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Today you, Tomorrow me.

July 22, 2012

There are some stories that inspire you to be a better person or think differently about life. And then there are stories you know you’ll never forget. Whether it’s the first time you’re reading it or the 100th. This is one such story for me.

If you’re a redditor, you know this story. If not, here it is: 

This past year I have had 3 instances of car trouble. A blow out on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out of gas situation. All of them were while driving other people’s cars which, for some reason, makes it worse on an emotional level. It makes it worse on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my car, and know enough not to park, facing downhill, on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.

Anyway, each of these times this shit happened I was DISGUSTED with how people would not bother to help me. I spent hours on the side of the freeway waiting, watching roadside assistance vehicles blow past me, for AAA to show. The 4 gas stations I asked for a gas can at told me that they couldn’t loan them out “for my safety” but I could buy a really shitty 1-gallon one with no cap for $15. It was enough, each time, to make you say shit like “this country is going to hell in a handbasket.”

But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke a lick of the language. But one of those dudes had a profound affect on me.

He was the guy that stopped to help me with a blow out with his whole family of 6 in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to 4 hours. Big jeep, blown rear tire, had a spare but no jack. I had signs in the windows of the car, big signs that said NEED A JACK and offered money. No dice. Right as I am about to give up and just hitch out there a van pulls over and dude bounds out. He sizes the situation up and calls for his youngest daughter who speaks english. He conveys through her that he has a jack but it is too small for the Jeep so we will need to brace it. He produces a saw from the van and cuts a log out of a downed tree on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top, and bam, in business. I start taking the wheel off and, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones and I wasn’t careful and I snapped the head I needed clean off. Fuck.

No worries, he runs to the van, gives it to his wife and she is gone in a flash, down the road to buy a tire iron. She is back in 15 minutes, we finish the job with a little sweat and cussing (stupid log was starting to give), and I am a very happy man. We are both filthy and sweaty. The wife produces a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man’s hand but he wouldn’t take it so I instead gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I could send them a gift for being so awesome. She says they live in Mexico. They are here so mommy and daddy can pick peaches for the next few weeks. After that they are going to pick cherries then go back home. She asks if I have had lunch and when I told her no she gave me a tamale from their cooler, the best fucking tamale I have ever had.

So, to clarify, a family that is undoubtedly poorer than you, me, and just about everyone else on that stretch of road, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took an hour or two out of their day to help some strange dude on the side of the road when people in tow trucks were just passing me by. Wow…

But we aren’t done yet. I thank them again and walk back to my car and open the foil on the tamale cause I am starving at this point and what do I find inside? My fucking $20 bill! I whirl around and run up to the van and the guy rolls his window down. He sees the $20 in my hand and just shaking his head no like he won’t take it. All I can think to say is “Por Favor, Por Favor, Por Favor” with my hands out. Dude just smiles, shakes his head and, with what looked like great concentration, tried his hardest to speak to me in English:

“Today you…. tomorrow me.”

Rolled up his window, drove away, his daughter waving to me in the rear view. I sat in my car eating the best fucking tamale of all time and I just cried. Like a little girl. It has been a rough year and nothing has broke my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn’t deal.

In the 5 months since I have changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and, once, went 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won’t accept money. Every time I tell them the same thing when we are through:

“Today you…. tomorrow me.”

There is a whole thread on Reddit with stories like this. Click here to have your faith in humanity restored 🙂

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where the magic happens

July 12, 2012

I recently read a book that I probably would never have read had it not been recommended by a friend. It was definitely out of my comfort zone. But sometimes, you have to step out of your comfort zone to see the magic happen- even if it is as simple as reading a book you normally wouldn’t read.

Complications: A Surgeons’ Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande is a fascinating book about the journey to becoming a surgeon: the OR, the patients, the hours- but most importantly a doctor’s personal journey, doubts, successes and everything in between. First hand. From the inside.

I’m the kind of person that gets queasy at the sight of a even a little blood so reading about surgeries (with my wild wild imagination) wasn’t fun. I did, however, learn a lot and I now have a new found appreciation for doctors. This is the kind of book that asks the rest of us to appreciate not what a doctor does but who a doctor is. as a person.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • You have a cough that won’t go away—and then? It’s not science you call upon but a doctor. A doctor with good days and bad days. A doctor with a weird laugh and a bad haircut. A doctor with three other patients to see and, inevitably, gaps in what he knows and skills he’s still trying to learn.
  • We look for medicine to be an orderly field of knowledge and procedure. But it is not. It is an imperfect science, an enterprise of constantly changing knowledge, uncertain information, fallible individuals, and at the same time lives on the line. There is science in what we do, but also habit, intuition, and sometimes plain old guessing. The gap between what we know and what we aim for persists. this gap complicates everything we do.
  • When you are a medical student in the operating room for the first time, and you see the surgeon press the scalpel to someone’s body and open it like fruit, you either shudder in horror or gape in awe.
  • The surgeon drew a six-inch dotted line with a marking pen across a sleeping patient’s abdomen and then, to my surprise, had the nurse hand me the knife… (he) had me stretch the skin taut with the thumb and forefinger of my free hand. He told me to make one smooth slice down to the fat. I put the belly of the blade to the skin and cut. The experience was odd and addictive, mixing exhilaration from the calculated violence of the act, anxiety about getting it right, and a righteous faith that it was somehow good for the person.
  • In surgery, as in anything else, skill and confidence are learned through experience—haltingly and humiliatingly. Like the tennis player and the oboist and the guy who fixes hard drives, we need practice to get good at what we do. There is one difference in medicine, though: it is people we practice upon.
  • In medicine, we have long faced a conflict between the imperative to give patients the best possible care and the need to provide novices with experience. Residencies attempt to mitigate potential harm through supervision and graduated responsibility. And there is reason to think patients actually benefit from teaching. Studies generally find teaching hospitals have better outcomes than non-teaching hospitals. Residents may be amateurs, but having them around checking on patients, asking questions, and keeping faculty on their toes seems to help. But there is still no getting around those first few unsteady times a young physician tries to put in a central line, remove a breast cancer, or sew together two segments of colon. No matter how many protections we put in place, on average these cases go less well with the novice than with someone experienced. As patients, we want both expertise and progress. What nobody wants to face is that these are contradictory desires.
  • If learning is necessary but causes harm, then above all it ought to apply to everyone alike. Given a choice, people wriggle out, and those choices are not offered equally. They belong to the connected and the knowledgeable, to insiders over outsiders, to the doctor’s child but not the truck driver’s. If choice cannot go to everyone, maybe it is better when it is not allowed at all.
  • Doctors belong to an insular world—one of hemorrhages and lab tests and people sliced open. We are for the moment the healthy few who live among the sick… Ours is a world even our families do not grasp… isolation of practice take you away from anyone who really knows what it is like to cut a stomach cancer from a patient or lose her to a pneumonia afterward or answer the family’s accusing questions or fight with insurers to get paid.

Reading material on topics out of your norm is a great way to learn something new while gaining perspective on your world. I highly recommend reading Complications in its entirety.

What are some interesting books/articles you’ve read lately?

Is there a better way?

July 11, 2012

 

A group of scientists placed 5 monkeys in a cage and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on the top. Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water. After a while, every time a monkey went up the ladder, the others beat up the one on the ladder. After some time, no monkey dared to go up the ladder regardless of the temptation.

Scientists then decided to substitute one of the monkeys. The 1st thing this monkey did was to go up the ladder. Immediately the other monkeys beat him up. After several beatings, the new member learned not to climb the ladder even though (the monkey) never knew why. A 2nd monkey was substituted and the same occurred. The 1st monkey participated on the beating for the 2nd monkey. The 3rd monkey was changed and the same was repeated (beating). The 4th was substituted and the beating was repeated and finally the 5th monkey was replaced. 

What was left was a group of 5 monkeys that even though never received a cold shower, continued to beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder. If it was possible to ask the monkeys why they would beat up all those who attempted to go up the ladder… I bet you the answer would be “I dont know- that’s how things are done around here” Does it sound familiar? Don’t miss the opportunity to share this others as they might be asking themselves why we continue to do what we are doing if there is a different way out there.

If there was a better way to live/eat/sleep/work… how would you know?

You wouldn’t.

Unless you tried.

New ways of doing things always sound crazy. Until it works. And then it’s genius.

What makes you happy?

June 29, 2012

From the moment we’re born, we’re taught to please other people. First our parents, then our teachers, then throw in friends and a significant other and children and the cycle continues. Just ask the 5 year old girl what she wants to be when she grows up. She’ll look up at her mom, smile and say “a doctor.” Or as one of my nieces used to say ” gynecologist” Like seriously? Do 5 year olds even know what a gynecologist does?

So it’s no wonder that after all those years of making everyone else happy, the little voices inside our head learn to be quiet.

The sad thing is- if you let it be quiet your entire life, it’ll scream at you with years and years of pent up anger and frustration. In your final days. And then it’ll be too late.

Do what makes you happy. Do what you love. Impress yourself first.

3 Starstruck Lessons about Life

June 28, 2012

1. The things that excite you are sometimes deeply personal.

I’ve never been one to get excited about typical celebrities. As in the Brad Pitt/Tom Cruise/Ryan Gosling types. Oprah is another story. If I ever meet her, I’d probably be so starstruck I’d forget English and start talking in Korean. (side note: I know exactly 5 words in korean: hi, thank you, straight, left and right- so that would be an interesting conversation to say the least.)

Anyway, the point of this story is that the person I was starstruck by approximately 24 hours ago, isn’t someone I could go gush to my friends about. Because they’d probably be like “uh who?” and then “so what?” And that’s ok.

Because sometimes, the things that make you happy/excited/starstruck are things (or people) no one else will ever understand.

2. Behind the reputation, the long list of accomplishments and a generally awesome life, everyone is just a person.

Like you and me. We forget that. It’s kind of like being in a long distance relationship. You don’t have that person right there with you everyday so you fill in the gaps with your own ideas of what they’re like. And sometimes, because you’re only human, the stuff your imagination fabricates is very far from the truth.

Even the most famous/smart/cool people who’s life you thought you could never relate to… have dreams and goals and bad days. Just like you.

3. Find people who inspire you and become friends with them.

Because chances are, if you find what they do/say/write inspiring, you’re probably going to like them as a person too. And BAM. A new friend. Just like that.

And if you’re thinking. Right, how do I do that. Sometimes, all it takes is a tweet or an email. Say hi. It’s really that simple.

Perspective

June 26, 2012
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Your life is a miracle.

Seriously. Just look at everything around you and think about how it came to be. One day, a bunch of water, air, and dirt decided to come together into a giant spherical space rock, which just so happened to be just the right distance from a more infinitely giant ball of burning hydrogen in order to support life. Life, itself, is just atoms coming together into molecules which  form cells which come together to make organisms. It took billions of years for these organisms to figure themselves out, and slowly over time they got so complex that they became people. You are made up of tiny cells, all working together to let you experience this miracle we call life.

the first post is about my dad.

June 17, 2012

I thought long and hard about the topic of my first post on beeyouteafull.com. It’s kind of a big deal- all the expectations (or non expectations) the beginning can give. If this post sucked, then none of you would ever come back and I’d be doomed forever.

Then I realized that I was thinking too hard. What made me realize you ask? Well, people asked me what I was getting my dad for father’s day. And by people I mean my mom.

And then it hit me.

My dad is the most beeyouteafull person I know. Yes, you read that correctly. Not beautiful- bee you tea full. There is a difference.

beautiful is skin deep.
beeyouteafull is soul deep.

I may have just made that up. let’s roll with it.

To recap the about page, here’s what beeyouteafull means to me:

because being beautiful isn’t an outside job.

it’s an inside job.

it requires you work hard like a bee.

it requires you to be you.

it requires you to nourish yourself with the good stuff- with a cup of tea maybe.

it requires you to be positive. to always see the glass as half full. even if it’s half full with air.

I think he’s a living example of everything everyone should ever strive to be. It’s also father’s day and since I have no idea what to get the man who has everything (when you have the world’s most awesome daughter, what more could you want?!), I thought I’d kill a few birds with this post.

First post on beeyouteafull.com. Check.

Father’s Day gift. Check.

Awesome reaction to best father’s day gift ever. I’ll take a picture of him reading this post and maybe share it later.

So without further a do, here goes:

BEE – my dad works so hard he makes bees look like they’re chilling like villains.

YOU – my dad says it like it is. And that’s who he is. In fact, he’s pretty badass in his own way. I remember when I was in high school there were times when random kids would call my house and ask for me. And by kids I mean random boys. Let’s all pretend this is totally normal for a second. Because it was. For a lot of tamil girls back in the day. (and maybe other girls too. maybe it was a late 90s early 00s thing) Anyway, when these boys would call, my dad didn’t yell at them or threaten them to stay away from his daughter. Oh no. He would have a calm, gentle, LONG conversation explaining to them that they had no idea what they were in for. That girls cost a lot of money. That they should spend their hard earned money from their high school part time jobs on themselves. And maybe their mother. That they should concentrate in school and try to get ahead in life. To top it off, he’d say you’re wasting your time talking to girls. If you ever need some advice or just someone to talk to, you can call me any time. And then he’d give them his cell number. Like a boss.

TEA – my dad loves tea. and my dad is ALL about eating healthy. He’s a pescatarian so he doesn’t even need to slay the meat dragon. He’s also all about brown bread and grains. And he was into bikram/hot yoga for a while. Ya, you read that correctly.

FULL – One of my cousins summed it up perfectly in his speech at my dad’s birthday- his general outlook on life and his most favorite phrase to say is “No problem!” with a HUGE smile. Having known him for 26 years, I can say this pretty much sums who my dad is. When you grow up having a dad like that, you really do believe anything is possible.

I know I don’t say it often, but I definitely lucked out in the dad department. I LOVE YOU MY DEAR FATHER and Happy Father’s Day 🙂

This is my dad. And this is one of my fav pics of my dad. Not only because he looks as handsome as ever but because of the story behind this picture. I threw my parents a 25th anniversary party. It was supposed to be a surprise but my dad came to know of the party a couple hours before it was due to begin. (my fault- long story.) Anyway, I asked him to promise me he wouldn’t tell my mom. He didn’t (which is HUGE for my dad because he can never keep a secret from anyone. let alone my mom) But as soon as he arrived at the banquet hall, he ran up the stairs before my mom, threw his hands in the air and shouted “I KNOW! I KNOW!” This picture was taken seconds after that moment.