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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Resolved to let his dreams lead him
By MARC J. YACHT
Published December 27, 2007
Almost a year into retirement, my decision to hit the ground running and stay busy has served me well. Activities include mentoring a child at a local school, volunteering at the senior clinic and remaining active on several boards. There also is the boat club, hiking, revisiting my acting skills on stage, writing and photography.
Yet, the treadmill is slowing down. For retirement, like marriage, requires adjustments. One fact remains clear: there is no money in retirement. My occasional thoughts of job hunting pass when conjuring up bosses, deadlines and a work schedule. I enjoy thoroughly being the master of my day. Well, almost. My wife rarely leaves the house without providing a list of chores.
Sadly, our planned trip has yet to materialize and with two offspring still in college and money scarce, it appears a trip is not readily within our grasp. Once, someone told me that if a planned vacation was postponed for any reason, it is probable the trip would never occur. Looking back I can say that canceled trips never were rescheduled and excuses for delays and cancellations tend to be of lesser importance with each aborted plan. Perhaps my subconscious personal demon tells me to stay put.
In a recent dream, I found myself standing at the center of a busy intersection wearing only my boxer shorts. Noisy traffic whirled around me and pedestrians were running to their destinations oblivious to my embarrassment. There were street signs everywhere and arrows with mileage markers pointing in many directions; so many miles to here and so many miles to there.
I just stood frozen, unable to decide where to go. Suddenly I sensed tugging and pushing. I woke up, sweating profusely; Helen had been shaking me and asked if I was alright. She said I kept shouting names of cities. She had heard Nepal, Bora Bora and Philadelphia, but others were unintelligible.
The nightmare shook me to the core and I spent the better part of the day trying to understand its meaning. Dream interpretation always has fascinated me and when I was younger I used to write them down. Dreams fade quickly from memory so I kept a pencil and notepad at the bedside. I haven't done that for many years, but the dream I just described was so intense I suspect I will remember it to the grave.
I concluded the dream suggested I should better organize my life. Dreams of being seen in your underwear suggest insecurity and vulnerability. Looking at signs pointing in different directions and not knowing where to go is self-explanatory.
Considering the time of the year, resolutions were in order. The last time I made resolutions none of them were accomplished. However, I did do a number of things I had not promised myself I would. I concluded there was more success in doing the things not on a list.
This dream, though, required a written plan in the form of resolutions. Usually the most important concerns will surface first. Well, I kept seeing visions of winged dollar bills flying off to my children.
Resolution No 1: We cannot afford our children anymore; they are on their own.
I looked about for my wife. I know if she saw what I had written she would hit me on the head with a frying pan. I still had lumps from the last whack. I quickly destroyed that one.
Resolution No. 1: I will cut up all credit cards. We cannot afford them.
Well, how will I fill up the tank or have dinner out once in awhile? How will I shop? Besides, when I use a credit card, I delay payment for 30 days. I quickly tore that one up, awaiting another idea.
Resolution No. 1: We are going to pack our things, sell everything and move to Portugal. It's a cheap place to live.
But I don't know anybody in Portugal and I don't even speak the language. Besides, with the dollar reaching new lows, Portugal might not be so cheap. I discarded that thought.
Resolution No. 1: Food is entirely too expensive. I need to lose weight anyway so I will stop eating. If I stop eating I can save a lot of money.
The other day I paid more than $1.25 for a single pear. One orange cost 60 cents. Milk, a couple of pork chops and vegetables ran a bill to $38. At a restaurant the other day, my tip was more than my whole meal a few years ago. Worse than that, the server wasn't happy.
Giving up food could have serious consequences; I'll table that one (literally).
Resolution No. 1: Maybe I'll go look for a job. I'm still healthy, reasonably good looking, have a great personality and I am sure there must be some work for an over-the-hill medical doctor.
I thought about that and realized I was making no progress at all with my resolutions. As a nightmare got me into this mess, I would go back to sleep and have a dream that will offer me a solution.
Marc J. Yacht lives in Hudson. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.