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    Tuesday's Thoughts: It's All A Matter Of Opinion

    “Opinions are like buttholes, everyone has one.” I’m sure we can all agree that this quote has several layers of meaning. I’ve heard it quite a few times over my lifetime and yes, I’ve toned down the more explicit form. Kind of made it PG-13 and I’m sure you can easily guess what that vulgar word is and what part of this sentence it can replace.
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    There are a few reasons why I chose to start with this quote the first being that I felt I’ve been inundated with an endless stream of opinions over the past week; even more so when it comes to political beliefs. I’m sure you’re more than aware of such ideals as left versus right. Masks versus no masks. A rise in the pandemic numbers. Unmarked vans at protests. An unwillingness to accept election results. And the list goes on and on.
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    The sheer number of opinions has been overwhelming and subsequently exhausting. All in all I felt I just needed a break. It hasn’t helped that I had a busy week not only at work, but within my personal life where I’ve been climbing a ladder to paint the trim to a house so it could go up on the market. Needless to say I’m tired, both physically and mentally. To top it off the extremely warm and humid weather hasn’t helped ease my fatigue.
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    My second reason has to do with my first draft of “Tuesday Thoughts”. I completed it a day or two ago and quickly realized that I couldn’t connect with it. The writing wasn’t that strong, in fact it was kind of dry. It was also becoming too political which is a topic that I generally try to stay away from. Coupled with my exhaustion, I decided to scrap the idea. This left me with a blank slate and to tell the truth I was ready to ditch this entire column and, in essence, take a break.
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    But, I put a pen to paper and simply began to write. In a way it’s kind of like vomiting your thoughts. Before long there’s something to organize and soon things start to flow and come together. As I sit here and think about it, I guess this idea about opinions started with a patient who had told me, in a roundabout way, that he didn’t want any of those “liberal types” taking care of him. He then continued, as if I was supposed to secretly acknowledge and willingly accept his belief, by saying, “you know what I mean?”
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    How was I supposed to respond to that? I mean was he expecting me to hand out some questionnaires and conduct interviews? There are many things that I wanted to and could’ve said. In the end I don’t think he fully understood that there are many parts and a wide range of people that make-up the treatment team. And all of these professionals, who are highly skilled and adept at their jobs, come from a wide array of backgrounds. I also don’t think he fully understood how lucky he was to have access to such great medical care. Travel to another country, especially a third world country, and this quickly becomes apparent. Needless to say, I refused to engage with this individual, but instead silently finished my work and handed off to the next person responsible for his care.
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    I believe the speed at which information can be disseminated, discovered and used, together with the popularity of social media has provided an outlet to which anyone and everyone can express their opinion. I guess you can accuse me of doing something similar as you read this. Unfortunately, this ease of expressing opinions has not brought people together, but instead entrenched them to one side or another; or you could say pitted them against each other. I have my hunches as to how people and ideals have become so emboldened, but then again it’s all just an opinion.
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    In a sense social media, computers and information sharing has made the world smaller. By being smaller we’ve become that much more connected. Imagine, if you will, that each and every one of us is joined together by the strands of a giant web. What we do to that web will not only affect others, but will ultimately come back on us. Casting our opinions aside may allow us to step out of those trenches and become a little more unified under the banner of humanity. Maybe it will allow us to become a little more civil and respectful toward each other. While it sounds good, sadly sometimes things are easier said than done.
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    I still believe the majority wants to be in his together, let’s not be too close together while we’re all in it. 

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