Archive for the Uncategorized Category

One River Flows

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2012 by Vince.Puzick

At the river’s bank, my shadow spooked a brown trout.  He flashed his mottled body to the middle of the river.  Another pool, behind a submerged boulder, held rainbows which now flashed their silver body along-side the first startled, darting brown. Further upstream, feeding in the current along the far bank, other fish remained undisturbed.  Rising and feeding, submerging again, in rhythm and routine.  One river flows, holding them all together.  

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The Phenomenon of Craving

Posted in Uncategorized on February 15, 2012 by Vince.Puzick

I’m an addict.  I know the phenomenon of craving.  If one (of anything) makes me feel good, more (of the same) will make me feel better.  Give me a cherry Jolly Rancher, I want the ranch. Give me  a drag on your cigarette, I’ll be at 7-11 buying a pack of Camel Filters.  Another pack the next day.   Give me a beer, I want to be Coors-filled.  Bet I can’t eat just one Lay’s potato chip?  Damn right I can’t.  For me, one (of anything) sets off the phenomenon of craving.

It’s at the heart of addiction, this phenomenon of craving. The Japanese have a proverb:  “First the man takes a drink.  Then the drink takes a drink.  Then the drink takes the man.”  The “drink” comes in many forms:  from prescribed varieties to those you can buy in the park.  My “connect” can be wearing a hoodie or a stethoscope.

Years ago, Nancy Reagan sloganized “Just Say No.”  It only works BEFORE the phenomenon of craving seizes the addict.  No recreational drug user, no experimenter, sets out to become addicted. “Control your drugs before they control you” is the mantra.  One cannot know beforehand that  you will set off the phenomenon of craving until you do, indeed, set off the phenomenon of craving.  For addicts, the phenomenon lies in wait.

So how do we get to the potential addict before the first experience?   What does the drug (drink, prescription, chip, sugar)  fill in us  in the first place — then seek to fill again and again?  Some say it is  a God-shaped hole within us.  Some say it is an addict’s  overly sized ego.  Some say it is an addict’s low self-esteem.  Some say it is never feeling like we are quite enough.

What was it with Whitney?  With Michael?  With Keith Whitley?  People who seemingly had it all still had a need to feel differently, to escape somehow, to fill something inside that money, fame, fortune, talent could not.  What shape is their hole?

Perhaps when we develop a standard of right living rather than common core academic standards as the true measure of education, when we foster in our children, in our selves, a sense of well-being and acceptance of ourselves, then we will not experience a craving that must be satisfied.    Perhaps when we  nurture a sense of belonging, of being loved, of “you matter,” then we will have no void to be filled, no craving to be satisfied.

I don’t sit in judgment of Whitney or Michael or the alcoholic under the bridge. I wonder, though, why it is as easy to die wrapped in a blanket under the Bijou Street bridge as it is to die submerged in a bathtub in a Beverly Hills hotel.  When will “I’m saddened by the loss” be replaced with “I’m outraged at the condition”?

On Being There

Posted in Uncategorized on January 4, 2012 by Vince.Puzick

So I learned a lot over this past holiday season about just being there, being present. Sometimes another person needs just a comfortable, safe spot to crash — physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. But like our college friends (and others!) in the past (distant and not-so distant) they may need a worn and comfortable sofa, metaphorically and literally speaking, on which to crash. Sometimes all we have to offer is that safe space. Sometimes that’s enough.

Penn State Disgust

Posted in Uncategorized on November 11, 2011 by Vince.Puzick

So the question that has been lingering in my head for a few days now is making me crazy. I’ll share it here even if it is only a half-baked thought. What if the victims in the Penn State situation had been girls? Would the grad student who witnessed the act in the shower not spoken up? Would there be any doubt about the firing of those who did nothing as evidence of these acts had come to light? Would people have stood rather idly by if there was knowledge of a man being a serially rapist to 10 and 11 year old girls?

Does the fact that the victims are boys increase the perverse nature of the horrific situation…and therefore make people mute? I pray that I would not be unable to respond…I pray that others would not stand idly by and struck silent if such an atrocity was happening to my daughter or any child.

Protect the children.

Young America League Football

Posted in Observations, People, Teaching, Uncategorized on January 25, 2011 by Vince.Puzick

Like millions of American boys growing up, I played pee-wee football in the fall. Here, it was called Young America League (YAL) football and was sponsored by the Colorado Springs’ Park and Recreation department. I played a couple of positions from the time I was 8 until 8th grade.

I was a Packer fan, then, and my idol was #15, the quarterback, Bart Starr. First of all, and incidentally, I enjoyed the almost poetic consonance of his name: Bart Starr. (An aside: perhaps it was this fascination with linguistic features of the athletes that caused my football career to end so soon.)

In 6th Grade, I bought a book by Bart Starr that was a primer on quarterbacking technique. I read that book. And I studied that book. I’d go out in the small side yard at our house on Nevada Avenue or across the street in the medical center parking lot and practice every lesson in it. I had the techniques down for fall practice. I was especially proud of my ability to lateral the ball to a running back just like it was described and pictured in the book.

A few practices into the 1969 season, we were ready to run-through a more full-blown offensive practice. I was trading off at the QB position with some short dude who was fast and pretty smart — but I don’t think he had read the Bart Starr “Playing Quarterback for Dummies” book (I don’t think that was the actual title). I knew that I had that advantage.

So we were running this sweep where the QB would turn, take a few steps parallel to the offensive line, and then lateral the ball to the running back who would, no doubt, take off around the end of the line for a touchdown. I took the snap, took my steps, and in Bart Starr-esque form (see picture 3), lateraled perfectly to Rocco Villani, our running back. The ball slid through his hands and to the ground.

“He’s spiraling the pitch!”
“Puzick, pitch the ball the RIGHT way,” barked the coach.

Next snap, I took my two steps, and sent another perfectly spiraled lateral to Villani.

“Puzick! Quit spiralling the gosh-dang ball and pitch it right.” Evidently the coach had not read THE Book either. I’m sure he saw me as either uncoachable, stupid, or something other than very well-read on quarterbacking technique.

Another snap. Another spiraled pitch to the running back. Another tongue-lashing.

It was that autumn evening, the sun setting behind Pikes Peak and the chill of dusk spreading over the grass at Bonny Park, that I took my last snap at Quarterback. Damn you Bart Starr. Damn you reading. Damn you Coach “Gosh-Dang.”

Mos Def – "Words"

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2011 by Vince.Puzick

Look to this Day: A Reflection on Resolutions

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2010 by Vince.Puzick

Somewhere around 27 years ago, I forewent writing New Year’s Resolutions. To look out over the landscape of 365 days with the confidence that I had enough self-discipline to live a new life — which the resolutions foreshadow and promise — seemed deflating rather than invigorating. But I can live one day at a time in full and rich ways that hold promise.

In essence, I suppose, my new year’s resolution became the same resolution for the past 27 years: live each day as fully as I can. As trite as it sounds, it seems the most authentic way for me to live. I am not always successful even in that bite-sized morsel of a year, 1/365 of the new year, but I get a new chance each day.

Probably the best writing of this entry follows (because it is not mine!):

Look to this day,
For it is life,
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all
The realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth,
The splendor of action,
The glory of power —

For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today, well lived,
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day.

Sanskrit Proverb

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2011.

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