The Real Thing | Teen Ink

The Real Thing

December 9, 2009
By brittany kirkpatrick BRONZE, Mcdonough, Georgia
brittany kirkpatrick BRONZE, Mcdonough, Georgia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Since the day I was born I have lived in the same small boring town my entire life. My whole family lives no more than a five minutes walking distance from one another’s homes and our entertainment for the weekends is about as fun as watching paint dry. This town is old and way behind in today’s sophisticated society of technology and scientific advancements. Even though we do not have all the new high tech machinery and gadgets, we still have other things that have been around for some years now. Cell phones, which have been out for about five years now, are one of the newest technologies that have recently hit our town. Somehow I knew one day these devices would come in handy out in the country like in Knox, Pennsylvania.

One painfully hot, dry day when I was driving down an old country road, which probably hadn’t been paved since George Washington was in office, out of nowhere came an enormously loud noise escaping from what I thought to be the underneath portion of my hood, sending a jolt of panic through my heart. Racing incredibly fast, my heart felt as if it were going to beat right out of my chest. Quicker than I could pull the car over safely to the side of the desolate road, humongous charcoal gray clouds poured out from beneath the rusty old hood of my 1985 Ford. Finally, making it to the side of the road I slowly stepped out of my vehicle unaware of what to do or who to call with my newly purchased cell phone. When I lifted the hood I couldn’t see a thing through the thick, sweltering smoke coming from the engine. It must have over heated due to all the smoke and heat hitting my face as I peered at the motor.

Picking up my cell phone, I immediately called the local tow truck company. Although their logo is “there in a flash”, unfortunately that was not the case for me. After waiting in the brutal heat, so hot you could see the steam rising off the scorching asphalt, the tow truck came pulling up two hours later and loaded up my old pick-up truck onto the flat bed. Finally we slowly crawled back in to town, since no one in this town seems to be in any hurry at all.

Finishing my vehicle’s inspection, the grease covered mechanic told me just what I had suspected. The engine had only overheated, however the oil was two thousand miles past due to only make matters worse. Then he told me that the quintessential aspect of keeping your engine running smoothly and properly was to make sure and change the oil on time. Not always having all the extra time I needed, things of this nature often slipped my mind. I thanked the man and paid my bill.

Once I walked out of the auto shop and started down the road in my newly renovated truck, my mind began to wonder and think of that day three years back when my grandfather had a massive heart attack. Every relative gathered at the hospital worried and anticipating what was going to happen and what had caused it to happen. Four painstaking hours after my grandfather had been wheeled through the swinging double doors of that smelly old hospital hallway back to surgery the doctor, in the white trench coat and cloth hat, came out to talk to the family. Doctor Allen, the head of cardiology, explained to me and my family what had happened to my grandfather. He first made a speech that no normal human being could possibly understand what he meant and then simplified it so that we understood. When they opened him up they made the

decision that he needed emergency triple bypass surgery and it could not wait. The surgery was successful, however now all the recovery was up to how my grandfather dealt with the doctor’s orders.

Much like the lesson I learned from my car breaking down, which is not to let things go that need to be done and don’t overdo it, he learned through that horrifying experience. The more I thought the more I began to realize how much these two things were alike even though they were also very different. Although they both serve the same purpose to be the mechanical operator of something or someone, a heart is alive and a machine can just be turned on and off by simply flipping a switch. Motors can wait for their treatment while a heart can maybe only wait so long. Machines can always be fixed; the real thing cannot always be brought back to life.

That was the day my grandfather, along with many others in my family, realized that life can be taken just as quick as it was given. Doctor’s orders were to get plenty of rest. Once my grandfather was back up to speed he was to start eating healthier and exercising regularly so that this would not happen again. Our family pulled together and helped him through this trying time. Each day someone would go over and cook his meals, go through his exercise routines and make sure he took his medications. After about six months my grandfather was able to do these things on his own once again. He never had heart trouble again.

Experiences in life always make you think about actions and consequences that come along with them. If my grandfather had just given up hope and kept on living life carelessly he

would not be here with us today. Sometimes these events are only obstacles in our life that are trying to slow us down and redirect us in the right path. They help us rearrange our priorities. For the time being they may seem like a curse of fate but later on we see what God was trying to reveal to us. Just like the oil of a motor is pumped through valves to keep the motor running properly, the blood in our heart cycles through our body to keep the oxygen present and the heart beating. Without clean oil the motor will malfunction, just as with unhealthy blood the heart will stop beating.

This being true it shows us the importance of our health and the real things in life. More times than not we take advantage of the life we have and don’t take care of our bodies or the reckless lives we carry out daily. Not saying that we should live in a bubble all the time or stay locked in our house, but take the obesity problem in America today for example and how it not only affects older people but now younger generations as well. If we all would just watched what we ate and had more activity than sitting and watching TV all day, many of these problems could be easily fixed. We cannot treat ourselves like a rusty old machine that can be polished up and fixed, running like they are brand new off the assembly line. Machines are immortal unlike our short but fulfilling lives. They can be brought back to life and reconstructed over and over again, never aging or wrinkling their shiny metal skin.

The author's comments:
This truly a life experience of my own where each family member came together to show the importance in life.

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