ArtLung: Joe Crawford's personal website. 2024.

Shenanigans on getting involved

A few weeks ago I was approached in the water by a surfer whose head was bleeding. I walked with him the 150 yards to the lifeguard tower. I carried his blood spattered surfboard. There’s a photo.

And a month ago when I was walking back with folks we’d picked up from the airport we encountered some young men. It was in one of the parking garages at Terminal 2. They were animatedly discussing and arguing about a soda machine. They were speaking Spanish. Mostly I wanted to get out of there. But they asked for help. I paid for my parking at that machine. Then I helped.

I can scarcely resist trying to help. I will refer to it as “shenanigans,” usually.

The boys (no older than 19, the 6 of them) explained in rapid Spanish they were trying to sort out how much money the machine needed for a Coke. They had a bunch of quarters whose denomination they didn’t understand, and they had some single dollars and they couldn’t sort out the American money. After stilted but workable Spanish, I answered “eleven” (in Spanish, once) and pointed at the quarter-dollars. And I went on my way.

I learned yesterday that my sister–7 years younger than me–did the Heimlich maneuver for one of the volunteers at her job.

My grandfathers both would get involved with shenanigans too. I remember my dad’s dad pulling over and we both helped push a guy’s stalled car out of traffic. My mom told stories of her father driving hours to help a stranded friend or family member. “You can depend on Artie.”

Tomorrow it’ll be 20 years to the day of a San Diego airport adventure involving an oxygen tank. And I am so glad I blogged about it. To be able to read the details puts me right back in that moment of using my skills–the “lung” part of “ArtLung.”

So here is the first opportunity in years to be useful in a Respiratory Therapy capacity. I walk over saying, “I’m a respiratory therapist, can I help?”

In 2019 I was on a jury for 3 weeks. And when the final arguments were given, and we went into the jury deliberation room, the question of electing a foreman came up. Somehow, the folks in that rooms eyes went to me, and I did not object. And I served and organized. We used the whiteboards and set up a grid of the charges, and where we stood on each of the counts, and the evidence supporting and refuting the various claims. And we worked it through in a few hours of deliberation. And I was responsible to speak aloud how “we the jury” ruled.

I returned to work the day after. One of my co-workers asked me “Joe, were you the foreman?” I replied a little surprised “I was, how did you know?” And he said in return “I was just thinking you’re suited to it.”

And that’s me. And my family too.

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