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It Was Almost Bye Bye Birdie Time

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Needless to say, my life is one big fuck up right now. Everything seems to be going to the shits. Well, not everything. Two significant parts of my life remain on track. My reading is prodigious right now. I am actively reading: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett, The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers, Hiroshima by John Hersey, Blood’s a Rover by Harlan Ellison, and most of The New Yorker when it comes to the house most weeks. Yeah, you’re asking how do I keep track of it all. Well, I do, somehow. The other thing going on correctly right now is my next story. It had a working title of The Reluctant Father up until yesterday when I changed it to Canes. I working on Chapter 8 right now. It is a psycho-sexual family drama about a sixty-something gay widower and a young gay teen who has an unhealthy relationship with railroad locomotives. It’s not so much that they go fast, but exactly what happens if you’re standing in front of one when it’s going 50 mph.


So, what’s going on with the rest of my live? Well, you see we have this thirteen week old German Shepherd puppy that—although she belongs to my son—is my responsibility during the day because he works swing shift, comes home and stays up until three or four in the morning, doesn’t get up until one or one-thirty in the afternoon, and he leaves for work at two-fifteen so he can get to work an hour early so he can read the newspaper.


Then yesterday afternoon when he got up to eat his breakfast, his regular bowl was dirty because he’d used it for a snack the previous night, so, he got a bowl out of the cupboard. Now, these bowls are not cereal bowls; they’re more dessert sized, which means he has to keep the box of cereal and the jug of milk on the table so he can have a sizeable breakfast.


“Why didn’t you wash your bowl?” I asked foolishly.


“Oh, you know, I don’t do service work anymore. The house nigger should’ve cleaned it before I got up.”


Yeah, that’s his nickname for me.


The house nigger does the dishes, sweeps the floors, does the grocery shopping, and raises his mastuh’s dogs.


Plus, my knees are giving out on me, but the VA orthopedic surgeons won’t send me outside to get artificial knees because I weigh too much. I think I need to lose about another ten pounds. My bad knees are forcing me to decide whether I’m going to give up the idea of leaning how to play the guitar because I have to drive 27 miles to my lessons every Saturday. I know you’re thinking, “Oh, the poor old man has to drive TWENTY-SEVEN MILES and back for his guitar lessons. Well, if it’s all that far, maybe, he should give up his dream. Poor old man.”


Well, fuck, I drive down there and back and not surprisingly it takes me six days to recover (yeah, six days means I miss that day’s lesson) because unlike most people, I don’t have any cartilage in my knees. It’s all melted away and has been replaced with arthritis, but my orthopedic surgeon says I gotta walk to keep that synovial fluid sloshing around in there to cushion what I have left of my knees. If I don’t, then just maybe I won’t be able to walk at all. I’ll be lucky if they issue me one of those walkers with handle bars, a seat, and hand brakes. Worse? Well, I don’t want to think of worse because when the surgeon told me about what worse entails, I figured I’d better get out there and walk some more even if it makes my knees feel like dried dog shit on a hardwood floor.


And, of course, there’s the head or, rather, its contents, that collection of gray and white matter which is supposed to keep me on an even keel, but doesn’t. Sure, I take meds, I’ve been taking meds since April, 2008. But, now, I’ve been released by my local VA shrink and sent out to a vendor. An example of this vendor’s expertise in mental health meds is she prescribed Amantadine for my Essential Tremor. It’s a mild Parkinson’s drug given for tremor from that disorder, but one of its rather insidious side effects is narcolepsy. If I take that, I’ll be subjecting myself to my personal “My Own Private Idaho.” Just think of it, no more tremors, but going to sleep in a school zone and wiping out a street crossing full of first graders. Not my idea of fun. They do recommend not driving or operating heavy equipment if you take it. So, I’m not going to be taking that med. When she asks how I doing on it, I’ll let her know about the narcolepsy side effect. Probably, the worst thing about that side effect is that not only can it occur when you first start taking the med, but it can crop up years away. I wonder how many old people who’ve been given that drug and fall asleep while driving down the street and take out a sidewalk full of kids on their way to get Slurpees. It certainly won’t be me.


But, speaking of mental health, I’m in a general funk right now. Yesterday, I was ready to pack my bags and books and take a powder. I don’t know where I would’ve gone. Probably, a city where there is a VA Med Center where I could get treatment for my various ailments. And, of course, although I would’ve left a note, I wouldn’t say where I was going and I certainly would never come back. No, this house nigger was going to be a runaway and I wouldn’t give a fuck about whether my son could remember how to wash dishes.


Today? Well, today I listened to all of my Vangelis CDs and typed this blog, which dumped a whole lot of shit on you guys. I apologize, but you see I don’t have anyone else to dump on because my VA shrink won’t talk to me and my vendor shrink only speaks to veterans on Thursday’s. So, thank you for listening and sorry for the “N” word, but when you’re called it, it kind of sticks to you in not a very nice way.


Better go, time to feed the dogs or mastuh be mad.


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I'm sorry the system is failing you.  Your son calling you that phrase is reprehensible.  He should be ashamed.  

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I think your son would wake up tied to the bed and would stay there until he learned good manners. But that's just me. If he's too lazy to wash bowls and silverware, buy some el cheapo foam bowls and plastic spoons.


IMO the Amantadine is overkill for ET, unless your symptoms are severe enough to affect quality of life. There are a number of other drugs used to treat the disorder, but  most people don't really need anything at all. The best thing you can do is avoid stress and get a good amount of sleep. Both will reduce the symptoms.

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I wish I could give you a real hug, Carl, but this :hug: will have to do. Your son is being insensitive, but maybe he doesn't realize how it affects you? I would hope you can tell him and he would listen. And as for calling you such a thing, and using that word, he should be ashamed of himself. It might be wise to lose the required weight and get your knees taken care of. It seems like an important goal for your quality of life. My older brother had both knees done, and he's a new man. :) Cheers and good wishes... Gary....

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