Tag Archives: health

Outsmarting Reality

Today is the day that I put on pants and sit at my desk to pound out some pretty words. As far as Life Goals go, it’s not so bad, really. To be fair, I’m not really that into the whole notion of pants in general (as I may have mentioned a time or two before), but I do recognize that bumbling about in pajama pants while sipping on a beverage and munching on Gummy Bears isn’t a solid plan for success. If I had unreasonable amount of money (in the other direction, that is), I suppose that I could be called eccentric, but as it is, I’m just this dude who wanders about looking like shambling grump. At least the haircut I got a few weeks ago is helping. Now the only thing to really give me away is the wrinkled clothing and days’-old stubble. I can get away with it while I am holed up at home, safe from the judgments of the outside world, and if I’m not dressed for public consumption, I feel no obligation to step farther out my door than the requisite number of steps it takes until I can smoke a cigarette without a stern talking-to.

Today I am going to go outside for no reason other than my desire to eat something other than Corn Nuts and Tootsie Rolls. Well, that, and there’s Crystal Pepsi at Walgreen’s, and I’m feeling a touch nostalgic. As part of my strategy to venture into the great outdoors, I’ve invited my stepdaughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren to come with me. At first glance, it would seem as though I’ve only done this to put a small measure of pressure upon myself so that I might actually make it happen, but anyone who actually knows us will understand that my intention was entirely more nefarious than it might otherwise appear. You see, there is a real chance that it might not actually come to pass. First, the adults have to get ready to go. Then, the wee ones have to be prepped for their adventure. For some reason today, this involves baths. So, add that in to the diaper changes, battles over wardrobe, complete domestic warfare and accusations of abandonment, tearing the apartment to shreds in search of something that may or may not have ever been there in the first place, tears and temper tantrums, and at the end of all of that, there’s a decent chance that everyone will be so upset and butthurt that they’ll decide that they don’t really want to go anywhere.

You see, I’ve made a foolproof plan to feel that I am actually accomplishing something whilst simultaneously ensuring that I might not have to go through with anything. There’s a certain smug satisfaction that comes with having outsmarted reality. Of course, there’s only one flaw with this entire scheme: There is a better than average chance that I will have to go through with everything, and I place the blame entirely upon the shoulders of my Wildflower.

She is hundreds of miles away on her vacation (which, as it happens, is kind of a vacation for me), spending time with my family on The Island. This was to be my time to really cut loose and let myself go truly and completely. My wife, it would seem, has other ideas. She is under the impression that I need sunlight and proper nutrition. I don’t even know how to react to that. It’s like she hasn’t been paying attention this past decade (or perhaps paying a little too much attention). Why she thinks that I will suddenly begin to give the slightest crap about self-preservation after three decades of neglect is not only unfathomable to me, but the source of at least forty percent of all of our arguments. And now she’s got her daughter on my case as well. Completely intolerable.

I guess what it all boils down to is that I don’t really know how to accept someone else caring about me. If I’m to be brutally honest, I think that I’m still under the delusion that I will die young and leave a moderately… well, I’ll leave a corpse at any rate. I’m sure that there are things that I could do to raise my quality of life, such as eating something apart from snacks and a drastic reduction in the amount of energy drinks which I consume on daily basis. Hell, I could even give up smoking, if I really wanted to make a change. But the fact is that I’m not all that interested in doing any of that. Sure, I’d love to eat something that wasn’t processed until it only nominally resembled a “food-like product”, but I have neither the time nor the money to cook the meals which I am interested in consuming. But this is only what sits upon the surface.

I think that if I were to be left to my own devices, I would simply allow myself to fade away. It’s just so hard sometimes to make myself exist for other people, especially when I don’t particularly wish to exist for my own self.

On a side note, thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to look back at previous summers, and it looks like, statistically, they’re not my best time of the year. In the past, the only season which truly stood out in my mind as a festering pit of days I’d rather not risk was the month leading up to my birthday (or, as other people know it: November). As it turns out, however, the summer months seem more likely to cause trouble than any other time of year. Perhaps it’s the over-abundance of sunlight which is more likely to trigger manic episodes (something much harder to notice in the moment than depression), which are far more destructive than my depression.

So, what do I do?

I guess I’ll just put my head down for a moment, collect myself, and force a smile upon my face. This is the beginning, and the male equivalent of Resting Bitch Face is no way to face it. So let’s have a chuckle, shall we?

Agony- 13.5 Years

I have quit jobs because of moral reasons. I have quit for ethical reasons. I have quit because I was unpaid and undervalued. I have quit because I had to move and couldn’t afford the commute. Hell, I’ve even quit a job because my paycheck earned me everything I’d wanted when I picked up a bag of pot, a pudding cake, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. But I have only once quit a job because I could no longer physically do it. At least, until now. To be clear, I haven’t quit my job yet, but even Flor has suggested that it might not be the worst thing which could happen. The fact is that the only reason I haven’t given notice is that I’m too damn proud to admit to myself that I might not have what it takes to do a minimum wage job. I went from being very good at what I do for a living, knowing what I had to do and when I had to do it on an instinctual level, to being someone who doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do, and unable to do what he’s been assigned with any level of competency. I am aware that it will take some time to bring myself up to speed, that the jump from food service to retail is involves a fairly decent learning curve. I know that I will get faster with every shift I work, that it’s only a matter of tenacity.

And so it would be, if it weren’t for the nearly maddening level of agony from which I have been suffering since halfway through my shift yesterday. I mentioned before that I had quit a job because of my physical limitations. It was the winter of 2001, and I had just moved to Lake City (a drive through suburb north of Seattle) with some friends who’d decided that I probably shouldn’t be stuck living in a thicket behind the Safeway of our hometown while working at McDonald’s. I’d been contributing from savings while looking for a job, but nothing was coming through. Big surprise. One of these days I’m going to have a laugh at the predictability of my life, although back in December of 2001, it was the first time that I had ever had to leave a job and immediately look for something else. The only thing that I could find was Labor Ready, which allowed me to wait outside the office in the freeing cold so that I could fight for shitty manual labor gigs with all the other people there without any other skills. After about a week or so of digging ditches in the frozen earth, I discovered that I wasn’t built for labor of a physically demanding nature. There came a day when I could not get out of bed, when my muscles were so tense and stiff that even though I knew that I would lose the job, and have a hard time getting anything else through that agency, I just couldn’t move my body.

I got back into another McDonald’s, after pestering them with applications (which they were kind enough to reference when they called the apartment to let me know that I’d scored myself an interview- my roommates hadn’t truly been convinced that I’d been looking, you see, much like the Flor these past few months), and decided that restaurants were definitely a step above killing myself for a living. But even restaurants, fast-food though they might have been, can take their toll. With every move, with every resignation, I told myself that the next time around, I would find myself something that didn’t have anything to do with food, and every time I wound up back in the embrace of food service. I got good it at. I started getting promotions, and then worked my way up into senior management. I developed a skill set. Hell, I even started remembering the Spanish that I’d taken in high school, and within a few years, managed to make myself conversationally fluent. Aside from the normal wear and tear of multiple hours on my feet, the worst that I really had to deal with was the constant stress and pressure of running a business and giving a damn about my employees. The stress did a number on musculature, but I managed it as best I could. I’d spent so long being at the top of my game, that when I left this last time, I felt that I could do anything. Hell, I even thought that I could write.

My first non-training day was yesterday, and it almost broke me. I have never, never, unloaded that volume of product off of a truck before. It was a constant flow of cases ranging from nearly weightless to considerable heft. The boxes were all shapes and sizes, and it was our job to sort them into their departments’ pallets, stacking them as best we could, and keeping up with the neverending flow of more and more cardboard containers. By the time we’d finished, I thought that I might have caused permanent damage to myself. Honestly, if we hadn’t finished when we did, I might have had to notify the manager that I couldn’t continue. I realize that I’m entitled to see a physician if I am hurt while I’m at work, especially if I did everything correctly, but I didn’t want to be the white dude who just couldn’t cut it doing basic grunt work. It’s been a sobering experience, I have to say, proving to myself that I could not, in fact, do anything I set my mind to.

But there is the slightest of silver linings: I got a call yesterday that a fairly well-known Chinese fast-food place would be interested in talking to me about a management gig. It’s been over a month since I applied, but at least they’re getting back to me. If it turns out that I can score this job, it means significantly more money, steadier employment, and something that I can do with almost killing myself. I’m crossing my fingers that this works out, because now that Flor’s on board with me walking away from where I’m at, it’s hard to keep going back.

I Can Do This! A Tale of Exhaustion and Madness

Mind over matter, never mind that I can barely think right now. I had been working on a piece which I may eventually finish, in the unlikely event that I ever get some sleep. But right now I am just holding on to what little threads of consciousness remain, dreading the moment when my wife comes home, for that will mean that laundry time has come. If only I hadn’t built up a tolerance to caffeine, the industrial strength Red Bull which I drank earlier might have had some sort of effect. As it stands now, however, I am locked into a battle of wills with my computer to see if I’ve got what it takes to do this thing on autopilot. That’s not to besmirch the quality of my automatic functions; I am disturbingly efficient when I cut out my higher thinking. I just hope that this makes some kind of sense to anyone who reads it, as I can make no promises about quality control. I’m pretty sure that I used to be able to function almost normally on little to no sleep, but those days have long since passed, and now I’m lucky that I don’t have to figure out how I’m going to operate heavy machinery.

Half asleep, and not even close to human...
Half asleep, and not even close to human…

I apologize if any jokes included seem a bit… deflated. I’m at the point where everything seems funny. If you were to put me in a room with my son and grandson, the epic stream of nonsense that would pour forth from that room would cast serious doubt upon my mental health. But the joke’s on you: My mental health is already suspect! Ha! It’s difficult to be amusing when you know that you can’t tell what’s funny anymore. I’m sure that I can make a couple of people chuckle, now and then, but I don’t know that I’ve inspired belly-shaking laughter, unless it involved the removal of my shirt in front of other people. That’s assuming that they don’t go blind. I’m a fairly pale-skinned individual, and as I tend towards ruddy pain when in the presence of the sun. That means that when I remove my top, it’s like staring at a hairy moon, full and reflective, capable of piercing the defenses of even the most sober of individuals. I mean, it’s dangerous enough when I remove my hat, as the glare from most light sources collects upon my noble skullet, pooling all together, exponentially reflecting outward at the speed of apathetic light.

But what really brings me down, besides my inability to grow hair upon my head, is the knowledge that I seem to be experiencing a second round of puberty. When I was younger, I never really had a pair of boobs, but over the past decade, I have grown into at least a B-cup, and as the amount of hair upon my head decreases, the size of my chest increases. I’d like to think that they are follically inflated, but the truth is that they are of a more natural composition. If I don’t do something soon, I’m going to have to go bra shopping, and I don’t even know where to begin. I mean, sure, I’ll need a certain level of support, but I’d like it if I could still look pretty too. Wow, down the rabbit hole am I. I mean, I’m not interested in dressing like a lady (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but I do have a fondness for kilts, and my silk boxers do feel pretty awesome. Maybe they make pectoral support devices that come in…  more masculine designs. Like something that depicts explosions or something. Yeah, no. I’m just not feeling it.

Not pictured: budding man boobs
Not pictured: budding man boobs

I’ve gotten to thinking that this might not be the best idea that I’ve ever had. I am just a little bit eccentric, and even I manage to take my statements out of context when it suits me. Breaking News: Tex Batmart admits to dressing up like women! You see? I don’t know. It’s hard to judge someone based upon a lack of desire to wear pants. I mean, when I was living in the PNW, pants were slightly more of a necessity. It can get a little cold up there, and I’ve an image to maintain. But I live in California, and most of the time, I only put on clothing to keep from turning into a man-sized lobster. But if I could finally feel the freedom of a kilt, I might learn to relax. Having a soothing breeze upon my nethers couldn’t hurt, either. Mind you, it’s not that I feel a strong desire to run through the world while fully on display, it’s just that I’m not really all that big a fan of pants. I do like wearing suits, though. Weird, right? Exhaustion is a heady vice.

I have begun fade... I hope to hold on for just a little longer.
I have begun fade… I hope to hold on for just a little longer.

As I was typing up that last paragraph, I noticed a couple of spiders creeping toward me to feast upon the shattered bodies of the mosquitoes which I’ve slain today. Normally, I have no problem with spiders carrying out their necessary tasks, but all I ask that they do it where I cannot see them. That’s actually my rule for all insects and “lower” beings which may make their way into my home: They have just as much right to live as me and mine, but if they stumble into sight, I will take them out. The spiders normally do alright, whereas mosquitoes, ants, and roaches creeping in from their home base in the apartment directly above us all seem to be feeling just a little down. Seeing that they’re suffering, I do my best to end their pain, but I just wish that they would find somewhere else to spend their dying moments, as it can be a little hard to bend sometimes.

But I am Death, the Destroyer, and I shall not be stopped. I like to think that they have made up legends about me, and live in fear of the day that the other shoe will drop, as is prophesied in their holy texts. Perhaps I am tempting fate, and summoning a shoe much greater than myself which will come to fall upon me as retribution for my hubris. But what can I do? I’ve laid out the rules quite clearly for them, and if they choose to violate the Neutral Zone, their deaths rest solely upon themselves, not me. For I must defend the boundaries of my own sovereignty, and all which lies within. I guess that I’ve finally found some common ground with my family after all. Of course, I’m talking about bugs, and they’re talking about dirty foreigners, so maybe not. All I know is that one day I will be featured on the local news as that crazy dude running around in a skirt and bra, chasing after tiny creatures and smashing them with my shoe. I just hope that my tan lines aren’t obvious, or I’ll never live it down.

And now I can fade back into unconsciousness.
And now I can fade back into unconsciousness.

Ah! The spider is back again! And it looks ang

Exhaustion and Health

Honestly, I’m kind of amazed that I’m actually sitting down to write this. I didn’t sleep well last night, and I feel absolutely wiped. And before I finally drifted off last night, I had about an hour or so of incredibly painful muscle spasms. It got to the point where there was nothing I could do but wait and hope that the pain would go away. It finally did, or at least, subsided enough for me to finally drift off to sleep. Sadly, that wasn’t the end of it, however. I kept waking up every couple of hours, with shooting pains through my leg, or my spine trying to collapse back upon itself. When I finally arose about a half an hour before my alarm was set to ring, I felt beaten and battered by my own body, and completely unprepared to face the day. But it is a school day today, and not only that, but I was also volunteered to take the son of a friend as well. It would be getting light soon, and I was running out of time to make myself presentable for people I’m not related to. It’s times like this that make me despise the necessity of pants. So, brushing aside the residual pain as best I could, I gimped over toward the bathroom and resigned myself to my fate.

Even now, hours after I first crabwalked my way out of bed, I am still feeling the tension all throughout my musculature, and my brain seems mired in pudding. You know, I haven’t eaten butterscotch pudding in years. I know that I have so many other things to think about right now, and eating pudding will do nothing for my pain, but I could really go for some right now. Even my son agrees.


Great. Now instead of just being distracted by House of Cards and agonizing pain, I have to fight through a growing desire to squirt a sports bottle full of butterscotch pudding directly into my mouth. If I can actually this column finished out today, I will be impressed. I’m not sure exactly what has happened since yesterday, I mean, aside from almost more pain than I can stand, But it’s not that. I mean, I’ve grown used to the pain, although its surges of intensity sometimes catch me off guard. I just feel like I’m not all here. Last night I was feeling a little dizzy and disoriented, just before the pain took hold. I’m wondering what’s going on, and why it’s happening all of a sudden. Perhaps it’s just a side effect of getting older, or perhaps… I should probably go to see a doctor, but I don’t have health insurance anymore, and after my last experience, I don’t know that I want to go through all of that nonsense yet again.

I realize that my doctor was just trying to cover his ass, or whatever, but it was ridiculous how little he was willing to listen to me, especially when it was my money that was figuratively getting thrown down the drain for every anti-depressant prescription that I was forced to literally throw down the drain when it didn’t work. I let him know that the only pysch med that has ever worked for me was lithium, but he was unwilling to try anything that predated this millennium. And even when my physical therapist recommended muscle relaxants, he still wanted to try to kill two birds with one stone. Instead, he wound up throwing sand at tigers.

I’m sorry for droning on about this. I know that you normally come here to read my caustic rants about injustice, or humorous musings about things I that I feel like mocking. I have even been known to say nice things about people and organizations which I care about. So I want to thank you for bearing with me as I do my very best to avoid thinking the pain I am experiencing, and symptoms which are probably nothing, but still cause me some level of concern. I never imagined that I would make it past my mid-twenties, and so I have been ill-prepared to face my mid-thirties and the inevitable failing of my body. The nice thing about having a blog is that I get to write whatever I feel about whingeing on about, and not having to feel terribly about it, as it is a service that I gladly provide for free. Maybe I should reach out Amalgamated Pudding for an endorsement deal. Except that I would wind up probably accepting a lifetime supply of pudding as payment, and my wife would be upset if I had to make a living selling boxes of pudding mix at discount prices at the flea market just to pay the bills.

It used to be about running from the pain so that I wouldn’t have to feel, but now I’d just like the pain to go away so that I can get on with my life. I’d like to be pain free so that I can start to exercise, and make an effort to get back in shape. I’ve been in a free fall towards obesity since 2002, and I think that it’s time that I try to do something about that. I’m not saying that I think that my last weight-loss regimen is something worth revisiting, but I need to start doing something, or Jerry Springer will have to cut me out of my apartment before too long. But the first thing that I have to get accomplished is a reduction of my pain. If I am forced to face pain whenever I am on my feet, or sitting down, or laying in my bed, I don’t see what chance I have to make it out to a gymnasium to force myself to stretch my already aching muscles.

That’s the amazing disconnect of the human condition: I know what I need to do, and how to do it, and yet I cannot get it done. Maybe if I didn’t have to overthink absolutely everything. Or maybe if I wasn’t such a baby.