A MERRY CHRISTMAS FOR A LOSER

BY DAVE GLASGOW

THIS MAY SEEM A STRANGE TITLE FOR A HOLIDAY STORY, HOWEVER, LET ME SAY THIS IS MORE A STORY OF ONE MAN’S DISCIPLINE AND MORAL FIBER THAN THE STORY OF A “LOSER”. OH, AND MIGHT I ALSO MENTION KARMA?? LET ME EXPLAIN.

I AM, BY TRAINING, A PARAMEDIC AND AN EMERGENCY NURSE. I ALSO HAVE A BACKROUND IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, BUT THAT IS ANOTHER STORY ALL TOGETHER!! A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO, I WORKED AT A LEVEL I TRAUMA CENTER IN A LARGE CITY. WE SAW ALL TYPES OF PATIENTS. SOME OF THEM WERE EVEN SICK (THAT’S AN INSIDE JOKE)!!

GENE BRODY (NAME HAS BEEN ALTERED FOR OBVIOUS REASONS) WAS A REGULAR. IT WAS NOT UNCOMMON FOR GENE TO HIT THE E.R. WITH SOME COMPLAINT OR ANOTHER, THREE OR FOUR TIMES A WEEK. HOWEVER, HE WAS JUST, GENREALLY, DRUNK AND OBNOXIOUS. EVERYONE, DOWN TO THE CUSTODIAL CREW, KNEW GENE. NOBODY WANTED TO DEAL WITH HIM.

FORTUNATELY FOR THE STAFF OF OUR HOSPITAL, WE WERE ON EXCELLENT TERMS WITH THE LOCAL COPS. THEY ENJOYED COMING BY TO COMPLETE PAPERWORK FOR THE MULTITUDE OF CASES THEY CUT PER SHIFT, AS OUR HOSPITAL WAS LOCATED IN THE NOT SO ’GOOD’ PART OF TOWN, OR JUST CHAT WITH THE CREW. THEY WERE GOOD GUYS!!

ONE OF THESE COPS WAS A STRAPPING LAD, COLLEN MURDOCK(NAME CHANGED, AS WELL), WHO HAD BEEN ON THE FORCE FOR ABOUT 5 YEARS. HE WAS KNOWN AS A REAL MOVER AND SHAKER AND IT WAS GENERALLY CONSIDERED HE WAS ON A FAST TRACK TO SERGANT AND BEYOND. AT 6’4”, AND 285 POUNDS OF CHESLED IVORY, HANDSOME AND WELL SPOKEN, HE CUT QUITE A FIGURE AND THE FEMALE STAFF FOUND IT HARD TO GET THEIR WORK DONE WHENEVER HE SHOWED UP! IT WAS QUITE OBVIOUS HE WAS A ‘LIFTER’ SO WE BECAME PRETTY GOOD FRIENDS BECAUSE OF OUR MUTUAL INTEREST.

IN OUR DISCUSSIONS, AMONG OTHER THINGS, WE TALKED ABOUT WORKING NIGHT SHIFT AND HOW HARD IT WAS TO TRAIN AND TRY TO MAINTAIN ANY FORM OF FAMILY LIFE, NOT TO MENTION A REGULAR SLEEPING SCHEDULE. HE SAID, “DAVE, IT’S ALL A MATTER OF DISCIPLINE, MENTAL TOUGHNESS AND WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU!!” I SAID, “YEAH, AND I STRUGGLE WITH IT EVERYDAY!” WE LAUGHED AND ENDED OUR TALK FOR THE NIGHT.

FAST FORWARD ABOUT 6 MONTHS, AND WHO SHOULD SHOW UP IN THE E.R. WITH OUR 2XXL COP BUT GENE BRODY! ‘FOUND HIM TEARING UP A FENCE OVER ON ST. FRANCIS. HE’S GOT A PRETTY NASTY CUT ON HIS HAND FROM A NAIL AND HE MUST HAVE BUSTED HIS LIP SOMEHOW. I CAN’T TAKE HIM TO JAIL CUT AND BLOODY LIKE THAT.” THERE WERE SEVERAL OF US STANDING AROUND IN THE ROOM WITH THEM AS GENE WAS IN A PARTICULARLY SURLEY, NASTY MOOD ON THIS NIGHT. YOU NEVER KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN WITH GENE.

COLLEN WAS UNCUFFING GENE AND JUST FINISHED WHEN GENE SUDDENLY WHEELED AROUND AND SPIT A WAD OF BLOOD, PHELM AND CRAP THAT I WOULD RATHER NOT THINK ABOUT RIGHT SQUARE IN COLLEN’S FACE. NOW, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, COLLEN HAD EVERY RIGHT TO THROTTLE GENE AND THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NOT ONE PERSON IN THAT ROOM WHO WOULD HAVE SAID A WORD. WE IMMEDIATELY JUMPED ON GENE AND RESTRAINED HIM, WHILE PUTTING A PILLOW CASE OVER HIS HEAD TO KEEP THE REST OF US FROM BEING THE UNHAPPY RECIPIANTS OF GENE’S EXPECTORANTS.

COLLEN NEVER MOVED, NEVER SAID A WORD, HOWEVER, HIS FACIAL EXPRESSION CHANGED TO THAT OF ONE VERY PISSED OFF PUBLIC SERVANT. YOU COULD SEE THE ANGER IN HIS EYES AS THE SPITAL RAN DOWN HIS FACE. NONE THE LESS, HE CALMLY TURNED TO THE SINK AND WASHED HIS FACE WITH THE ANTIBIOTIC SOAP WE READILY PROVIDED. COLLEN KNEW WELL WHAT HE MAY, VERY WELL, HAVE JUST BEEN EXPOSED TO. WITH A WIFE AND NEW BABY, HIS THOUGHTS WERE OF THEM AND NOT HIMSELF.

AS HE HAD A NIGHTMARE OF PAPERWORK TO COMPLETE DUE TO THE ‘INCIDENT’, COLLEN WAS RELIEVED BY A PAIR OF JUMBO COPS THAT CAME IN NOT LONG AFTER.

LATER, ON THE HOUR COMMUTE TO MY HOME THAT MORNING, I REFLECTED ON THE AMOUNT OF DISCIPLINE AND MENTAL TOUGHNESS IT TOOK FOR COLLEN NOT TO MASH GENE INTO A WITHERING MASS OF PLASMA. THEN, I REMEMBERED OUR TALK ABOUT TRAINING AND IT’S RELATIONSHIP TO A POSITIVE MIND SET, MENTAL TOUGHNESS AND DISCIPLINE.

IT OCURRS TO ME, NOW, THAT EACH OF US BRING THIS ‘MIND SET’ TO THE TRAINING HALL EACH AND EVERY TIME WE HAVE A WORKOUT. IT ALSO WOULD MAKE SENSE THAT THIS THINKING GOES BOTH WAYS. WE DISCIPLINE OURSELVES TO PERFORM IN THE GYM AND THIS STRENGTH IS TWO FOLD; MENTAL AND PHYSICAL. YOU, REALLY, CAN’T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER AND THEY BOTH REQUIRE MAINTAINENCE. ALSO, THE MENTAL TOUGHNESS AND DISCIPLINE WE USE IN THE GYM IS CARRIED OVER DAY TO DAY, IN ALMOST EVERYTHING WE DO!!

SO, WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH CHRISTMAS, YOU WANT TO KNOW?? HERE’S THE REST OF THE STORY…..

NOT LONG AFTER THE AFOREMENTIONED ‘INCIDENT’, A COP WAS PATROLING HIS BEAT, TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS ON A VERY COLD, WINDY NIGHT WHEN HE, QUITE BY ACCIDENT, SAW SOMETHING BETWEEN TWO ABANDONED HOUSES. SOMETHING JUST DID’NT LOOK RIGHT!

EXITING THE CAR, THE COP FOUND A VERY DRUNK AND HYPOTHERMIC INDIVIDUAL HE RECOGNIZED AS GENE BRODY! NEAR UNCONSCIOUNESS, COVERED WITH DIRT, URINE, VOMIT AND EXCRETEMENT, GENE WAS VERY NEAR DEATH. THE COP IMMEDIATELY CALLED FOR AN AMBULANCE, WRAPPED THE UNFORTUNATE MR. BRODY IN HIS (THE COP’S) ‘TUFFY’ JACKET AND WENT TO HIS CAR TO GET AN EXTRA BLANKET HE ALWAYS CARRIED.

I HAPPENED TO BE ON THAT NIGHT AND IT MADE ME PROUD TO SEE HOW THE STAFF SNAPPED TO, DOING THEIR BEST FOR THIS INDIVIDUAL THAT HAD GIVEN THEM NOTHING BUT GREIF FOR SO LONG.

AS WE WERE WORKING ON HIM, I ASKED THE EMS CREW WHO FOUND HIM. THEY JUST POINTED TO THE DOORWAY WHERE COLLEN WAS STANDING, WITH A GRIN ON HIS FACE I’LL NEVER FORGET.

COLLEN COULD VERY WELL HAVE SEEN WHO IT WAS AND JUST DRIVEN OFF. NOBODY WOULD KNOW AND, REALLY, NOBODY WOULD HAVE CARED. BUT, COLLEN WOULD KNOW AND HE DID CARE. FOR GENE BRODY, WHAT GOES AROUND DID NOT COME AROUND. I LIKE TO THINK IT ALL BECAUSE OF ONE COP’S MORAL COURAGE AND DISCIPLINE, SHARPENED IN THE WEIGHT ROOM EVERY TIME HE TOOK A WORKOUT.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!! HAPPY CHRISTMAS, GENE BRODY! WHEREVER YOU ARE!!

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