Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The cold spot

Mom never put much faith in medicine or doctors. The only doctors she liked were the ones on TV that she didn't have to see in person like Marcus Welby or Trapper John.

When Mom was sick, she always had faith she would be healed by some miracle. This has me convinced that in a former life Mom was healed of some dreaded disease by Jesus himself, hence her lack of faith in any medical practice.

"I'll be OK, really," was her famous line during any medical episode, no matter how serious or minor. "I'm fine. Let's see what it's like tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be fine."

A cold? No doctor. Horrible flu and 105-degree fever? No doctor. Gunshot wounds to the arm and torso? No doctor. You get the picture.

She wouldn't even take Pepto Bismol when she had the runs. She would just mutter she'd be OK in a couple of days, laying on the bathroom floor shivering with her pants around her ankles. Another time, I'm positive Mom had pnuemonia. She should have been hooked up to a ventilator. Her breathing sounded like a jacuzzi. But instead of calling 911, she decided she would just drink and extra glass of orange juice or two and go to bed a couple of hours earlier.

Even if Mom had both of her arms torn off in some bizarre dishwasher mishap, she would opt to treat herself at home. She'd probably just lie down on the couch for a while, making sure to elevate what was left of her arms.

"It's OK, they're just my arms, they'll probably grow back," she'd whisper, acting as if they were a pair of salamander tails. "If not, they'll just scab over and heal up. I'll just make due with these stubs."

Even for a simple headache, Mom would not take aspirin. Instead, she would just wander around the house like an anvil had been recently dropped on her head. She has the pain threshold of a Terminator.

How far would Mom take her boycott against medicine? I joked around with her a lot, but then she shocked me a few years back on a trip to the dentist. She needed three cavities filled and chose not to take the novocain shots. The dentist pleaded with her but Mom was on the no pain, no gain plan.

This made me wonder what would happen if she ever needed a leg amputated. Maybe she would insist on the Old West way: Take a shot of whiskey, bite into an apple and give the doctor a hacksaw.

I don't know where Mom developed this attitude because the rest of the family is fine with mass amounts of drugs during medical treatment. Our medicine cabinet would make Tom Cruise fall off of Oprah's couch. Mom's medicine cabinet is as bare as Mother Hubbard's cupboard.

When I was too young to make my own medical decisions, Mom would sometimes insist on trying her home remedies. Her most famous prescription was for injured limbs, bruises, etc.

"Put it on a cold spot in your bed when you go to sleep," she'd say. "That always works."

In the 100 or so times Mom suggested this treatment, it only worked once. For some reason when I was 8, my sprained ankle was able to locate the mythical cold spot Mom always spoke of. I have never been able to find it since.

When I was 15 I wiped out on my bike and hit my nuts on the crossbar. After laying on the street twitching for a couple of hours and vomiting, I was able to stagger home. Mom's remedy for the swollen family jewels? You guessed it - the cold spot.

I was desperate for relief from the pain, but the search for the cold spot was in vain. I must have tried more positions in bed that day than Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. But I could not find the cold spot. We were out of ice, so that wasn't an option. I considered emptying out the refrigerator and sleeping there, but settled for something inside of it instead.

From that day on, a couple of beers became my cold spot.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Fat Is In The Fire

Well, it's that time of year again. My wife and I had to decide what our New Year's Resolution is. Yes, we know it's the 11th of January... maybe next year our resolution will be to give up procrastination and actually do it on the first.

The bottom line: We're sick of every day being Fat Tuesday. So, we've decided it's time to pull our firehosey feeding tubes. Don't worry, we won't die. It will actually help us live longer.

It's time. We're huge. I'm 6-foot-3 and weigh 335 pounds. I won't disclose my wife's weight because I actually want to live to see the thinner me. :-) We've both been overweight for most of our lives, but we each had one shining moment in our past where we lost a wide load of weight only to gain it back and then some later.

It finally hit me. When my doctor called me "morbidly obese," I think it was his nice way of telling me "You are so fucking fat it's scary." When he was giving me the usual speech about my size making me more at risk for heart disease, strokes, diabetes, arthritis, etc., I finally decided even though I ate like a competitive eater I was never going to turn pro. My killer appetite was probably just that, and it was time to do something about it.

We're not really sure if we're going to even follow a specific diet like Adkins or South Beach. We're just going to quit eating like termites in a lumber yard and add an exercise regimin. That should lose some lard.

Sure, there are a few quicker fixes out there, like going under the knife and doing the gastric bypass thing. I just can't do that. It has taken me years to perfect my digestive system into the farting machine it is, and I just can't throw that all away by having part of my intestines altered. Besides, I guess I feel I have to try losing weight the old-fashioned way before ever opting for surgery.

If only it would be as easy as that Stephen King book. Find a gypsy woman, piss her off, and the next thing you know you're Thinner thanks to being cursed.

An even better option would be to somehow donate all this baby fat to some Nip & Tuck-esque plastic surgery specialist. Surely Hollywood could use my blubber to make Angelina Jolie's lips puffier.
Or, better yet, split my beer gut in half and wow would those be some nice hooters (ironically partially built with beer and hot wings - maybe some lucky wannabe waitress could be the lucky recipient of a rack reminiscent of Pam Anderson).

Why diet now? What finally pushed me over the edge after being over 300 pounds for the last 7 years? Is it because I've blown out more pairs of pants than tires on my car? Well, not really. But it's part of the addition in the equation. I guess I can't really pin it on any one thing, but I did come up with 10 contributing factors...

10. For starters, I've been Party Size for an awfully long time. It's not that I long to be Fun Size, I just worry that I eventually might cross over to Family Size or Economy Size. But the King Size warning was accidentally heckling "You pansy ass! I can eat five times that much!" while watching the documentary Super Size Me at a local theater, sitting between a popcorn tub the size of a wastebasket and a party ball of Coke.

9. I feel dirty even when I shop for clothes. I really get looks when I ask the sales clerks if they "have anything in XXX?" It's as if I'm perusing the porno section of the video store. I try to reassure them that the only hardcore penetration in my future is trying to stuff my monster drumsticks inside the pant legs of the outfit I'm about to try on.

8. Someone suggested I make a toast at a New Year's Eve party, so I immediately went to the kitchen and looked for bread and some peanut butter. After my impromptu snack, I was pretty embarassed coming back into the room seeing all of these people waiting with their glasses hoisted going "What the fuck?!"

7. My wife wanted to get crazy and do a body shot off of me at said New Year's Eve party. She poured a 1.75 jug of Jack Daniels whiskey on me but didn't even get a lick. Apparently I'm also super absorbent, like Spongebob Squarepants.

6. I used to laugh at those geeks who would camp out overnight just to be the first in line to purchase tickets to a Star Wars movie, etc. Deep down, I kind of understood their obsession as I camped overnight to be first in line at the grand opening of an Old Country Buffet.

5. I am against Jell-O wrestling of any form and have even picketed events. I know one of their advertising slogans is "watch it wiggle," but this is taking it too far. Not because it's sexist, but because it's a waste of perfectly good Jell-O.

4. Some of my pants look like low-riders, but they aren't. My big ass just doesn't fit in them. I wish I could convince myself I am "in" with fashion a la Heidi Klum and that I'm wearing Levi's Plumber's Cut. But the truth is I have to take precautions before bending over so I don't have people behind me saying "Just say no to crack!"

3. My wife and I went to a salsa dancing class with a big-ass bag of tortilla chips. Some chick who thought she was Kelly Monaco got all pissy when I accidentally dribbled chunky chipotle on her cha-cha gown. I really thought it was left-dunk-right-bite, but I must have mixed it up.

2. I knew I had hit rock-bottom when I started running at cakewalks. The addiction started out with normal walking, but then slowly progressed to skips and then light jogging. Before I knew it, I was just sprinting to try to land on the magic number and score that sweet seven-layer cake.

Of course, when the cakewalk judge saw a 335-pound man running faster than Randy Moss, she thought my performance was enhanced. I wasn't on steroids! I'm a clean cakewalker. I proved it when the only artificial things found in my piss test were blue #2, red #40, and yellow #5 and #6. So there.

1. What finally pushed me over the edge was when my wife and I went to the grocery store yesterday. I spotted an Us Weekly, featuring a cover of Lindsay Lohan wearing a bikini above a "Diet Secrets" headline. Contrary to what other magazines have been reporting, the secret wasn't tickling her tonsils with her index finger.

That's kind of a relief. Because bulimia is not a funny thing. I should know. I have more eating disorders than I can count. Example: I'm half bulimic. I've got the binging part down. I just can't follow through with the purging.

So wish my wife and me luck. This is a huge step for us. It sure as hell won't be a cakewalk. There'll be plenty of walking around in circles, but there's a fat chance we'll be rewarded with a cake when the music stops. We'll get used to it.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Brokeback Burrito Line

I try to be as polite as I can be in public, but sometimes people make me eavesdrop. They don't hold a gun to my head, but they talk so loudly about a subject, I can't help but be involved in the discussion whether I like it or not. Sometimes I'm able to bite my lip and weather the verbal storm. Other nights, I'm not so lucky and just have to speak up.

A prime example of this happened while waiting in line at the Chipotle Thursday night. I was stuck behind a couple of guys whose voices carried like motivational speakers. Their intimate conversation was more like a lecture to the entire restaurant.

"I gotta tell you something, but you gotta promise you won't laugh at me," the tall guy wearing the bright blue old school Minnesota Timberwolves jacket and matching pants that made him look more like a peacock than a basketball fan told his buddy.

"Spill it, man," his portly friend with the shaggy sideburns said.

"I got totally duped into going to see a movie that was a million times worse than a chick flick," Peacock said.

"What?" Pork Chops asked. "Some foreign crap with subtitles?"

"That would have been cool compared to this," Peacock sniffed. "Now before I tell you, keep in mind I was totally deceived by my girlfriend."

"Sure, sure..." Pork Chops reassured him.

"Well, she told me it was going to be a western," Peacock said. "I was really excited. Westerns aren't made much anymore. I hadn't heard of any good ones coming out but I had just watched Tombstone again so I was totally stoked."

"There's a western movie out now?" Pork Chops asked, scratching his head.

"Hardly! She took me to fucking Brokeback Mountain!" Peacock screeched.

"Brokeback Mountain?!" Pork Chops shrieked. "Isn't that some kinda gay movie?"

"Yes it's totally gay!" Peacock said. "I ain't shittin' ya. It's about these two gay cowboys who knock boots one night, but then try to act like they liked chicks all along and get married and stuff. What a bunch of bullshit!"

"Wow, that's messed up," Pork Chops said.

"Tell me about it!" Peacock said. "I mean, who's heard of a gay cowboy? There's never been one!!"

I was stunned. Not about the movie's content, and certainly not about whether or not cowboys had life pardners. Just the fact that this guy didn't know that the movie included homosexuality. It would be like not knowing Liberace used to play the piano.

"Yeah, why does Hollywood have to make everything so gay?!" Pork Chop yipped.

The short African American man standing in front of me with the perfectly manicured nails, black platform boots and purple velour coat shifted in his spot uncomfortably. I figured he either A) liked the movie, B) was possibly homosexual, or C) was Prince. I decided at some point I would have to become involved in this silly little discussion.

"Think about all the cowboy movies and you can't find one gay cowboy," Peacock complained. "Eastwood? Bein' gay wouldn't make his day! Lee Van Cleef? Don't show him the beef. John Wayne? Fuck no!"

"No, no, no!" Pork Chop chirped. "And that famous cowboy song is called Home on the Range, not Homo on the Range. It's where the deer and antelopes play, not gays."

"Oh, come on," I finally interrupted. "You guys are kidding, right? Do you really care if there was a gay cowboy? Because surely there was at least one at some point in history. Heck, there might even be a gay Dallas Cowboy right now."

"No way!" Peacock said, spinning to address the line. "If anyone can show me proof of a gay cowboy in the entire entertainment industry, I'd pay you $100 right now! My money's safe because there's never been a gay cowboy. Ever."

"Ahhh, hold on just a sec, you might want to start fishing for that Benjamin," I said. "What about that dude from the Village People?"

Prince and most of the people in line erupted in laughter. Peacock's proud strut stopped. He unzipped his jacket. Either he was feeling the heat or it was an attempt to puff out his plume and attract even more attention.

"Village People?" Peacock asked. "You're screwed. They had an indian, not a cowboy."

"Not so fast," I said. "Yes, there was a Native American. But there was also a cowboy."

"Bullshit," Peacock said, rolling his eyes back trying to remember the YMCA video. "We know there was the indian. The lead singer was that cop. Then there was the biker guy... a construction worker... and some military guy."

"And?" I said, loving that I had this homophobe concentrating on every member of the Village People.

"Shit," Peacock said. "There was a cowboy."

"Yeah, it don't git no gayer than the Village People," Pork Chops agreed.

"Sorry buddy," I said. "I tell you what. I'll cut you a deal. Buy everyone in line who had to listen to you babble bullshit a burrito and we'll call it even on the $100."

"That's a load of crap," Peacock said. "You cheated. I meant there's no gay cowboys in movies. Some gay guy who dresses like a cowboy and sings don't count."

I reached at straw hats trying to come up with a potentially gay cowboy. All I could think of was that dude from Urban Cowboy who wore the mesh T-shirt to the honky tonk bar. And maybe cartoon horse Quick Draw McGraw. I was totally stumped and disappointed I couldn't keep pushing Peacock's buttons.

"What about The Lone Ranger?" Prince suddenly asked. "He wears a powder blue jumpsuit, a red scarf and a sexy little Mardi Gras mask. Does that sound like the wardrobe of a straight cowboy?"

"Hey, he rides Silver, not Tonto," Peacock said. "He's not gay. Or is he? No! Kemo Sabe ain't indian for gay. I think. Oh, crap, maybe he is gay!"

"Ha ha, don't sweat it, baby, I was teasing you," Prince giggled. "The Lone Ranger is not gay. I can guarantee you a gay cowboy would not be caught dead wearing a white hat after Labor Day."

Monday, January 02, 2006

Coupon craziness creates riotous results

Note to self: When a local grocery store offers a $10 off coupon with a $50 purchase, be sure to dress appropriately for the event. In riot gear!

If I didn't know any better, I'd swear the end of the world was coming yesterday morning. It was like the nuclear missiles had been launched and everyone had 10 minutes to buy survival items and rush back to their fallout shelters. It was total chaos and there was some light destruction inside the store.

That coupon was a master marketing plan. You would not believe how many idiots were in the store saying stuff like "We're only at $37, for the love of God Mabel find something that costs over $13!!!"

People were running amok, smoking out displays and each other so they could grab the last of the TGI Fridays frozen appetizers and the pizza that was on special for 6 for $10 (I think I got food poisoning just reading the sign!). I thought this kind of shit only happened at Toys R Us in the Cabbage Patch Kids aisle, but I actually saw two guys nearly come to blows over the last box of frozen jalapeno cheese poppers.

From what I heard, one guy took it out of the freezer even though the guy 3 carts away had his eye on it! To make matters worse, the same guy had also lifted the last two boxes of potato skins from the case, leaving the appetizer shelves almost as bare as Mother Hubbard's cupboard. It escalated when one guy said he needed them so he and his buddies could watch the football bowl games and the other needed them for his wife's annual New Year's Tupperware party. When the football guy told the Tupperware guy he was whipped and should get the chicken quesadillas instead, the frozen section went to Defcon 4.

Luckily an alert stock boy, who overheard the physical threats looming, brought out a few more boxes and was able to broker a peace accord in the frozen appetizer area. After the two food psychos went on to fight other battles, I jokingly suggested to the stock boy that he tell them to shop at separate ends of the store just in case there was only one tub of nacho dip left in the potato chip aisle.

Meanwhile, one lady went apeshit in the cereal aisle as she had filled her cart with about two dozen boxes of Kellogg's and General Mills cereals, then saw Malt-O-Meal was going for 4 for $6. She was about the size of Reggie White, so she basically reached in her cart and picked up all the boxes at once and chucked them on top of a cracker box pyramid, smoked it out, then dumped about 20 bags of Tootie Frooties and Marshmallow Mateys in her cart and bolted. The aisle looked like Billy Joel had missed a turn in the parking lot and drove through that aisle of the store doing 100 MPH.

One poor bastard looked like he had every ailment in the book. The way he was coughing and bobbing and weaving, I thought they would be asking him if he wanted a plastic or paper body bag when he left the store. I wondered if I would hear an announcement saying "cleanup in aisle 6, corpse near the canned soup." This guy had a medicine cabinet in his cart. I hope he doesn't have all these ailments at once, but he looked like he had it all judging from his appearance and the items in his cart. He had medicine for: The shits (must be a really bad case because he had two bottles of Pepto and a box of Immodium), jock itch, athlete's foot, a corn that needs to be removed, another corn that needs to be "held" (who's corn needs a hug?!), a headache, a cold sore, a sinus issue he plans to attack with Vicks vapor rub, and hemorrhoids. Oh, I guess he also had a 1/2 gallon of milk and a pack of juicy fruit in his cart, because everyone knows gum negates all other odd purchases. And he still spent more than I did!

Despite all these obstacles, I was able to sanely shop and get what we needed at home. I kicked ass and took the cashier's name. It was LaShonda. I really had to turn on the charm because after waiting in line for 35 minutes, she put her little "this lane is closed" sign up when I reached the conveyor belt. She shook her head and struck a "talk to the hand" pose.

She told me her lane was closed but I told her it was my New Year's resolution to only go to the best-looking cashier's line from now on and she would make me break it on my first day (OK, I was being more dishonest than Scott Peterson, but I didn't want to go wait in another line for 30 more minutes and then get shafted again!). I wasn't sure this worked at first, so then I told her I originally had 10 items in my cart, but then bought 11 more because she wasn't running a 20-items-or-less express lane. She smiled, showing me her 4 lovely gold-capped teeth, and said "OK, baby, one more" and then stonewalled the old bat behind me!

Anyway, I saved $16.38 ($77.72 worth only cost me $61.34) thanks to my small stash of coupons including the $10 one. I also bagged my groceries in record time just in case LaShonda mistook my stupid "grocery lines" as an attempt to "bag" her.