Alexa, Amazon, & Prayer - Bruce Kirkpatrick
Bruce Kirkpatrick is a contemporary author of fiction and non-fiction stories.
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Alexa, Amazon, & Prayer

Prayer Request

            Next week I’m having my arthritic left hip replaced.

            When I tell people that, I get responses that range from “I’m sorry to hear that” to “you don’t even limp” and “is it that bad?”

            The first response is fine with me, but the last two puzzle me. It feels like they don’t think it’s the right thing to do. Like they’re questioning my judgement—or my pain. I know they mean well, but they don’t understand.

            What I’ve learned from this is that nobody understands your pain like you do. If they can’t see it, they can discount it. Especially if you’re good hiding it, which I suppose I am.

            But just because your pain—whether arthritic or emotional or spiritual—is not visible doesn’t mean it’s not real. And if you can fix your pain, wouldn’t you? Shouldn’t you?

            When I explain my condition and the limitations it has on me, people begin to understand. That’s the first step. Description and explanation of what you’re feeling. The second step is to find help. I found an orthopedic surgeon who fixes about 300 hips a year.

            So, if you’re in any kind of pain, including depression, exhaustion, frustration, anxiety, or hopelessness, find help. And don’t get discouraged if the pain persists. Maybe you just haven’t found the right help. After over two years of doing everything humanly possible to alleviate the pain in my hip, including chiropractic, diet changes, supplements, physical therapy, intense stretching, and purchasing several medical devices only found overseas, I called that surgeon.

            Chronic pain can be devastating. Don’t wait to reach out to somebody for help.

I’d appreciate your prayers for a successful operation and a speedy recovery. And if you feel like sharing your pain with me, I’m all ears. And prayers.


Amazon News

            I had a reader who wanted to buy a dozen copies of my latest book (Raising God’s Gen Z Teen) for the school where she was the director. Amazon said they only had “8 copies left, buy now.” Wrong! I’ve also heard readers tell me that on the Amazon site “only an e-book is available” for one of my titles. Wrong again!

            Amazon warehouses NONE of my books. They simply order them from whoever publishes the book (I have 3 different publishers for my 5 books). All my books are listed on Amazon in paperback and digital editions—and should always be available in both formats.

            Bottom line: Amazon is a master of getting you to buy what they want you to buy. If you’re not satisfied with the choices the Big A is showing you on the page, keep looking. Chances are what YOU want to buy is available. But Amazon doesn’t always want to you see that. As Lily Tomlin used to say as Edith Ann in that oversized rocking chair, “and that’s the truth!”

How would you write that funny tongue sound she used to make?



            My editor often compliments my dialogue in my books, saying I have a good ear for writing how people actually talk. I work on that; listening to the way people phrase things or how they don’t talk in more than single syllable answers.

            As I get older, I have to work even harder to listen. About seven years ago, at the suggestion of my wife, I got hearing aids. Then I found out that my wife often talks to herself when she’s trying to figure something out. I wasn’t really part of that conversation, so when I would say, “What?” she’d get frustrated because she wasn’t talking to me in the first place.

            Recently we got a security camera for outside our home, with an Alexa-powered screen in our kitchen. She tells us when there’s “motion at the front door” or “movement near the street.” She also can’t distinguish between people motion and our flag when it flaps in the wind. When she’s not monitoring our front, she likes to play music. So, now I’m trying to hear what my wife is saying—whether she’s talking to me or not—with competing sounds of Soft Jazz in the background. My wife’s choice, not mine. I’d be listening to Oldies or Luke Combs.

            And often the TV is on in an adjoining room. Talk about being sound bombarded. No wonder it’s so hard to communicate these days.

            Maybe we can all turn off all screens for one day a week and just talk. No TV, computers, phones, radio, music, or Alexa. Just talk.

            Alexa, stop!

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