Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good Luck, Your Majesty

For some reason I always wanted the chance to use the phrase "For those of you scoring at home..." It's a baseball reference that a radio play-by-play guy like the Dodgers' Vin Scully might use for the part of his vast audience using a pencil form to "score" the game. The phrase would be followed by a numerical description of a complex play recording just who had handled the ball.
So, for those of you scoring at home, Mona's E-room bill for the kidney stone was given at around $3500, approved by the insurance company at $2500, which then paid $500, leaving the rest (the deductible part) to be paid by her medical savings account. Do you get the idea? It takes a pretty big bill to generate a claim that's more than one or two month's premium.

Do you know anything about Uganda? My own knowledge is tiny, but I find it increasing as I read the story of Charles Wesley Mumbere, the expatriot Ugandan who until recently was a nurse's aid in Harrisburg, PA. His new job carries a bit more heft. He's the king.
All right, he isn't king of the entire country, and his duties are supposed to exclude political matters, but it's still quite a change. His part of the country (if it could be said to be "his") includes about 300,000 people in the mountainous region of Rwenzururu ("Mountains of the Moon"). There are no hospitals in the area. The "palace" is a single story whitewashed building, and the legislative council building which hosted the new king's induction, is made of, for lack of a better term, straw.
Mr. Murere's personal story is, as you could guess, pretty complicated, but the most interesting part to me is that though he never forgot or renounced his birth country, he never tried to exploit his Ugandan status in this country. A former boss in Harrisburg described him as "very hard working, very loyal and very private." I can't describe how I got this impression, but a picture I saw of him wearing a suit made me think that he looked kindly and compassionate, about as far removed from the Idi Amin Ugandan dictator type as possible. He's now 56, having spent almost half his life in the U.S.
Gosh knows Uganda has its problems, but what would go through your mind if someone offered the job of king to you - the chance to give orders after more than two decades of taking them in a useful but humble job? I think it might take a good deal of self-discipline and inner humility to keep the trappings of royalty, yes, even in a poor country, from going to your head.
As I say, my knowledge of Uganda is tiny, but I'm glad this little item came out, the result of an interview with a newspaper in Harrisburg. Perhaps Mr. M. will be such a royal success that other countries will look to the people who toil in humble jobs as potential leaders. To Mr. Mombere, I simply say, "Good luck, Your Majesty."


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