog anniversary post

Today’s the 13th anniversary of my having maintained a blog site. Although I retired the original DTPbyLee site, started and retired SecondInitial, and am now using ALBj.net for blog posts only sporadically, this blog is still active, so I’m still marking anniversaries.

There are a couple topics that I’ve actually been meaning to write about and just hadn’t taken the time to do so. This anniversary post seems as good a time as any to flesh out the ideas.

First, just an interesting tidbit to ponder: have you ever thought about the people you pass by in day-to-day life? I’m sure most people actually don’t think anything of the people they encounter. If that’s true, it’s a safe assumption that people are in the vicinity of others who are notable for one reason or another, and they don’t even realize it.

For example, about three weeks ago, I was sitting in a restaurant eating lunch and noticed a person sitting on the other side of the dining room who, as it happens to be, was absolutely in the news some years ago. Definitely a minor celebrity (I apologize in advance for the unintentional pun those words convey—you’ll understand momentarily).

Just one day prior, I was attending a work-related conference at a retreat center up in north Florida. The closing program featured special guests Osman Araya and Carlos Parra. Don’t know who they are? Let me help. In 2010, a mine in Copiapó, Chile, collapsed, trapping 33 miners (miner/minor—again, sorry for the pun) for 69 days. All 33 were rescued and Osman was the 6th worker to be pulled up. Carlos is an Adventist pastor who served as a chaplain to the miners’ families.

Bottom photo from left: Pastor Carlos Parra, me, and Chilean miner Osman Araya.

Bottom photo from left: Pastor Carlos Parra, me, and Chilean miner Osman Araya.

And the next day, in that Altamonte Springs restaurant, there they both sat, enjoying lunch with their family and friends who had traveled with them. And I could probably bet a hefty sum that not a single other person in the restaurant knew who they were.

To be clear, I don’t particularly think of myself as one to go all nuts around a celebrity. And I happen to know for a fact that both Osman and Carlos are pleased to no longer draw the attention they once did. But it still makes me think about how often any of us encounter people who have made the news in a considerable way, and we don’t realize it. It’s interesting, to me, to consider.

The second topic I’d been thinking of writing about might strike a nerve with some people. So let me disclaim up front that I don’t wish to write these things as a definitive opinion—only something I’ve been thinking about.

As most of us know, there’s been a perceived uptick in the number of high-profile cancer-related deaths in the entertainment industry. Whenever one occurs, many people voice out on social media with a meme of words that I have to censor on this blog: “ƒ*** cancer.”

Make no mistake, it’s a well-meaning meme, and I heartily support the efforts to find a cure once and for all.

Yet, I’m having a bit of cognitive dissonance over just one little thing. Many of the celebrities who’ve died from cancer recently were well-known chain smokers. The assumption I have to make is that some of these people may have lived much longer and healthier lives, cancer free, had they not smoked. So it becomes a little difficult for me to unapologetically blame the entire notion that cancer exists when the blame so clearly lies with the person’s choice to smoke.

I have NO scientific data to corroborate my opinion, but I feel as though cancer will not go away before smoking goes away first. I do wish society in general was as strongly united (or more so) against the tobacco industry as it is against fighting cancer.

Truly, I have zero wish to demean any talented entertainer’s life, even though I do raise a proverbial eyebrow at their choice to willingly pollute their own body.

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