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Any Day Now
I'm trying to remember how many movies there are that feature people trying to drive other people insane.  What the techniques may be so I can judge more accurately if Bernadette sitting next to me in bed reading The Handmaid's Tale and pretending with a high degree of believability that she cannot hear another less desirable Canadian's wailing is one of her insidious techniques for driving me crazy.  That she is "in on it" is something every legitimate crazy person must consider.  I think she may be in on it.  Granted, the music is not very loud and I am far more sensitive and attuned to it at this point but she should be able to hear something.  I glance over at her every so often, expecting a smile and a nod of gentle unspoken declaration that she hears it too, "no baby, you're not crazy," but everybody, I mean everybody knows I just might be. As a for example I offer--that if this music of Celine Dion was as in your face as I suggest then how could there not be, by now, the sound of sirens as cops respond to the domestic abuse call against a sibling, spouse, roommate, child, or next door neighbor who, really, had to be killed, or punished loudly at least?  But there are no sirens therefore I may be crazy.  The schizophrenic who thinks they are being radio controlled by the CIA is almost a cliche but I have known and socialized with such an individual in my past and I can tell you that except for those occasional references to the CIA and the scribble-filled notebooks of some fairly insane shit this individual was as functional as anybody you know.  So maybe this Celine thing is my CIA radio control. Or it could be like whatshername on the Partridge Family when she gets braces on her teeth and starts picking up radio signals in her mouth.  You know, something ordinary and plausible.  In any case, it can't go on much longer.  At least that's what I remember thinking two weeks  ago. I wonder if I should get fitted for a foil helmet?
- jimlouis 2-12-2012 8:00 pm [link]
Satan Loves Celine
It has started again.  This time at 6:46 a.m.  Someone is being tortured.  I can hear the screams.  I can hear the wailing.  Someone is being tortured for...what is it now...fourteen days...seventeen?  

Maybe it was always there that background noise of human misery.  Over or would it be under the hum of truck engines, honking horns, Spanish workers calling out instructions, a jackhammer, helicopters, galvanized pipe dropping one block away, the clanging muted by distance.

It is I who am being tortured, by the instrument of Celine Dion.  Those are my screams you can't hear, muted by one man's desperate attempt at holding it together, his feigned efforts towards civility a futile joke.

Oh thank you God in all seriousness for turning up the volume on those grinding gears, that turning cement mixing drum, those screeching brakes, the cries of children either happy or sad, the flapping wings of the mourning dove's exit, I cry out my thanks for these gifts from Heaven.

But then always the waves of silence.  Over which comes Satan's Delivery.  The war waged eternally.  It is a question of tastes.  I don't wish to judge.
- jimlouis 2-03-2012 1:18 pm [link]
Where To Sit
I don't go to the movie theater that much.  I have heard people debate the supremacy of big screen over home screen.  Some believe no matter how big the screen is at home it cannot match the movie theater experience.  Others argue that the high definition digitally projected images on our home screens, no matter how small, are superior to that image projected up above us in that faintly musty, stale-buttery-popcorn-redolent movie house, and therefore watching a movie at home, surrounded by no one, or by only those people you choose, is to any sane person the preferable option.  To me these considerations of image quality or size of screen or atmosphere or getting out of the house versus staying at home or whatever it is people are usually talking about when this subject comes up, is beside the point.  To me it comes down to should most people even be let out of their houses and if the answer to that is yes then I counter with but why the hell would I want to spend 13 dollars plus in some cases transportation cost to sit in a smallish enclosed space with those people whom you have let out of their houses, and experience what for me is essentially a high risk low return crap shoot where the reward is a mild, perhaps occasionally sublime enjoyment, and the risk is torture.  Instead, why don't I save that money, donate it to a good cause or spend it on crack, doesn't really matter, also not the point, and subject myself to some greener form of self-flagellation?  You know, a torturous experience that promises a tiny if sometime real chance at enjoyment, but achieves that with less carbon.  Even if carbon abuse is also not my main objection here.  I'm just searching for an apt comparison of things.  Perhaps holing up in the corner of a dank basement with arms duct-taped behind me, earphones playing the latest in CIA noise torture, and over there across the room a barely visible, dog eared, mouse piss stained girly mag.  When there is a break in the screaming screeching noise torture there might could be heard, just faintly, a Bach piano concerto.  Oh, Bernadette and I saw The Artist the other day.  I did very much enjoy the movie.  It was worth it for me.  But that couple trying to find a seat during the previews, in a not very crowded theater, debating idiotically between three rows in front of us or two behind, and the capper (they settled on two behind us), after finally being shushed by someone closer to them, up and back they had gone, all the while chattering, up and back, she having one feeling about things and he sharing with all of us his opinions on angles and parallax views and head height, hair obstructions, seriously God, help THEM, anyway the capper was, after all this and then a ten beat or so of thank you Jesus they have finally shut up, she peeps--you aren't going to sit by me?  
- jimlouis 1-26-2012 4:21 pm [link]
What May Exist Question Mark
High winds may exist.  It was a warning.  But an avuncular one, so he took it lightly and was swept up into the top boughs of a pine tree, where in between gusts he was quite comfortable and happy about the view and enjoyed a general sense of smugness, like that one gets from being above it all.  But then he would  look out over the  wildly waving uncut hay fields to the north, which gave him notice of incoming gale force and he would increase his grip.  His fingernails were dug so deep into the pine bark that sap poured from it and soon coated his palms which turned black and sticky and coated with bits of wood and moss.  It was good the stickiness during the windy moments for it aided his ability to hold on but once during a calm moment he forgot about it and while picking at a piece of bark bit blown into his eye he succeeded only in spreading sap along the lid and soon found that eye glued shut.  So with only one eye the view was not as good.  Plus, it was his bad eye with which he now viewed the world.  His good eye had grown up going to church and listening to his mother and eating vegetables and such, and the bad eye had not.  Still, he had some vision, if slightly jaundiced, and, there was nothing wrong with his legs, yet, so he climbed down from the tree, slicing rude cuts into his face and body from the broken pointed shards of limb he encountered on his descent.  He had a limp now, caused he guessed from some poke in his get-a-long. And one puckering crusty eye and one formerly bad eye now elevated to good.  This new good eye accepted light but gave none back.  And like this he set out.
- jimlouis 1-13-2012 4:33 pm [link]
Not My Username
A man calls out to us from up ahead.  A dime seems like an odd amount to panhandle for.  Do they even make dimes anymore?  Bernadette finds some change while I finger what I think may be a dollar bill but turns out to be a piece of paper with my username and password for Pandora One.  I'm not giving that away.  I find thirty one cents and place it in his crusty black hand and by doing so save us from the sermon.  The man behind us, who gives nothing, gets the sermon, which we, walking, almost to the corner now where we will turn into a restaurant (I'm no Bennet Cerf), can hear with crystal clarity, almost cringing now on the front row, wooden pew meets bony ass, underarms itch with embarrassment because I know he's talking right to me.  If you exit to the east at dinner time this is going to happen.  Exit to the west not so much.
- jimlouis 1-03-2012 1:50 pm [link]
What I Got For Christmas
It wasn't that bad.  There was a little bait and switch pricing two hours before surgery but we worked that out--to my detriment--and it was no time at all before they had me gowned up (the orderly gave me an extra pair of non-skid socks as souvenir) and were shoving release forms up in my face to sign and marking me with indelible markers so they didn't screw up and cut me on the wrong side.  On the operating table they slid off my hospital issue draw string pants right before turning on the demerol stream and that was the last I saw of them.  They weren't in my bag when I got home and I am formally listing that as a regret.  I really wanted those draw string hospital pants.  I had looked into a future which had me lounging in them.

I'm normally a 118 over 75 kind of guy but immediately after the negotiations with Beth Israel's finance department a nurse took a reading and I was 148 over 98 or thereabouts.  I told her no, I am not a sufferer of high blood pressure, I think what is happening is my blood pressure reading is selling me out, belying my calm demeanor to say--hey this guy is really upset about being screwed out of 3 or 4 thousand dollars an hour or two before going under the knife for the first time in his life.  That's my estimation of the situation.  The nurse was understanding and said we would not worry about my blood pressure.  I gave her my height and weight too.  It seems nowadays they just trust you with that information rather than going to the trouble of actually using measuring devices.  I rounded my height down by a half inch and my weight up by five pounds because I am tall and thin enough to benefit from the adjustment.  I got my temperature taken with one of those thermometers that seems like a large rollerball pen they just trace across your forehead, from temple to temple and that's it.  Such a thing as this thermometer defines a modernness that I always hoped I would see, especially as it appears I will not (nor will any of us)  live long enough to see the mass production of flying cars.  

After years of delay I had a month or two ago started this medical forward movement to address a situation that while not life threatening or even necessary to deal with in the strictest sense, was however causing me some discomfort both physically and emotionally.  And to exacerbate my general ease with inaction, every doctor that has studied me over the last couple of years has made it clear by one expression or another that I have really shown a level of procrastination worthy of standing ovation applause, if procrastination were a rock band for which you camped out overnight to get tickets and then you ingested three or four mushroom caps and there was a light show and you literally cried because it was all so beautiful.

I will get to the point and say that the original procedure of concern was that of excising a hydrocele.  A hydrocele is fluid in the nut sack and is common with infants but I have always been a late bloomer so I was dealing with mine as a fifty two year old man.  

I don't really have any doctors I consider my own so I got a reference from Bernadette's primary care physician for a urologist here in New York.  The last time I almost took care of this was in North Carolina when I had that kidney stone during the renovation of my rental property, two or three years ago.  The doctors at Duke said they could take care of it for me but I let days and months pass and could never find what seemed like a good time for what is on some level a two or three month recuperation.  And then I just kept getting farther and farther from North Carolina so it never made sense to do it there.

The urologist said it appeared I also had a hernia so he sent me to a general surgeon  who does that sort of thing and we all got together and decided it would be logical to do the two procedures at once.

They didn't even have me count backward.  When the anesthesiologist turned on that drip it was almost instantaneous bliss, which I got to experience for what seemed like three or four seconds before I was under and they started shaving and slicing and inserting mesh and stitching up and then tag your it, my urologist did his thing down there.  I highly recommend not researching the subject too carefully unless you are in the market for such a procedure yourself, or, you have a fetish that way.  It is a fairly gruesome thing.  I was at a party the other night and there was a very experienced nurse in attendance and I mentioned the procedure by name--hydrocelectomy--and she winced, if that tells you anything.  Of course there are far worse ailments and surgeries and predicaments in a life so there is always the perspective of that.  That's right, I am grateful.

I got some Percocets to take home with me and I thought that was a silver lining to the whole thing.  Until after three or four days of taking five or six a day I got the first sense  that I may have to deal with the constipation issue.

What happened, it seems, is that someone snuck in here one night during my opiate dream and inserted a fair length of two by four up my ass.  And so I would never shit again.  That was obvious.  I had been prepping for this possibility even before surgery by removing red meat from my diet, increasing my fiber intake, etc., and then after surgery I was continuing to eat high fiber, was drinking prune juice, ingesting vitamin C,  taking softeners, and eventually a laxative and--nothing, but discomfort and a growing sense of dread.

On Christmas eve night, after attending briefly the party across the hall, I spent ten hours of shear hell in the bathroom with zero result.  Christmas night was a repeat of that, with pacing and jiggling and weird hula dancing type movements and massaging my now hugely bloated belly trying to make something happen.  All for naught.

On the day after Christmas I was sort of like a broken man.  If I possessed any state secrets I would have given them up for the chance to empty my bowels.

In addition to this discomfort I was also still post op from two cuts in my body, both near and affecting the necessary muscles one needs to pass solid waste, and the liquid for that matter.  Also,  on those many occasions when I had to stand up or sit down or get in and out of bed there would sometimes be the sensation of having a rusty icepick inserted decisively into my left testicle.  So that was nice.  In the sense that it took my mind off the constipation.  Whenever I was in the mood to be careful I could be seen, or not, shuffling bent over at the waist around the apartment, because that seemed to offer the least chance of pain.

I wept a couple of times just because I wasn't happy.

But its doable obviously, all of it, so don't let any of this discourage you if you are in the market for a hernia repair and hydrocele excision on the same day.

In the end it was a store bought enema product that did the trick.  And although there was howling and huffing and puffing and tears that seemed to just pop from my eyeballs onto the floor between my legs propped up on an empty  le Creuset box, not like crying at all, and I must say there were two or three actual screams, ones like I've never heard from out of me, but after about three hours there was one final explosion and then I was calm in a way that is familiar and now I'm back to just run of the mill pain, which I manage mostly without outside aide.  I have a few percs left and I will once a day or less eat one just for the fun of it.
- jimlouis 12-31-2011 10:43 pm [link] [1 ref]
Things To Remember
7:30--the sun will apparently not be coming up today. 8:00--remove mouse carcasses from traps set last night. 8:15--mouse poop cannot be left unattended indefinitely. 9:00--that is not a real snake. you bought it at Miss. truck stop. 9:24--just because you can sit down anytime you want to, doesn't mean you should. 9:35--wash hands frequently. 9:42--the north wind blows coldly across Mt. Pleasant. 9:59--you have a fairly good understanding of the meaning behind when the cat's away the mice will play. 10:15--if cleanliness is next to godliness you are getting closer to God. 12:09--you should tackle the pantry now. 12:10--don't forget to eat. 12:11--bleh, this is probably why you don't clean so often. 12:30--the best responses to Bernadette's if she were here probable assertion that little debbies are not a proper lunch are 1., yes they are, or 2., whatever.
- jimlouis 11-04-2011 2:23 pm [link]
A Weekday
I was keeping to the middle of the street to avoid the rats. Walking without much concern for traffic at 6 a.m. I did not like the idea of starting the day with any kind of physical contact with rodents. The rodent I allow has not so much interest in contacting me either. But the possibility for accidental touching remains high. High as a trash heap. Please, startled from your trash heap dreams do not brush against the shoulder of my ankle. I beg of you to not run your gray lumpy self over my paint-splattered hiking boots. Instead of all that pleading I just walk in the middle of the street, where the heavy gray skittering from say beneath a Chevy is less frequent than up on the sidewalk.

In the afternoon coming back from Long Island with more paint splattered not only on the boots I brake as part of the two mile long rubber-necking procession and enjoy as we all do a good car fire, hood engulfed in the yellow orange blaze, tires catching now, just passing right along and rolling down all the windows to remove from the deeper recesses of my cavernous nostrils the smell of freshly burnt rubber. The fireman had been opening the back door and I spent the next few miles imagining what may have been in the back seat. There was always a stuffed animal.

Back up in a fifth floor sanctuary hearing from beyond the blue building the progressively more persistent whirring of helicopter blades over Wall Street I take a nap.
- jimlouis 10-09-2011 3:09 pm [link]
News Copterwshcopter
- jimlouis 10-09-2011 3:07 pm [link]
Up To Your Ankles
In New York early this morning near hurricane strength gusts of wind ripped through the city bringing down leaves from trees to come crashing wetly down on vehicles below, in some cases sticking to windshields or even sunroofs.

The devastation was felt citywide, trashcans not emptied of their refuse prior to the storm gave up their contents to a greedy and less than fastidious Irene, who set about spreading wrappers and brown paper bags hither and thither.

In lower lying areas of southern Manhattan the flooding was widespread, if measured in inches. The brave and curious could be seen wading in water up to their ankles and in some cases mid thigh.

A city torn apart by worry and meteorological speculation now rebuilds.
- jimlouis 8-28-2011 11:04 pm [link]