Thursday, April 17, 2014

You're Only As Old as You Look

Yesterday morning, as I was strapped onto a gurney and wheeled into the very special room for my very special procedure, the nurse pushing my bed offered, "Your husband is quite a youthful-looking fellow." Mitch had just gone off in search of breakfast in the hospital cafeteria, armed with one of those restaurant gizmos that flash red lights when your table is ready, only in this instance I was the table.

"That's because he's 11 years younger than me," I said, sorry to burst her bubble that somewhere a Fountain of Youth actually did exist.

"Wow, good for you for scoring a younger man," she said with a big smile. Then she added, "Personally, I go for older men myself--even the ones my own age are still so immature." I readily agreed, partly because it's true and everyone knows it and partly because whatever was dripping from an IV bag into my arm made me feel quite agreeable. Still, people are constantly--and I mean constantly--remarking on how lucky I am, or sexy, adventurous, or who-knows-what, that a younger man was attracted to me and still is. This is offensive to say the least. Our age difference is something Mitch and I have had to overcome, believe me.

For instance, Mitch does not have any memory of Ricky Nelson, and I can still recall exactly where I was when I heard the sad news about his plane crash. My husband, the father of my only child, was a six-year-old first-grader when JFK was killed, while I was senior in high school and had to drive my mother to the hospital after the stitches from her hysterectomy a week earlier ripped apart due to her non-stop sobbing. Mitch was at home watching inane sitcoms like Flipper and Gilligan's Island when I was already in college and busy being sophisticated. Weirdest of all, I'm pretty sure his bar mitvah was on the same day I married my first husband, or close to it.

Anyway, that nurse still found our union somewhat titillating, and as I left the hospital on Mitch's arm, she said with a wink, "I'm sure he'll take good care of you!" On the flip side, the other night at the movies the ticket taker said, "That'll be $14.00," charging us both the "senior" discounted fee, two dollars less than full price, without missing a beat. Go figure.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Another Medical Marvel

Surely somebody evil, or at least with a twisted sense of humor, came up with the prep for the colonoscopy, the diagnostic test for colon cancer. I have not been able to find out specifically who, which is not surprising as that person must be living under an assumed name somewhere in Nicaragua.

I underwent the procedure early this morning, after spending yesterday fasting and last night ingesting 64 ounces of a ghastly concoction of Miralax and Gatorade, the Latin name for which is rattae poisonus. I chose the lemon-lime flavor, which is no better or worse than all the other flavors except for pineapple, which is more horrible than anything you will ever experience outside of being held prisoner of war in a country that hates America (your choice). Just to make it really awful, the rule is you must consume the liquid in exactly one hour. Once inside you it behaves like battery acid, eating away at the walls of your colon. (Oh well, at least something was eating.)

I would go on but I won't. I'm thrilled it's over, that I am free of it for another five years, and that I do not have colon cancer. That's great news, although the test did not clear all my other body parts so I could still have oral, throat, stomach, esophageal, liver, lung, pancreatic, cervical, skin, ovarian, breast, bone, blood or brain cancer. (I feel like I'm leaving something out, but you get the point.)

There's nothing funny about the whole subject, but the brilliant comic Robert Klein found one way to make it more palatable. The last time I saw him perform he opened his act with his hysterically funny ode to the colonoscopy, which you can see him perform on YouTube (paste link into your browser):

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stupid Lists

Morgan Freeman: Underrated or over-employed?
Whenever I'm feeling sorry for myself, like right now because I'm having a colonosocopy tomorrow so you know what I'm doing today, I console myself by saying, "At least I don't have to come up with stupid story ideas like they have on AOL." Those poor writers must toss and turn all night, tortured by the inane lists they need by the morning news meeting. Things like "7 Style Trends Coming This Spring" and "10 Things to Do With Matzo." (FYI, wearing black jeans with a white shirt is one of the new trends, and all of the matzo things have to do with eating it.)

Earlier today I read one such list entitled, "The 10 Most Tragically Underrated Actors of All Time." First of all, how tragic is it to be an underrated actor, as compared to say, losing a limb at the Boston Marathon exactly one year ago today? Second, Morgan Freeman is on that list, and even though he gets a lot of parts in a lot of movies, supposedly he is still underrated, so I'm wondering how bad it is to be underrated if you show up in every movie and narrate every TV commercial and documentary ever made? Anyway, since I'm delirious from the lack of food, I decided to come up with my own "stupid" lists:

1. The World's Stupidest Anti-Semitic Act: This occurred yesterday, when a man with a long history of hatred towards Jews murdered three people, two outside of a Jewish Community Center and another outside a Jewish Senior Center, on the eve of Passover and shouting "Heil Hitler!" How annoying for him that none of the dead were Jews. (One Catholic, two Protestants.) Lesson learned: Always check for proof before shooting Jews.

2. The 10 Stupidest Things to Do While Fasting: Go out for brunch, bake Tollhouse cookies, order pizza, watch "Julie & Julia," thumb through old copies of Gourmet, organize your recipe file, fry up some bacon, read "Eat, Love, Pray," make popcorn, clean out the refrigerator.

3. The 3 Stupidest Activities to Have at a 50-Year High-School Reunion: A guided walk around the small town where the school is and that everybody couldn't wait to leave; a pizza party in the school gym with no alcohol allowed; a lecture by a local historian about the small town where nothing ever happened.

4. The 6 Worst Names for Nail Polish Colors: Vomit Green, Sunburn, Orange You Glad, Yellow Fever, Blue Baby, Mudslide.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sick of Sex

A friend of mine posted the graphic image shown above on his Facebook page. "It's a joke," he says. Only to me it's not funny. The sexualization of everything in America, and the rest of the world for all I know, is tiring, childish, depressing, stupid and boring. I am sick to death of hearing about Viagra and Cialis and erections lasting more than four hours. Sometimes I feel like the penis runs the world.

Hey, don't get me wrong: I have had more than my share of birth control, orgasms, unwanted pregnancies and abortions. I've had enough sex to last me three lifetimes. And guess what? I'm still looking for a job, I still have to have a colonoscopy the day after tomorrow, and I'm still getting old, still unfulfilled and still worried about my kid. Sex is not a cure for anything except wanting sex, yet it is used to hawk everything from pizza to cars to cigarettes. Name it, and there's an ad promising, "Use our product and before you can say herpes simplex, you too can have a penis inserted into your vagina." Or vice versa.

Big deal. Shut up already.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Film Review: NOAH (Sucks)

This pile of sticks is the Ark, not exactly a Carnival Cruise ship.
"NOAH" is a must-see because it is the worst movie ever made in the history of movies, and who would want to miss that? Also, it shows the earliest home-pregnancy test in use. Besides that highlight the music was horrible, the script was worse, and the acting, except for an entertaining cameo by Anthony Hopkins, was middle-school-play quality. I must have checked my watch ten times to see how much longer I'd have to sit there. (The running time is two hours and 18 minutes but feels longer. In fact, my right foot fell asleep after the first hour and by the end of the movie I had lost all feeling in my leg.)

Seeing "NOAH" would be greatly enhanced by your being either very drunk or very stoned, preferably both. I was neither, for which I am to be pitied. On the plus side, when it ends you feel happy because A, it is finally over, and B, you were not in it. You also feel sad for Russell Crowe (Noah), who has fallen so far since his glorious performance in "Gladiator," and for Jennifer Connelly (Mrs. Noah), about whom you ask, "Whatever happened to her and how come she stopped making movies?" Now you know.

I have never read the Bible so I can't say for sure, but I'm pretty sure there were no gigantic talking rocks that looked like transformers mentioned. But there are quite a few of those in this movie. They are called The Watchers. Apparently they were all angels who did a bad thing, causing God to cover them with molten lava. Since then they have lived as rocks, but with hands and feet and strange faces lit from within; turns out it's the lava talking. The end credits roll by in an instant, but if you pay attention you learn that the leader of the Watchers is played by Nick Nolte. I did not recognize him at all, since all those talking rock look alike.

The fabulous flood, which is the main reason I wanted to see the movie, was a major disappointment, not half as satisfying as the terrifying tsunami depicted in "The Impossible." Heck, it wasn't even as convincing as the storm in "The Perfect Storm," which looked like it was shot in a bathtub, which it was. The flood in "NOAH" is more like the ocean during rough seas, and nothing a Dramamine can't handle. As for the ark, one minute there's a forest of trees and the next there's the ark already built, thanks to those giant talking rocks who turn out to be damn good boat-builders. Too bad they built it without the audience seeing as much as a hammer hitting a nail! (I felt cheated.) We did get to see the animals come on board, but they were so obviously computer-generated that it wasn't nearly as thrilling as two hours at the Bronx Zoo.

Noah loses his grip on reality and is a total environmental wacko at the end. A precursor to Al Gore, he believed that God had chosen him to save the world, but without any people in it since Man had ruined the planet. To that end, he's ready to murder his newborn grandchildren. Clearly delusional, Noah repeatedly talks to God by going outside and shouting up into the clouds, whereas everyone with half a brain knows that the only way God can hear you is in when you are mumbling to him inside a church.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Be On the Lookout

Pretty in pink: The deadly MRSA strain under a microscope.
Considering the alternatives, it's peculiar what the mainstream media chooses to scream about. Politics and terrorists and movie stars on drugs, housing starts and the stock market, and of course international strife and Obamacare, dominate. Next we get to hear about who's on "Dancing With the Stars" and what Miley Cyrus did, and someone named Taylor Swift and what she's wearing. And though the pings from that missing Malaysian plane still make headlines, there is nary a peep outside of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) about something called MRSA, a horrible, terrible, life-threatening, limb-destroying Superbug roaming hospital corridors both here and abroad.

As an avid follower of all sorts of news, including print journalism, TV and the Internet, I knew almost nothing about this problem. Even after attending several information seminars pertaining to my upcoming, and now cancelled, hip surgery, I was still virtually in the dark on the subject. Then yesterday afternoon, on a casual neighborhood walk, I chanced to meet a lady whose husband has spent the last year fighting for life and limb, losing a hip and having a heart attack in a Boston hospital, all stemming from a deadly infection he picked up during a relatively minor outpatient surgical procedure. 

My neighbor called her husband's infection "mersa," and I pretended to know what she was talking about despite being clueless. Once home I did some research and learned a few of the dreaded facts. (Last year the number of cases rose from 21 infections per 1,000 people to 42 per 1,000, according to CDC statistics.) If I had not cancelled my surgery already, I certainly would have after reading about MRSA, which stands for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

It seems like your doctor (and mine) should at least mention the existence of MRSA, and thus the possibility of contracting it, before strapping you onto the operating table and cutting you open. And we all certainly deserve to hear more about it than we do about Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy.

Friday, April 11, 2014

It's Not Easy Being Rich

Nice earrings, but can you drive them?
I recently did some research on women's handbags and was stunned to learn that some of them cost as much as a car, or two cars, and even three cars and a chauffeur for the day. I'm not kidding; a few of the most pretentious of designer bags produced by the most pretentious of designers crack the million-dollar mark. I suppose if you are very wealthy that's run-of-the-mill, but still I wonder how the decision is made: A handbag necessary for absolutely nothing except to impress, or a brand new SUV with which to further dent the ozone.

Pity the rich, for they are faced with such tough decisions every day. Take, for example, jewelry. How much is too much to spend for a pair of earrings that will in no way impact the outcome of any important life event? A cheap pair for $25 versus a pair for $45,000; both just dangle there, doing nothing. Let's see: Brighten my face or feed a starving family of four for a year?

So whenever you think you've got a tough row to hoe, just be glad you don't have to grapple with issues like those.