Last month, I scheduled a time to donate blood at the Red Cross. In order to save time, prior to showing up for my appointment, I logged onto the Red Cross website and answered all the preliminary questions that I’m required to answer before I can donate blood. The questions were designed to allow the Red Cross to determine any blood safety risks that may be present.
Last week, I wrote about the importance of practicing healthy paranoia. The definition of “paranoia” is “a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others.” My definition of “healthy paranoia” is “the intentional practice on the part of a person to be reasonably and rationally suspicious and distrustful of people who the person is not intimately familiar with, so the person can guard against unanticipated surprises and dangers.”
If you pay any attention to the national news, you know about the mass murder of 59 people last month by a lone gunman in Las Vegas. You also know about the terrorist in New York who killed eight people by driving a rented truck into a crowded bike path. In addition to the killings, within the past month, there has been a wave of news stories about several well-known Hollywood male executives and celebrities who have been accused of routinely abusing women and getting away with it.
The year was 1970. I was in the eighth grade at St. Mark’s school in Peoria. I remember the day like it was yesterday. One of my classmates — I’ll call him Paul — brought a Polaroid picture to school to show to his friends. Paul and I were the same age — 13 years old. The person in the picture was the girlfriend of Paul’s older brother. She and Paul’s brother were in high school. She was a student at Academy of Our Lady and Paul’s brother was a student at Spalding Institute.
Do you remember what your priorities were when you were eight years old? When I was that age (1965), I was in third grade. One of my jobs at home was to make breakfast on certain weekday mornings for my younger brothers and sisters. At that age, my primary goal was to figure out ways to get out of work around the house, so I could go outside to our family neighborhood and play with my cousins.