Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Indepence thinker

It took an oncologist from Iran to remind me of the importance of Independence Day.
The Fourth of July is not just a day off work highlighted by beer, hot dogs and three-legged sack races.
Instead, it is a reminder of the foundation on which this country was built. During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776. Two days later, the county embraced the Declaration of Independence.
God bless, America. God bless the Iranian oncologist from the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
Yep, I’m a regular at Karmanos.
Every three months or so, I check in so the docs there can check me out.
I get scanned, poked and prodded on a regular basis. I’ve given more blood than an extra in one of the “Twlight” flicks.
Believe me, I am not complaining. Back in 2009, the diagnosis was kidney cancer that had metastasized and things looked decidedly bleak.
Almost as bleak as the last will and testament I subsequently had to scrawl that left my wife and kids with little more than Past Due bills, a 1997 Honda Civic with more than 200,000 miles on the odometer, and about 25 sweater vests.
Get Well cards started arriving. So did casseroles baked by well-meaning friends.
Four years later, I am alive and well and I swear on a stack of Paula Deen cook books I’ll return those Pyrex dishes someday. Thanks to God and all of the good people at Karmanos.
My primary oncologist is Ulka Vaishampayan. On my most recent visit to Karmanos earlier this week, another doctor joined her in the room.
I don’t recall his name, but we struck up a conversation. He was from Iran. I asked him about the weather back home. He replied in centigrade. I looked at him blankly, which is my typical expression. He smiled and translated the temperature into Fahrenheit.
I asked if he’d be going back to Iran when his education was complete.
“I hope not,” he said. “We don’t have freedom in Iran. I would rather stay here.”
That got me thinking, especially with Independence Day looming. I can’t conceive of living in a country where you don’t have even the basic freedoms.
Here, I can write anything I like. No matter how imbecilic or uninformed. Nobody is peeking over my shoulder censoring my thoughts. It does not matter if I am a raging liberal or a hard core Republican. Or if I reside somewhere in between.
It does not matter if I write that Obama should be impeached or Jim Schwartz should be fired; that Paula Deen should’ve kept her mouth shut or Jim Leyland should chew with his mouth closed while doing television interviews.
A free press isn’t the only thing we take for granted. Freedom of speech is a big one, too. We can put our elbows on a bar, hold a sweating long neck bottle of beer and rattle on and on about what the government should do or shouldn’t do; what the Pistons should or shouldn’t do; and what Alex Avila is or isn’t doing at the plate.
Sure there are imperfections. Just ask a Tea Party member who is being audited.
But all things considered, we have it pretty good. Better than just about anyone else in this world. We’ll eat our hot dogs, baked beans and talk about pretty much anything we want on the Fourth of July.
It is called freedom and that is what Independence Day is all about. Sometimes we take things for granted. Funny that it took an oncologist from Iran to remind me of that fact.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home