One definition of the word perspective is "the faculty of seeing all relevant data in a meaningful relationship." Not bad, but hard to consider when a slew of troubles crowd in on you. And yet, it can be done. A few examples:Imagine being born without the ability to see or hear. Who can blame someone for throwing in the towel on that one? A young woman named Helen Keller overcame it instead. So well that, with the dedicated help of Anne Sullivan, she became a college graduate (Radcliff), an author (12 books), renowned lecturer and world traveler.

Franklin Roosevelt was a rising star on the political scene as the 1920s came roaring in. Then polio knocked him down, making him a cripple for the remainder of his life. His wealthy mother wanted to pamper him away from politics and into a reclusive life. But his wife, Eleanor, urged him back into action. Wheelchair, crutches, leg braces and all, he became a governor, then one of our top three presidents.

Little Benny Franklin had to drop out of school when he was 10. Leaving home, he traveled by himself from Boston to Philadelphia and into the world of work as a printer. Seeking a better life, he taught himself five different languages, all the math of his day, and became an inventor, philosopher and one of our nation's most outstanding statesmen.

Closer to home, my friend and teacher-coach, Don Grant, was hoping to become an athlete when polio struck him, too. Ten years old, flat on his back, he was told he'd never walk again. He told me he woke with a wet pillow often until he realized crying was getting him nowhere.

Refusing to stay in a wheelchair, he crawled all over, eventually pulled himself upright, then hobbled on crutches, to one crutch, to a cane, and finally running unaided. Athletics? He played football and baseball on his knees for City College of San Francisco and gained the school's Hall of Fame. He also played guard on Cal's rambler teams.

From all this comes the hope that, the next time fate swats you with a sledgehammer -- your one-and-only runs off with Charlie the hairy-arm bartender, or the pro basketball teams won't give short guys the time of day -- stuff your woes in the perspective bag and give life your best shot.

Perspective humor: A fellow was talked into sky diving by a friend. Obviously worried, he was assured he'd have an extra parachute in case of trouble. And, after landing, a truck would pick him up to take him back.

He bailed out.

The main chute didn't open.

The secondary one didn't either. Then he said to himself, "I bet the truck won't be there either!"

Fortune knocked at a fellow's door one day.

But he wasn't home.

He was over at a neighbor's house complaining about his bad luck.

Contact Joe King at alamedanews@bayareanewsgroup.com.