I. Randy

"Please excuse me," the elderly gentleman in the gray bowler hat said. We were standing at the top of the stairs leading to the basement of the student union. He had almost stepped into me. He was not using a cane, but he was gripping the handrail with both hands.

"No worries," I replied, smiling. "Are you ok?"

"Fine, fine. Just fine. Graduate from here in 1973 with a degree in political science. Now I just like to come back, walk about. Check my mail down at University Station. Say. What do you make of this?" he wheezes as he pulls a letter out of his bag. "I'm a lifelong member of the NRA and now there's a House Bill threatening to take away our gun rights. What do you say? Taking away our gun rights. What does this paragraph mean right here? Don't mean to keep you long, but I just think it's terrible that they're going to give the school security guards guns -"

{editor's note - they're not really}

"I mean, the psychological things you have to go through to shoot somebody. Don't want anybody getting shot here on campus. Hey, what do you make out of this paragraph here? I have guns at home, all right. Had 'em all my life."

Randy let me help him down the stairs as he told me about the NRA.

I have absolutely no idea what he was talking about. I know nothing about guns. I do know that the elderly should not try to navigate the stairs down to the student union.

II. Francisco Tarrega

I read about the needs of the dying, about the necessity of dignity and compassion and to include them in conversations about their own death while the young man at the table across from me softly, softly practices the classical guitar in the crowded student union.

It occurs to me that perhaps I would like him to play at my own death. Would that make passing easier? Of course, I do not bring that up. I let him play.

III. Evidenced Based Practice

Holding therapy did not work, says my graduate research professor, not because there was evidenced that disproved it, but because people were just dying from it. "We will learn a good bunch in this class," he says. He is not from Peru, he tells us, and as a social worker I do not think I am supposed to admit this, but his non-Peruvian lilting accent is superb.


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