Sunday, January 31, 2016

Like I Know

My mouth is weird, man. Has been for over a month. (Possibly over a lifetime, if you ask my parents.)

One weekday before the Christmas weekend, I woke up and all of my teeth felt loose. My gums felt like Play-Doh, and my teeth felt as though they were shifting and might fall out. It was not a pleasant feeling.

The next day my teeth felt more secure. My bite was a bit different, and I had some on-and-off nerve pain in a front tooth for about an hour, but that was it.

Then the headaches started.

Let me rewind a bit, though. These past eight months haven't been easy, both emotionally -- although that's getting better -- and physically. To quote Snoop Dogg, if it ain't one thing, it's a motherfucking 'nother. Relationship stress, work stress...that pairing is like bleach and ammonia.

In early October of last year, I broke my rib (at least one). I was drunk, got the spins, and fell into a bus stop bench. The American judge gave me an 8.7. Not my finest hour.

That shit took nine or ten weeks to heal. I never visited a hospital. Want to know if you have a broken rib? No need to see a doctor; the pain will let you know. And by no means is this me endorsing not seeking medical treatment. Quite the opposite. You should seek help if you're injured or sick. I'm a complete dumbass, and I continue to be one. I wish there were a vaccination for idiocy.

Just as my rib was feeling pretty much copacetic, I pulled my lower back while -- ironically, because I had resolved to exercise regularly as soon as I felt physically sound -- trying to pick up a 20 Kg box of dumbbells and hurrying out from my apartment elevator. Always lift with your legs, dummy.

While not as painful as having a broken rib, that shit fucking hurts*. It was another setback in my goal to not be a kvetching invalid.

And then this shit with my mouth. The headaches got more intense, day by day. My teeth seemed to be, ostensibly, shifting in my mouth hour by hour. I had a twenty-four-seven headache that on the pain scale ranged between 2 and ithinkmyentireheadisgoingtoexplode.

Two weeks ago, over dinner with two of my best friends, it was emphasized to me that teeth don't just move around in your mouth, especially hourly. Of course they don't. That's what it felt like, but obviously that wasn't the problem.

This might be the problem.

I reaffirmed two things about my personality during this stretch: 1) I'm a stupid, scared moron who probably won't seek medical attention unless I'm under threat of imminent death, and 2) you could explain to me one hundred times how the U.S. armed forces branches of the Navy and the Marine Corps are different, and still will never get it.

Good news is that I haven't had a headache for two straight days.

Bad news is that I haven't been able to close my mouth in three days. I can make my lips touch so that I don't look like an extra in Deliverance, but my jaw is, to use a British expression, wonky. And the muscle under my tongue cramps up occasionally.

I'll see a doc or a dentist if it gets worse. Or maybe not.

Because part of me -- the part above my shoulders -- enjoys a good mystery.

* My apologies for the colorful language, but if you've ever had a broken rib or a pulled back muscle, you may be able to empathize with my descriptive fucking curse words.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Immigrant Song

I feel bad. I feel like an asshole. I am an asshole a lot of the time, although I don't proudly wear my asshole badge like a narcissist. Instead, I get a new asshole tattoo on my conscious and try to not be another asshole or a bigger asshole the next time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

I hate earwigs. I find them repulsive. I'm convinced that H.R. Giger modeled the Xenomorph after an earwig. They look terrifying, with their shiny black exoskeletons and pincers. Also, when I was an adolescent, I stayed with my family at my grandmother's one summer and the place was infested with them. One dropped from the ceiling into my hair while I was in bed, and ever since the sight of an earwig gives me goosebumps and an urge to eliminate the earwig from my environment. With extreme prejudice.

Earwigs, even though their weird name conjures fear, at least in me, are pretty chill insects. They tend to hide in the dark and stay out of the way for the most part. They're not wasps, which are the winged sociopaths of the insect kingdom (and which physically pose a threat to me, because I'm allergic to them). Earwigs are just scary-looking dudes.

Which is why I feel so bad for killing two earwigs today.

I have the same morning routine: wake up, smoke a square, hopefully deliver the mail, shower, get dressed, head to work.

But while I was sitting on the toilet this morning, square newly lit, I saw an earwig and had a conversation with myself:

One might mean there are more. Kill him and hope there aren't any more.I took a mop and mashed the bug into the corner of the shower until I was sure it was dead.

Then I sat back down on the toilet to finish smoking my morning cigarette.

But the earwig moved again. And again. It appeared to have overcome my assault. It writhed from the corner from whence I had intended to crush it, and it started to climb up the wall tile.

I was reminded of my Dachshund, Reggie, another long, diminutive creature, and I started rooting for this insect which I had tried to kill. It was making its way up the wall again, and I felt so terrible for trying to murder such a tenacious guy! I wanted this earwig to live!

Then my alarm went off and I had to go to work and I turned the shower on and flushed the earwig down the drain.

And when I came home after work, there was another earwig. A smaller one. I mushed it with a paper towel and flushed it down the toilet.

I feel bad.

Going to binge watch Fringe on Netflix.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Take It Easy, Mr. Frey

Believe it or not, people care where you've been.

The first time I heard the song above, I had been sitting in my mother's parked 1972 Buick Skylark. I vaguely recall being in the driveway of someone's house, for one reason or another, waiting for my mother to do whatever it is she had to do. As I dialed through radio stations, Glenn Frey's You Belong to the City came into tune. That's all there is to the story, I suppose, but it's enough for me. 

Sunday, January 03, 2016


"Hey, Reggie. Looks like a quiet night in here. The skyline looks like soup out there. I'll have a beer and a shot of whiskey, doesn't matter what kind. I'll serve myself if you're too tired."


"Yes sir, it has been a tough day. Tough week, month, year, life. I'm going to have a few -- no more than three -- and then go to bed.


"Reggie, you have to play music or put on some sports to attract customers. You're a good-looking fella, but looks alone aren't going to keep you prosperous."


"Well, it's the witching hour. Better knock off before a vampire bites me or I turn into a werewolf. How's my tab, Reg? Are we settled?"


"I'll take that as a 'Yes.'"


Old Pal,

I miss you, dummy.

How's your belly?

Are you chasing the saints around? Trying to steal Gabriel's trumpet?

If they ever get tired of your shit, tell them that they can send you back to me.

I can wait.

Good night, Reggie.

Your Best Friend,

P.S. I'm sorry about the time when I cut your toenails and I didn't have anything to give you afterwards as a treat. That Snickers bar would have killed you.
But if I knew that car was going to run you over, I would have given it to you.

Sleep soundly, Paw Prince