Sunday, August 28, 2016

Money Talks

My husband and his brother are in the next room having dinner and talking about money. It might be a discussion about the stock market but I can't be sure. I had to leave because I just don't understand it. It's sort of like a foreign language. They are saying things like "there might have been eight, but out of the five you got three." Key words being bandied about are "fees," "the Feds," "buying revenue," "ordinary income," "margins" and "three-point-two."  The rates apparently keep moving around, which makes it all that much harder.

I relate to money as wampum, whereby I give you some of this green paper and you give me some of that stuff I want. Beyond that simple exchange I am lost. I excused myself from the conversation, and as you can see I am now here and having much more fun.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

What Is Racism?

From 1970 until 2009 I lived in Washington, D.C., with time off for good behavior: four years in Salt Lake City, a year in Baltimore and a year in Berkeley, California. During my D.C. days I was mugged in the parking lot of a Safeway supermarket, had my car stolen from a repair shop in Takoma Park, Maryland (three blocks over the city line), had my home on Capitol Hill broken into, lost two white friends to murder during their home invasion in D.C.'s Logan Circle neighborhood, and had another one raped by two men while she was pregnant with twins, her husband forced to watch in their Georgetown apartment. More recently, the young white son of a longtime friend had his throat slit as he was about to enter his home in a trendy and affluent area of the city one summer night.

On a trip to New York City during that same time period my handbag containing my wallet, some Traveler's Checks and a personal checkbook was stolen, its leather strap cut by a seemingly nice old lady who bumped into me while I was shopping in the coat department of Macy's flagship department store. All of these crimes were committed by people of African American descent.

Since moving to Maine seven years ago I have not been the victim of a crime, nor have any of my friends or family. Here's my question: Does simply recounting the facts of my personal experience make me a racist?

Friday, August 26, 2016

News of the Day

Hillary Clinton sfouw!
Donald Trump ahjkhdg fhjasl ja fhdj kaj asdj kwl immigration. Mejkajm amansa, Hillary Clinton ahsgd fhffhka hehehr akk emails. Trump anmn adjffjhd aaak fj all Clinton. D djdaja dkjhksjHD RTT. Trump skfjffjeeo msndkas dhls Ivanka and d Melania Trump.

Chelsea Clinton ahsdhd msjskadh lsl Clinton Foundation, wrrhaaks Bill Clinton. Hillary anflsefj sla Trump. Trump adjh add djffl jfounonrt  aalsnd ma ancdpunnt al sdp aaai CNN andkw w FOX News. Meanw ws, Hillary Clinton whaha j ther she ttrtups s aasd hehr wqaiaj!

Donald Trump si d nne pfout!
Accsprpdggin thep New York Times recasbt apapa apaps, the le cled aoi qwwr hela toyta the genner woul di Trump 65% and fkf Clinton 54%, witrisn aa m 2% skdjdj  oa erppoi. Trump der  aabedjhh ffertsong Clinton ahdh erlkqrej gkgpwpeo dj presa confnf-wergj. The crwos catrex "TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP!" Sanhee Trump dld theww os tar hn hkj rink he kas reaifedd 75% sapa dm anam rwgpntion: Donald Trump awj Hillary Clinton 2017.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Turning Green Watching "Grey's Anatomy"

When I learned several months ago that I needed surgery and would be spending at least three weeks at home recuperating, I had big plans. I would read all those books I had never been able to read before, like Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse." Described by a leading literary critic as "one of the greatest elegies in the English language, a book which transcends time," and a favorite of my dear friend Greg Jarold, I was determined to conquer it although I had tried and failed before, many times in fact. I would meditate for half an hour each morning, paint a great masterpiece and possibly learn a new language.

Now halfway into week four I have not gotten past the second sentence in "To the Lighthouse," a sentence so inscrutable as to make my reading the entire novel out of the question. Meditation has eluded me as I keep getting distracted by images of the artificial hip installed inside me. As for painting, I am unable to sit for more than fifteen minutes at a time without turning to stone, so that has also not happened. Instead I have spent the last three weeks, roughly between two and five in the afternoon, lying on a couch with an ice pack on my hip watching Grey's Anatomy on Lifetime TV, with time off for short walks, appropriate nourishment and bathroom breaks.

Just another day in the OR at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital.
I had never seen the show in its heyday, beginning in March of 2005, mostly because A, I don't watch weekly TV dramas and B, I hate blood and gore. So it was surprising that I chose to go this route, but now that I have I'm an expert on the subject and can tell you exactly what happens in each and every episode, since each and every episode is exactly the same:

Someone young and vibrant who comes in with a minor complaint is diagnosed with a terminal disease. An old person dies. A lunatic threatens the entire hospital.

An ambulance arrives with an accident victim impaled by a sharp object sticking out of their head/heart/stomach. 

At least two hot interns have sex with at least three equally hot residents, all in the hospital during work hours and often in supply closets or empty patient rooms. 

An amazing amount of ooey-gooey, squishy body parts have incredible close-ups: hearts, lungs, brains and intestines spurt blood everywhere. 

There's a crisis during each operation where machines start beeping and the patient almost dies, but after the application of pressure to the chest cavity, they survive. High speed drills and scalpels are used with abandon by the sexy doctors hidden behind blue face masks, all while they exchange casual banter and jokes. 

Every so often the Seattle Bomb Squad  is summoned.

The hospital's Chief yells at everyone at least once, telling them to shape up.

Dr. Meredith Grey, of the show's title, figures prominently in all story lines. She usually has at least one dream sequence wearing only a towel and involving either her dead mother or her living on-again, off-again boyfriend, Derek, a.k.a. Dr. McDreamy.

Because the show is set in Seattle where it rains a lot, many scenes occur with one or more of the leading characters standing outside, dejected and dripping wet. 

Accompanying all surgeries and sexual encounters is a musical score comprised of the edgiest tunes of the day, chosen to underscore and pinpoint the intended feelings of the script just in case you didn't get it or couldn't follow Dr. Gray's final voice over narration pulling all the loose ends together.

It's lucky I never saw one episode of this show before my surgery or I never would have set foot in a hospital.

What a Way to Go

Don't do this.
Just last night, waking up in the darkness and reaching out to my bedside table, I almost drank calamine lotion instead of water. Fortunately I noticed the shape of the bottle felt slightly different and I groped around for the water, finally finding it. I learned today I would not have died but merely would have been quite sick and unhappy for several hours.

That got me thinking of dumb ways people die. The news today reports a 59-year-old woman who fell 40 feet to her death from a zip line into a body of water. How embarrassing. When I go I hope to maintain at least a shred of dignity during my passage into the next life. After all, you don't want to be the butt of jokes from the get-go next time around.

Or this.
Some downright slapstick ways to go, besides falling from a zip line, include burning up in a hot air balloon entangled in electric wires, skiing into a tree, experiencing a medical error during cosmetic surgery, getting eaten by a shark, falling off a cliff while taking a selfie jumping in the air and contracting sepsis from a pedicure. I remember my shock in high school when a beautician friend of my older sister actually died just a few days after some hair dye got into her open hangnail.

Dancer Isadora Duncan famously died from a broken neck after the long scarf she was wearing got caught on the wheel of the car in which she was riding. Several other not-so-famous people have literally died laughing. One man died after the fish he caught flip-flopped itself into his mouth, squeezed down his throat and suffocated him. Many people around the world have been killed by falling coconuts hitting them on the head.

All I'm saying is be careful out there.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Would You Rather Be Itchy or Nauseous?

Quick, what's your biggest problem? Is it a new one or has it been hanging around for awhile? And don't say you don't have any since that's impossible. Let's face it, no matter who you are or how things are going for you, life is an exercise in solving problems. This truism has been written about by thousands before me and surely will continue to be a hot topic long after I've turned to dust.

Problems are the meat and potatoes of life. Regardless of how many loose ends you may tie up and how neatly you get all your ducks in a row, new problems emerge, usually the very moment after you finally solved the one that was plaguing you for days, weeks or even months.

I once read that for life to be rewarding, one's problems should be fresh and of high caliber; those old, stale ones have simply got to go. To that end, sometimes we make up our own just to keep things interesting. For example, until yesterday my biggest problem was being housebound due to my recent hip surgery which kept me a hobbled invalid dependent on the kindness of others for almost any little thing. Then yesterday, sick of my infirmity, I grabbed my keys, shuffled out to my car and got behind the wheel, then drove to the post office to mail some letters and buy stamps. I was liberated! I felt overwhelming joy! I was back in the world!

Twenty minutes later I was back on the couch, resting on my laurels, when I noticed some itchy red spots on my "good" leg. These soon morphed into gigantic welts, or wheals, obviously caused by hives. Whether they came from eating too many strawberries or were the result of anxiety, by all accounts they were of my own making. By nightfall I was a miserable wreck of a person, the itching unbearable, unstoppable and preventing sleep. My "bad" leg had become my "good" leg!

Hip replacement surgery a dim memory, these hives are simply awful and painkillers don't help. I can't wait for them to be gone, although I shudder to think what's next.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Call Me a Fat Liar But Please Don't Kill Me

Hey, don't blame me; I didn't draw this!
The Internet is full of false things. I usually stay on the side of truth, but this latest story is too juicy not to spread far and wide. Seems actor Leonardo DiCaprio and his 24-year-old model girlfriend were driving in a car that was rear-ended last weekend in the Hamptons. Neither one was hurt but an ambulance was called "just in case" and the car was badly damaged. The trash talk on the street is that 41-year-old Leonardo, who has never had a car accident before, had just pulled out of appearing at a campaign event for Hillary Clinton due to some personal financial problems, and next thing you know, BAM! 

Those Clintons just don't take no for an answer. Fortunately Leonardo did not end up on the Clinton Death List, a.k.a. the Clinton Body Count, which now numbers between 47 and 90 mysterious deaths connected to the culpable couple. Trump may be off-the-wall crazy and call people names, but at least he doesn't have you killed when you disagree with him.