Priorities, and missing those who are gone.

by Dan Stout

Merlin Mann has an eloquent new post on You can find it here.

There's two reasons I wanted to point to his article.

1) He talks about what it felt like when they took his dad's rental hospital bed out of the family home.  A couple of weeks ago when they took my dad away, and the next day when they took the bed, I was struck by how much of a void was left behind. The empty bed looked almost obscene sitting there by itself with the constant whir of its pressure adjustments silenced. I actually had to go find a blanket to cover the thing up, as though it were a corpse. And the following day, when the hospice people took the bed, I couldn't believe how BIG that room was.

I know that's a normal reaction, but it still felt good to hear someone else say it. And to hear them still say it 40 years on means that it stays with you. Good. 

I never want to forget the fact that 10 years after his stroke, after 9 months in a bed, and after almost 19 days without food or water, my dad still had a presence that could fill up a room and leave a near vaccuum when he was suddenly gone.

2) Mann's piece is really about priorities, and making sure that whatever your top priority is, it's at the top because you put it there. By definition your top priority trumps the stuff underneath it, and we all need to make damn sure that what we really care about isn't being choked out by something we feel we “need” to do. None of us can avoid making occasional concessions to reality, but if we don't fight that slow creep, it's so easy to let our souls get gradually pushed down the pecking order. And then instead of living, we're just going through the motions.

All of which seems a bit heavy. I'll try and get more giant spider factoids to balance it out.


by Dan Stout