Often times, we watch TV and listen to the radio to get away from reality.
We know how tough our lives are and how much of a struggle things are for others and sometimes it's just nice to watch a football game, comedy or reality show (I can't be the only one, the ratings don't lie).
There's something about tragedy unfolding in real life when trying to relax that really gets to me. Last night, I got home and flipped through my DVR and popped on an episode of HBO's "Real Sports." In this particular episode, Steve Gleason, a former NFL football player for the New Orleans Saints, was sharing his story as he battles ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). To me, as tough as these moments are to watch, there's powerful lessons to be learned in them.
Watching Gleason learn to speak using a program where he'll essentially type with his eyes is powerful. It teaches me to be thankful for everyday, every moment, I've got here on this earth.
Watching the former Saint record some video content for his soon-to-be-born child makes me wonder and look forward to the special gift of becoming a father some day.
And then I think about how the show mentions traumatic blows to the brain being one of the possible causes of ALS and wonder if football is going to be around for much longer as we know it.
I wrapped up the show as my roommate was coming home and he asked if I'd flip on WWE's "Monday Night RAW," a show we often watch when we're trying to unwind after long days at work.
Professional wrestlers were beating the fake tar out of each other, cracking promos left and write proclaiming they're "The best in the world" or "The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be," -- very heady stuff -- when Michael Cole,an announcer with the WWE, interrupted the show to announce color commentator and former wrestler Jerry Lawler had collapsed and suffered some sort of medical emergency.
We've since learned Lawler had a heart attack.
My uncle passed away shortly after I was born due to one and my grandfather suffered a few in his lifetime as well. I immediately had this weird uncomfortable feeling come over me. We're human, we can go at any moment. Luckily, Lawler and Gleason are both still with us to remind us just how precious life is.
Today I got into work and a few co-workers discussed the Lawler incident with me. I told them I just couldn't bring myself to rewind the show and find out just where Lawler had passed out. To me, it's similar to the moment those two Boeing 767s crashed into the World Trade Center. It's immediately chilling. I never need to see it again.
Which brings us to Sept. 11, 2012, a day in which my eyes hadn't yet seen any tragedy. Eleven years ago though, I couldn't get my eyes away from it.
We all mourn and grieve in our own way. For me, I get that immediate sick chill.
I think it's healthy to not dwell too much on these tragedies and live our lives in as normal a fashion as we see fit.
I hope we all pause and take some time to realize just how good we have it, though.