John Barrette

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October 22, 2013
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Triumph and travail mark human condition, but people trump travail

People are a major part of the joy that plying this trade called journalism brings. You get nosy for newsy items about folks, then craft tales befitting them.

It’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys to watch humans barreling around, bustling to tackle events of the day or meandering instead to avoid or delay them. Certainly there also are times when people do things that scream news on the downer side, and covering them can be the pits. But when it’s dirty work like that, someone still has to do it. Inquiring minds always want to know.

A potpourri of events nationally, regionally and locally reminded anyone with an inquiring mind this week what a chaotic yet wondrous world this is, what a fine place — despite all its flaws — surrounds us, and what opportunities await anyone who wakes up in good health to seek wealth and have fun in 2013 Carson City.

A German man marked for death in 1987 came to visit me this week, bringing with him his message of choosing life rather than death. Randolph Westphal, written up elsewhere in today’s edition, is a cancer survivor who rides his bicycle all over Europe and the Americas. His insight: avoid stress, eat well, enjoy nature and live.

“We are nature also,” he said. “We are not robots.”

What an uplift he was on the day after life was snuffed out so senselessly in Sparks, less than an hour of driving time but a world away from this placid autumn in Carson City. The Monday scene in Sparks, however, brought to mind the IHOP shooting tragedy little more than two years ago in Carson City, so Westphal brought to town a tonic just when it was needed.

Nationally, the week began with news stories on Congressional hijinx and members using PAC money for personal purposes, of a Naval officer and NCIS investigator taking bribes, and of President Obama acknowledging the Affordable Health Care Act rollout was botched at the federal level. Bummers in many people’s eyes.

Obama said that latter problem will get fixed. But the federal mess makes some Nevadans breathe easier to know — despite some glitches also in the state rollout to handle the same law — that having a Silver State insurance exchange may soften downside impacts of ACA, comparatively, going forward.

The highlight of the week, however, was a chance to meet a man who came to Carson City hawking his book in the free marketplace of commerce and ideas. Warren Lerude on Monday spoke here about his biography, “Robert Laxalt: The Story of a Storyteller,” and he gave a folksy presentation. Lerude spent his pre-retirement years in news work and knew Laxalt well.

He conveyed his fondness for Laxalt, a Northern Nevada literary lion raised in Carson City, and his own understanding of this joy called journalism, this life in the fast lane observing human triumph and travail.

The Lerudes and Westphals of the world make the triumphs trump all the travails.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Oct 22, 2013 11:19PM Published Oct 22, 2013 11:19PM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.