Yes, for those who wondered if I was ever to return - here I am. Early March saw me with some sort of cough, aches and fatigue that stretched on for a week. Then fortunately, the day I left for a 12 day international bridge tournament, it disappeared.
My luck didn't remain. Halfway through, whatever it was returned with a vengeance. I spent two days playing with a fever and chills, then poured myself into bed last Monday when I returned home. Today is about the first day in a long time that I've really felt close to human.
And speaking of "human" - all of us are. No matter how talented and bright, no matter how wise overall - we can all misstep. So it was this week with a man I highly admire: neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is slated to speak at Johns Hopkins commencement this year.
"Marriage is between a man and a woman," Carson said. "It's a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality -- it doesn't matter what they are, they don't get to change the definition."
Am I critical of Carson because he is not a supporter of gay marriage and I am? Of course not. Although I disagree with his position, reasonable people can disagree on this topic. Nevertheless, I do agree with those who are critical of the choice of words Carson used to expound. They are offensive. Although Carson didn't out and out say "gays are on a par with pedophiles and supporters of bestiality" - one can only wonder why he did select these groups to compare with gays. He could have chosen "Nazis" or "music students" or "Scientologists." That he chose these particular groups does imply that, for one reason or another, they were relevant to the discussion.
While someone who is gay can be a pedophile or have sex with animals - or any other number of offensive sorts of things - there is no reason why someone gay should be moreso than anyone else. Had Carson simply said that, in general, it doesn't matter who it is or what their beliefs or activities are - this is the definition of marriage - I would find nothing at all offensive about his statement.
Apparently Carson has apologized - and good for him. I hope, however, he and others recognize why his words hurt so much and why people have reacted as they have. And that all of us - no matter how bright and capable - think twice before we make such statements.