“My Heart, Your Heart”

Ron Paul Curriculum, English 1, Lesson 15

Write 500 words on this topic: “Discuss some of the good things that came as a result of Lehrer’s heart attack.”

In 1983, Jim Lehrer, an author and former TV news anchor, had a heart attack. He was 49 at the time, and appeared daily on the MacNeil/Lehrer Report.

Contrary to first thought, Mr. Lehrer’s heart attack actually resulted in many good things. Not only did it lead Mr. Lehrer to make better life choices, like quitting smoking, and pursue his passion more, such as getting back into fiction, it literally saved the lives of some of the people watching the MacNeil/Lehrer Report.

The first and most immediate benefit is that Mr. Lehrer decided to change some aspects of his life for the better. He quit smoking, something that he had done since 1954. As he described it, prior to the heart attack, he had been determined there would still be cigarette smoke in his lungs when he succumbed to the hospital reaper. All of that had to change, and it took a heart attack, recovery, surgery, and another recovery period, along with the fear of a repeat of the cycle, to break the habit. Mr. Lehrer also completely replaced his diet, and started eating healthfully. While previously, he had a long list of unhealthy things he liked to eat, he had to switch to a long hard list of unappetizing foods that are supposed to be healthier. From the diet of a “pimply-faced 15-year old,” to something better, with fruits and vegetables. It’s hard for me to say this, not being too far from a pimply-faced 15-year old myself, but it probably was a healthy and important decision.

Next, it drew Mr. Lehrer’s attention to what he wanted to pursue in his spare time. He wanted to renew his efforts to collect bus signs and memorabilia, and he wanted to get back into writing fiction. He created a list of bus signs that he wanted to get a hold of, and set out collecting. With his writing, he decided to start spending more time on it. He started writing plays, but they weren’t received well by most. He then tried and succeeded with more fictional novels. At the time of his autobiography, Mr. Lehrer’s One-Eyed Mack series achieved enough popularity to become at least five novels long. Today, Mr. Lehrer has a grand total of 19 novels published, and I would expect the option is still available for more.

Lastly, Mr. Lehrer did My Heart, Your Heart on TV. It prompted viewers to pay more attention to tight chests and tingly arms, to quit smoking, and, uh… eat better. Of course, there are the people who had close calls, and that know that Mr. Lehrer saved their lives, but there are also people who never developed the problem in the first place, because they weren’t poisoning themselves daily with tobacco, or for other reasons. Those people, of whom there are likely more of and we’ll never know about, were actually done an even greater service than those who had the close calls. Their heart problems either never began, or never got out of hand.

In conclusion, Mr. Lehrer’s heart attack had a lot of good consequences. However, the judgement of whether the good outweighs the bad is up to Mr. Lehrer himself, and he remarks in his autobiography that the heart attack was absolutely not worth the poor habits. Through getting out of smoking, and pursuing his passion more, he made leaps and bounds in his personal life, and through My Heart, Your Heart, he prevented the same fate from coming to many other people, and saved the lives of more.

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3 thoughts on ““My Heart, Your Heart”

  1. Very nice! I enjoyed your essay. One suggestion I have is that you better introduce your subject in your introduction paragraph. I know the Lehrer to which you refer but other readers may have no idea of whom you are speaking.

    Take a look at this student’s essay on the same topic:
    https://eschoolbloging.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/how-having-a-heart-attack-changed-jim-lehrers-life/

    He added a picture of Jim Lehrer and gave background information about the heart attack that prompted the essay question. That helps to catch the reader up on the topic and connect them with the person you are writing about.

    Liked by 1 person

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