I’m mad. I know I shouldn’t write when I’m mad, but I am. I’m mad at my friend Phil. Like many of us, Phil was dealing with a lot of stress lately at work. Sensing that the stress was starting to slow him down a little — and wanting a clean bill of health before turkey season and golf season got into full swing — he had some stress tests done, which he passed. But that’s not why I’m mad at him.
A few days after the tests he was at work and started feeling some pains in his arm. Knowing Phil, he probably didn’t want to go to the hospital. I can hear him now: “C’mon I’ve got no time to sit around waiting for hours to hear some doctor tell me what I already know. I’m fine. Probably gas or a little heartburn.” Sure. He didn’t want to cause any fuss and likely wanted to scout some turkey haunts with his teenage son that night. He’s stubborn alright. But, that’s what makes Phil, well, Phil. But that’s not why I’m mad at him.
Phil died the next morning of an apparent heart attack. He was 50. That’s why I’m mad at him.
I’m mad because I won’t hear him tell his awful jokes. I’m mad because I’ll miss our Monday morning debates over the Packers’ playcalling on Sunday. I’ll miss hearing his tales and his listening to mine of food plots, big-racked bucks and the thrill of losing a big musky at boatside. I’m mad because he leaves two sons without a friend and mentor and a young widow without her soul mate. That’s why I’m mad. But you know what makes me even madder? I know at least 20 more “Phil’s” in our industry who likely wouldn’t have taken the time to get those pains checked out themselves. Or, schedule a complete physical, or get a colonoscopy or a prostate exam. The list goes on. My anger wells.
Does it take time? Yes. Is it inconvenient? You bet. Could it save your life? Definitely. As a three-year survivor of colon cancer, I know the value of early detection. In this issue we pay a lot of attention to improving the quality and the shelf life of our grain. Please, take the time to get yourself checked out and keep me posted on how you’re doing. There are too many great people in this industry and I don’t think I have the energy or desire to get mad all over again, if I heard another story like Phil’s. Take care.