Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Sunday, September 30, 2007
I'm sorry. I was all set to write an erudite treatise on the state of conservatism in the nearly-post-Bush world of American politics, drawing parallels between our modern times, Cromwell's England and Souvlakistan under totalitarian leader Gborg Prozcniblerg. Then I got the word that Newt Gingrich isn't running for president and I just lost my will to go on.
Oh, Newt, how could you let me down like that? Ever since you led the Republican Revolution back in those innocent days of the mid-nineties, I've looked to you to help me understand what was going on in the world and what I should think about that.
I'd been hoping--no, no--I'd been praying that you would hear the plaintive cries of the American people and come to our rescue by running for the highest political office in the land. I'd thought that your conservative message would be the beacon that lifted this country out of the doldrums brought about by those nay-saying Can-Don'ts in the Congress. You'd seize control and, as Commander-in-Chief, you'd lead us to victory in Iraq. You'd figure out how to turn around this crazy housing market. You'd find a way to keep those filthy immigrants out of our borders. You'd take the Unified Executive Theory to its logical conclusion by finding a way to be elected President For Life.
Turns out you're just kind of an assbag who wanted some press for his PAC. Go figure.
Friday, September 28, 2007
So my visit to the orthopedic doc on Thursday was both a relief and a giant anti-climax. It also offered none of the insta-cure that I'd been hoping for, preferably in the form of a citrus-flavored leg-healing Miraclo pill that would also grant me super-strength for an hour at a time.
Walking into the office, I was faced with the receptionist. I truly should not be disparaging of this young woman, as she really seemed to be doing her best to make everyone's morning a little brighter and she was the Spock-with-goatee version of your typical glowering New York medical office worker. But dealing with someone that fucking chipper when you've just limped over from 57th and Broadway just makes your discomfort all that much lamer (no pun intended, but I'll take 'em if they just fall in my lap like that.)
The doctor was late, of course, which meant that I got to sit back, read my magazine and enjoy the frustration of the uptight cubicle-dweller who hadn't had the foresight to take the full day off, like me. I'm ever so clever that way. This lady was clearly in a big-ass hurry and had not time to waste on health care. She angrily tossed her coat here and she testily handed over her insurance card there. And she ended up walking out as huffily as she could manage about two minutes before the doctor finally showed.
When my turn came, Little Mary Sunshine escorted me back to the examination room making small-talk I was too goddamn rude to maintain. The doctor breezed in a few minutes later and took a fairly perfunctory look at my leg. He noted that my right hamstring was "all tight and shit," and then he did an ultrasound on it. Having been swimming in infertility issues for nearly two years, this did not exactly bring happy thoughts to my head.
After the briefest of scans, though, he told me I had a strained hamstring. Nothing more. Did it while running, he guessed. I asked him if it was really possible to strain one's hamstring while running a few miles a few times a week, averaging a speed at which one routinely gets lapped by 85-year-olds out speed-walking. He seemed to believe such a thing was indeed possible.
So the diagnosis comes down to this: I'm a huge pussy.
All my worries about sciatica or a gigantic tumor or a flesh-eating virus that had mysteriously begun its nefarious work inside my thigh were for naught. Instead, I just wasn't doing enough stretches before I ran.
He really did describe this as "no big deal". I asked him, just to clarify what a quivering-chinned little cowardly eunuch I am, if this "strained hamstring" could cause excruciating fucking pain. He implied that it most definitely could. Which made me feel slightly less wuss-tastic, but not by much.
He told me I needed physical therapy and gave me a prescription for a stronger anti-inflammatory than the useless fucking over the counter shit I'd been taking, although he sort of made it sound like I was pathetic if I then used the meds. Which I am.
I am, then, still gimping it up. But at least I know that I don't have some weird new leg-eating termite. 'Cause I hear those little fuckers are nasty.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Every time I've sat down to watch Ken Burns' new documentary this week and, during the introduction, the announcer has said, "Sponsorship of The War has been provided by...", I just automatically finish the sentence with, "America's Oil and Gas Industry. Sending your sons and daughters to die so we can maintain healthy profits."
Turns out they're not actually talking about that particular war.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Yeah, yeah, I know. Not only am I no longer all that fucking funny, but now I'm bringing the unfunny on an appallingly infrequent basis. I'm the Chris Tucker of random topic blogging.
There are a lot of things I could blame, I suppose, for nosedive in both my bloggy and legitimate writing lately. There's the fact that my wife loves the Baked Ruffles with the cheddar powder on them and sometimes eats them at the computer, leaving the keyboard coated with a dusting of faux curd that I then have to scrub off. (As far as complaints about one's wife go, that kind of nitpicky shit is all I've got, so I'll take the occasional messy keyboard and count myself unutterably lucky.)
There's my old excuse that school has started up, leaving me exhausted and, more often than not, drunk.
Add to that this fucking leg pain, the end of which I'm praying comes soon after I show up an hour and a half early for my goddamn doctor's appointment tomorrow morning.
But, y'know, the truth is I'm just not feeling goddamn funny lately. Everything's just looking kind of grey to me at the moment.
All is not lost, though. I'm thinking that my spirits are about to be dragged up into the upper atmosphere any time now. Y'see, I've got the premiere episode of ABC's new Cavemen sitcom on my DVR and I just know that, the second I start watching it, my faith in a just and righteous universe will be restored.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Turning Lemons Into Tiny Smashed-Up Bits of Lemon
I am so incredibly displeased with the universe at this particular moment that it's kind of hard to put the feeling into words. It's a lot easier to just smash my forehead into a wall until I pass out. But seeing as how the walls in our apartment are poorly hung drywall which would rapidly turn to powder under my brutal cranial assault, I'll try to explain through the magic of words.
I wrote on Monday of the riotous good time I've been having lately with my leg. I believe I mentioned that, when I saw my doctor--two weeks ago tomorrow--he referred me to an orthopedic surgeon who would be able to give me an MRI and, hopefully, determine just exactly why the fuck my leg wants to kill me. Since last week was Rosh Hashanah, this new doctor had very little room in his schedule and I had to wait until today for an appointment. "Two weeks is not that big a deal," I thought. "I'll just whine like a petulant toddler to my long-suffering wife until then."
Here's where things get fun.
Over the two weeks since my last appointment, my leg has gotten progressively worse. Yesterday was, in fact, so bad that I very nearly tried to just amputate the goddamn thing with the sharpest kitchen implement I could find, which, sadly, was a carrot peeler. The only thing that kept me from it was the knowledge that today, I would finally know just what the fucking problem is and would be on the road to having it resolved.
I left work early today. I rushed home, walked the dogs and headed out the door nearly an hour before my appointment. By all rights, I should be sitting here right now, writing about the visit and doing my best to explain the medical jargon the doctor had told me. But, see, there was something I hadn't counted on; the one thing that all people who live on the West Side of Manhattan fear more than any other: getting to the fucking East Side.
If you live where we do, there is no really great way to get to the East Side, where the doctor's office is located. You have to rely on crosstown buses, which move with all the speed of an octogenarian's bowels, or the handful of East/West subway shuttles, non of which are located anywhere near where I needed to be. So I did what I've done the last few times I've needed to go to an appointment on the East Side, I went to the top of the park and hopped a bus down Fifth Avenue.
Fully believing in the soundness of my logistics, I sat back, listened to some music and read an article in the latest New York Magazine. And then another article. And then another. I looked up and realized that the bus had only made it to 102nd Street. The doctor's office is on 53rd.
With ten minutes to go and the bus making snails look positively zippy, I hopped off the bus at 86th. Really dumb idea. Just monumentally fucking dumb. To catch a downtown train, I would have had to hike all the way over to Lexington getting out at 59th, I would then have had to hike all the way back to Madison. Crosstown blocks being a whole lot longer than uptown/downtown blocks, it was a detour I didn't think I could afford. So I just started walking downtown.
Let me point out here that indecision is really a killer when you're trying to get somewhere. Years of watching The Amazing Race has taught me that, once you pick a mode of transport, you really just have to hope that you made the right call and live with it if you didn't. So, my route laid out, I just gimped down Madison Avenue as fast as my traitorous fucking leg would carry me. Glancing back over at Fifth, I saw that the congestion had cleared up below 84th and the buses that had been crawling along so pathetically were now whizzing by. I cursed myself. Literally, I called myself a schmuck out loud just as some well-dressed tall guy walked by me. He looked up from his Blackberry momentarily and the pointedly crossed the street.
By the time I reached 53rd and Madison, I was twenty minutes late. And then I couldn't' find the entrance to the building. The address I had was 515 Madison, but the only entrance I could find was for a Europa Cafe. Since I needed an MRI and not an overpriced croissant, I called the doctor's office for clarification, at which time the receptionist told me that they'd need to reschedule my appointment.
I tried to tell her about the bus, how it wasn't my fault, but she didn't care. Receptionists never give a shit about the bus. I hung up and nearly cried. I found the entrance to the building and limped my way to the 17th floor. Actually, I limped to the elevator and the elevator took me to the 17th floor, but I'll go ahead and make it sound even more pathetic. I thought that maybe, putting a face behind the name, the receptionist might have more sympathy. But no. The doctor was behind, she said, and he needed to leave by 5:30. I didn't bother trying to point out that he was currently seeing people early because they'd taken my spot and that meant that he should've been able to see me during their slot. Receptionist never give a shit about your logic.
And so I now have an appointment in another eight days. I tried calling my insurance company to find out if it would cost me a lot more to just go to the fucking emergency room, but they decided to close up shop a little early today, so there was nobody to take my call. Insurance companies never give a shit about keeping to their posted hours.
I hate the bus.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Gimpy Gimpy Ya Ya, Mama
Couple months ago, I got a bit of a sore leg. Nothing big; just, if I sat for long stretches, my right leg would hurt for a second or so when I stood up. This might prevent me from, say, taking an early lead in the Living Room to Bathroom Relay race, but didn't do much to hamper my lifestyle in any other major way.
I figured maybe I wasn't stretching enough after runs. I even briefly entertained the notion that, despite the flab that fairly clearly indicated otherwise, I was maybe running too much. I did my best to alleviate the problem by putting my leg up when I sat on the couch and making sure I gave special stretching attention (or "strention", as I like to call it) to my right leg after my grueling two-mile runs.
After a few weeks of this, though, the problem mutated, like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, but with less vomiting. Now, my leg no longer hurt a little bit for the first few seconds I stood up, allowing me to really savor those blissful moments of initial verticality. Instead, it would randomly fill with excruciating pain as I was walking down the street. It felt kind of like if someone stuck a whole bunch of knives in your leg at once. This is just a guess, mind you, as I've never actually known anyone who would be such a tremendous asshole as to inflict multiple stab wounds upon my appendages.
The pain would cause me to limp, which was utterly pointless, because taking my weight off the leg did absolutely nada to stop the pain. After sticking around just long enough to make sure I'd had time to really enjoy it, the pain would go away. This was actually kind of frustrating, because, when you're limping pitifully one second and then walking perfectly normally the next, people think you're some kind of limp-faking dipshit. Sometimes, I'd continue limping until I got around a corner, just to maintain continuity.
I went to my doctor a couple of weeks ago, but he had no real idea what the hell the problem was. This may be due to the fact that I'm so completely inadequate when it comes to describing the pain. Mostly, I just pointed to the leg and cried, "Owie!" He was kind enough to refer me to another doctor, an orthopedic specialist (orthopod? orinoco flow? I'm never sure of which specialty means what.) Anyway, this guy apparently has an MRI or some such fancy gizmo, which I've never had done and desperately hope doesn't leave me impotent.
The earliest appointment this guy had, though, was this coming Wednesday, which means I've been gimping it up in the meantime, as the pain has become something more of a constant. It's been a rollicking good time hiking up to teach my students on the fifth floor. It's also meant that I haven't run in weeks and I can literally hear myself getting fatter with each passing day.
I want this to go the fuck away. I long for the days when I had to actually work to come up with excuses not to run. This has just made it way too easy.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Lazy Cut-n-Paste Blogging
Why the hell can't I get students like this?
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I took a few moments today, as I always do, to think about my own experience on this date six years ago. I would have to guess that most people do likewise, after all, no matter if what we went through on that day was insignificant compared to what happened to the victims, we're all going to approach that day from our own viewpoints. I assume everyone then then focuses on more important things like remembering the victims of 9/11 and reflecting on the many and sundry ways our worlds has changed for the shittier since then.
Something I find just utterly shittier is the way we've let a small group of douche-nozzles co-opt the word "patriot" over the last six years. This started way back in the weeks after the attack, when anyone who didn't rush out and get the Stars & Stripes tattooed on their bicep could have feces flung at them while walking down the street. Bush came out with that fucking ignorant phrase "You're either for us or you're against us" and that's been his narrow-minded goddamn policy ever since.
This pin-headed mindset was used to shut down dissenting opinions wherever they appeared. It's why so many cover-my-ass-first-and-foremost politicians have spent the last couple of years trying to explain their support for this stupid goddamn war.
And it's still going on today. Even with the majority of Americans on both sides of the political fence sick and tired of our men and women in the military dying for trumped-up bullshit reasons, our politicians still have to hedge what they're saying, lest they look weak. Hillary Clinton took Barack Obama to task for uttering the quite reasonable opinion that we shouldn't ever use nuclear weapons. What the hell kind of lobotomized yahoo thinks that nuclear weapons are a good idea?
You can't watch the debates or any Sunday morning show without suffering through the inanities of some executive branch wannabe tossing out excuse after excuse as to why we can't even begin to start talking about withdrawal. John McCain, who used to be intelligent, if I remember correctly, blabbed on and on to George Stephanooblihoo this week about the fact that we cannot bring our troops home if doing so means they come home "without honor."
This is such bullshit. What he's saying here is yet again another iteration of the belief that, if we want to end the war--even if we want to do it gradually; even if we want to be as careful as possible not to create a fucked-up failed state when we do so--we are unpatriotic.
So I say now to Mr. McCain--who I've decided to nickname Cheeks, the Toy Wonder: Cheeks, don't you think that, however they come home, our soldiers come home with honor? They've served their country exactly as their leaders asked them to. They've endured multiple tours of duty, being dragged away from their families again and again. They've been injured, they've faced death. They've got the honor part down. Now we just need to start bringing them home.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Oh, Shit, That's Right, I Have a Blog, Don't I?
Well hello there. I know most of you were probably thinking, "Thank God. Now I can stop checking this site. He's finally giving up and freeing us from feeling guilty if we don't read his pointless bullshit."
But no. Actually, I just took a break there. First, I went to Ohio to stand awkwardly in a church while a pastor poured water over my poor screaming nephew. He was not a happy lil' guy. But he made it through. And now, as his godfather, I've promised to talk up how cool Jesus is or something along those lines. Which I'll probably forget to do. Sorry, Jesus.
And then, after that, I had to deal with the last...sweet God, I was about to say the "last week of school." Wishful goddamn thinking. No, it was actually the first week of school. The first of oh, so many fucking weeks. The first step on that long, torturous descent into hell and the madness that lies therein.
Nah, I'm just funnin' with you. Actually, it's not been that bad, relatively speaking. There's the usual exhaustion that accompanies the usual chaos. There's the usual utter lack of communication that leads to the usual frustrations. But, to balance that, I had, as I entered my fifth year of doing this shit, a kind of pleasant realization.
I took a look at some of the very nervous-looking beginning teachers and I thought to myself, "I'm not the least bit worried about this. I've been through so very much shit since I started that I don't think there's anything that I truly wouldn't know how to deal with. I actually kind of...know what I'm doing." It's freaky, people.
So anyway, I'm sorry I haven't taken the time to share any of my truly fascinating thoughts on Fred Thompson or the Petraeus or Britney Spears' sad little dance number at the VMAs. I'll do my best to never again leave you alone, wondering exactly what you should be thinking.