Friday, May 28, 2010

Pride Before The Fall


A couple days ago, a close friend of mine texted me to say hi. She finished watching a documentary titled, "America" airing on the History Channel and wanted to share her enjoyment. Weeks before, I scanned a few of the promotional commercials and made a curt decision it was something I wouldn't watch. I was apprised of its airing, but deemed it to be a propaganda tool to inveigle patriotism for dejected Americans. There was no doubt in my mind the America depicted on television would glamorize America's violent history.

After exchanging a few texts, my friend relayed how proud she felt to be American. What a surprise. It irritates me when people are proud of things they are by default. White pride. Irish pride. Jewish pride. American pride. You name it, there's tattoos inked on people, shirts worn and festivals made for it, and a cult proselytising about it. Why should anyone take pride in something in which they had no choice in the matter?

Don't misread what I'm saying. I think it's appropriate to have pride in others or your own accomplishments. You can be proud of your team for making the championship. You can be proud of yourself for getting a new job. You can be proud of gaining citizenship as an immigrant after years of stymied bureaucracy. But to be proud of something you cannot control or change seems foolish, arrogant, and ignorant. Shouldn't pride result from merit?

What's further troubling, is my friend claims to be a devout humanitarian. Perhaps our definitions aren't analogous, because I doubt humanitarians are ardent nationalists. It would seem counterintuitive to have such reverence for your own nation while promoting inclusion and being a 'citizen of the world.'

I am not proud to be an American, though I am fortunate to be one. There are many places in the world much worse, and there are a few places better. I don't subscribe to the canonical dogma we're bombarded with. I consider myself an iconoclast, not for sake of being difficult, but because it's what I represent. When the national anthem plays, I don't stand like 99.9% of the general public. Is it because I hate America?

No. I despise parts of it (like the national anthem) and love other parts of it. I may be proud of George Washington, but I'm not vicariously proud in my own citizenship in the nation he help found. Claiming pride in an entity as large and complex as America seems imprudent to me.

Considering this is a largely Christian nation, it's ironic there's so much pride espoused. Jesus wouldn't be pleased.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Unnecessary Things

I found myself typing this today while my brain was reciting some of the unnecessary fluff in our world. For nearest example, see the ubiquitous phrase, "I found myself" - tainting the previous sentence. As a voracious reader and writer, rarely do I bounce from one column to the next without encountering this meaningless phrase. It irks me. Without an extensive background in English, unsurprisingly I have some temerity to criticize published authors. However, in high school, I had a stickler of a teacher who harped on mitigating unnecessary words. She would liberally use her red felt tip marker and circle all the 'that's and 'there are's' to the point where an essay resembled a true/false exam.

Which bestowed in me the chore of editing others' newsletters, memos and emails. In other words, I blame my high school English teacher for an increased workload as a professional. Thanks, Ms. Kugler.

Many of you may be wondering, ummmm dude, you realize asking you for grammatical help is like asking Lady Gaga for makeup advice. In my defense, this blog goes unedited and published quickly without hesitation. Pretty much, if you see mistakes, attribute them to blogger because, like BP, I refuse to take responsibility. And why not deflect when that's always an option?

A lucid example of marshmallow fluff is a coxswain. During my runs over the Key Bridge to Arlington, I study these smug folks who yell at their counterparts laboring exhaustively. A coxswain is the person who sits in the stern of the boat and pretends to navigate while actually reveling in the sheer gloriousness of his job. It's like mattress testing with a waterfront view. Plus you get to yell at people. WHY AM I SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS? Why wasn't I recruited out of college I could've been the biggest cox ever. Oh that's right, because I'm 200 pounds.

Anyway, another example is a tennis chair umpire. This is the person responsible for a coin toss, followed by three hours sitting under a shaded seat watching the best tennis match around. Occasionally, if she feels up to it, she can rebuke a line judge who's forced to squint without blinking at a line in the glaring sun, missing the ongoing tennis unfolding a few feet ahead of him. These poor folks also have to dodge balls ricocheting at speeds approaching 140 mph. They get berated at times (see Serena Williams) and humiliated when superseded. Screw, being a ball boy or line judge, sign me up for the throne. At the conclusion of the match, both victor and loser are forced to shake the umpire's hand before she can be excused to go on break.

Rough life.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Trip

Keeping with tradition, Pops and I are taking another cultural enrichment experience (an obscure deflection of hedonistic vacation) this summer to Sri Lanka, followed by London for the better portion of July. I am being cordially relieved of my duties at work (another example of putting things mildly) at the end of June, thereby freeing me to travel in July before matriculating to American University in August. Pops is stopping in DC first so we can fly together and so we won't get lost in the throngs of white people in Colombo.

Being the adventure buffs we are, no journey is complete without strenuous physical activity, so during the days in Sri Lanka we're participants in a bicycle tour (a la Vietnam trip - search archives circa March 2008) throughout the countryside. Each day includes a sufficient amount of biking, which for me is equivalent to about 50 miles or less, but Pops may decide to venture on into the night until it becomes too dark to ride, where he will likely ride backwards chasing the falling sun, cursing the night for inhibiting his workout. About that time, I'll likely venture into town for a light beer and scour the streets for an ice cream shop or internet cafe.

Sri Lanka, for those geographically challenged, is an island approximately 20 miles south of India. Lanka means island and Sri means venerated, so it's basically like saying This Place is Fu@#ing Dope. One of the most sought-after tourist destinations, Sri Lanka is a developing nation with an impressive literacy rate and a functional democracy. It's also tangentially mentioned in my favorite video game growing up, Street Fighter. You may remember Dhalsim, who represented India, with his fast fists and shaved chest. Yep, beat the game with that guy. Anyway, as a former extension of England, which actually includes just about everywhere, it's fitting that after 15 days we explore the former and current imperialists firsthand. We'll spend a few days in London and likely take day-trips to neighboring cities for a more urban exposure.

One small cause for concern is whether my knee will be strong enough to endure day-after-day spinning. However, I've been riding the stationary bike little by little each day, which is kind of like practicing on a blow-up doll before making out with a live woman. It's never the same, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't practice. My physical therapist and I meet twice a week and I've explained to her my goal of publishing my book. But more pertinently, I shared with her my goal of making sure I'm just strong enough to let my Pops pass me at the end of our rides for his self-esteem. She said perhaps I should just take it easy and focus on finishing. Pshhhhh. She obviously doesn't know me that well.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Libertarian Allurement

With the ascension of Rand Paul to the forefront of national politics, many pundits have commented about America's flirtations with libertarian ideology. Acolytes disparage big-government, welfare, regulation efforts, high taxes, infringements on smoking or gun rights, etc. What's mysteriously missing from this debate is the recognition that libertarian philosophy is flawed in its extremism.

Many adherants are too provincial to recognize its shortcomings. While residents of Louisiana watch helplessly as their ecosystem, shore and fish turn a murky red from BP's oil spill, anger is directed toward Washington. Well, BP is the culprit and BP has done an atrocious job of ceasing the leak and cleaning up the disaster. Obama, peculiarly unfazed, has respected the wishes of private enterprise and not intervened. I presume he's instructing another 'teachable moment' by his laissez-faire resolve while subtly proving how unchecked private enterprise fails.

Another example is the anger from tea-party activists toward government. Their visceral rejection of all policy is counterproductive to their well-being. For example, many are justifiably outraged regarding the TARP bill and Washington's kowtowing and rescuing of banks and investment firms. This anger has merits. But then, to criticize the Obama administration and Democrats for legislation designed solely to prevent another calamitous bailout situation - implementing regulations and taxes onto these gigantic corporations - the anger remains pointed at Obama. So which is it? Are they mad at government or corporations? 

An unbridled government can be just as disastrous as unchecked private organizations. What this nation does fairly better than others, is working within a paradigm allowing certain elements of free-market enterprise while regulating and insuring the public well-being. There's a delicate balance between human/environmental right abuses and the autonomy and ability for an employer to remain afloat without exorbitant taxes and bureaucracy.  

Instead of pledging to oppose any and all reform, or vowing to grant federal government authority over each and every major decision made, it'd be refreshing to strike a balance. Sure, people need jobs and should be expected to perform, but they also should be guaranteed livable wages. Sure corporations should have money for R&D, but not at the detriment of the environment. Sure, people deserve alternative choices for education, but that doesn't entail replacing the Department of Education. Sure immigration needs better enforcement, but that doesn't mean we should deport those already working in America. I can go on and on.

For Rand Paul, I couldn't agree more with his disdain for our reckless international behavior (he opposes the wars). However, I couldn't disagree more with his stance that civil liberties should remain unprotected in private industry.

Moreover, it's important to be engaged enough to be outraged. But pointing fingers and resolute rigidity will service no one and leads to a failed system. Mistakes are made bilaterally, but criticism shouldn't be reserved for the government.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Let The Hard Part Start

Despite my elaborate act of dreading surgery, which included telling the nurses I was going to burst out the door the moment they turned a head, I knew that was the easy part. All I had to do was inhale deeply, get a shot so they can plug the I V into my arm and refrain from eating after midnight. The latter, certainly the most challenging, so you best believe I gulped down a giant ice cream cone at 11:59PM. After the surgery, I knew there'd be pain, but medication would mute it and I'd return to my normal complaining loquacious self again, instead of my pain-inflamed complaining loquacious self.

I slept like a bear in hibernation the first week only rising to use the 'tinkle machine' as I coined it or scarf down some mac n' cheese. Then, nap time, a bit of reading and NBA playoffs. Repeat. I kind of started to feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Today marks the two week anniversary and the inception of physical therapy. Like forgetting to wear a retainer after braces, if a patients lethargy gets the best of her, she negated the time and trouble of sporting a metal grill in the first place. Her teeth will return to the state of England. I used to argue with an ex-girlfriend about this very problem and she now has the same argument with her mirror.

Fortunately for me, I have the prescience and experience to anticipate I'm in the nascent stage of my recovery. And I also realize that those diabolical therapists who stretch my ligaments to fatigue and work my quad until exhaustion are neo-Nazi only in practice, not in politics. Their encouragement and expectations are invaluable whether it's getting back on a bicycle, on the tennis court or kicking small children. The mental grit is every bit as important as physical strength. Returning to prior form pre-injury is not a certainty, so consistency is key.

Earlier today, I met my therapist who is a very pleasant woman until she grips my leg. Then she transitions into The Incredible Hulk sans green and bends and pushes my knee until I yelp or whimper like when Haagen Dazs is sold out of peanut butter and chocolate. I tease her regarding her superhuman strength and she returns the favor by making me squeal like a burning lobster. Some of you just got a craving for buttery fish didn't you, you heathens.

Anyway, I'm 50% off my crutches at this point, utilizing one primarily for stabilization purposes and secondarily so passing women smile pitiably.  I had a discussion with some buddies that women are drawn to handicapped men uncontrollably. I recommended if ever in a dry spell to either carry a child (preferably one they know, best not to steal/borrow these things) walk a dog, or hobble around on crutches and their probability of getting laid just exponentially increased. Luckily, the crutches are mine to keep and I am willing to lease them for a small fee.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Second Step

Stage two begins with a fake indifference,
Her longing for exclusivity, my reluctance to embrace it,
Hours at work chatting, typing online,
Our productivity lagging further and further behind,

A rebel I was, chest out, head high,
An unlit cigarette to garnish the style,
Atop my game, women yanking my sleeves,
I exploited the moment, always philandering,

Typically for her a guy like me'd be dismissed,
Too much trouble without the reciprocal bliss,
But something compelled her to stay and linger,
Immune to the revolving door, our connection grew deeper,

As the leaves receded, our future blew uncertain,
Would we fizzle out and close like a curtain?,
Tepid our ground when exchanging coasts,
The weather got warmer but intimacy turned cold,

My heart, a prisoner to a former love,
Unable to progress, rejected and undone,
Patience wore thin as I recited past quests,
An unwanted monologue for her to digest,

Parting at night compounded her frustration,
Confused and unsatisfied my unchanged disposition,
Hours we spent laughing, hiking and reading,
Forged awkwardly platonic, unfulfilled meetings,

By the time I was ready to lower my guard,
Was the moment she was scheduled to depart,
At the airport we embraced like this was it,
An unfit ending for us lonely kids,

But somewhere within was a kettle burning,
That needed a light, yearning and yearning,
Temporary hiatus was what was due,
What happened after, no magician could construe...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Karmic City Life

Navigating city streets in crutches in the rain is about as fun as a blind man searching bermuda for lost golf balls. Last Friday, while riding the bus, a ferocious storm broke and poured relentlessly on the streets. For most pedestrians with an umbrella, this wasn't overly stressful. But when you're a human lightning rod without one, it's just plain shi#. I hobbled beneath a bus stop shelter as the pellets smacked the ground like eggs on a frying pan and lightning bolts smashed nearby overhead. A nightmare on M Street.

Even though I'm about as religious as Elena Kagan is straight, I often encounter a karmic force. For example, on my way to a movie to suspend the cabin fever I accumulated while resting my leg, four negative incidences intruded my life. The first was attempting to hail a cab unsuccessfully for four blocks. (Crutching four blocks is equivalent to walking about 10) The second was laborously shuffling inside a cab, only to be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and departing two and a half blocks later for use of the metro instead. There went a wasted 10 bucks.

When I approached the ticket station the SmartTrip musn't have read correctly as a woman pulled me aside and confiscated my card. Being not blind, she must have noticed I'm handicapped, yet continued to take her time and ultimately made me crutch outside, tap my card and then crutch back in. Not only a monumental waste of time, but outrageously insensitive to my condition. 90% of the time Metro employees tap the card themselves and send you on your way, but this woman's power trip insisted on delaying my life with a devilish smirk of authority. Determined to remain upbeat I carried on.

This blockade cost me a few minutes and then a few more because I missed the train and had to wait for the next. At Metrocenter, I got off and crutched quickly to ensure the film wasn't sold out and to occupy a decent seat. (I like getting to films 30 minutes early always, primarily because the previews are often my favorite part, so I was additionally irked) Less than a block from E Street, my left crutch slipped on a wet surface and went out from under me and I hit the concrete in a hurry. Luckily I nearly missed landing directly on my knee but banged the side of it pretty hard. Grimacing like a victim of a sucker punch, a stranger helped me to my feet, and my hip was swollen for two days afterward. Come to think of it, perhaps a sucker punch or getting nailed by a runaway ambulance were the only other two negatives I managed to stave off.

The movie was excellent by the way. It won Best Picture for Foreign Film at the Academy's this year. An Argentinian mystery with exceptional acting and story line. Although my mood dampened like the weather, I mustered a smile and hoped that enduring these mishaps 'like a man' would lead to brighter moments. (I hope 'like a man' doesn't encompass growing more chest hair or a further receding hairline cuz I could do just fine without those)

Today, a light mist cascaded on my commute to work. Forced to take two bus lines and then crutch a few blocks I wasn't anticipating the journey. Within a block of my Georgetown apartment a young man in a passing car slowed and asked if I needed a ride. Hoping he wasn't offering candy, because even though Mom always told me not to accept - man my sweet tooth sometimes - I asked where he was headed. He said Georgetown University library, which was less than 4 blocks south and a good 20 from where I needed to be. He assumed I was a student because of my attached backpack I take with me everywhere. I said I was actually headed to work and he offered to take me door-to-door. I mentioned how far it was and he got out of his vehicle and said, "Listen man, just got off crutches myself awhile back, it sucks. Don't mention it, I don't care how far it is." At this moment my greedy side thought of asking him to head to the Olive Garden I salivate over but decided it was better to wait it out and make sure he wasn't planning on harvesting my organs. Oh, and also had to go to work.

His name is John and he's a 22 year-old graduate student at Georgetown studying Sports Management. Coincidentally I have a buddy, Nick, in the same program and apparently Nick worked for John. To compound the coincidence, Nick a couple of weeks ago asked me to work with him and I politely declined because working on the weekend is like drinking coke in the morning, it's just not ethical. John was Nick's manager, so I would've worked for this kid had I accepted. A thoroughbred New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan (where I desperately want to move) I picked his brain on everything from food to apartments to nightlife.

We exchanged phone numbers and made out a little bit and went our separate ways. Okay, we didn't make out, just wanted to see how you'd react. John saved me an arduous commute and shaved 20 minutes off my estimated travel time. It left me in a jovial mood and being back at work ain't half bad. If only dealing with my boss was as convenient. Good karma, can't beat it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Onion - "New Study Reveals Most Children Unrepentant Sociopaths"


Watching the E-Trade commercials, it's clear babies are a lot smarter and funnier than they used to be. Sure, they may not be able to dunk a basketball or put out fires, but they can trade stock and harmonize with Warren Buffet and Earth, Wind, and Fire. Babies may be dependent son of a guns, but placed in the right environment - watch them s@#$ on everything. Or, you can also learn things about them. 

The NY Times Magazine this week includes an expose on morality of babies. Not to be confused with the much discussed and rarely improved mortality rates we read about which remain abysmally high. Read a different section of the NY Times for those stats.

Historically this has been more of a philosophical debate than empirical. For how do you test infant morality? Do infants have morals? Are humans born amoral? Is right and wrong ordained from God, evolution, or solely a product of societal influence? How much does nurture outweigh our natural instincts? Do we have some innate understanding of right and wrong, if so what are the implications of such a finding? 

Researchers at Yale play host to numerous studies delving into these questions in search of conclusive results. And the results are as startling as when I found out they allow E-Trade babies their own seat on airplanes. Shouldn't there be safety restrictions? I suppose you can get away with anything when you work on Wall Street. Anyway, using structured testing mechanisms, infants are shown enacted scenes of 3 stimuli. One is a helper/enabler, the second is an inhibitor/blocker and the third is the primary subject. One illustration of this scenario is a ball attempting to roll uphill while a square tries to nudge it upward and a triangle impedes the progress. Afterward the child is asked to play with one of the toy and almost all choose the helper. And they're friendly with it, not gnawing on it like a puppy on a biscuit.  

What's more? When given an opportunity to punish or reward, the infants often throw or slap at the meaner triangle showing their disdain. You may follow-up asking whether the color or shape is the determining factor instead of the behavior, but study after study with different colors and different shapes produce consistent results. Babies hate triangles. No, what researchers actually found is that 99% of babies prefer the helper to the blocker regardless of shape or color. So racism at birth is also a misnomer (unless you're Muslim, Christian or Jew) They recognize behavior and elect to spend time with those who are pleasant and kind than those who are mean. Instead of sabotaging themselves like their teenagee contemporaries do. 

These findings elicit interesting debates. Do child soldiers innately reject murdering or does the brainwashing have them actually believe their violent acts are righteous? Same for any children who slay their peers. If we know right and wrong, why debate so fervently over it for centuries?

Without playing spoiler, I encourage you guys to spend 20 minutes and read this article. With Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court, many have criticized her supposed empathy or compassion (which is actually the only criteria that should be prerequisite for a judge) when she had both qualities since birth. Want to know whether she should be confirmed, let's consult a toddler...Better yet, let's just appoint one.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Leadership

Last night in my drug induced stupor, I was watching the Suns polish off the Spurs in 4 games in the NBA playoffs. We were in excellent position. The Spurs, an aptly named nemesis for the Suns, have been a spur in the butt or a thorn in the side for much of the past decade. We've fallen prey four or five times to this squad in the 2000's. Each year, Phoenix has an unlucky break and squanders a series they could have won each time.

First it was because one of our players broke his face in the second game. Yes, his face. He was the leading scorer of our team and we never recovered. Next, a hard foul to captain Steve Nash, elicited a quick retaliatory gesture from the 2nd and 3rd best players who were both suspended for a subsequent game. Lost that series too. Third time Steve Nash broke his nose and had to exit the game and the series was stunted again. The following year the Spurs made miraculous shot after miraculous shot to continue their domination over Los Suns.

It's safe to say I harbor much resentment toward these bozos from San Antonio, like I feel now towards Obama for his Supreme Court nominee.

Yesterday, up by ten with time trickling down our hero, Nash, took an unintentional elbow near his temple and blood leaked out instantly. As he hurried back to the locker room to be examined, the Spurs pushed back and tied the game in a flurry. My mind hurried through flashback after flashback of unlucky break and I foresaw our demise. I shouted at the TV angrily when I saw Nash return to the game. One eye taped completely shut. A point guard who couldn't see.

And he orchestrated a comeback that is testimony to his heroism, toughness and leadership. Without so much as a quiver, he checked back in and drained a three. He followed that with a few fluid assists and running lay ups to push the game out of reach. Down, but not out, the heart of Steve Nash willed the Suns to a victory. We would not be denied!

After the game, I couldn't restrain myself and began dancing around in my crutches. I searched for a broom and all I came up with was a Swiffer, which needless to say I demolished in my jubilant abandonment. I couldn't contain my pleasure. So although many of my readers are not sports fans, this post is well earned for a man who couldn't receive enough credit. Mr. Steve Nash.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Post-Op

It kind of reminds me of those Chappelle's Show episodes with Rick James, the ones where he pauses and reflects, "Cocaine is a hell of a drug." Yep, that's how I feel. Anaesthesia is a hell of a drug. So is laughter. Before my surgery I kept sneaking away surreptitiously saying, "Okay, see ya later." And I'd try and duck outta the joint before being dragged back in.

Also, in all of my magnanimity, I mustered these sentences as told to me afterward:

If I run now, no one will catch me.
I don't want to do it. Don't make me do it.
I could really go for a Grande Meal right now....MMM Taco Bell...
Do you guys realize how handsome I am?

The anaesthesiologist told me there were three ways to go under. The first was brick to the back of the head. He said this had the most historic promise i.e. the way they did it for thousands of years. The second was whiskey or moonshine. I quickly elected for this one I might add. However, he inputted later, when that wears off they just put a stick between your teeth and have you bite down - so that lost its appeal right quick. The final option was the truth serum. Also known as IV. That was Eye Vee not 4 FYI. (I'm still swallowing Percocet's so bear with me). Me on truth serum is generally about as good an idea as eating a grande meal minutes before the procedure. Who knows what I'm liable to say?

As I was wheeled off to the operating room I was told when I awoke my hair would be rainbow-dyed. Apparently this was the revenge they did to all their high maintenance patients. But I protected myself by wearing a blue-kitchen cap sorta thing, no one messes with my hair, no one. Except for maybe the nurses who I woke up to. Four nurses all dressed in pink with white teeth smiling and whispering from a distance. Unfortunately my member was showing and that was there cute way of letting me know. Thanks, ladies. Really gained a lot of self-esteem then I'll tell ya.

Presently, I have slept about 40 of the past 48 hours which means I'm about on par for productivity as usual. The hours I am awake I feel nauseous like after riding one of those up and down up and down up and down coasters at a fair. Or what you'd feel like after downing a fifth of vodka in an hour. So having to choose between the two, I prefer sleep.

Finally, I am in very good hands and many friends and family have texted/phoned/emailed me. I very much appreciate the comments from my readers as well and your care. Please feel free to ask any questions and I hope to get back to you in the comment section. BTW, if you're curious what the doc performed, he did a microfracture, where they drill holes to relieve pressure. They found 4-6 milimeter square of arthritis which they hope will heal eventually on its own. Okay, here comes another round of nausea, nap time beckons...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Knee Surgery

Tomorrow afternoon I will become the centerpiece of an experiment to remedy my ailing knee. The doctor will operate arthroscopy, which is fancy medical terminology for - putting a f@#$ing camera in your body. Unsure of what he'll find, he'll proceed accordingly. Worst case, he will do a procedure called microfracture, where fractures are drilled in the bone to produce a blood clot to induce cartilage growth. Let's call this waaaay fun option 1. Another route is a lateral release. This is where a cut is made to allow the patella to return to a more stable position. Let's call this Awesome Dude Option 2 (see, they rhyme). Both procedures however, are not significantally invasive, as it is out-patient and lasts about an hour or less.

Producing a recovery time of approximately 3-6 months. First I can ride stationary bike. Then eliptical. Followed eventually by running. And then after all that, I can finally smoke cigarettes again. I've exercised 9 days consecutively now anticipating none at all for weeks post-op.

I'm nervous. I get high anxiety during events under which I have no control (like watching Los Suns or remembering to put the toilet seat down) and my heart races like a jockey hurtling down toward the finish line. Remembering my previous ACL and meniscus surgery where I reversed course on the operating table and demanded release like an innocent convict, I have reason to remain a bit fearful. The nurses told me I was berating them like a spurned prizefighter until the anaesthesia kicked in and shut me up right quick.

Lucky them.

Post-op is even more worrisome as I handle pain meds as well as Tiger Woods handles concubines. My Mom always joshes with me about two incidences in particular. The first was when I hallucinated that ants were devouring my arm. I scowled at her and said, "How dare you call yourself a nurse." Nice guy I was. My brother had to intervene and rub his hand up and down the wall thereby knocking off more ants to join in the feast. 30 minutes later I finally acknowledged ants weren't present, but only after Moms sprayed Raid around my bed.

Another time was when I told my Mom I was in the 5th grade. She was probably cooking nearby and I started detailing over and over again what it's like to be in the 5th grade. This is the kind of s@#$ I really wish I could watch sober. You want funny reality TV? Channel my recovery over the next few weeks. Bless the people assisting me during this time.

Ideally, I'll be in no mood to work but in fine condition to post (which could lead to quite entertaining reads). I will have my lap top by my side so I can continue to lament my decision for trusting modern medicine. If you don't see another post in about 3-4 days, assume the worst. That is, the nurses just couldn't handle my attitude and kicked the crap out of me rendering me permanently unconscious. If that is the case, well, I don't have much to leave behind, but 10 kick-ass pages of a fiction novel and a few Hustler T-shirts. Both can be used as cleaning supplies. Until next time...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Anti-Semitism

Weeks ago a good friend of mine and his girlfriend, who is about as useful as a diaper rash, went out for dinner and drinks at a delicious Mexican place in Georgetown. My buddy is a revolutionary. A socialist. He was previously a Republican until he realized they really don't give a s@#$ about anyone but themselves and figured that was fairly selfish and turned coat. This is kind of like the time I realized Tinky Winky, the purple tellatubby was possibly gay. Quite the revelation. While ordering pitchers of margaritas we settled on the kosher, non-taboo topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Republicans are typically more pro-Israel than Democrats either for religious or militaristic reasons. Liberals are torn by the human rights plight of the Palestinians on one hand and the right for Israel to peacefully exist on the other. Jewish liberals are really non-plussed.

After a few minutes in the conversation it was clear my buddy and his girlfriend were not signing up for Birthright anytime soon. I asked him why he felt the Jews weren't entitled to a morsel of land in a bastion of Muslim nations after a genocide in the 1940's. He scoffed at my assertion and changed course to remind me of the current atrocities perpetrated by the Jews. I said both sides are often retalitory, no? But he was close minded to this like Ralph Nader to a comb and we moved on.

I asked my friend and his girl if he had any prejudices toward Jewish people. He was particularly perturbed by my comment and delivered the quotidian compensative response. Not only did he not hate Jews, he prefferred them. If he was alone on an island with anyone in the world, it would be him and a token Jew. His Church went out of the way lauding Jews. He had tons of Jewish friends. This I thought was humorous, kind of like George Bush claiming to be a friend of gays while slashing their rights with a machete. It's either egregiously false, or an obligatory gesture used only to save face from accusations of prejudice.

As the conversation progressed to minute details of the current peace-talk stalemate I tuned out and started watching basketball on the bar TV. When I returned, the focus was again on the Jews and their 'qualities'. Cuff-link girlfriend was saying how stingy they were, while my friend was saying how pompous and money-hungry they are. I chimed in how small their noses are. So many compliments, such little time!

Normally, I would have provided this opportunity to proclaim victory in this debate but I refrained. Generally I try to box my opponents into a corner. Move this way and you walk the plank. Move the other and you're still held captive. But this was an unsolicited assault that contradicted their previous unbiased or Jew-lovey sentiment. Better yet, this all occurred without their cognizance. And I have yet to point out this obvious hypocrisy to this day.

This was no reason to sever a friendship, but it irks me nonetheless. I'm unabashed about whatever I'm unabashed about. I don't hide who I am behind a mask. The pattern of anti-semitism is rooted deep in our culture and many tolerant people fear speaking out how they really feel. But after a few margaritas....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Riddle...


Press and pound to shape without the 'd',
A mispelling of course, but the sound is me, 
A bend or twist but not too fast,
Or else you'll end up watching on the sidelines - months pass,

A wounded battle is what you'll face,
A 'joint' you'll roll to to minimize the pain...

What am I????