Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I’m coming to join ya, honey!

There’s something about a heart attack that scares most people to death, and brave and tough-as-nails middle-aged men like me are no exception. 

Comedian Redd Foxx allowed us to see momentary humor in something scary like this when, as Sanford & Son’s Fred Sanford, he would fake a heart attack by putting his hand on his chest while looking upward and talking to his deceased wife, “This is the big one!  You hear that, Elizabeth?  I’m coming to join ya, honey!  

Years later, while still a middle-aged man at age 68 years, Redd Foxx would experience a real "The Big One" that would end his life.  

I can’t lie and must confess there have been times when I didn’t feel right and had a perceived rapid heartbeat that eventually led me to privately pondering if I was getting early warning signals of having the big one like Fred Sanford.  

I’ve talked to other middle-aged men friends asking if they’ve ever had experiences like this and they privately shared they have.  In both their case and mine, after time had passed, all was well and our post-jittery analysis concluded that stress or lack of hydration on a hot day were the likely culprits.

Nonetheless, the thought of having “The Big One” gave them and me a good scare and made us think about our mortality and how we can be here today and gone tomorrow with no advance notice.

Such was the recent case with middle-aged man Roderick George Toombs, better known to you and me as WWF wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper who departed planet earth late last week at the too-young age of 61 years due to cardiac arrest – a.k.a. “The Big One” or “heart attack.”

Thanks for the memories Rowdy Roddy Piper and rest in peace.
His passing brought back many pleasant memories for my son and me of father and son bonding while watching WWF wrestling matches on television beginning over 30 years ago.  And in a recent conversation with my son, he jogged my memory of a time we saw Rowdy Roddy Piper in person while attending a WWF show in our hometown.

Less than one year older than me, Rowdy Roddy Piper’s passing is a reality check that while I may joke about how I see this 16-year old kid when looking in a mirror, the truth is I’m at an age where, according to 2013 statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the cause of death for almost 25 percent of men between the age of 55 and 64 years.

As middle-aged men, we never know but we can’t live in fear of having “The Big One” – if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen and hopefully it’ll happen in our sleep as was the case with Mr. Piper and not while working as was the case with Mr. Foxx.

Like Fred Sanford, my wife’s name is Elizabeth.  I pray to God that she’ll be blessed with a long and joyful life, longer than mine, so that a day never comes where I find myself with hands on my chest looking upward and telling her, “I’m coming to join ya, honey!”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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