Learning to appreciate the accomplishments of others

Learning to appreciate the accomplishments of others

Hector Picard

I just completed an amazing feat. I swam 10 laps in my pool with no shark cage or jellyfish mask. I completed this task while avoiding several millipedes that got in my way.

There were no TV crews to greet me at the completion of my swim nor was there even one reporter or photographer from the Cutler Bay News.

I have a new appreciation for what Diana Nyad did swimming all the way from Cuba to Key West and then having the naysayers find fault with how she did it. They complained about her wearing a mask and treading water while she ate a banana, etc., etc. It seems almost like being an elected official. You accomplish all kinds of wonderful things and then get criticized for minor details such as supporting a local charity.

I accomplished another amazing feat just last week. I actually rode my bicycle from Cutler Bay to Matheson Hammock Park and back. Big deal, huh? I just met for the second time at the HealthSouth Community Health Fair, a man named Hector Picard, a triathlete who rode from Miami to Spokane, WA, with no hands.

Really, he actually has no hands. He lost them both in a horrible accident while installing some electrical lines. He bicycled the 3,200 miles to raise money for a child, Baby Jameson, who was born without hands or forearms. (You may contribute to this worthy cause online at <www.dontstopliving. org>.)

Both of these feats were quite humbling for me but I could not help but gain a tremendous appreciation for what others have been able to accomplish. Whenever I am invited to speak at our local schools, I always advise those students who are able to stay awake listening to me, to experience as many things as they can while growing up. The purpose is not necessarily to become the greatest at anything but to be able to appreciate fully what others are able to do.

Some examples from my own life: Coming from a family of musicians (both my brothers were professionals), I took clarinet lessons for many years thinking that I would be the next Benny Goodman or Artie Shaw. I never made it. I later took drum lessons and thought I was doing pretty well until I tried to emulate some of what the great drummers are able to do. This was not the career for me but I gained a new appreciation for what real musicians are able to do.

I also tried my hand at acting. Sounds easy, huh? I would have been great at it if they let me recite my own lines as I saw fit. Unfortunately, I had to memorize a script, otherwise the other actors had no idea when to begin their portion. I got some strange looks on occasion. This was my downfall, but when I watch even the simplest of TV shows I realize what a tremendous skill it is to portray a person other than who you are and convince millions of people of your new identity. I tried to be the next Jay Leno by hosting my own radio talk show in South Florida. That whole industry went bye-bye but I had fun while it was hot.

Around 50 years ago I thought that I might become world’s next great political leader. Here I am five decades later and I have reached the great height of vice mayor of the Town of Cutler Bay. Well at least something seems to be working.

I also wanted to become a highly paid syndicated newspaper columnist. This is another goal that I am still working on as you can see. Keep those cards and letters coming folks. I may be a success one day after all. Visit Ernie’s new website at www.sochin.com

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