Monday, August 29, 2011

You Go, Galt. And Keep on Going...

I should be reading my book (The Long Run by Matt Long) before it's due back at the library, but CNN coverage of Hurricane Irene's devastating floodwaters in Vermont keep me away.

My heart goes out to all of you in that beautiful state, but I've got a message for a few of you...

Now is the perfect time to practice what you preach: If you support Eric Cantor or Ron Paul who both are opposed to FEMA or if you support a hypocrite like Rick Perry who cries for Small Government but uses Federal Stimulus money to balance his state's budget and then has the audacity to pretend that his skills, and not our tax dollars, helped patch his deficit, I urge you to accept NO AID from the government or any public employee. Put down your copy of Atlas Shrugged and show me how tough you think you are.

For the rest of you dealing with Irene's devastation, I wish you all a safe and speedy recovery to some sort of normalcy, and I hope OUR TAX DOLLARS are spent well to help you get there.

Cunts are Still Running the World

You are the result of 4 billion years of evolutionary success.
Fucking act like it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Are You Stupid for a Living?

Have you ever been to the doctor and been surprised by what he found? Have you ever known someone who told you he was just diagnosed with something awful and thought, "But he looks fine?"

If you answered No to both these questions, Mazel Tov. Otherwise, you're probably aware that someone who looks healthy can be quite ill, and it's really up to a doctor who has access to big, expensive machines to determine what's going on.

So let's get right down to it, shall we? When I walk for one minute without stopping, I lose sensation in my thighs. If I continue, the loss of sensation spreads down to my legs. On warm days, I have less than that minute before the numbness kicks in. That's how MS works in my body.  That's just how it is.

I have a neurologist who sends me into an MRI every six months so he can keep his eye on all the lesions in my central nervous system, like the one sitting on my spine that is probably the culprit of my walking issue. You are not him. Unless you are, in which case Hi, Dr. B!

Do I need a wheelchair? No. Do I limp? Sometimes. Depends on the day, how warm it is, how far I've walked, and how much my exercises have helped me, etc. Do I look healthy? I guess that depends on the day too, but that's got just as much to do with how well I slept the previous night and whether or not I've whipped my JewFro into submission as the MS.

So if I walk away from a Handicapped spot, and you have the audacity to ask me if I'm handicapped, ask yourself if you've ever been surprised by what your doctor found at one of your check ups. Ask yourself if you've ever known someone who told you he was just diagnosed with something awful, and you thought, "But he looks fine!" Because you don't have MRI vision, you don't see the lesion on my spine, and I will beat you like a rented mule. How dare you, you cunt...

For Doz Dat Slept

You are the result of 4 billion years of evolutionary success.
Fucking act like it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nanakorobi Yaoki

Sunday night I watched Kill Bill, Volume 2 for the gazillionth time, and for the gazillionth time I envied the strength, power, and pure awesomeness that is The Bride. She may have done very naughty things when she was Bill's girl, but the movies' story begins after all that. Now, she uses her powers for Good. Well, maybe not  Good, but those people had that shit coming to them. She's Bad. Ass.

Here's the thing - much as I'd like to be that Bad Ass myself, I know you don't get to be that kind of Warrior without surviving some really shitty things in your life first. I'm not talking about I Didn't Have Money for a Swatch Watch Shitty or The Kids Made Fun of Me Shitty. I'm talking Shitty Shitty. No one is just born with the ability to calm themselves down and punch their way out of a coffin that's been buried six feet under without having first endured some Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei which, in the movie, appears to be Pretty Shitty. Rewarding, yes, but shitty nonetheless. Not even Pai Mei was born that way. You know that fucker had it rough growing up. Rough and Shitty.

Now - when people ask about my MS, I can tell them I'm worse off than some but better off than others. Like anyone else, with or without a chronic illness, I have my good days and bad.

If I talk about my childhood I can say the same. I was worse off than many and better off than others. I have no need to ask for a different life than the one I have or had - it's all made me the person I am - my own kind of Warrior. Maybe not Uma Thurman Bride-like Warrior, but I like my Warrior anyway. In fact I happen to adore her. She cracks my shit up.

The book I was reading this Sunday was Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle. Walls and her family lived a nomadic life of freedom with parents who taught her so much about math, science, art, nature, and literature that it's hard to not envy that part of her life. And yet, Holy Crap, what she and her brother and sisters endured...

I'll bet she's one Hell of a Warrior.

Castles Made of Sand

Seven times down
Eight times up.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hawkeyes and Hot Lips

The Late, Great George Carlin once said, "Somewhere in the world is the World's Worst Doctor, and what's truly terrifying is that someone has an appointment with him tomorrow morning."

For the number of medical specialists I see, you'd think I'd constantly come across fucking tools, but with the exception of one complete idiot and one dentist who cared more about money than my teeth, I've been pretty lucky. My checklist for great doctors, nurses, and technicians is small, but specific: Be compassionate, be really good at what you do, and make me laugh while you're doing it. Whether I'm in your chair or stirrups or having my head secured in place for an MRI, put me at ease, and if you can, make me chuckle. Over the span of 25 years, from the days I went to Planned Parenthood till now, I've been in excellent hands.

I had a nurse who saw how terrified I was before my colonoscopy that she put me as far under as legally allowed making the bowel prep the night before the worst part of the experience as opposed to the scope-up-the-butt part. Really.

My Chicago MD was clever enough to look for Multiple Sclerosis after being her patient for only 2 years. It's not an easy disease to diagnose. I think Terri Garr went through 16 years of mysterious symptoms before her doctors finally discovered she had it.

My Chicago dentist called an Endodontist off a golf course to give me an emergency root canal because of how much pain I was in.

I once had an MD who not only humored my father by calling him to assure him I did NOT have cancer, but his business card had the words "My Card" on the back.

My Primary Care Physician not only takes the most UNnoticeable paps, she put me on a diet that probably saved my liver and then resulted in my dropping about 20 pounds I didn't need.

I'm convinced my MS neurologist knows everything. I will take no arguments here. When it comes to Multiple Sclerosis He. Knows. Everything.

I could not have asked for better health care. And my new Endodontist yesterday did not disappoint.

After an astoundingly quick and painless root canal, we discussed the pain that would most likely kick in when the novocaine wore off. He asked which painkillers I can and can't have. Anything with Tylenol is a no-no for me, and although I like Vicodin, nothing compares to Oxycotton. If beer is proof that God loves us, Oxycotton is, at the very least, the Universe's way of letting me know I have roots in other teeth I don't need.

Him: Can you take Oxycotton?
Me: Yes. Yes I can.
Him: (While writing the prescription) Well take it if you need it, and if you don't need it, you can sell it at a high school...
Me: Or I can just take it anyway...
Him: Yes. Yes you can.

Compassion? Check. Really good at what he does? Check. Fucking good sense of humor? Check and Check.

Humor does not diminish the pain,
it makes the space around it get bigger.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm Not Gonna Fight You, Octopus. You're Drunk.

I was having a rough day when I stumbled into a public restroom and saw something that made me piss myself. Good thing I was already using the bathroom. I tried to photograph what is now my favorite public bathroom stall scribble, but there's a better image on the web:

Occasionally a total stranger I will never meet makes my day with shit like this.

And This.

And This.

So for all you vandals with good-spirited senses of humor, I give you many, many thanks. And a love song...

My Funny Valentine

You take the truth
and you put a little curlicue at the end.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Be Sure to Keep in Touch C.C... OK?

My first day at college, long before the age of cell phones, I sat in my suite's living room waiting for the single landline to free up. One of my six new suite-mates was using it to chat with her father and tell him about the bizarre dental work she had just gone through to accommodate an incisor she was never born with. The conversation caught my attention not because her ordeal sounded ridiculous, or because I was sitting right there, but because I too was going through the same ridiculous dental work for the exact same ordeal - a missing lateral incisor - the tooth right next to the front ones. Her process was further along, though. Completed, in fact, while I still had the temporary.

I asked her about it when she got off the phone, and we compared our smiles. Our genetic mishaps were exact mirror images. Mine is on my left and mirrors hers on her right. Funny.

The conversation swiftly moved from dental histories back to where it should have began - the high schools we graduated from, and it turned out She went to Catholic school with my good friend Christine. In a class of less than forty it's no surprise they knew each other, but it turns out they too were good friends. It's a Small, Small World. We compared Christine stories and landed on a party she'd thrown earlier that year  - one we had both attended. My memory began to do its thing, and I asked her if she had driven a brown '76 Ford Granada that night. Her eyes said Yes, but her mouth said, "I drove you back home that night so you wouldn't have to take the train, didn't I?" Yes. Yes, she did. I'm not a Car Person so I don't look at a vehicle and know what make and model it is unless it's obvious - like Mini Cooper obvious - but I recalled the car she borrowed from her mother that night because my mother drove the exact same car in a paint job two shades lighter. Funny again.

The things we had in common - being children of divorce, growing up in a home with just our mothers, coming from similar backgrounds of relative poverty - these things were common enough to not be surprising. But the weird stuff we had in common - the teeth, the cars, the fact that we'd met a year earlier, and the fact that we both had women in our lives who practiced Witchcraft, little stuff - was a bit much.

Our connection was soon made a little more bizarre with two events that were either fate or coincidence. One night, in a very drunken moment after the tequila was gone and the other girls in the suite had passed out, She told me a secret she shares with no one - one I'll take to the grave. Two months later I revealed my own little nightmare to her. Maybe because she was nearby? Maybe because she had entrusted me with hers, tequila induced or not? For whatever reason, we had become each other's Secret Keepers.

None of this made us instant BFFs.

For all she had been through, life had made her a secure, strong Old Soul who managed to keep a wicked sense of humor, while I, having been through many crappy things myself, was a very late bloomer and still a very insecure New Soul whose spine only surfaced while in the comfort of close friends. Perhaps there are confidant people who don't get annoyed by the presence of those sorely lacking it, but She wasn't one of them. I must admit that I find the insecure quite tedious. I don't mean the young kids still learning who they are - I mean the adults who should have figured it out by now. If you don't like spending time with yourself, chances are I'm not going to enjoy it either.

Anyway, I learned a lot in the first 17 years of my life, but she was the one who made me realize that learning to be comfortable in your own skin is just about the best thing you can learn to do. It can be debated that the ability to love others is higher on the list, but I've seen insecure people who Love, and it always feels like a desperate act to just have it reciprocated. Just my opinion. The point is she showed me a strength I longed for enough to work on it, and I have credited her with the birth of my spine everyday for the last 25 years.

After Freshman year we moved into different living spaces and only occasionally ran into each other on campus, but an art class in our Junior year threw us back into the same room for 6 hours a week. This time we became instant friends.

We spent our days skipping class together at a local pizzeria and our nights smoking our faces off at the Campus Pub. We laughed about the fact that no matter how broke we were, we always managed to find the cash to have lunch together or rent a car and road trip 7 hours to Toronto to see a taping of Kids in the Hall with fake press passes that would get us interviews with Dave Foley and Scott Thompson. Having finally caught up to her and being the proud owner of my own permanent fake lateral incisor, we asked each other to make sure there was no food caught in our mirror image fake teeth. We compared our spooky family witch stories and griped about our mothers' inabilities to manage their money. Boyfriends were required to accept our presence together at all times except during sex, and to this day I still use the brand of tampon she kept in her bathroom. We knew almost everything there was to know about one another and told people we shared a brain. We joked that the movie Beaches was about us.

I was sure she was my soulmate. My future boyfriends would just have to accept that they could be my perfect match and become my bestest buddy, but the role of Soulmate was taken.

After college I moved around like a gypsy so our contact was minimal, but a year after settling down in Chicago, she flew in on a business trip. She'd been to Asia earlier that year and and found a beautiful, enameled cigarette lighter casing which she bought and brought me that night. We spent the evening catching up and smoking our faces off till I drove her back to her hotel. It was 16 years ago and the last time I ever saw or spoke to her.

After her trip she stopped returning my calls. I made several attempts that year but never heard back. I was sad, hurt, and ridiculously confused because we'd had no argument, but I let it go. I didn't have a choice, really.

My brain, on the other hand, has refused to drop the subject. Through the years I've acquired quite a few recurring dreams, but the most aggravating are the ones where she is back in my life. Actually, it's a tie between those and the ones where I'm back at work, but both are relentless. I don't spend my days fixating on the friendship we had years ago, but at night my brain continues to think it's still sharing itself with her. It also still asks me to figure out how to turn a blue couch into a red Camaro for that evening's performance, but that's a different story altogether.

Last month my father died. The fucking morning after he passed, I wake up to a Facebook message from a mutual college friend of ours Suggesting we become FB friends. I have to admit it threw me for a moment. She finally created an account and could have sought me out to be in touch again, but she didn't. I ignored the Suggest and headed over to the bar with my brother and The Boy to have a drink in Dad's honor. And later, in a moment of much drunkenness, I sent her the Friend Request. To my utter surprise, she accepted.

The month has passed. Occasionally one of us will Like something on the other's page or, and just once, each of us has commented on one another's post. There has been nothing bold like a direct message to or from either one of us. Each day I expect to see she has removed herself from my list of FB Friends, and every day I'm shocked to see she's stuck around for another 24 hours. I'm as baffled by her willingness to be mildly in touch as I was 16 years ago when she decided she wasn't.

I have a list of things this woman has done for me. We co-managed our university's soccer team and just before a shit ton of paperwork was due, I got sick and she did every ounce of it. While painting summer stock in North Carolina for 7 weeks, she paid me a surprise visit.  She was behind the wheel all 14 hours of our Canadian road trip because I didn't yet have my license. I once had an intimidating phone call to make to a landlord who was holding my security deposit ransom, and she, pretending to be me, made the call. I'd grown some balls, but hers were still bigger. But again, she's the reason I decided to grow a pair in the first place. She was always more advanced than me. Always a step or two ahead.

Unfortunately, I can think of nothing I did for her. Perhaps we don't recall the gifts we give as well as we do the gifts we receive. Perhaps it's all gotten lost in one of my lesions. Or maybe, just maybe, there's really not much on my list worth recalling. I spent many recent years working at a university and being reminded of the self-centered nature of young adults. It's okay - it comes with the age. We grow out of it. But maybe she got tired of waiting for the late bloomer to catch up.

I've considered the possibility that this has never been a big deal to her. Maybe the young woman I looked up to never saw the loss of our friendship as much of a loss. but I'd like to thank her for what she taught me. I'd like to ask her why she never answered a single phone call even if it was to tell me what a jerk I was. I'd like to know why she took her friendship away without even discussing it with me. I'd like her to get out of my brain at night. I guess I just miss my friend.

Next month I will post a first direct message on her wall. A Happy Birthday. And then I'll wait and see if she Unfriends me for it. The following month, I will be curious to see if she wishes me a Happy one as well. Of course her birthday comes first. She has always been a step ahead of me.

Friendship Theme

My memory is very, very long.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Keep your NASCAR. I want Planned Parenthood.

I wrote the following post for my friends on Facebook six months ago and was reminded of it again today when someone posted the following list on my FB wall: 102 Things NOT To Do If You Hate Taxes.  It's a lot more concise than my post and a lot less pissy, but I'm a huge fan of pissy...

There's a political division in our country, and its line is crystal clear. The simplest breakdown that comes to mind is the freshest wound: half of us want to spend our tax dollars helping women who need health care while the other half wants the Pentagon to continue using taxpayer dollars to sponsor NASCAR race teams. Clearly this relationship has irreconcilable differences. I no longer believe the sentiment "United we stand, divided we fall," and I want a divorce. I won't lie and say "it's not you, it's me." It is definitely you. Please leave.

I know we both like this place and neither of us wants to go elsewhere, but I can no longer stomach your irrational ideas, and I know you'd rather not have to listen to me nag you with those Facts you hate so much, but the thought of having to survive you another year gives me the full body sensation of Not Fucking Tempting At All. Eventually, you'll invade some country and make yourself a new home, but until then, I'm willing to compromise. You should be happy about this because just yesterday I thought that rather than compromise, I'd rather put my fist though your teeth. There's something about people like you that just bring it out in me, I guess. We'll split the land and create two new nations: Blue North and Red South. This way, I, in Blue North, can keep Planned Parenthood, while you, in Red South, can have your NASCAR race team. I shudder just typing those words but cannot complain because now my tax dollars are not being used on something so low in priority I could scream. If that's how you want to spend your money, so be it. Just pack your things and your government and go. Let's do this amicably and avoid another Civil War. Our military is unavailable as they are overseas. I don't really know why they're not home with us, but they're not.

Don't get all pissy and start waving your gun, I hate when you do that. You can wave it all you want in your new country. Hell, you can shoot it. It's OK in Red South because everyone there knows their second amendment rights better than they understand how I chose which versions of "there" and "their" to use in this sentence. Sounds good to you, huh? Yeah, I thought so. Well I can sweeten the deal. Think of this: you may hang your confederate flag on any one of your new shack walls without having to watch me roll my eyes at you. The "you are so stupid" look (which I know you hate) that appears every time we try to discuss Global Warming (which I know you don't believe) will gently fade from your memory. Leave, and you'll never have to see it again! Trust me, when you get there and discover that your tax dollars still allow Water Boarding under Idiot Emperor Palin and Monkey Boy Beck, you too will breathe a sigh of relief that we are no longer together.

In fact, you may not even have to pay taxes! I know how much you hate those! Win! There's a glimmer in your eyes. I see you mentally pocketing your entire paycheck and saying goodbye to all the money you thought we were wasting on national endowments, museums, parks, welfare programs, Medicaid and Medicare, etc. Rand Paul is going with you so you can finally abolish federal funding for education Win win! Hey, you don't need to keep a single public library open! It's perfect because many of you headed for Red South don't read. Stop shaking your head. I'm pretty sure if you've found this Dear John letter, someone you call "College Boy" is reading it to you. Besides, not having a library saves you the hassle of burning its contents. And even though we all like a good bonfire, you won't have a fire department to put it out if it rages out of control so it would probably be more of a danger anyway.

Now that you don't have to pay for public schools, you don't have to worry about your kids learning anything naughty like Sex Education. That should keep them from having sex. Or Evolution. Also good. No point teaching that until you everyone in Red South has evolved a thumb. Those of you whose shriveled penises and uteruses still manage to help you reproduce can place your spawn in private schools that teach nothing but religion. Win win WIN! Of course, not everyone in Red South is of the same religion. I still don't understand how that happened, but a good brainwashing with lies and fabrications can affect anyone, I guess. And not everyone in Red South can afford private school because a lot of you are at poverty level. You'd think that someone who can barely afford to put food on the table would want a government that helps them instead of Big Business and corporations, but your spin doctors are that good. It's OK. The goal of your Religious Reich is to keep you as uneducated as possible. In theory, your ignorance will prevent you from asking them for things you need and deserve.

With all that religion and abstinence your schools teach, you are sure to keep your kids from getting pregnant. Wouldn't want a population explosion, would you? Now you just have to hope that no one rapes your wife, mother, daughter, or sister, because Red South can't afford prisons or a judicial system. Not that your judicial system would help you in this situation anyway.   It's just a matter of time before they successfully redefine that word. Besides, what's a little rape amongst dates? Let's just hope it's not one of YOUR family members, right?! Am I right? None of them are in danger of rape or anything, right? Let's see. I know a woman who was raped one night walking to her car, a woman who was raped when she entered her home and found an intruder there, a girl who was raped at 15 by her school teacher, and an 11 year old who was raped by a family friend. If all the women in your life can avoid, going out to their cars, coming home, going to school or being exposed to any of your friends, they may be able to avoid Forced Rape! And HEY! Not EVERY rape leads to pregnancy. Which is good, because Red South has overturned Roe v Wade. Yeah, let's hope you don't have too many rapists down there, because you sure as hell can't afford police. Or 911.

Wow. 911. That may be a problem. I hope you never have an emergency. It's not that you can't afford your own health care, it's just that you have no ambulances and it's only a matter of time before you will need someone to restart your black, black heart. Tick tock tick tock, ya know? Even if your car can go from 0 to 90 in under a second, the streets and bridges in Red South are in very bad shape. So watch what you eat! I know it makes you mad that Michelle Obama was trying to help your kids learn how to eat healthfully, but she had very good intentions. Stop believing Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. You'll see. Put down the Big Mac and just listen for once. You are so infuriating.

Look, I know you think that you can just invade Blue North and win me back, but please, don't make this difficult. A military is expensive, and Red South can't afford it. Maybe you can pay some taxes to help pay for an Army ... what? You still don't want to pay? OK. Are you sure? You have so many countries to pretend to worry about... Have it your way, it's your new country. Maybe you have a rich neighbor who's willing to sponsor them instead of those NASCAR teams. But it's his army, and they sure as hell aren't fighting for anything YOU want. Maybe some of your Barefooted and Pregnant in the Kitchen can get together and hold a Bake Sale. Treats for Tanks. Oozies for Uzis. I'm not good with naming things. Yeah, I don't think Blue North is in any danger.

Before you go, I just want to try one last time to help you understand, because in the long run, I think it's best you know the truth. Yes, it's hard for you to see it because when it comes to facts, you're blind in one eye and can't see out the other, but try. We need to talk about your Daddy.

Now I know you hate when I insult him, but one day, I'm hoping you'll understand that he is behind this whole mess. Damn. The shit he says when he's in the passenger seat! It's funny how he likes to talk about the deficit he started and blame it on MY side of the family. Can't seem to understand that my memory goes back a few years. And he lied when he said he would make our lives better if we gave him back the car keys. Watch him waste time with talk of things that rile us up so we don't notice that he's not taking us anywhere we want to go. He's hoping we don't notice that he's not trying to balance the budget. He's trying to strip us of any rights we have to fight for a better life. Catch him off guard and he will accidentally admit it only 47 seconds into the conversation.

You may think he's going to let you earn some of that Big Corporate Money he flaunts in front of us, but he is lying. How much did we loan him a few years ago when he needed us to bail him out of that mess with his gambling buddies? And what did he do when we asked him to pay it back? I could've told you that the only Trickle Down you'd feel is blood from your asshole. So ironic that he's homophobic. You're never going to see one red cent, because every penny you take is one he can't have. His mansion at the top of the hill blocking your hut from any sun may feel like a loving shade, but I assure you the UV rays can still get through so wear your sunblock!

By the way, your Mama needs to back away from the camera. "We need more Spudnut moments?" That's  an Oscar Wilde quote, right? She's a spent piece of trash and can't make a good Bloody Mary.

It's getting late; time you headed out. I had a great time; it was like the Nuremberg Trials. Have fun at your Tea Party. Don't forget to drink the whole cup, sometimes the poison's at the bottom.

The Golden Age

You are the result of 4 billion years of evolutionary success.
Fucking act like it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

If You Say So

If you say you are for Small Government but insist that your opinion should be present while I'm discussing options for my body and health with my doctor, you are not for Small Government.

If you say you are Pro Life but don't believe everyone is entitled to affordable healthcare, think that a fertilized egg has more rights than the woman carrying it, or are for the death penalty, you are not Pro Life. You are just Pro Fetus. Dick.

If you say you stand behind the Constitution but talk about the Bible when discussing our government and legislation, you don't stand behind the Constitution, you stand behind the Bible. That's okay, just stop getting your peanut butter in my chocolate.

If you say that Rules and Regulations are Anti-Market or that deregulation won't lead to greedy corporations Donkey Punching the clean air, water, food, and FDIC protected savings out of us, you are naive or a liar. Either way, I think you suck.

If you say you are a Patriot but you neither protect the land from people who cry Drill, Baby, Drill nor fight for all American's rights, you're not a Patriot. You're a fucking douchebag.

Now shut the fuck up, cunt.

That's Just What You Are

You are the result of 4 billion years of evolutionary success.
Fucking act like it.