Friday, April 4, 2014

The story of the pager and the “tumor”

When Kat and I were in seminary I worked for a small courier company delivering packages to and from businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This was almost 30 years ago and pagers were just beginning to become a thing. I remember well the day they gave me one. All it would do is beep, which meant that I was to stop, find a phone, and call the office; that was the extent of the technology at the time. They told me that day that when the battery ran out on the pager that it would give a long continuous tone. That was how I would know when it was time to change the battery. But I forget about that.

One day I was walking into the Alcon Labs Surgery Research facility near the intersection of I-35 and I-20 just south of Ft. Worth. The building was partially under construction so there were all kinds of noises on site. As I approached the building, I began to hear a long continuous tone which I thought had something to do with the construction. The tone continued as I walked inside and I thought it was odd when I stepped into the elevator and the noise got louder. I walked into the area where I was to deliver my package and handed it to the young woman across the counter. I asked her, “Do you hear that noise?” She said, “Yes? Do you know what it is?” I said, “No,” and then I left. When I got back in the elevator, the sound got louder again, but I still had no clue what was really going on. I stepped out of the building and walked to my little company truck. When I got in and closed the door, the sound got louder again. You have to remember I’m fixated on the idea that this noise has something to do with the construction going on at the site. Because of this I’m expecting the sound to gradually diminish as I drive away, but that does not happen, at all. So maybe a mile down the road I come to an irrational conclusion: I must have a brain tumor.

I’m not making this up. There is nothing in the world funny about tumors of any sort, especially brain tumors, but my reaction is ridiculous. For the next 10 minutes I’m increasingly freaking out and by the time I arrive at my next stop, I’m planning my funeral. I was forgetting that the person that I spoke to at Alcon said she could also hear the sound.

I arrived at my next stop, it was a branch office for GMAC financing, I’ll never forget it. I approached the counter to deliver the package and the person behind the counter said, “Is that you making that noise!” Finally, I realized what was going on and I had a good long laugh at my own expense back in the truck.

Here's a message I preached recently called How to Avoid Freaking Out, from Mark 6:45-52. As you can see, from the above story, I’ve had some experience with this. 

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