The Game of Life

     While paging through the annual list of best doctors which appeared in a local magazine, I noticed an advertisement for an occupation new to me, that of a Life Coach who promises to help “you move through challenges with passion, ease and grace.” Immediately I began to wonder what a life coach was and when a person would need the services of such a healthcare provider. Highlights of a typical crisis-laden life flashed before my eyes.

     During those frustrating days of childhood when untangling the knots of shoelaces can lead to tantrums, the Life Coach might be there repeating “Keep you head down and don’t bite your fingernails when you follow through or you’ll never get out of the rough.”

     LC would be exuberantly waving her arms to reluctant five-year-olds on their first day of school and shouting “Go away from home! Go in the bus standing up. Don’t slide or shuffle.”

     Running alongside unsteady bicyclists, holding the discarded training wheels triumphantly above her head, LC would be claiming that “Practice is over. It’s game time now.”

     LC would be there by the dentist’s chair, pointing boldly at the cartoons of cavorting animals on the ceiling posters and saying, “Focus on the target in front of you. Forget about the drills.”

     During those endless hours of piano and violin lessons LC would be there repeating rhythmically “Technique, technique. That’s how you reach your peak.”

     Enduring the pangs of adolescence when concern about physical appearance is paramount, LC could be counted on to be there standing by the bedroom mirror with the encouraging words “Cream those zits. Beef up the middle. Shoot the gaps in your wardrobe by giving them different looks to fool the opposition.”

     LC would be on hand when the disconsolate young adult goes through the heartache of a broken romance, offering practical tips: “Nail this three-pointer: 1) Don’t press; 2) Block out and rebound; 3) Take another shot when you get an open look.”

     To ease the tension of a job interview LC would be there with a strategic plan: “When you get in that room and face-off, get into your comfort zone by looking them straight in the eye. Don’t let their stern masks keep you from netting your goal.”

     For the long-time loyal worker now distraught and bitter after becoming unemployed LC might employ some tough love: “I won’t penalize you for hands to the face and unnecessary gruffness. When a bad hop knocks you down, keep the want ads in front of you and you’ll make nifty double pay on the next one hit to you.”

     LC would accompany the perpetual debtor who possesses little willpower or sales resistance to a store or car dealer’s showroom, suggesting all the way “When they come at you in a blitz, go into a crouch and counterpunch. If that doesn’t work, punch the counter.”

     LC might counsel someone who is uncertain how to end a marriage gone sour by recommending the unhappy partner “Go on a quick count to a lawyer to get the leverage you need to throw your spouse off balance and get home and field advantage.”

     The apprehensive patient about to undergo surgery would find words of reassurance from LC comforting: “That opening across the middle will open and close in the blink of an eye and you’ll be high stepping in style before you know it.”

     For the indecisive individual who finds the task of sorting recyclables in the garage and clothes in the basement so overwhelming as to practically disrupt their lives LC would say, “Learn to trash talk using the numbers game. And on wash day keep the home whites by themselves or they’ll become your road grays.”

     The first-time traveler with a fear of flying might be consoled if, prior to takeoff, LC advised, “You won’t show your backhand with the white knuckles if you keep your palms in close next to your body, thumbs up.”

     LC could cheer up a despondent senior troubled by the onset of incontinence by calling him or her the Go To Guy or Go To Gal. “So when you’ve got to go,” LC would say, “look for an outlet on your fast break or else make a padded landing.”

     I will not be hiring this coach to assist me in handling any of life’s challenges. I can call my own plays. Before I would ask her to “Put me in, Coach” I would contact one of Dr. Jack Kervorkian’s disciples to “take me out.”




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