Saturday, June 29, 2013

Enough about Paula Deen

I don’t have any strong feeling about Paul Deen one way or the other as an individual person. That’s because I don’t know her, personally. If she needs to be vilified then we can leave that to our muck-raking media. I should restate that. Whether Paula Deen needs to be vilified, or not, our disgusting media is going to do it.

I once knew a Texan who sometimes said, “The higher up you get on a limb, the more people there are that are going want to take a shot at you.” There is much wisdom in that colloquialism. When Paula was a divorced mother rearing her two sons and orphaned younger brother, the media left her alone.

Then her catering business, started out of her kitchen, turned into an entrepreneur’s dream. Success put Paula Deen higher in the tree. Then people, who couldn't reach such heights, could notice and envy her.

As for her use of a blatantly derogatory term thirty years ago, it’s not okay. It never was okay and it definitely never will be okay. For her very wrongful indiscretion, she has publicly and sincerely apologized.

Ninety percent of baby boomers, whether they grew up in the south, the north or the west,  will admit to casual use of derogatory racial slurs at some point in their life. The other ten percent are, more than likely, liars. I nearly got my jaw broken for it once when I only spoke a derogatory term under my breath in a bar.

None of us can change the environment that we grew up in. All that we can do is change ourselves and how we rear our children so that the wrongs in our lifetimes are replaced with rights. If Paula Deen has failed at this, to the point of violating the law, then let the judicial system handle it. The media needs to back off.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Coin-Op Toilets, Automation and Sex in the Pooper

Public toilets have evolved considerably over the years.  Many of us may be familiar with the public pay toilet.  They have to be opened via a coin actuated lock on the stall door.  Not having the required coin in your pocket and waiting too long to use the toilet would not make for a comfortable situation. 

It might be a goldmine for street beggars, however.  Who could turn down somebody asking for spare change outside of coin operated restroom?  Add in a nervous little dance on the part of the beggar and I’d give him a few coins.  That way he’d have a coin for the toilet right at the time, one for coffee afterwards and another in case the coffee made his bladder swell again before he got all the way home.
Pay toilets fell out of favor in the United States with the feminist movement in the seventies.  Women didn't think that it was fair for them to pay for a stall while men didn't have to pay for urinal.  I agree.

Personally, I think that a pay urinal could have been a good thing.  An enclosure could have been built around the urinal with a coin operated little door that flipped open so the guys could insert to take care of business.  What’s even better, the proceeds gained from urinal charges would have higher margins because toilet paper isn't required at a urinal. 

Not only that but, with the enclosure around a urinal, slobs couldn't litter the urinal with their chewing gum and cigarette butts.  Best of all, it would be nearly impossible for the pervert voyeur at the urinal next to you sneak a peek.

Of course the little door on the urinal would have to re-lock on timed sequence in order to prevent cheaters from doing a free pee.  Imagine some guy sneaking in right after you and before the little door closes because he has to go really bad and doesn't have any change. 

You’re washing your hands and you hear a scream as the door slams shut on the poor guy.  Guaranteed, that’s the last time that he’ll ever want a free pee. It might even be the last time that the guys pees from the standing position.

Can you imagine what a good ambulance-chasing lawyer could do with that? Would that be a charge of assault by penectomy? Nah, it would be assault by urinal with the result being a penectomy. The lawyers would figure it out. 

Then this poor guy would have to testify to the intimate details of how his life was ruined. "You'd think that I was nothing but a dog now. Whenever the missus gets really aroused she just keeps telling me to get down. It's nearly impossible for me to climax now. When I do, it's like spitting with no lips."

Hand washing is another aspect of public toilets that has evolved, too.  There was a time when a vandal could leave the water turned on in the basins in order to waste water.  The vandal might even plug the basin drains so that the water would run over and flood the restroom.   A really creative vandal could also be prepared with ducklings to leave on the flooded floor for aesthetic appeal.

Anyway, somebody ruined the vandal’s fun by inventing spring-loaded faucet shutoffs.  You could turn the water on but, the second that you let go of the handle, it would spring back to the closed position.  They didn't have much thought toward handicapped people in those days though.  Could you imagine being a one-handed person? 

You manage to get your pants down, take care of your personals and get you pants back up, complete with your shirt tucked back in.  And, you did it all with only one hand.  However, as can happen on occasion, you perforated the toilet paper while taking care of business.  It’s not real bad but you do have a little smudge on your fingertips.  

Not a problem you think.  That’s what basins are for.  Now how are you going to hold that faucet in the turned-on position and wash your only hand at the same time?  With my luck that would also be about the same time that that my nose would itch. 

Now they've perfected the hand washing experience with motion activated faucets. If you want to have some fun sometime go an international airport and walk into the restroom at the same time as some travelers from a third world country.  Then watch them try to figure out how to turn on the water.

Sometimes automated faucets get a little aggravating if they won’t work properly.  Most annoying is when it works to wet and soap my hands but then it shuts off before I finish rinsing and then I can’t get it going again.  That’s worse than an empty towel dispenser.

Some restrooms don't have paper towels. They been replaced by those machines on the wall that do hand blow-jobs. They don't work well though. They should take them all to congress because they'd be cheaper that what we're paying for the hot air that we get from there now.

We have come a long way toward accommodating handicapped people in public restrooms.  Take for example the low mounted urinals.  Yeah, right!  I have never seen a wheel-chaired person use one of those.  I have to believe that unless they’re far better endowed than I ever imagined being myself then they’re not going to be able to reach that bowl.
I don’t like to use the low urinals myself because I get splash on my pants.  You might wonder how that I know that.  Use one of them sometime with shorts on.  You’ll figure it out. Then you'll wish that they had showers in public restrooms.

Little people might use them though, I guess.  There might be problem if there isn't a partition between the urinals.  A little guy would have to wash his face.  Hopefully the motion sensors work at the basins.

Pay toilets are still popular in some parts of the world.  In Paris they have these structures on the street that look kind of like a double-wide phone booth with no windows.  With my luck I’d be sitting there doing the big job about the same time that Superman was in the neighborhood and needed a changing room.  

Then, of course, he wouldn't need a coin to get in.  There I’d be in all my glory as he tore off the door charged in.  I guess that I’d just say, “Hey Dude!  You have the wrong number.”

Those motion sensors are used to flush toilets now, too.  The spring loaded shut off on the flush handle seemed adequate to me.  I didn't see the need for motion sensors on the toilet.  They can be nuisance too.  Ever tried to do a courtesy flush with one of those things?  You haven’t wiped yet so you don’t want to stand up in order to make it flush.

Somebody figured that out later on.  The newer ones have manual flush buttons on them.  The trouble is that it’s difficult to find the little manual flush button behind you.  When you need to courtesy flush you can’t see exactly what you’re touching.  What if the person before you perforated the toilet paper and then used the manual flush button?  Hopefully the motion sensors are working on the basins.

One thing that really peeves me about public restrooms is the mean and cowardly people that pee on a toilet seat.  There isn't a man alive that shares a private restroom with a woman that would dare do that at home.  If he did he’d be eunuch for the rest of his life. 

Let’s be honest, though, ladies.  There are those among you who will do the same thing.  I have asked women.  They have told me about the hover.  The trouble with the hover is that the woman is too far from the target.  What’s worse, some of them are firing shotguns instead rifles.  Maybe the next innovation in public restrooms will be a radar aiming system for women doing the hover.

Once as I was approaching a unisex public restroom a woman was leaving.  I entered, closed and locked the door, turned around and I got a shock.  It looked like a giant tomcat had come in there and marked territory.

I had quite an experience with an automatic flusher in a public restroom.  If I have to the big job I always go the handicapped stall.  Now before you start thinking poorly of me it’s not like a I took a handicapped parking spot and somebody had to motor their hov-a-round across an five acres of parking lot.  That handicapped person has as much right to wait his turn for a public toilet as I do.  At least, he has a place to sit while he waits.  Besides, I get claustrophobic in the standard stall.  That’s kind of a handicap.

Anyway, I went into the handicapped stall and some coward, who apparently was not yet a eunuch, had peed on the toilet seat.  That’s another reason to use the handicapped stall.  A sink, soap and towels are right there so you can clean up after the jerk.

There were also these tissues in a dispenser on the wall that were shaped like a toilet seat.  I've never used those but then, I thought, what the heck.  I pulled one from the dispenser and unfolded it.  The center was perforated for removal all except for about four inches on the end of the oval shape.  So then I wonder if this goes in the front or back.  

There was no tag on it like you have on your T-shirt. I decided on the front.  My thinking was that they made it this way to protect the knees of anybody who couldn't aim their rifle or who only had a sawed-off shotgun.

I bent down and laid the thing carefully on seat.  The center part stayed attached on the front and the rest fell into the water.  Then I turned around to drop my pants.  The second that I straightened and turned, whoosh!  The tissue seat cover was gone in a flush.

I thought for second and realized that there must be a strategy to using these things.  I dropped my jeans, pulled another tissue from the dispenser, unfolded it and placed it carefully on the seat.  Then, with great stealth, I turned quickly back to forward and started to sit down.  Whoosh!  I was too slow.

At this point common sense might tell most people that this tissue wasn't needed and certainly wasn't important.  For me, however, it had become a challenge.  It was something that needed to be conquered.

I pulled another tissue from the dispenser but this time I lowered myself to the half-hover position over the toilet.  With what was now practiced stealth I placed the tissue on the seat and sat down.  This time I made it.  I had conquered the commode seat tissue.

Now you might think that the troubles were over.  However, after my physiological functions had ceased I rocked over to do the reach-under.  You know what they say about the job and paperwork.  Wouldn't you know it that I was wrong about conquering that tissue?  When I rocked over the tissue stuck like it had adhesive on one side and I had placed it wrong side up.

Now I was faced with the question of whether to reach under the tissue or peel it off and reach between the tissue and my person.  For those of you that do the reach-through, between your legs, instead of the reach-under you probably think that there is no problem.

You go ahead and reach through if you want to.  I’m not taking a chance on soiling certain valued parts of my person.  I can see it now.  I’d be trying to clean up at the basin.  Somebody would walk in and see me with pants around my ankles and the motion sensor wouldn't work on the basin.  Depending what sort of person walked in, who knows what direction that situation might have taken.

Well, anyway, I opted to peel the tissue from my person.  This was a bother but it just felt more natural.  Having the entire job done, complete with paperwork, I stood to pull up my jeans.  Whoosh!  But the tissue was stuck fast to the seat.

I heard a story of two guys that we’re having sex in a pay toilet.  They were charged with lewd behavior in public.  In court, the defense argued that since they had to pay to get into the toilet it was like renting a hotel room.  Therefore it was private and there was not a public display lewd behavior.

All of that aside, I cannot in my wildest imagination conceive the notion of having sex in public toilet.  I don’t care if it’s homosexual, heterosexual or a bi-sexual gang bang.  That is not what a toilet is made for.  I think that I’m as creative as anybody in trying some nontraditional positions but come on.  In a toilet?  There is hardly enough room to turn around and sit, much less, well, you know. 

Then with the multiple toilets that are in a public restroom.  Let’s say, just for a moment, that you and your “partner” are able to get into the mood, get into the stall and contort yourselves into an acceptable position for your desires.  You've mentally blocked out everything else around you and the climax is imminent. 

Then, in the stall next to you, someone sits down with a colon full of their used-up high-fiber diet mixed with noxious gases.  You hear the sounds of these ingredients making a high pressure exit, via the orifice that nature designed for that purpose, into the water below. 

I have to believe that, at this point, your ears, nose and raw imagination are going to override anything else that your body has going on except maybe breathing. And that’s a big maybe on the breathing. 

I don’t care how intense your passion is at the time.  You would be psychologically scarred for life from an experience like that.  So scarred, you might be, that the kitty would never purr again.

You might also enjoy reading the following stories.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Fish Eye View of Catch and Release

Three bass flipped their tails lazily along the shallows of the glass-topped morning water of the lake. The two largest of the three knew that lake well and were respected by all who swam in the water. The third bass wasn't quite up to size but he was large enough that he would fear only one predator on the lake.

The gentle vibration of an electric trolling motor came from behind the fish. They stopped and turned toward it, trying to exact the bearing. The intensity of the vibration gradually increased and the silhouette of the hull appeared, in the distance, at the surface.

As the three watched the hull move in closer, Henry, the older of the two mature bass was the first to speak. He warned the youngster of the trio.

“You may see something that looks like food anytime now, kid, but don’t you believe it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just be still and do like he says if you want to get to your full growth.”  Max had less patience than Henry. “If you don’t listen you’ll end up in that hull wishing for water across your gills.”

There was a soft plop of something hitting the water. The three instinctively looked toward the sound. Something indistinguishable, but shiny, was diving hard toward the bottom. It stopped the descent and drifted casually upward before diving again and swimming fast toward the deep water. These actions repeated until the object disappeared near the hull.

“Did you see that kid? Watch and it will be back.”

Sure enough, there was another soft plop and then, what appeared to be a little fish, dove down and drifted back up again. The cycle repeated over and over until the object disappeared near the hull again.

“It’s crank bait, kid. If you hit that and don’t blow it out in time then you’re done. There is nothing that anybody can do for you. You’ll disappear near that hull right along with it.”

“Yeah, but the difference is that you won’t come back again the way that crank bait does.” Max had to add his opinion.

“It looked real. How do you know that it’s bait?”

“That’s a good question, kid.” Max liked to educate the newcomers to deep water. “Think about it. Before you were even a small fry, did you ever head for deep water?”

“Well no, one of you guys might have mistaken me for a shad.”

“Exactly and, just so you know kid, there is no mistake about it. Big fish eat little fish. That’s just the way that it is.”

The crank bait plopped another time. This time as the bait stopped diving and then raised toward the surface a small bass, that the others had not seen, darted out of the shadows and hit the bait. The line, unseen by any of the fish, snapped and set the hook into the mouth of the little bass.

The little fish tugged and pulled against the line but he was no match the force that drew him to the surface. Just as the older fish had warned, the bass disappeared near the hull.

“What did we tell you, kid? That could have been you.”

There was big plop as the fish re-entered the water. He darted for the nearest shallows and disappeared. The kid was excited to see him return.

“Look though, he came back. You said that he would be gone forever.”

“Go ahead, kid. When the crank bait drops again, take it. See what happens,” warned Max.

“That bass was too small to keep, kid. You, however, are big enough to be keeper. The only way that you’ll get away is by catch and release.”

“Just because you saw that little guy back in the water doesn't mean that he’ll be okay, either. He could have been injured while they had him out of the water or he simply may have been out of the water too long. More than a minute without oxygen can be the difference between living and dying in the next couple of days.” Again, Henry had more patience with the kid than Max did.

“What is catch and release?”

The hull passed by and the soft vibration of the trolling motor faded into the distance. The three fish swam in the opposite direction. The two older fishes explained what catch and release was and shared their knowledge of how to survive in the deep water. Henry started off.

“Catch and release is how, so called, sport fisherman enjoy the thrill of catching one of us without filleting our side meat into a frying pan. The trouble is that some of them don’t have a flip of common sense on how to handle a fish without killing it. Oh yeah, they let the fish go. The trouble is that, after a fish has fought to get free, and then is kept out of the water gasping for oxygen they don’t have much of a chance to survive.”

“So that little guy that we saw get thrown back probably went off and died in the shallows?”

“In his case, maybe not, as long as they didn't him hurt badly. He didn't have to fight too long before being pulled out. Then he was back in the water pretty quickly so that he could get some water across his gills right away.”

“Have either of you ever been caught and then released?” Max answered this one. His sarcastic tone wasn't there when he spoke this time.

“It happened to me once. I have never felt so helpless in my life. No matter how hard I tried to get away, I just couldn't. I was lucky though. The guy that caught me didn't play me long enough to wear me out badly. Then when he had me at the hull, he didn't take me out of the water. He had the hook barb pinched off so that he could simply reach into the water and slip the hook from my mouth easily and I was on my way. I’m telling you, my tail did some fast and hard flips to put distance between that hull and me.”

“It must have really scared you, huh?”

“Yes and no. I was scared half to death at the thought being pulled from the water. Once I was free, though, it was a rush like I've never felt before or since then.”

“If you got right back into the water then it wouldn't be so bad, would it?” Henry took over again on this one.

“That’s a big if, kid. When they get you out of the water you don’t know what they’re going to do or how long it’s going to take. Sometimes they want to take photos so they can brag to their buddies. If you’re out of the water for 2-3 minutes it can mess up your brain so bad that you’re just going to die anyway.”

“The other thing that you don’t realize,” added Max, “is that our bodies are not built to bear our weight out of the water. We were designed by the maker to suspend in the water. For the land crawlers it would be much like floating in the air.”

“Now imagine that you’re hanging by a hook stuck in your jaw while those clowns take bragging photos. There isn't a one of those fishermen that could survive being hung by their jaw, yet, they think nothing of doing it to us.”

The kid was paying attention, though, some of this was hard for him to imagine, having never been pulled from the water. The two bass went on telling him more.

“I used to know an old northern, which lived over on the west side. He went through the worst of catch and release that one could get and still survive. His skin was never right because of the rough handling that he had. It made it easy for fungi and parasites to get at him. He still carried the hook in the back of his mouth. The land crawlers just cut him loose and left the hook for fear of tearing him up when they took it out. That could have been avoided if the land crawlers had pinched the barb off before casting out the lure. He’s just lucky that it wasn't a treble hook. That would have killed him for sure.”

“Worse than that, I once knew another large mouth that was laid in the bottom of the hull and a boot was put to his belly to hold him while they fought the hook from his jaw. It messed up his innards so bad that he died of internal bleeding within a few hours of being released.”

The kid was soaking it all in. He turned to Max.

“Was it crank-bait that got you caught?”

“Nah, it was a popper. The guy was good. He was flipping the popper out and dragging back on top of the water and parallel to the shoreline just like a frog might do. I was fooled and took the bait.”

Just then there was a plop followed by bloop, bloop, bloop as a popper hit the water and was dragged along the shoreline.  The kid was certain that it was a frog and tensed up to make the hit.

“Don’t do it, kid.” Maxed warned him. “It’s a popper like I was just telling you about.”

“How do you know? It looks like a frog to me.”

“I know because I've been up close personal with one, kid. You don’t forget a thing like that.”

Just then, something darted in on the popper. It was another large mouth, about the same size as the kid. He hit the popper. A few moments later he was gone.

“What did I tell you, kid? That’s twice that we saved your tail today.”

“There was no hull!”

“Not all of the land crawlers have hulls. Some of them work from the shore.”

The kid was very quiet.

“Is something wrong, kid? You look like you just lost your best friend.”

“I did, more or less. That bass that just took the bait was in school with me when we were smaller.”

The other two felt badly but there was nothing that could be done. That bass wasn't coming back into the water now, unless he was on the end of a stringer. Henry finally spoke.

“Let’s go deeper to the cooler water. It’s warming up too much here. I can hardly breathe.”

Learn more about proper catch and release technique here

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mourning an Internal Loss

A light poked in through the freshly parted opening. Two other openings were made. Forceps entered through one and a hook-shaped tool entered through the other. It was like the basement scene in War of the Worlds.

The light moved close to the liver as the forceps nudged the liver aside to reach the gallbladder. The forceps turned the gallbladder over and pulled it back while another tool picked at the tissue around the cystic canal and artery. With the two vessels exposed and separated from each other, another tool came into the abdomen and clamped them each off in three places.

The clamp tool left the scene and was replaced by a scissor scalpel that deftly parted the cystic canal and the artery.  The scalpel was, in turn, replaced by a tool that proved capable of both cutting and cauterizing. It parted the tissues holding the gallbladder to the liver and cauterized the bleeders as it went along. The forceps held the organ back from the gradually opening wound between the liver and gallbladder.

When the separation was completed, a long white bag was pushed into the abdomen through the largest of the openings.  The severed gallbladder was encased in the bag and drawn out through the opening. The flesh around the opening suffered bruises from the trauma of this action.

Like lambs in a pen and awaiting slaughter, the other organs gave no indication of fear or even sympathy for the forced removal that had taken place near them. If they mourned, it was without emotion. As the anesthesia wore off the brain came back to consciousness with the lyrics and tune of We Gotta’ Get Outta’ This Place reverberating in the head. 

Somehow, it all just seemed wrong.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Nice Father’s Day

Our son and daughter-in-law hosted the afternoon for her parents, her brother and us. Jen cooked up some beer butt chickens, with sides of baked potato and vegetable combinations. Dessert was a choice between apple pie and sweet potato pie made by my wife.

When we arrived the grandchildren were enjoying the swimming pool as is usual at most family gatherings. Most of the adults chatted at the table near the pool while the kids played and Jen prepared supper. The call of “everybody out of the pool” came just before supper was ready. The kids protested but relented to avoid the wrath of a grandmother.

Supper was delicious! The adults all stayed inside in the air conditioning. That was fine with me as I had all of the grandkids to myself at the table by the pool.  I love my grandkids. They’re my piece of heaven on this earth.

A Father Missed and a Grandfather Never Known

As a child, my father walked five miles to school in three feet of snow with nothing but a sweater to wear. It might have been uphill both ways. I’m a little vague on that detail. He quit school after eighth grade, not because the walks wore him out or exposure to the elements was too much bear. He quit school because his clothing consisted of mended hand-me-downs and the other children made fun of him for his shoddy attire.

Putting this notion in the context of the depression era, one has to believe that, if my father’s clothing was an embarrassment to him, then he couldn’t have been very alone. Wages that my father earned from working after he quit school were taken by his father to support the family. The injustice of it all was that his older brothers, who were given the best clothing, continued on to graduate from high school.

Sort through this how you may but, whether exaggerated or not, it helps one to understand why my father worked two jobs most of his life to give his children better than he had while growing up. His workday started at 8:00 AM or earlier and didn’t end until 12:00 AM. Add in a four packs of cigarettes per day habit and it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to understand why he left the earth with only forty-one years of physical life behind him.

The saddest part of my father’s short life was that he could not have been enjoying life very much with no time to relax and share with the children that he wanted so much for. He used to talk of taking us to Chicago on vacation so that we might take in the museums. It never happened for one reason or another.

My wife and I took our own children to Chicago when they were little more than toddlers. A few years later we went again on the children’s suggestion. They had been impressed enough with the trip to want to make a second vacation in Chicago.

It was times like that that I missed my father most. He would have enjoyed watching his pre-school grandson awe at the dinosaur skeleton exhibits at the Field Museum. He would have had real life experience to add commentary to the visit to the Museum of Science and Industry. My father often talked of going to the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. His grandsons did so in the Chicago Stadium but without knowing the pleasure of their grandfather beside them.

With all of my father’s youthful experience of braving the elements, I know that sitting out an entire Bears game at Soldier Field would have been easy for him a few years later in Chicago. I would have happily given up my seat to him. I can picture him there in the nosebleed seats of the end zone wearing nothing but a sweater while the Buccaneers pounded the Bears.

My father was less of a football fan than I was but he would have treasured the reaction of his twelve-year-old grandson as the Bears came to life in the fourth quarter and almost took the win away from Tampa Bay. The thrill of it might have warmed him enough cast off his sweater. My children never knew their grandfather but it was during these times, when I know that he would have enjoyed them, that I missed him.

Bird Poop and Car Mirror Adversaries

For a few weeks the car has been parked outside because of issues with the garage door opener. Almost every day of that time period there have been bird droppings on the front passenger door of the car. I began to wonder if there was a bird dropping target on the door that only birds could see.

I asked my wife where she was parking the car at work. I thought that she might be parking under a tree for shade from the Florida sun. Another possibility was a wire overhead. Even if she wasn't parking right under the wire a breeze could carry bird droppings for a distance off of plumb-straight to the ground.

The uncanny thing about the droppings is that they were always in the exact same place on the car. One day while the car was home I saw bird droppings on the driveway beneath what was on the car door so that clearly eliminated the problem while the car was parked elsewhere. This was unless, of course, my target theory was correct and there was a county-wide bird conspiracy against us.

The other day, after leaving the house for work, my wife came back into the house all excited because she saw a male cardinal sitting on the right side mirror above where the droppings were hitting car door. He flew away as she came up to the car. With that in mind, I also remembered seeing a female cardinal fluttering about the palmetto in the empty lot south of us.

When I first saw the female, I only wondered if there might be a nest nearby and we’d see fledgling cardinals, in a few weeks, taking their first flight lessons from mom and dad. Then it came to me that there may be connection. For all that I knew it might be part of a cardinal’s mating ritual to poop on a car door. Maybe biggest and baddest pooper gets the babe (or would that be chick?).

In this information age, you can find just about anything on the internet. What someone is willing to write about, there is someone else who will search for and read about it. It just comes down to what you’re willing to believe of what you find on the internet. Considering the number of people who hold Rush Limbaugh's rantings as gospel, that's pretty scary.

I tried several word combinations for searching. After half of a dozen different searches, I have accepted the theory that some birds spar with their reflection in the paint, windows and mirrors of cars. After pecking at their reflection, for a time, they poop on the car.

I was even able to find a well done You Tube video that showed a robin fighting with his reflection in a sunroof. Then the video speed was slowed to show the bird defecating on the car. The bird then moved to the mirror for another round of reflection pecking and finished by defecating on the car door as he perched on top of the mirror.

Allowing that birds have a cloaca instead of a separate urinary orifice and anus, this gives a whole new meaning to a human phrase sometimes spoken in anger. “Piss on it!” Another fair assumption is that these angry birds are clearly full of shit.

I never leave the motorcycle parked on the driveway. It's probably a good thing for our pooping cardinal. I have a vivid image in my mind of him doing a hot chrome bird hop because he tried to take on his reflection in the chromed oil reservoir while perched on the exhaust muffler.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sexuality: Innate or individual Choice?

This is an article that I posted about six months ago on another site. I friend's recent article reminded me of this one and reprint a seemed like a good idea. If you are interested in reading it, my friend's article is linked at the end of this article.

Some years back I was in the Los Angeles area on business.  The length of the stay crossed a weekend.  I’m from the Midwest.  I consider myself fairly well traveled about the country and parts of the world but I have never been to Hollywood.  Walking about Tinseltown eventually put me in a Starbuck’s Coffee Shop in the community of West Hollywood.

Semi-aware of my surroundings I focused on my coffee and newspaper.  My attention diverted when a man came into the shop and headed for a table with three other men sitting around it.  All four of these men, in their thirties, had athletic builds and were smartly dressed in snug fitting clothing.  With perfectly groomed hair, radiant smiles and glittering eyes, the seated men stood to greet the newcomer and all embraced him.  These embraces weren’t in the manner that I might embrace my sons, brother or father.  For most of my male friends, a handshake is an adequate show of affection.  These embraces that I witnessed were of the type that I reserve for the women in my life that are very close to me.  My gaydar meter red-lined.

It came to me that, in my mouth-agape stare, I could have been mistaken for an over-sized Venus fly trap escaped from the soil of my planter.  I returned my eyes to the page of my newspaper but my mind was too distracted to absorb the print.  The men settled down at their table and continued to enjoy each others' company.  They didn’t seem to notice my rudeness and I really doubt that they would have given me more than a passing glance if they had.

As my mind tried to reconcile this scene against my personal values, my stomach warned of possible nausea.  I folded my newspaper and trashed my coffee cup on the way out.  My stomach settled but the inner battle went on.  These men had not done anything that I would have a given a second look to if they had been a co-ed heterosexual group.  Yet, the scene gnawed at my deepest values.

I considered myself enlightened and tolerant of diversity.  Two of the reasons that I had fallen away from my religious commitment had to do with misogyny and homophobia.  I had long since reconciled in my heart that sexuality was innate, rather than a choice, as many people would have us believe.  Still, this scene, replaying again and again in mind, had me looking deeper into my soul.

Religious arguments are water off of a duck’s back to me.  They can all be summarized simply as; if you don’t believe like I do then you are wrong.  As evidence, the religious person carries two-thousand year-old volumes of fables, parables, tales and rationally unbelievable stories.  Those words have been translated, rewritten and re-authored over the centuries. If interpreted to the advantage of the argument, words can be found in the volumes to prove a point.  The point, in this argument, is without regard to the choice or the innate possibility of sexuality.  The point is that homosexuality is an abomination and not to be tolerated.

There are arguments that sexuality is an indirect choice brought about by an individual’s upbringing.  One notion is that, at critical times in a child’s development, one gender or the other, as a role model, is missing in their development.  That missing influence might be the specific guide to the child in making the “right” choice on sexuality.  Another notion is that sexually abused children have no proper foundation, with which to make the right choice on sexuality, as they come into puberty.  They are sensitized toward same gender sexual interaction by their abuser.  In effect, an individual might be born with the proper wiring and, thus, choose heterosexuality at puberty.  The behaviorally modified child, on the other hand, has been rewired by sexual abuse and, thus, makes the “wrong” choice at puberty.

It doesn’t take a committee of behavioral psychologists to entertain this as a plausible possibility.  One need only look into our prisons to see thousands of people who were desensitized to the difference between right and wrong by lack of properly taught values in their upbringing.  Further, it doesn’t take a team of psychologists to determine that these learned and deeply ingrained behaviors are not easily reversed.  Convict recidivism, in part, attests to that truth.

Ultimately, it seems fair to say that, if sexuality is learned during these critical times in one’s upbringing then it is not easily reversed.  It would require intense psychotherapy coupled with the individual’s very strong desire to change.  Therefore sexuality, as an adult, is not a choice.

Not to be distracted by these theories of modified behavior toward homosexuality; it needs to be clear that sexuality is never a choice.  It is innate and that can be proven without psychologists or ancient writings.

Given the right circumstances, we can all consciously make choices contrary to our desires and beliefs.  Whenever my growing children said that they didn’t like a certain food I always insisted that they try it first.  In that circumstance they always chose to try the perceived undesirable food in order to avoid being slapped senseless (just kidding on the slapping part).  Jesting aside, the children could override what their senses were telling them upon my parental insistence.  Subsequent choices were their own and based upon their palate.  Apply this notion to sexuality.

First, shake off the Freudian ego and superego.  Let only the id motivate your imagination.  Imagine that there are two people before you, one of each gender.  Both have a fit build and possess sexually desirable features.  They are both dressed in snug-fitting tank top shirts and jeans.  For purposes of this exercise both individuals are ready to submit enthusiastically to your every desire.  Now, assuming that you’re heterosexual, choose the gender that is the same as yours and go get it!

Run your fingertip across the lips.  Run your hand from there down to the chest and massage the flesh that comes against your palm and fingers.  Reach around with the other hand and grab a handful of buttock.  Are you enjoying it?  Unbuckle the jeans and reach into the sex that is the same as yours.  Fondle it.  Are you still enjoying it?  Let yourself go.  There is no sin in this imaginative exercise.

I don’t do very well in this exercise.  I must confess that my thoughts keep going to the voluptuous woman rather than my same gender imaginary person.  I expect that, unless one has bi-sexual tendency, everyone else’s reaction is similar.  Do you still want to hang onto the ridiculous notion that sexuality is a choice?  Consider some other points.

If you choose to be homosexual some of your family and life-long friends may disown you out of anger, shame or ignorance.

If you choose to be homosexual you will be ostracized by the religious institution that you grew up believing and trusting.

If you choose to be homosexual you will be prohibited from certain professions.

If you choose to be homosexual you will have to pick and choose your friends carefully because many people won’t be tolerant of your sexuality.

If you choose to be homosexual you and your life-long partner will denied the rights and privileges afforded to your heterosexual counterparts.

If you choose to be homosexual there is a possibility that you could be beaten, tortured and even murdered because of your sexuality.

If you die a known homosexual, especially of a highly publicized and violent death, religious zealots might join in the grieving of those who cared dearly about you with banners reading GOD HATES FAGS and NO TEARS FOR QUEERS.

Sexuality is a choice?  No…  No…  No…


A related article by Rain Stickland is If You're Going to Fight for Equality, Be Real!

¿Mi Casa Está Sucia?

A few years ago we had neighbors renting the house next door who were Mexican immigrants. They were a group of men who did construction work. Only one of the men spoke English with confidence. If you asked the others if they could speak English they would shake their head to indicate, “No.”

A woman knocked on the door one day that I recognized from next door. She, her husband and family were frequent quests at our neighbors’ social gatherings. She had her daughter of about seven years with her as an interpreter. The guys had told her that we had a fax and she wanted to make a transmission.

She gave me a phone number and I made several attempts but, each time, received a failed transmission message. “No funciona,” I said, more thinking out loud than speaking.

“¿Habla Espanol?” The woman asked.

“Poquito,” I replied, holding up my thumb and forefinger in a pinch shape to indicate a little bit.

I called the recipient of the fax. He checked his unit and we tried again. This time it went through.

I waited for the fax confirmation to print and then gave it to the woman with her original. She offered to pay for the fax but I politely declined the offer. Everyone was doing the gracias, de nada, adios routine when the woman turned back to me.

“¿Me quisiere que limpio a su casa?”

At the time, I didn't know why she wanted to clean my house. In hindsight, I realize that it must have been what she did for a living and she was soliciting for another client. However, I’m a natural born smart ass and sometimes too quick on the draw.

“¿Crees que mi casa está sucia?”

I was teasing her, as I often did with a lot people, but when I asked if she thought my house was dirty the poor woman almost melted with embarrassment. My wife didn’t understand the words but saw the look on the woman’s face and she was on me like an angry she-bear.

“What did you say to her?”

When I repeated the dialogue in English, she went right to the little girl and told her to explain to her mother that I was only teasing. My wife’s look to the woman crossed the language barrier with a thousand apologies. Meanwhile, I was the one melting but for the fear that I might need cast iron skivvies to protect myself from my wife’s retaliation on the emotionally wounded woman’s behalf.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Can Anything Else Go Wrong?

Saturday, Day 1, I suffered some intense pain just below my sternum that lasted about 2 hours.

Monday, Day 3, I scheduled an appointment with my nurse practitioner. That night I suffered similar intense pain that lasted four hours.

Thursday, Day 6, following a CAT scan and ultra-sound, ordered by my nurse practitioner, the surgeon confirmed that I had gallstones and advised removal of the gallbladder as the best remedy. He explained the process, complete with reaction to potential complications, should they occur. The surgeon assured me that I would get a call from his scheduler within two days to set things up.

Tuesday, Day 11 at 2:00 AM, I suffered a third attack that lasted for six hours. Two business days had passed without contact from the surgeon’s scheduler. I called the surgeon’s office at 9:30 AM and was put into the voice mail of the scheduler, where I left a message.

I had not received a return call by 2:30 PM so I called again. This time I was put on hold until someone picked up the line but was laughing, as if carrying on a conversation with someone else. I was disconnected. I called back and was re-connected. Surgery was scheduled for Thursday, Day 13. A hospital nurse called at 4:00 PM to do a pre-registration by phone and schedule blood work for Wednesday, Day 12.

Wednesday, Day12, the lobby receptionist directed me to phlebotomy on the second floor for the blood draw. Phlebotomy redirected me to radiology on the first floor to check in for my blood draw. After check-in for a blood draw at radiology, I was back up to the second floor for the blood draw. A prostate exam at neuro-therapy, on the third floor, was not required prior to the blood draw. Just the same, I felt a little violated.

Thursday, Day 13, my wife and I were 35 minutes into our 40 minute trip to the hospital and 20 minutes away from my appointed time for preparations for surgery. Someone from the hospital called and asked if I was on my way yet.

“Why no, actually, but I was about to step into the transporter so that Scotty could beam me over.”

I was thinking that this was a pretty stupid question because these people knew by my address that was in their screen next to my phone number, that we had to drive almost all the way across the county to get to the hospital.

“I’m very sorry but we have to cancel your surgery because the doctor has had two emergencies come up that he has to respond to.”

On one hand, I was irritated but, at the same time, if I were the emergency I would appreciate priority over those who are not, at the present time, doubled over in extreme pain. However, if I have another attack, I’m not likely to wait for it to go on eight hours or more this time. I’ll head for the hospital and make an appointment via the trauma center. I’ll be the surgery bumper instead of the surgery bumpee.

I find it interesting that if I don't keep an appointment with a doctor then I am charged anyway regardless of the situation. I guess that door only swings in favor of profit for the medical industry.

It actually happened to me once. I had no excuse and didn't try to make one up. I simply forgot about an appointment with my cardiologist. Withing a few weeks I was billed for it. Try to turn that one into your insurance company!

I hope that the sequence of negative circumstances have run their course. The way things are going I have good reason to worry about the surgery. My imagination gets away from me sometimes. I am seeing a future image of a phone call from the hospital two days after my gallbladder is removed.

“We’re really very sorry to bother you, sir, but would you mind coming back to the hospital? The doctor can’t find his flashlight and penknife. However, he distinctly remembers setting them down under your liver.”

“Then with gravity being what it is they ought to be coming out of my butt anytime now. How about this time, we should do it the old fashioned way? The doctor is going to need to make a house call.”

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Radiology, Phlebotomy and Walmart

I walked into an outpatient clinic today to get a blood draw for some upcoming surgery. I was unfamiliar with this clinic but the woman at the reception desk seemed very helpful and confident as she directed me.

“Take the elevator to second floor and Room 202 will be to your right. The door will be open.”

That sounded simple enough to me. When I stepped into the phlebotomy lobby the woman at the counter was busy with someone else but there was a sign beside a stack of numbered cards that read TAKE A NUMBER AND HAVE A SEAT. BE PREPARED WITH YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE AND INSURANCE CARD WHEN CALLED. I took my number 24 and sat down.

As I waited, people were called to the front counter by number and again into the lab by number. This didn’t seem very personal to me but I was willing to go with flow. In few minutes, my number 24 was called. The woman asked for my lab order.

“I don’t have one. I assumed that it was forwarded by the hospital nurse who instructed me to come here.”

Without a hint of empathy, apology or emotion the woman told me to go back down to the first floor and take a right off of the elevator.

“Check in there and then come back.”

When I turned right off of the elevator, the sign on the door said RADIOLOGY. I guess that the whole thing was my mistake. Any fool should know that before you get a blood draw that you should check in at radiology. The two women behind the counter were kind enough to interrupt their personal conversation to check me into radiology for my phlebotomy appointment.

As I got back onto the elevator I could not help but wonder if patients coming in for a colonoscopy have to check in at physical therapy first. At least, on the second trip to phlebotomy, I didn’t have to do the, take a number, routine. I waited only a couple of minutes before a smiling woman called my name from the lab entrance.

The friendly woman introduced herself as Felecia and chatted cheerfully while she poked around in my arm searching my vein. She missed on the first poke but pulled the needle back a little and caught the vein on second forward motion of the needle. She apologized for missing on the first poke.

The total time in the outpatient clinic for the blood draw was reasonable but, in my opinion, the machine could use some adjustment. Taking a number and doing a run around to check in could be improved upon. It could be that it was a temporary situation that was only expected to last for a few years. If so, then they could have, at least, explained and offered a little regret. A sign next the TAKE A NUMBER sign would do the trick.


Something like that would have helped me immensely to take multiple elevator rides with a smile.

I was going to say something to the lobby receptionist but she was busy with someone else so I left without doing so. If I was a regular at the clinic I would be more determined to point out the need for adjustment.

I did my weekly shopping afterward. This usually involves, at least, a couple of big box stores and a supermarket, in order to get the best values. Of the big box stores I typically avoid Walmart. There are normal people shopping in Walmart but there are also life forms that I can’t help but wonder exactly where they are in the food chain. Thus, I prefer not to mingle with them.

The other thing that is often annoying at Walmart is the wait in line to check out. Today I decided to brave the Neanderthal’s and risk getting my ankles run over by the handicapped persons on an electric shopping carts. I hurried into the store, went straight to my items, picked them up and hurried up to the check-out.

“Holy Shimoli! I can’t believe that there is no line at a Walmart check-out!”

The cashier smiled and took her place behind the counter.

“It’s been like that for awhile,” she said.

“Really? Is Walmart finally suffering the Kmart syndrome and everyone is shopping somewhere else?”

Her smile faded a little but she took the jab well and insisted that it wasn't the case.

I didn’t pick on her anymore. We continued a more positive and cheerful banter. The truth is that I was just glad to get in and get out quickly before some fat old man, on estrogen and wearing a chartreuse tutu with no skivvies, stepped into line behind me.

Funny Things About Medical Tests

As an adolescent, years back, I recall being awed as my cousin told of pre-op preparations when he required an appendectomy.  It wasn’t enough to suffer the acute pain of appendicitis and the apprehension of surgery.  He was also forced to sacrifice all of his adolescent dignity as the nurse exposed his naked man parts to shave him for surgery.

Further enhancing his loss of dignity, the soldier betrayed my cousin by coming to rigid attention in naked awareness of the opposite gender in near presence.  To Ricky’s amazement a simple flick of the nurse’s finger across the rigid nose sent the soldier to parade rest.  This was in early nineteen-sixty-something when professional roles were more gender specific.

Reminiscing about Ricky’s story many years later I wondered how that scene could have played out a generation or two later as both genders became more common in the nursing profession.  Picture an adolescent boy having the sheet thrown back by a male nurse to expose the soldier at rigid attention.  Would that be an out of closet experience?

My own youth and young adult life was medically uneventful with the exception of a broken collar bone at age twelve.  Treating that didn’t require a southern exposure.  It wasn’t until my early fifties that I learned to leave my dignity in that plastic hospital bag with my clothing while I donned the all immodest hospital gown.

Sometime in my late thirties to early forties I had received complete physical exams by the opposite gender but that did not seem a big deal.  If anything, the doctor is on the worst end of a male physical examination.  As much as I would prefer not have a finger poked into my rectum for a prostate check I have to believe that is a situation where it is better to be the pokee than the poker.

Just think about it for a moment from the doctor’s position.  You have to make a forced entry of your finger into an orifice that is designed to push things out rather than let them in.  Not only that, but that orifice, with its contents, is aimed directly at you.  The potential for the doctor ending up in a world of doo-doo seems highly probable to me.

In this situation as a patient, I think that, as embarrassing as it might be to have involuntarily forced such a reaction, I’d much rather be in the position of needing a few tissues as opposed to needing to go home for a shower and fresh change of clothes.  I wonder if doctors keep a couple of those disposable plastic seat covers in their car like mechanics use to keep from soiling a customer’s interior upholstery.

As a man gets older the soldier still comes to rigid readiness for a genuine call for duty.  However, the uncontrolled testosterone induced flaunts of adolescent manhood are far less likely.  I’ve had numerous hernia exams by female doctors without embarrassment.  It’s like going shopping for women’s clothing with your wife.  Nothing is going to happen worth getting excited about.  You just need to hang out quietly and then there might be a call to duty when you get home.

After stacking up a little over fifty birthdays my doctor began to encourage me to get a colonoscopy.  So far, I’ve not met anyone that hurried to be at the head of that line.  I was not any different.  I could see the necessity but resisted the urgency.  There is just something about having a one-eyed butt snoop going through the back door and into the unknown depths that is just too similar to a roto-rooter into a sewer line.

My doctor suggested a sigmoidoscopy and a barium enema in lieu of a complete colonoscopy in order to get me over the apprehension.  Unlike a full colonoscopy the sigmoidoscopy puts the one-eyed butt snoop into the colon only as far as the first bend in the colon.  My doctor could do this procedure herself and it did not require anesthesia.  The barium enema, however, had to be done at a radiology lab in the hospital.

Prior to having either of these procedures you have to fast and use laxatives to void your digestive system.  Aside from the obvious fact that there is little dignity afforded in this procedure it went well.  Except for a hospital gown you lay naked on your side on an exam table with your knees to your stomach.  Next, the doctor pokes a tube into your butt that is equipped with a flashlight, camera and compressed air to inflate your innards for better viewing.  What can be hard about that?

No, that part wasn’t so difficult but I have to suggest that if you ever have the choice between a full colonoscopy and a barium enema, go for the colonoscopy.  I had one of those a few years later.  A family member drives you in for the exam.  They put you under anesthesia during the procedure.  You wake up.  Your family takes you home and you can eat.  It’s over.

Now let me tell you about a barium enema.  It’s back into a hospital gown and on your side on an exam table.  The difference is that this table is set up with x-ray equipment.  Barium sulfate is injected into the colon as a medium for x-rays to detect problems within the colon.

On the enema tube is an inflatable plug to block the exit just in case you can’t resist the urge for an involuntary blow during this procedure.  X-rays are taken in various angles much like might done for a skeletal x-ray.  It doesn't take long.

I’m not sure what the capacity is for the human colon to receive foreign liquid through the back door.  However, I’m pretty sure that these people were pressing my limits.  So certain of this was I that, if I had felt the urge to burp, I would have resisted for fear of finding out what barium sulfate tasted like.

With the procedure completed, the technician who had prepped me proved to be a magician.  Somehow that young woman got the plug deflated and the enema tube removed without my anticipated consequence of a violent rectal eruption.  She immediately assisted me off of the exam table and into an adjacent restroom.

The woman was in the process of explaining that, even though there were three entrances to this restroom, I was ensured of privacy.  Before she could finish talking I had the gown hiked and my butt planted just in time for the flood of milky looking liquid from my colon into the toilet.  She ducked out and closed the door.

As I sat sensing that a second wave was building inside it struck me funny that the technician was concerned for my privacy in such a situation.  My butt had been hanging out to the view of half of a dozen different people on this day and now I was finally afforded privacy in order to use the restroom.  At this point I wasn’t certain what it would matter if all three doors popped open and the people in the waiting area down the hall put down their magazines to observe.  I began to laugh and then laughed louder until the technician knocked on the door to inquire if I was alright.

The second wave built up and was passed.  However, there are times when you wipe because you think that you’re done but only to have another build up force you to blow and wipe again.  This was one of those times.

Finally, the young woman, who had told me to take all of the time that I needed, was questioning again if I was alright.  I got dressed, thanked her for her part in making this experience as pleasant as could be possible and headed down the hall.  There is something about walking that can often bring on bowel activity.

This time it was especially urgent, though.  It was like there was a little line boss inside of me shouting, “I told you that we have to get all of this crap out of here!”  Luckily there was another restroom a short walk down the hall.  I stayed there through several repetitions of blow, wipe and flush before I got up the courage to leave.

Onto the elevator and off to the next floor and I came upon another restroom near the main lobby and the exit.  I did not pass without making use of this facility.  After more repetitions of blow, wipe and flush I was satisfied that it was safe to go to my car.

I’ve always parked in the farthest reaches of a parking lot for two reasons.  One is for the exercise. The second reason is to make less it likely to suffer door dings to my car.  Remember what I said earlier about walking inducing bowel movement?

Less than halfway across the parking lot on this day I was rethinking that practice.  In fact, a good argument for one-day-only handicapped parking permits was forming in my mind.

Continuing toward my car I finally realized that I was in a losing situation no matter what I did.  I couldn’t make it back to the restroom in time.  Even if I could make it to my car what was going to be the point as I didn’t have any of those disposable plastic seat covers that mechanics use to avoid soiling the upholstery.

I won’t go into the details of what actually happened next.  It suffices to say that, whatever scraps of dignity that I had left, after the day’s events, were left in that hospital parking lot.  If your doctor ever sends you for a barium enema, also known as a lower gastrointestinal series, argue for a full colonoscopy instead.

You might also enjoy Funny Things About Surgery.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Symbol of Racism... or Not?

This photo of the Confederate flag has been getting around Facebook. The message printed on it reads as follows. The rebel flag was the flag of the Confederate States of America. A lot of people are offended by rebel flags because they believe that they symbolize racism. Quite the contrary. Rebel flags are not racist. The Civil War erupted over states’ rights, not slavery. The south was mostly people in favor of states’ rights. And the north was mostly people who wanted the national government to have more power over the states. Please. Learn your history before you judge. History may repeat itself…

First, that a lot of people might see this flag as a symbol of racism seems perfectly understandable. After all, the flag represented the confederacy and the people of the confederacy believed in holding a race of people in slavery.

Even after the war was won by the union and the confederacy was dissolved, the “freed” slaves were still oppressed, murdered and RAPED by the former confederates for many decades to follow into the next century. One has to wonder why anybody would fly a confederate flag in modern times. The symbol carries no positive feelings for the race of people who suffered under the people that once called themselves a confederacy. Displaying a rebel flag would be much like posting a huge crime scene photo of your murdered child in the back window of my pick-up truck after I was acquitted of the crime that I bragged of committing. Would you not be offended?

While it is true that friction between the north and the south started over states’ rights, it had everything to do with slavery. The issue of states’ rights was compounded by the voter populations in southern states being less than in the north. The southern states, with their agricultural economy built on the backs of slaves, had less representation in congress for lack of a population of white voters . Enslaved black men could not vote and had no rights as citizens. However, they were counted as three-fifths of a white man in order to artificially inflate the voter population and gain southern representation in congress.

Then there was the Missouri Compromise which allowed Maine to be admitted to the Union only on agreement that Missouri would be admitted as a slave state and, thus, maintain the balance of slave and non-slave states. As the western U.S. opened up, succession of the southern slave states was pretty much inevitable.

President Lincoln even tried to make the war not about slavery. He said openly that he wanted only to maintain the Union, with or without slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was only a timed political move that was of minimal, if any, benefit.

The president, though he held genuine compassion for the suffering of slaves, was a racist. He believed black people to be inferior. He did not believe that they would ever be able to coexist among whites. President Lincoln favored sending black people to Africa to form colonies.
Indeed, there was an issue of states’ rights that started with drafting the constitution. In interests of states’ rights slavery was ignored in the constitution. It was left to fester and swell so that it oozed nastiness into the hearts of Americans over the years and well into the 19th century.  Southerners feared and hated northern abolitionists.

A good illustration of the rebel flag as a symbol of racism comes from a story once told to me by a southern black man with whom I was acquainted through work. He and another black man were on the side of the road after dark, suspecting a problem with their car. One white man in a pick-up truck, displaying a rebel flag in the back window, pulled up behind them.

On one hand, it seems possible that the white man was just a southern good ol’ boy, who was proud of his heritage and willing to help out anyone in need. On the other hand and for reasons that ran generations deep, the black men were conditioned to fear white men with confederate flags. They left before the white man could get out of his truck.

States' rights, racism and the rebel flag are just three braids of the same rope. Please learn your history before you judge. This horrible period in our history must not happen again

For everyone...
Who didn't know

#StateRights #Racism #RebelFlag #ConfederateFlag

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Funny Things About Surgery

A couple of bouts of severe abdominal pain sent me in to see my nurse practitioner in search of the reason why. After looking at the nurse’s pre-exam summary, Sue walked into the exam room with a very concerned look and asked what was wrong with me.

“You’re the medical expert,” I said, “but you know me well enough to know that I've been on the internet researching and guessing.”

“Yes, and that’s why I’m asking. You know your health and symptoms better than I do.”

Sue and I have an excellent patient to doctor relationship. She never condescends and always takes my own opinions and concerns into account. Gallstones were high on the list of possibilities but Sue also found a slight abdominal tenderness over my appendix. Whatever my ailment was, we were in agreement that it was likely serious and I was off to radiology.

One CAT scan and one ultrasound later I was on my way to see a specialist. I already knew that the common cure for gallstones wasn't a morning after pill for whenever you had an attack. Likewise, when I drove up to the address of the specialist, the sign outside of the building reading Sun Coast Surgical Associates gave a clear enough connotation.

Right away, I knew that, when these people write prescriptions, it is to help you through that pain of what they put you through, rather than for the cure of what ails you.  They strip you naked, shave your body hair and roll you into a chilly little room. Next, they confirm who are and why you are there.

My name is too androgynous for some people. I can just imagine going into surgery for an appendectomy and coming out with a hysterectomy because they had patient mix-up.  Last, they ask if you have any questions before your lights go out. You start to ask for a postponement but your lights go out anyway.

The surgeon was a nice enough fellow. Having done my research, I was familiar with most of what he was talking about. He confirmed, from the CAT scan results, that I had gallstones. He went on to explain the process and procedure for the surgery to remove the gallbladder.

I can’t shake the notion that this surgeon is determined to take out my gallbladder because that is what he does. If he was a cobbler and I walked in with a hole in my shoe then he would try to sell me retreads. It might be more about what the man does than what is best for me.

Try as I might, though, I can’t find any reputable non-surgical cures for gallstones. At the same time, I can find a few people that wish that they still had their gallbladder. That is, if they had it minus the pain of attacks, of course. The medical school of thought is that, though the gallbladder has a function, people can live reasonably healthy lives without one.

I tend to think a little farther outside of the box than most people. This is especially amplified when it comes to laying naked on a table, in a chilly room and succumbed into a drug induced nap, while somebody pokes around in my innards. Why couldn't we have two gallbladders and two livers just as we have two kidneys and two gonads?

It’s a lot easier to be okay with removing an organ if there is an identical one left to take care of things. I know a guy who lost one gonad and he does as well at everything with one gonad as he did with two. It just took him a little while to get accustomed to the hang of things.

When you think about it, a man could get along without a penis, too, but who would want to? Imagine hobbling into a surgeon’s office with a penis inflamed and swollen to the size of a baseball bat. You’d be tripping over the thing and then the nurse would tell you get into a gown. What would be the use unless she had an ankle length version?

“Please follow me down to radiology for a CAT scan… or… do you need a wheelchair?”

“A wheelchair would fine,” I would say. “However do you have one with wheelbarrow or shopping basket attached in front?”

When the doctor looked at the CAT scan results and did the physical exam he would look concerned.

“Well, it’s going to have to come off. Don’t worry, though. A lot people do just fine without a penis.”

“Oh yeah, women, and eunuchs, just to name a couple.”

I’d be sitting there imagining life without the male member. I could sit to pee. That wouldn't be problem unless somebody left the toilet seat up or peed on it. I have another, one only, organ that could keep my partner happy. Though, I’d have to be careful because Michael Douglas got throat cancer doing that.

There would be no more clandestine meetings with Mary Palm and the five sisters. My excitement would be limited to nocturnal emissions. I don’t even know if that still works. It hasn't happened since I was an adolescent. Even if it does work, it would be like spitting with no lips.

This also causes me to recall a man that I once knew who kept his diseased hip bone after a hip replacement. After he recovered, he drove all over the state to tell all of his friends and relatives a play-by-play of his hip replacement surgery. As soon as he started telling the story his wife would say, “Mikie, go out to the truck and get your Dad’s hip.”

The kid would bring back this nasty looking bone in a jar of alcohol or formaldehyde or something and it would be get passed around the group and set onto the supper table. I should also mention that he always arrived near enough to supper time to mooch a free meal.

This started me thinking that maybe, if I do get my gallbladder taken out, I can keep it for a souvenir, too. I could set that prize up on the supper table and tell the story just like I don’t remember it because I was in a drug induced nap. It would go something this.

“Well, they brought me into this chilly room and a nice fellow told me that my lights were about to go out. Sure enough, that’s what happened. Next, they were poking holes in my belly and shoving tools in there to rip out my gall bladder…”

You might also enjoy Funny Things About Medical Tests.