The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

The Real Stuff Makes Us Who We Are

On December 21st, 2015, posted in: Uncategorized by

bag over headDr. Steve Buckingham, a man who disliked frivolous euphemisms, passed away on November 24, 2015. Among his many accomplishments as a doctor, I wish to extol his lesser-known achievements. Steve flossed his teeth daily; he did not put Q-tips into his ear canal; he filed the family taxes in a timely manner; he used his blinker when driving, although he was less observant of speed limits; Steve always ate breakfast (Raisin Bran Crunch, black coffee), respecting the most important meal of the day. He will be remembered by his sly, sideways smile as he asked snarky questions, proving a point with not only the residents at LeBonheur but also with his children at home. His knowledge of medicine was rivaled only by his uncanny ability to reference esoteric movies and music in every situation; his bedside manner surpassed only by his dry wit and corny jokes. Steve was not only a giant in the Memphis pediatric infectious disease world, he had impressive plans for the future. He was going to reach a PhD in American colonial history, he was going to be an actor, he was going to be a star, he was going to shake his ass on the hood of Whitesnake’s car. If you wish to honor Dr. Buckingham’s memory, drink good coffee, read important books, spend time outside on walks and in the garden, listen to music, tell your wife how hot she is, eat leftovers on Sunday afternoons, attend school-sanctioned events for your kids, watch sports with friends, and, if you so desire, donate to the American Heart Association or LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s an obituary. Maybe one of the very best I’ve ever witnessed. Don’t you love this guy and miss him even though you didn’t know him? Don’t you hope that you have a friend or a loved one in your midst that could and would articulate your existence in a similar fashion? What a great friend he had.

The good doctor’s “lesser known achievements” turned this obviously accomplished and successful physician into the guy next door. Peel back the credentials, and aren’t we all made up of the little things — the real stuff that makes us who we are? Idiosyncrasies, pet peeves, dreams, quirks and quiet thoughts are what make us interesting and lovable — not our accomplishments between 9-5 every day.

Work life is not who we are. It doesn’t define the person. It’s just a job. Remember that behind the façade of your fellow worker’s work motif are great stories, mysteries, successes, failures, tears, and joy. There are aspirations and quiet fears, the fun stuff, the embarrassments, the routines and the little things. Your fellow worker is filled with intrigue, suspense, happiness, sadness and lots and lots of curious little plot lines that make for a great thousand-page novel filled with the fodder for interesting discussion over an entertaining evening of the celebration of their life.

If I told you what makes up who I am away from work, you’d bust a gut. I’ll leave that up to whomever draws the short straw and gets the opportunity to eulogize me upon my demise. Not anytime soon is my hope.

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