Why May?

Well, I’m back from the dead…again.

May has been an incredibly shitty month for me. Let’s go through the timeline.

End of April- Dentist tells me that going two years without a visit has left me with six cavities.

1st Week of May- Dentist plays Steve Martin from Little Shop of Horrors and leaves me with a category 5 headache and jaw-ache that lasts for four days. He schedules an appointment for the following week to fill the teeth on the other side of my mouth.

2nd Week of May- Even though everything in me is telling me that it’d be less painful to just pull my own teeth with a pair of tongs and that thing you use to pick the meat out of crab legs, I go back for round two. The dentist tries FOUR times to numb me and finally decides to “just go for it.” He then has a mild nervous breakdown when his equipment malfunctions mid-procedure and starts cursing at the dental tech while wielding a drill in my mouth. For not trembling in fear, the gods reward me with balls of steel that will become a thing of legend to be talked about in song around a campfire.

3rd Week of May–The pain of the dental appointment wears off the night before I wake up with semi-paralysis. That morning my arms and legs won’t move for an hour and once I’m finally able to move enough to get out of bed, I find that I don’t have enough strength to open my bedroom door. My wife touches my arm to help me walk and I scream in pain as if I’m being stabbed. Apparently “whatever this is” not only causes the previously mentioned symptoms but also causes extreme sensitivity to touch.

4th Week of May– I’m admitted to the hospital with an unknown condition that the doctors assume is an auto-immune disease but is later diagnosed as–wait for it–a “simple” viral infection. The doctor casually explains (while I grimace in pain) that “some people catch viruses similar to the flu and they exhibit cold-like symptoms in addition to mild muscle pain. You, on the other hand, have no cold symptoms, instead the virus is targeting your entire musculoskeletal system. The slightest touch feels like you’re being stabbed and you have very little strength in your limbs. It’ll go away in a few weeks.”

5th Week of May–I’m out of the hospital, I can walk and move again and it doesn’t feel like I’m being stabbed to death. I decide to write a blog post explaining to my three readers why I’ve been MIA.

…And Enjoy Your Ride!

When I was a kid I used to love going to amusement parks. I’d get on any and every ride regardless of how scary it looked. These were ghetto “throw em up overnight in a parking lot” carnivals so the risk of death was actually pretty understandable. Being adventurous, the more likely a ride could kill me, the more I wanted to get on it. Then one day I grew up.

I found a website in college that focused on ride accidents. An hour later, I was terrified of every ride. As with most things, I forgot about the website and a year or so later went to Six Flags in New Jersey. I got on the Superman ride. It was a suspended roller coaster where they rotate the seats so that you’re in a plank position as if you’re flying underneath the track. Suddenly, every memory from that website came rushing back and I was terrified. I went through the entire ride with my eyes closed clutching the restraints. It wasn’t the ride itself. That was actually pretty lame. It was the fear that the restraints would pop open due to hydraulic failure and I’d fall 50 feet to the concrete and die like someone I read about. It was the longest minute of my life.

I didn’t get on anything else there and I felt stupid the whole way home. It’d be different if I hadn’t already stood in line for an hour and a half or if I had gotten off before they locked the restraints, but I was already on the ride. I had already made it up the hill. Whatever was gonna happen was out of my control, but I had this illogical feeling that closing my eyes and holding on tight would make a difference. Maybe it was my subconscious trying to give me the allusion that I had some power. I don’t know.

What I do know is that life is a lot like that. Someone close to me was just given an opportunity to take a job overseas. She’s considering turning it down out of fear of what could go wrong. Maybe the job will suck, she’ll miss her friends, it’s unfamiliar and what if she falls flat on her ass? Moving all the way back to the States jobless and a failure is more than she feels she could take. The way I see it, she’s already gotten on the ride. She stood in that long ass line by studying for classes that would have no use in the real world, she put up with shitty jobs and bosses to get to this point in her career and she’s had to sacrifice things she wanted to do for “business need” all in the name of work-life balance. Now that she’s reached the top of the hill and sees how high she’s come, she’s afraid she’ll fall so she’s closing her eyes and trying to hold on to what’s secure.

The truth is, life is very very short. You don’t have as much control as you think and sometimes you need to realize that and just relax and go with it. So keep your head back, arms inside the vehicle and, as always, enjoy your ride.

Bullseye!

Today at Target I realized that I really need to donate money to the public school system. The woman in front of me had to be about thirty and the clerk was probably in her mid twenties. After ringing up the woman’s stuff, the clerk gives her the total, $107.00. The woman whips out her checkbook and asks, “How do you write out $107?” The clerk instructs her to, “Write the words ‘one hundred’ then beside it write the number 100 and a slash mark, then put a seven underneath it.”

For those of you playing at home that’s “100 and 100/7 dollars.”

So the clerk puts the check in the machine and then tells the woman that it was declined. The two then brainstorm on why the check didn’t go through. Now my first thought is that the woman probably bounced checks here before and they flagged her account number, but I could be wrong. It seems most likely because I don’t think they run balance checks through that machine. It’s not a credit card after all, but hey, what do I know?

The lady tells the clerk, “Maybe it’s because I got that game!” So the girl voids the video game. I’m thinking, “Is this like an food stamp check?” I know that with food stamps you can’t buy alcohol, but I’m certain that they don’t issue food stamp checks. So they try again and it doesn’t work. Then they have a stroke of brilliance… “You think that maybe the machine can’t read my handwriting?”

At this point I’m dying laughing inside, but I maintain my composure. The customer says, “Usually when my checks don’t go through, a little thing prints out telling me why.” BINGO! You have a history of writing bad checks, that’s why the thing isn’t going through. They eventually call over the manager, who tells the woman to call the 800 number on the back of her check. The lady says that she doesn’t have a cell phone and that her phone at home is cut off and asks to use their phone. They shut down the line as the clerk walks with her to the customer service area to use the phone. I ask her if she’s coming back and she says, “You might want to go to another register.”

Pissed off, I just walked out the store and left everything there. The moral of the story is… A mind is a terrible thing to waste.