I'm feeling extremely unsettled lately. On edge. Anxious. It's not the threat of rising sea levels, or the erosion of public confidence in the integrity of Nightly News anchors, or the possibility that my hard-earned Four Star Rating might suddenly become a three. It's something far scarier than all those things combined.
Larry Minnix is retiring.
I thought I'd feel better after speaking those words out loud, but I don't. It's all such a shock. Larry didn't call me to discuss it. He didn't text for my advice. He didn't even send me a heads-up email to let me down gently. I had to find out about it with a McKnight's dispatch and on Facebook, like I was some anonymous, faceless stranger banished outside the Circle of Trust. Darn right I'm bitter.
And here's another thing. After nearly 15 years at LeadingAge, Larry seems to think he's of leaving age. Some might naively say it's his prerogative. That we should just appreciate his selfless service and generous contribution. That we should express nothing but respect and support for his decision, no matter how much it hurts. That we should dab our pride and swallow our tears and bravely wish the man well.
What about the national family of long-term care providers that will be left in this profession? What about our needs? For Larry, all that's at stake is his life, health, family and future happiness. Isn't it time he stopped being so unbelievably selfish and thought about the rest of us for a change?
Of course it isn't. That's just my pain talking.
Because in my ever-humble opinion, no one has served this profession any better, or given it more of his energy and heart than Larry, and no one more deserves to bask in his achievements. Among many other accomplishments, he spearheaded the name change from the somewhat clumsy American Federated Association of United Homes and Service-Oriented Services for the Elderly Aging in America (otherwise known as AFAUHSOSEAA) [or something like that] to the much catchier LeadingAge. That's more than most of us can expect to achieve in an entire life.
Like Daniel stepping unharmed from the fiery furnace, Larry richly deserves to make a triumphant exit and bask in the glow of a job well done. But for a good long while, I fear the organization is going to seem like the Patriots without Brady. The Late Show without Letterman. Disneyland without the measles. I'm sure whoever replaces him will be a lovely person. But he or she won't be Larry, and that's not going to be an easy burden to overcome.
It's well known and documented that I hate change. I don't do it well, and I certainly don't like it done to me. So maybe this is the perfect time to launch my new long-term care product line — Assisted Leaving — to help people like me deal with departures of all kinds.
Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in Humor Writing in the 2014 Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former SNALF.com at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.