family, healthcare

Instant karma’s gonna get you… UPDATED

Last night, Bill and I sat at our kitchen table, nervously watching the political headlines. We were sharing a laugh, because the other night, I got a private message from a relative who had commented on a picture I shared of our latest addition, Noyzi, the Balkan pandemic pup. He happened to be standing next to our booze cart when I took the photo and it was visible, so my relative added, “Wow, that’s quite a collection of booze, btw.”

I’m not sure how she expected me to respond to that comment. It’s true that we have a lot of booze on our booze cart, because Bill and I do like our libations. Moreover, my relative knows full well that in our family, there are a lot of drinkers, depressives, Republicans, and conservative Christians. She knows we’re not teetotalers. And how many bottles constitutes “quite a collection”, anyway? Two or three? I’d put them in a closet or a cabinet, but closets and cabinets are pretty rare in Germany unless you purchase them separately. Just having a lot of bottles of alcohol is not necessarily an indication of a problem, especially when a lot of them are still full or unopened, as is the case for us.

So, I decided to respond with a matter-of-fact “Yup. We are lushes.” I suppose if I really had wanted to be funny, I could have added this clip, for good measure. She wisely didn’t respond to my quip. I’m not sure if she was just surprised by my response, or got the message that she needed to mind her own business.

I do love my family, but this is really more me before a family gathering in which politics and religion are discussed.

I certainly don’t mean to make light of alcoholism. It’s not a laughing matter at all, and everyone in our family has been touched by alcoholism, even if most of us drink, anyway. But I think it’s rude to make pointed comments about the contents of a person’s booze cart, unless you’re complimenting it. Besides, a lot of the stuff on that cart is either a mixer or really old… or it’s a really old mixer. We have several bottles of stuff I bought about five years ago that probably need to be tossed, if only so we’ll have more space for stuff we’ll actually consume. In any case, our drinking habits are not really her business, particularly since I know she’s no angel in that department herself. At least neither Bill nor I have never been arrested or had a DUI.

So anyway, we were laughing about my relative’s comment and subsequent radio silence. Then, I decided to look up my cousin, who recently died. This relative who had been chatting with me had missed our cousin’s funeral, which had been posted on YouTube. By the way, I think that’s a great way to do funerals, even when a pandemic isn’t going on. I would not have been able to “attend” the funeral, if it hadn’t been videoed.

I thought the video was taken down, but I eventually found a link to the service and sent it my nosy relative. In the course of looking for the video, I noticed that my cousin had been journaling about her experiences with colon cancer. I decided to read her comments. The longest one was about her initial diagnosis. In her entry, she detailed how she found out that she had cancer. She mentioned that she had been experiencing pain for months, but blew it off. She had thought she was getting an ulcer, but neglected to see a doctor. Why? Because she didn’t have health insurance and was waiting for Medicare to kick in. One night, her body made it very clear to her that she was in serious trouble.

As I read her story, I felt a mixture of compassion, sorrow, empathy, and anger. Because as sad as I was to read about her diagnosis and suffering, I also couldn’t help but remember an “argument” we got into a few years ago on Facebook, when some friends and I were having a discussion about the extortionate prices of prescription drugs in the United States. I had initially written about that argument right after it happened in January 2016, when my cousin was still apparently “healthy”. She’d pissed off a bunch of my friends by lecturing us about how Big Pharma was poisoning people. We all just needed to eat right, exercise, and use essential oils. Then she proudly declared that she refused to get health insurance, opting instead to pay a fine. I thought that was crazy, and said so.

In May of last year, I found out that she’d been diagnosed with cancer and remembered that conversation from 2016 in an updated blog post. I knew that she didn’t agree with getting chemotherapy, since her parents had both had it when they got cancer. I can understand and respect that. I fully agree with people making their own healthcare decisions and living their lives. I also agree that many health conditions could be minimized or eliminated if people took better care of themselves, to the extent of their ability to do so. However, I also think it’s very irresponsible not to have health insurance if you can afford it. Nutrition, exercise, and essential oils will do little for you if you have an accident, a congenital disease or birth defect, or are just plain unlucky. And when you do need to access the healthcare system, as she eventually did, and most of us also will, your bad debt will be passed on to everyone else if you can’t pay your medical bills. And that will make healthcare cost even more across the board.

It’s true that our healthcare system is really screwed up and extremely overpriced. Health insurance is also very expensive. But we have to do something in order to make the necessary changes, and the Affordable Care Act, as screwed up as it is, is at least a step in a direction of some sort. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. I live in a country where healthcare doesn’t bankrupt people. It’s pretty damned nice!

I think if we had lawmakers who were actually concerned about serving the people instead of making names for themselves, lining their pockets, and staying in power, we might be well on our way to healthcare that everyone can access and afford when they need it. I get that conservatives don’t like it when the government taxes them or regulates businesses (which is what healthcare has become), but it’s gotten way out of hand in the United States. There’s a lot of greed in healthcare and it’s causing huge problems, particularly as people are dying of COVID-19 and healthcare providers and systems are being stretched to their limits.

Last night, I read about how my cousin had let her disease go unchecked for at least six months because she didn’t have health insurance and was waiting for Medicare to kick in. The dramatic event that led her to her sick role had occurred in May of 2019, but she’d had Medicare coverage since late October 2018. As of May of 2019, she’d experienced severe abdominal pain for over six months. Still, she’d ignored it, dismissing the pain as a potential ulcer until she was passing bright red blood rectally in the wee hours of the morning.

I’m actually surprised that my cousin agreed with using Medicare, since she was a proud Republican and a Trump supporter, and a lot of Republicans seem to think Medicare is a socialist idea. If she had seen a doctor right when the pain started, would she have survived 2020? Would she have had another Christmas and New Year’s with her family? Would she have made it to her 70s and been there to see her grandchildren come of age? We’ll never know, but I suspect that she would have had a much better quality of life and a more favorable outcome if she’d been able to see, and pay for, a doctor much sooner than she did.

Both of my cousin’s parents died of different forms of cancer. I can understand that she probably feared a diagnosis of cancer even more than most people do. She’d seen her parents go through chemotherapy years ago, and she no doubt knew what that experience would mean for her. But I’m still flabbergasted by what happened in her situation, and she felt entitled to criticize my conversation with friends about the need for reasonably priced prescription drugs and healthcare for Americans. In the end, she turned out to be a bit of a hypocrite who probably could have stayed around a bit longer if she’d had better access to affordable care and availed herself of it in a timely manner. I’m truly sorry that she died, and wish it hadn’t happened the way it did… and I hope she is in a “better place”. She wrote this in that first entry of her journal:

A lot of people who upon hearing the diagnosis “You’ve got cancer” recall being horror stricken, bowled over, in a crisis and while these are words no one ever wants to hear, I simply recall wondering, “Lord, how do you plan to use this?” 

I’m sure if any of my family members read this, they might be offended. But I hope they’ll stop for a second and consider our relative’s words. “Lord, how do you plan to use this”… and realize that perhaps her case is an invitation to re-examine their ideas about politics, particularly regarding healthcare. We all need it, and it ought to be available, accessible, and affordable to everyone. And I wish my cousin had been able to do that for herself and her family, whom I know are all missing her very much.

And… to my other nosy relatives who want to comment on my booze cart, this post should serve as a reminder that I’m not 12 anymore.


Full circle… lessons learned

Bear with me, folks. Those of you who hate it when I write about Ex probably ought to pass on this post. I’m about to vent about old business.

In April 2006, when my husband’s ex stepson was 18 years old and planning to move out of his mother’s home, he called Bill at home. I answered the phone, because Bill was at work. Bill was overjoyed to hear from his ex stepson, since they hadn’t spoken for about a year and a half. Of course, he was just calling to make sure Bill would still pay child support to him, as he had promised when he and Ex divorced. Although ex stepson was technically not Bill’s legal responsibility, Bill had practically raised him and thought of him as his son. He assured ex stepson that he would support him with $850 a month.

Ex then called us at home. I answered the phone again. I remember her sounding very professional as she said, “Jenny, I hate to bother you, but may I please speak to Bill.” I handed the phone to Bill and they proceeded to have a very long and heated talk. Ex was basically telling Bill not to keep paying child support to his ex stepson, even though it was she who had demanded it in the divorce. She didn’t want ex stepson to have that money and the freedom it would bring him. Bill refused to grant Ex’s request, mainly because he felt ex stepson needed to get away from her.

That phone call started a tsunami of trouble that has lasted for years, but really crested about a week later, when Ex wrote Bill a hateful email. She wrote that everything bad that was happening, complete with ex stepson’s decision to move out, was Bill’s fault. She claimed he was a terrible father, conveniently forgetting that almost everything that had happened was her doing.

For those who haven’t read the backstory, here’s a brief recap. She tracked Bill down in Germany in the late 1980s, dumped her first ex, convinced Bill to marry her, had two kids with Bill, and then unilaterally decided to divorce him and completely estranged him from his kids. At the same time, she tried to force the kids to bond with her third husband and had two more kids with him. The youngest one has severe autism. She also did her very best to ruin Bill’s relationships with his own family of origin. Fortunately, that didn’t work, though there were some tense moments after Bill’s parents first heard Ex’s lies. She does lie convincingly.

In her email back in April 2006, Ex blamed most of her problems on us, but she also specifically called me out. She claimed the kids hated me, even though they only met me one time and I had seen firsthand that they had fun during their visit. Then she asked Bill not to tell me that they hated me. Bill doesn’t keep secrets from me, so he shared her email with me– specifically the parts she had written about how I was to blame for how terrible the situation was.

I knew that what Ex wrote was untrue. I was angry with her for bringing her drama into our marriage and for demanding that Bill keep secrets from me. So I wrote back to her. In some ways, I wish I hadn’t responded to Ex’s vitriol. In other ways, I think it was a good thing to do. At the very least, my email to her put a stop to her emails and phone calls to Bill. But I have also learned that whenever you respond to a narcissist, you give them ammunition. I’m sure she’s shared my email with people she could use to manipulate, not that it matters anymore. She no longer has any power over our lives. However, thanks to Ex’s hatefulness, Bill has missed out on a lot of his daughters’ lives. He missed younger daughter’s wedding, and ex stepson, who used to be a son to Bill, is now ex stepson. It didn’t have to be this way, and now the chickens have come home to roost.

In 2003, when Bill and I were first married, the kids visited us. It was the only visitation we ever had with them when they were minors. They clearly had a good time over the 48 hours they spent with us in our apartment in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We later heard from Bill’s dad and stepmother that they were raving about how much fun they’d had. Apparently, the fact that the kids had fun, particularly with me around, was deeply upsetting to Ex. So she decided to rattle her saber.

After that one visit in 2003, Ex wrote a hateful email to Bill, demanding that he double his life insurance coverage so that it totaled $1,000,000. Bill couldn’t afford to do that at the time, and it would have also required him to get another policy from a different life insurance company. So he declined to cooperate with her demands. He asked her to leave me out of her complaints about their divorce, as I had nothing to do with their decision to end their marriage. And yet, even though we’ve never met each other in person, she was certain I was doing all I could to sabotage her. I specifically remember her haughtily writing, “I’m so glad we have everything in writing so I won’t have to battle your wife in court.”

I remember being really pissed off and telling Bill, something along the lines of, “Next time that bitch writes something like that to you that includes me, I WILL be answering. And you bet your ass I would not hesitate to take her to court if I ever need to assert my rights. So you’d better stay healthy until your kids are grown.” Thankfully, he has.

So when Ex wrote to Bill in 2006, I ultimately decided to write back to her because I thought it was time someone explicitly called her out on her bullshit. Up until that point, it seemed like no one ever would. I had also made a promise to Bill that the next time Ex had a complaint about me, I was going to rip her a new one.

In my email, I remember writing to Ex that someday, she would pay for what she’d done. I told her that I knew her kids weren’t stupid. They would eventually grow up, and there would come a time when they would realize what she stole from them– not just their money, which she DID do, but also time with beloved family members. Ex was adopted and hadn’t met her biological parents at that point, so Bill’s family was the only biologically related family they knew. Keeping the children from Bill and his mother, and using visits with them as tools to control Bill’s dad and stepmother would eventually backfire. The older the kids got, the less power she’d have as they inevitably woke up to who she really is. There was a lot of other stuff I wrote, but thankfully, I no longer have the email.

Well… as Bill’s father died the other day, much of what I predicted in my warning to Ex has finally come to pass. Bill and I can’t make the funeral because we’re in Germany. If we could be at the funeral, Ex would not gain admittance. But even though we’re not able to attend, other people have decided that Ex isn’t welcome. Younger daughter decided not to send the obit to her older sister, who lives with Ex. Why? Because she doesn’t want her mother to crash the funeral. Ex may decide to crash it anyway. She can Google with the best of us. But at least two of her children know enough not to facilitate their mother’s getting her hooks back into Bill’s family, especially by using Bill’s older daughter.

Of course, in this age of COVID-19, it wouldn’t be wise for anyone to go to the funeral who isn’t local and very healthy. Ex and older daughter live in New Hampshire, and we have heard that older daughter mostly takes care of her mother’s youngest child, who has severe autism. They shouldn’t be traveling to Bill’s dad’s funeral because it’s so far away, and no one needs to be exposed to their cooties– COVID-19 related or just the plain fuckery that follows Ex wherever she goes. But knowing Ex, she wouldn’t have the consideration to stay away because of a silly pandemic. Her emotions are what matter most, at least in her mind.

We have also heard that older daughter has repeatedly tried to get SMIL’s permission to let her come down to see her grandfather/attend the funeral. I’m not completely sure if she knows her grandfather has died. I assume she knows, although it wouldn’t be up to us to tell her, since she hasn’t spoken to Bill in 15 years and is now 29 years old. In any case, SMIL has repeatedly denied her permission. Bill’s sister agreed with her mother’s decision, saying “We don’t need to deal with that BS right now.” Younger daughter supposedly reminded her sister that she hasn’t spoken to them in years, so what does she expect?

Bill said he wouldn’t have a problem with his older daughter attending the funeral, since he was her grandfather, and she did, at one time, have a loving relationship with him. I’m a bit more of a hardass, which probably comes from being the evil stepmother. Personally, I don’t think she should attend. She didn’t have enough respect for FIL when he was living to call, write, or visit him. Why should she be there to mourn him and share the grief with those who loved him enough to have a real relationship?

It would be nice if older daughter would learn from this experience, although I suspect that if she’s anything like her mother, she’ll let it turn her into more of a victim. I hope she isn’t like her mother. I thought younger daughter was, but she proved me wrong. I had always assumed, from my few interactions with her, that older daughter was a kind-hearted person. Maybe I was wrong about that.

Anyway… older daughter really should grow up. FIL won’t be the first person who dies in the family. She’s made a choice to have things her way, and that choice is now haunting her. And you better believe that if I survive Bill and she’s still behaving like this, she will get an even less welcoming response from me if she wants to attend Bill’s funeral.


Regrettable decisions…

The other day, I was messing around on YouTube and I noticed that I was getting suggestions to watch videos by Dhar Mann. I don’t really know who Dhar Mann is… I can only surmise after watching a couple of his videos that he’s some kind of guru who teaches people to be kind and compassionate and gets people to attend his talks by giving them money.

Interesting that this video was shared during a time when people are being encouraged to socially isolate…

Don’t get me wrong. This video is, overall, sharing a good message. I have been in Chelsea’s situation, although I’m not nearly as big as she is, and no one was ever that overtly nasty to me. It happened to me about eleven years ago, when Bill and I were in Germany the first time. We went to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, because Bill had to go to a conference at the Edelweiss Conference Center down there. I entertained myself by taking “field trips” with the tour service.

Although I had been on the tours before, prior to that summer trip, we had always visited in the winter, and the tours were a lot less populated. Consequently, I was surprised by how packed they were when I took them during that week we were in Garmisch. Every seat on the bus was taken, except for one by me. Some guy sat next to me and barely made eye contact with me all day. He seemed to radiate hostility, just because he didn’t get to the bus early enough to get a seat with his family and he had to sit next to me. I remember thinking he was a major asshole. I wondered how he would felt if some random guy treated his wife the way he treated me that day. And, just because I’m admittedly not always such a kind person myself, I wished for him to get a flat tire on his way home.

Anyway… since I watched the above video, I see I’ve been getting more of Dhar Mann’s stuff on YouTube. They all seem to have the same theme and use the same actors. The mean bitch in the above video plays a selfish, skanky homewrecker in another video. Dhar Mann presents scenarios that depict people making selfish, short-sighted, mean spirited decisions that bite them in the ass later. Or the characters gain new perspective somehow when new information comes to light– things are not always as they seem.

Oops! Richard got caught with his pants down. That actress plays “bitchy” very well.
But she’s not bitchy in this one.

I can kind of relate to the video below. I can see why Evelyn’s ex divorced her. She’s nasty and vindictive. But when the ex husband gives his ex wife a bit of perspective, she simmers down and the video ends on a (probably unrealistic) optimistic note.

Cindy is probably a much nicer stepmom than I would have been, though.

Evelyn is nicer than Ex is, by a very long measure. Ex literally hates me. She wishes me ill. For a long time, I pretty much felt the same way about her. Now, I’m at the point of not caring about her anymore. I never thought I’d get there, but Bill’s ability to reconnect with his daughter has “softened” my heart somewhat. I still think she’s awful for alienating her children and using them as weapons. I still think she’s done a lot of reprehensible things, not just to Bill, but to her own offspring and even her current husband and other family members. But I don’t think about her very much anymore. I think karma has had its way with her… and that’s kind of what Dhar Mann seems to be preaching in his many YouTube videos. They’re kind of cheesy and simplistic, but they convey good messages, on the whole.

Being kind is a good thing. I think it’s better to be kind and understanding whenever possible. On the other hand, sometimes it’s necessary to be less understanding and kind. You don’t have to go out of your way to screw someone over, but you can be assertive and let people experience the natural negative consequences when they do something shitty. Sometimes, that’s the best way to teach people how to behave. My husband is one of the kindest, most considerate people ever, but if you cross his red line, there will be consequences. Fortunately, it takes a long time to get to that point. You really have to mess up on an epic scale. And he’s never nasty about it, either. He just defends himself, as anyone who’s made a living fighting wars will do. People are fooled by him because he’s so nice and accommodating, but he’s had a successful career as a soldier. When it comes down to it, he will do what soldiers are trained to do.

Dhar Mann’s videos are obviously very popular. He has a lot of followers and a whole lot of videos that show how it’s best to be kind and decent. Sometimes, there’s stuff you don’t know about going on that makes a person seem one way when they aren’t really that way. On the other hand, sometimes a hat is just a hat… and a hate is just a hate. And you don’t have to be nasty to combat it, but you shouldn’t be expected to turn the other cheek for that kind of treatment. Paybacks can be a real bitch.

One more for the road… Another bitch getting her ass handed to her for being a bitch.

Don’t get a nosebleed on that high horse you’re riding…

A couple of days ago, the world was notified that notoriously obnoxious radio host Rush Limbaugh has lung cancer. I must admit, my first thought was, “Finally, something will put a stop to that wind bag.” Then, after a few minutes, it occurred to me that it’s not cool to wish cancer on people, abhorrent as they may be. Personally, I don’t wish cancer or any other disease on people who haven’t personally injured me or someone I love. However, I completely understand why so many people dislike Rush Limbaugh and are not sorry, or are even happy, to see him with a cancer diagnosis. I don’t judge them for feeling the way they do. A lot of them think it’s proof of karma.

Not twelve hours after the news about Rush, and Donald Trump’s subsequent decision to give him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, I noticed some people posting self-righteous rants about how so many folks were “glad” to see Limbaugh so sick. Can I just say that I sort of hate this kind of behavior? Yes, I get that it’s distasteful to wish ill on others, but publicly shaming and chastising people, particularly when they are fellow adults, is also distasteful.

I honestly think a whole lot of people in the United States and around the world are just flabbergasted and exhausted by the way Donald Trump has taken over the country with his brand of narcissistic bullshit. He’s made it *cool* for people to be misogynistic and racist, and even openly hostile to anyone who isn’t a white Christian male with a conservative viewpoint. Awarding Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom completely cheapens the award, but given that the man who gave it to him has completely cheapened the office of U.S. President, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. And people are also rightfully pissed off, but probably not at all surprised, that Donald Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial, simply because no witnesses were allowed to speak. In a situation like the one we’re in, it’s hard to be high-minded and lofty. And so… Limbaugh may have his medal, but at least we won’t have to hear his insulting yammering for much longer.

Let’s be real about Mr. Limbaugh. For all he’s done for radio shows and their popularity, he’s also said some really fucked up shit and stoked the fires of racism. Have a look:

I think a lot of people are just plain fed up with this. Even when W. was in charge– and he was not a popular president– I don’t remember people being as completely gobsmacked by just how fucked up everything was. Yes, people were angry about the wars he got the United States into, but there was still a basic modicum of respect shown both ways. Donald Trump has turned the job of president into a complete mockery. And when he gives Rush Limbaugh a consolation prize for having lung cancer– a prize that was once highly regarded and is now forever cheapened– it just chaps a lot of asses.

So… I don’t judge anyone for thinking it’s karmic justice for Limbaugh to have lung cancer, or even those who applaud it. Rush Limbaugh is just as vile as Trump is, and I would not shed a single tear if Trump got cancer, either. I wouldn’t. Trump wouldn’t cry for me, so why should I cry for him? To be clear, I am not necessarily happy that Limbaugh has cancer. Frankly, I don’t really care one way or the other. But I also don’t care that people are happy for the way things have turned out for Limbaugh. It’s human. And hey, he’s got a shiny new medal for his office, too.

It’s pretty obvious Rush has been blowing toxic fumes for many years now, so it stands to reason that he’d get cancer. And I don’t blame people for expressing out loud how frustrated and disgusted they are by this shitshow of a presidential administration. Personally, I am frustrated by people that I used to think were decent, good, intelligent, loving people continuing to support Trump and his band of merry shitgibbons, even in the face of all of the awful things he’s said and done for decades now. What exactly has to happen before people realize that Trump doesn’t care about anyone but himself and, to a much lesser extent, those who can do something for him?

Bravo, Nancy.

You know who else I don’t judge? Nancy Pelosi. I think she’s a badass. I never paid much attention to her– or really, politics in general– until Trump got in office. In fact, I would say that might be the one GOOD thing Trump has done. He’s gotten a lot more people to care about politics and exercising their right and duty to vote. And because he’s done that, I now pay more attention to the people who want to run the country. I listen more to what they say and who surrounds them. And now, I vote in elections I might have otherwise skipped. I’ve also pretty much sworn off voting for Republicans. It would take a very special person to get me to change my mind about the Republican party. They permanently fucked up when they foisted Trump on the world.

But… when people get all up in arms about people wishing ill on Limbaugh or Trump or other world leaders– people who have great power over the rank and file– then proceed to go down the road to hell themselves, that’s when I have a good laugh…

Wow… seriously? Have a Snickers bar, bud… You are a massive hypocrite.

People have the right to their opinions. They (still) have the right to express their opinions. They’re gonna say what they’re gonna say. Even the twit who commented in the above exchange has the right to be an asshole if he wants. And the rest of us have the right to wish ill on him if he goes too far. You may not maintain respect for people who wish ill on others, and that is certainly your right. But personally, I see it as more of a very human expression of frustration myself. I’m sure there are people who read my blog and think I’m an asshole, too… simply because I can’t stand Trump and dare to say it out loud. And yes, it’s true, I probably wouldn’t cry if he dropped dead on live TV. Like I said, he would never cry for me. Of course, I don’t actually wish for Trump to drop dead while he’s in office, since that would mean we’d have Mike Pence as president, and I think he’s probably worse than Trump is.

Anyway… people are rightfully disgusted and they’re expressing themselves colorfully. I think, if the United States is really a “free” country, we should let them have their say without chastising them for their opinions or trying to squelch what they say. When someone posts a lot of shit I don’t like, I scroll by. If it’s a habit that gets on my nerves, I unfollow or unfriend. Life is short… and people are gonna say what they want, anyway. And even if they don’t say it, they’ll still think it.

Hell, why not just have a good laugh, like Lori and I did in the above exchange? There’s nothing you can do about it, and telling people to stifle themselves is not going to do anything more than cause them to look at you with a jaundiced eye. My personal belief is that the vast majority of people– with a few notable exceptions– aren’t all bad all the time. Those who want to lecture others for expressing their true feelings are almost always hypocrites. Everyone does this… On the same thread I posted above, I noticed a comment from a conservative about how “nasty” the “left” is toward Trump. This same person laughed and applauded when one of her buddies called me a “moron” because I dared to say that I didn’t think Trump’s wall was a good idea…

I will admit that I don’t always live by this myself… I am as hypocritical as anyone is. But I think these are wise words.