! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

Friday, October 19, 2007


I am on a fairly restricted diet: no seeds, no nuts, nothing with “skin”, no additives, no preservatives, no colorants, no spice, nothing acidic, no popcorn,(arrgh!) no liquor, no flavor, no nothin’......probably should become a Breatharian.

My Doctor would be thrilled if I ate turkey and mashed potatoes for every meal, three times a day- for the rest of my bland and colorless life.

About ten years ago, I had several surgeries resulting in the inability to enjoy food again. Ever.

But, of course, that’s another story.

Suffice it to say that occasionally....maybe a few times a year- my taste buds revolt and cry out for something baaad. Preservatives, additives, technicolor snacks that will force my dinner plate into a state of chemically enhanced frivolity- taunting my palate with demonic glee.

It’s true what they say- “You are what you eat”- and every great once in a while, I wanna feel goood!

I crept out at 10:30 P.M. under the cover of darkness, to satisfy my wanton lust for some verboten treat- something that would make the tree hugging, wheat germ huffing, organically correct, over zealous staff at Whole Foods literally gag.

I set my sights on Cocoa Puffs, hold the soy milk.

As I perused the cereal aisle scanning all of the other choices (Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, Frosted Flakes!) I noticed that the word “sweet” was conspicuously absent from the psychedelic boxes designed to lure the kid in all of us. I began to tremble slightly and wondered if I was about to actually swoon over the possibility that even Corn Pops (nee Sugar) had morphed into something ‘healthy’.......

The room began to spin as I stretched out my quivering hand for the treasure. Cocoa Puffs within my grasp, I hit the floor and everything went black.

When I came to I noticed several things at once. I was surrounded by a mound of cereal boxes, there were people screaming.....and my head hurt baaad.

Apparently, I had passed out cold while convulsing uncontrollably, writhing on the freshly buffed floor of aisle nine. Naturally, I was a bit confused - gazing helplessly into the eyes of several panic - stricken strangers, some on cell phones, one woman weeping, amid the clatter of paramedics screeching around the corner, gurney at the ready.

As they came to my aid, I attempted to sit up but realized I was in pain and slumped against the mountain of Rice Crispies - slurring some words in answer to the barrage of questions hurled at me. Did I know my name? Who the President was? Where I lived?

I answered them all, pleased that I had passed their weird test- and then the ultimate question.

The cute guy in the blue jumpsuit pointed to the timepiece on my left hand and asked me what it was. I looked at my wrist and pondered his question. Nothing came to mind.

I looked at him and then at his equally adorable partner. I looked back at that thing with the numbers on it- it was clearly marking some sort of passage of time- and yet what it was still eluded me. It was then that I realized something was wrong. Something baaad.

After what seemed like an hour, I cleared my throat and announced that it was a clock. A clock......sounded right to me. The guy who couldn’t make it through medical school patted me on the head and said “That’s good, Jonathan- not the answer I was looking for- but good”

By now I was on the gurney and informed I was going to the emergency room. I sat up and yelped back that I was not and that I was fine, no worries. It was then that it occurred that I was drooling (ever so slightly) and that my left arm was swinging freely, unencumbered by that pesky socket. I suggested a compromise. I would go to the hospital if they would allow me to drive myself and asked mock-doctor McDreamy if he had any idea how much a joyride in an ambulance costs these days.

He shook his tousled mane (not unlike the Breck Girl of days gone by) and told me that he had no choice. The state of California apparently dictates how he handle the situation, much to my chagrin.

The next few hours are a blur. I remember being asked a LOT of questions. Calls to my personal physician, tests, tests, tests.

Slowly, as if in a dream I began to hear the doctor’s words. I had endured a seizure and suffered a small stroke (Hmm) . Apparently, while I was doing the “Horizontal Mambo” alone (So what else is new?) on the highly polished dance floor, I self-inflicted a “Severe Brain Injury” (heretofore known as S.B.I.)and dislocated my left shoulder. My left eye drooped a teeny bit. I couldn’t make a fist with my left hand, nor walk with my left leg.
I looked gooood.

Somewhere around three A.M. I was informed that I was to be admitted. By this time I had heard the theme song from “The Adams Family” play endlessly in my head a thousand times, begging the nurses to make it stop. I was told this was not “uncommon” (WTF?)

I begged the attending to get my Doctor on the phone again and cried into the mouthpiece. He gave me the choice of going home to my own bed, after being told that they were just going to ‘observe’ me as I pointed out that I was not made of money (“Insurance only covers eighty percent you know!”.....)

I agreed to let the staff get me a cab rather that waking any of my neighbors at that Godforsaken hour and slinked out of the wheelchair into the grimy back seat of a taxi, trying my best to appear chipper to my driver, Achmed.

I slipped him an extra ten to take me to the grocery store parking lot where he unceremoniously dropped my ass off and sped into the night, cursing the stupidity of all Americans.

With diminished faculties, I revved the motor of my trusty pickup and drove off, suddenly realizing how difficult and challenging driving a stick shift can be when you only have one hand, one eye and one leg.

Hilarity ensued as I wound my way down Colorado Avenue, weaving drunkenly and narrowly avoiding crashing ‘round every bend as I traversed the six blocks to my crib (Crib? No, that didn’t sound right at all!)

Once I was home, safe (yet not quite sound) I collapsed onto my bed and began the long, slow adventure that would be my healing process......a journey that I am still on. I can walk (albeit a bit cockeyed), I can once again make a fist (albeit slowly) My eye no longer droops, yet I see the world in an entirely different way. The headaches have diminished ( although my S.B.I. haunts me from time to time) and I lost the entire summer to a pack of rehab ghouls who clearly enjoyed torturing me into submission (under the guise of “good health”)

Apparently, I am going to make a “full recovery” (still waiting for THAT to happen!) and have cheated Death once more.......Every once in a while, I have to slam my shoulder back into place while debating the pros and cons of surgery to make it permanently honor the agreement between ball and socket.

Have not worked in a while.....although my overall likeness to the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” could come in handy, now that Halloween is upon us. Managed to go camping once, a few weeks ago. But of course, that’s another story.