Posts Tagged ‘Boomer’

I wrote the following paper in 1969 for a college English course.

Hope you enjoy the story.

Counsel for the Defense

It wasn’t a unique gathering.  From all outward appearances it was only a friendly gathering of three members of each of two families for an evening of conversation.  It was more, though.

Mrs. Martin, a rather outspoken woman was expounding on the historical events that had come to pass in our small town during the week.  Mr. Martin sat quietly pulling easily on his pipe.  He seemed to be off by himself even though he sat between Mrs. Martin and my mother. The smile my mother had painted on as the Martins drove up the drive was holding up well.

Ordinarily Mom would not sit and listen to gossip, but she had other things on her mind and was waiting for us to discuss the real issue. My father sat calmly sipping scotch and water breaking his own silence occasionally to toss in a quip that would silence Mrs. Martin for a second — but only a second, mind you. Ross Martin, a long-time friend, and I carried on a light conversation of our own.

Both of us were anxious.  If this did not work, we would both be condemned to institutionalized living.  Ross’s arguments had been in vain.  He now hoped that I could convince my parents and in turn have my parents convert his.  I was invoking all the gods I had ever read about to intervene in our favor. This confrontation was long in coming.

Tempers had flared several times during the past year, but an actual discussion of the problem was always put off until the proper time.  The proper time was about to arrive. Should Ross and I be allowed to live off-campus at school was the question at hand.  The alternatives we had been offered were dormitories or a fraternity.  A rather simple issue except that Ross and I have had a series of interesting experiences.

By the end of our first year at college we had pledged a fraternity and before the end of the quarter subsequently de-pledged.  We moved into a house with three other students and had a series of problems involving bills, studies, parties, and dogs.  The other three fellows wanted to party, eat well, and raise dogs, but forego paying their share of the expenses or clean up after the dog.  That was all topped off by the landlord who decided to keep our deposits when we moved out of the house.  We were physically and legally unable to retrieve our money and that was a very tender spot for all of us.

Spring quarter we moved into a small trailer, which worked out fine for about two weeks and then Ross was involved in an accident which kept him out of school for the remainder of the quarter.  This left me with a large share of the burden of the expenses as well as having to learn to cope with the deafening affects of silence. All this left our parents with a great deal of ammunition.  One battle had already been lost.  Mrs. Martin had already decided against us, but they wanted to make sure Ross would be happy.  They had two daughters, but Ross was their only son.

Dad and I had already discussed the issue several times — all fruitless.  In fact a couple times he had given me a definite “No!”  But my seven brothers and sisters and I have a little understanding about our father.  The first time he says “no”, he probably didn’t understand the situation.  The second time he says “no” you probably didn’t present your case properly.  The third time – forget it – he meant it the first time.  This would be the third try.  I had to do it right.  We couldn’t have it put off again.  Class would start in three weeks and we had to give the landlord a definite answer by the end of the week. I was ready.  I had been preparing for this final showdown for several days.

Mr. Martin and my father are both successful businessmen.  For them financial figures talk.  With this in mind, my main appeal had to be to the pocket.  Our housing expenses off-campus would be comparable to if not lower than if we were to live in a dormitory or a fraternity.  Also, in a residence meal expense is set so if you miss a meal, you are out of luck.  By buying and preparing our own meals, we would pay only for what we ate.  And by not being required to participate in residence functions I would be left with more time to devote to my job.  This would give me more money to use to cover my expenses.  I had even resorted to using statistics, comparing the different costs for the different residences against living off-campus.

After exhausting the discussion of factual material I planned to move to an appeal to the independent spirits of my parents.  Over the years I had picked up several examples of the independent nature showing in them when they were young and I planned to play them to the hilt.  Also, I could give them many examples of the disadvantages of living in dormitories or fraternities.  Most of which they had heard me tell before, but it would be more effective used all at once.

Dad rose from his chair and went into the kitchen.  He returned in a few minutes with fresh drinks for himself and Mr. Martin.  He sat down and I almost breathed a sigh of relief when he said, “Well, boys, I think it’s about time we got down to the matter at hand …”

K. Brian Jacobson
English 205
December 19, 1969


Editor’s Note

— The author received an “A” for the story.

— He and his friend moved to off-campus housing.


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TBI Holiday

Traumatic Brain Injury Everyone concerned about Traumatic Brain Injury would like to see TBI take a holiday from our lives.

Like … go away on holiday … and never return.

But we know that won’t happen.

People affected by TBI don’t get a break. It is always a part of their lives. Maybe it is easier to be flexible and resilient during holiday or on a weekend, but TBI is relentless. It doesn’t go away. It is something you must learn to live with …

During the recent Thanksgiving holiday, I enjoyed the hospitality of a friend living with TBI.

It was a good time for us to talk about TBI … and what we could do to draw attention to TBI that would help more people understand and appreciate how TBI affects our lives.

Our time together included opportunities to live with TBI and consider its affect on people’s lives.

Overall … we had a good weekend.  It was great to be together. Good to share and be together.

My friend has told me that “focus” is what he misses or needs most. My wife and I experienced examples of this need during our stay at his house.

We found that our friend is inclined to switch direction frequently when involved in a story, explanation, or demonstration of something. The resulting tour of possibilities is often confusing and inconclusive.  I guess the most reassuring part is that most of these disorienting discussions circle back to a point of “no change.”  That’s good and bad. I guess it’s good that no “big” decisions are made, but it’s bad because my friend misses an opportunity to make a change he might like to make and because we are left wondering, “What do you want me to do?”

Many of these circuitous excursions are brief and have a low impact. Some are more intense and take 20-30 minutes to resolve.  It is important to know is that most conversations with my friend are quite normal.

Several times I found myself comparing my own mental excursions to his and wondering if I was attributing normal distracted behavior to TBI, simply because I know that sometimes his behavior is affected by his injuries. I’m concerned that my thoughts might be stigmatized by my knowledge of his injuries. He tells me that is a real concern, because most people think “mental illness” when they hear “brain injury.”  That is a serious misconception.

To provide an example I will describe a fictional event based on several conversations our friend in which both my wife and participated.  He usually started these conversations with “What do you think about this?” or “Hey, I’ve got something I want to show you.”

The apparent intent of the conversation moved through the following list:

–  Show-and-tell

  • I want to show you this. It’s pretty special.

–  I need to downsize

  • Boy, I need to get rid of some of this stuff.

–  Would you like to have this

  • I’m going to send this home with you.

–  Who in the family should I give this to

  • Maybe one of my kids would like this someday.

–  How much to do you think I could get for it

  • I’ll bet its worth at least a thousand dollars.

–  Here’s how I might put it to good use

  • I know what I can do with this.

–  I’m going to put it on eBay

  • I always do well selling stuff on eBay.

When this conversation ended, the item went back into its storage box and our friend went on to another topic while we looked at each other thinking, “What just happened?”

I think what we experienced with him was what he has called his difficulty with focus. Yet, in recent weeks he has made great progress on maintenance for his rental property, moved his parents to an assisted living complex, cleared his garage of much that needed to go into storage, helped several friends with special projects, made repairs on his own home, and coordinated a couple visits from his kids. So, just think what he could accomplish if he had that focus he seeks!

He is dealing with many of the stresses life throws our way:

  • Parents in failing health
  • Underemployment and uncertain economic conditions
  • Loss of friends and family members
  • Stressed and often fractured families

The morning of our departure he summed it up with …

I can’t think, hardly.

 I get tired and stressed out. Extra rest and some down-time are what help me deal with the added load. When I get through a busy time, it takes 3 -4 days of sleeping and … a pause …

Then I get my focus back on track and become more … he gestured and gave me a wide-eyed look that suggested … alert.

This man is an experienced professional healthcare provider. He has three degrees and has specialized in geriatrics, adolescent development, and substance abuse recovery. When my friend reviewed the first draft of this blog, he offered several refinements. He pointed out that over the years he has cared for several clients suffering the affects of brain injuries.  The affects of TBI seem to be different for every person.

To help understand the thought processes in the scenario described above, he explained that TBI has diminished his ability to filter and ignore distractions. He now must make a more conscious effort to avoid distractions. Another affect is diminished impulse control, causing some of those unfiltered thoughts to get more of his immediate attention than he might otherwise want.  Think about it. This isn’t much different from how the rest of us act when fatigued or under stress. Rest and down-time are his most effective methods for enhancing his filtering mechanisms and strengthening his impulse control. I suspect that is how the rest of us must deal with the world. For example, I try to go to bed at about the same time each night, and I meditate as often as I can.

We have talked many times about the shortcomings of the medical profession, our legal system, society, and other potential support mechanisms when Traumatic Brain Injury is involved.

  • Not enough research has yet been done.
  • Not enough medical professionals understand brain injuries.

    Gabrielle Giffords photo by Nigel Parry for People magazine

    People Magazine Photo

  • Not enough people appreciate that a concussion is serious.
  • Too many people hear “brain injury” and think “mentally ill” or “crazy”.

That is changing and we want to help accelerate improvements.

More attention is being focused on the issue …

… as our soldiers return from Iraq & Afghanistan with IED injuries

… as we watch Senator Gabrielle Giffords recover from a gunshot wound

… as we show more concern for football players and participants in other sports recovering from concussions.

We also need to be aware that car accidents, falls, and other “smacks” to the head cause injury.

Doctors and researchers are learning that these injuries have a cumulative effect.

It also appears that EVERY person’s situation is unique. This makes understanding and care more difficult.

Afghanistan_Troops Clearing IEDs

Thought Patterns seems like a good place to address the issues of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). As pointed out and illustrated by my friend, TBI changes an individual’s thought patterns.

A person with a brain injury doesn’t think like they did before they were injured.

Please join the conversation. I welcome your thoughts.

How can we improve the lives of people affected by Traumatic Brain Injury?

We think it happens with increased awareness and education regarding the issues.

# # #

Links to TBI information and resources will be found on our Links We Like page.

Let us know if you have suggestions for additional links.

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People who have a product or service often do a poor job of explaining why you should choose their solution.

The standard demo or product description may offer user instructions in excruciating detail. 

Too often, they fail to inspire the user regarding how to apply the new solution to everyday life. 

I’m working with a couple software packages with extensive galleries of “How To” videos but they are “lite” on “Why Do” I want to use a feature.

Don’t give me a multitude of tools … without clearly explaining the things I can fix … and problems I can solve by using your tools.

Before you try to teach me your process … Show me why I would want to invest the time or money.

Give me a reason. Give me examples. Give me a mentor

Help your potential customers visualize how these tools fit into their lives.  More importantly, demonstrate the benefit … the value … of the technology.

Social Media technophiles should listen & heed.

I recently watched  Bill Vick’s video interview with Patty Rappa, described as a Business 2.0 Strategist, and author of a soon-to-be-released book, Millennial Boomer.

Rappa seems to be one Marketing professional that has been listening to Boomer clients  about their views regarding Social Media.  Her contribution to the “Give Me” list above might be …

Give Me Some Comfort With the Technology.

Patty Rappa says she has learned much from Boomers, as her career has progressed.  Rappa has found that when it comes to Social Media, Boomers often “get it” better than some younger people.  Or, at least, once Boomers understand what is possible with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and other tools, they can quickly see how to apply the tools to real world situations.

She described ways she helps bridge the gap between Boomers and other generations.  She has found that her Millennial Tech-Savvy employees and Boomer clients can be paired in mutually beneficial working relationships.   

Millennials are in-touch with the current technology.  Boomers have perspective based on more years of experience. 

By working together both can learn about how to effectively apply new technologies to traditional business communication issues. 

Rappa sees her book Millennial Boomer as an attempt to re-ignite Boomer creativity in the arena of communicating a company’s outreach message to the market by helping Boomers use Social Media tools.

How many times have you … or someone you know … asked a teenager to help them with a computer or Internet problem? 

We didn’t grow up surrounded by computers and a multitude of electronic gadgets; younger people are doing so.  You would expect them to be tuned in to technology.

Working with Millennials on applying social media tools, Boomers are likely to find the kind of technical savvy they need to “re-ignite” some creativity in the process of communicating with customer audiences.  Millennials may find that Boomers can show them more about business and strategy.

 I look forward to learning more about how Patty Rappa thinks. 

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Welcome to Thought Patterns.  Please visit my “About” page.  It will give you a taste of things to come, or at least a little of my background.

I look forward to sharing ideas with you.

Future topics will include:

  • Social Media
  • Marketing Methods
  • Internet Resources
  • New Technologies
  • and Cool Ideas of all sorts.

Please book mark this site, and return often.

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