Give all your cares to Bob

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

So here we are at the end of 2016. It's been kind of a brutal year — globally, nationally, personally, even as a long-term care profession. Lots of loss, much uncertainty and fear, many reasons to shake our tiny Trump-size fists at the universe, wailing, “Why us? Why now?”

I've been there myself, and it can be more than a little overwhelming at times. But when the worries pile up and the challenges accrue, I'm slowly learning to just take a deep breath, close my eyes and cast all my cares and worries on Bob. In a baffling world spinning out of my control, only He can see me through.

I jest, of course — and I'm really not trying to be gratuitously sacrilegious. But I did have a bit of a spiritual epiphany as I walked last week into the glorious whole-grain emporium that is the famous Bob's Red Mill. Because there, right up front, surrounded by gleaming bags of flax meal, wheat berries and chia seeds, was an eye-grabbing array of eerily-authentic Bob bobblehead dolls. [Click here to see it, or none of what follows will make any sense.]

I'd seen the actual Bob in the store many times, always in his little glasses and red vest with his name stitched across the pocket. He's an ever-cheerful, positive presence, smiling, helping, chatting with long-time customers. As a brand icon, he's absolutely perfect, and were I given the opportunity to create from the dust of the earth someone to embody Bob's Red Mill in human form, it would definitely be Bob, exactly as he is. I wouldn't change a thing.

So there in front of the towering stack, I had a critical decision to make, and I couldn't do it alone. “Should I purchase you?” I asked the nearest Bob bobblehead.

He nodded. “Will staring at you every day teach me something about life, and how it should be lived?” He nodded again. Like Paul on the Biblical road to Damascus, the revelation was unmistakable and unavoidable — though at $19.99 a bit on the pricey side. And he's been an iconic presence in my office ever since.

Coworker reaction to Bobblehead Bob has been mixed. Some find him funny, others nothing but creepy. To me, he's a funny, creepy reminder that nodding is actually a vital spiritual discipline, constituting a physical expression of open-hearted acceptance. Of everything. No matter what happens.

Oh, we can resist whatever unpleasant, unbidden event life sends our personal or professional way, and we can refuse to react instinctively and positively with bobblehead-like assent. But guess what? Like it or not, that unwelcome thing still happened. Unlike driving a Flintstone car, we can't brake by dragging our feet. We're better off to just keep our heads and hands inside the car and go along for the ride, eyes wide open, brains engaged, but still nodding all the way.

Who knows what wonders and horrors 2017 holds? Are there PPS changes ahead? New five-star quality measures to go with new survey processes? Narrowing networks and fear-inducing payment models? A lot could happen, and given the way 2016 went, we could all be forgiven a little private boot-quaking. History suggests, however, that whatever occurs, as providers and people, we'll seek to understand it, immerse ourselves in it, accept the new reality and adapt as necessary to survive.

But first we'll nod — and thank Bob.  

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in the 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 at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.


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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Portland, OR. Since his debut with at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.