Self improvement

I’m thinking of having my nose removed. It’s nothing but trouble anyway. Always itching or tickling or runny, and of course there’s nothing I can do about it in my condition. I could do it for free, too. I meet my deductible in like January, thanks to this medication I’m on that’s like ten thousand a month. That’s how I got my free vasectomy. Pretty sweet deal, since those usually go for a thousand if you want a decent one. (Eight bucks on Amazon, if you’re shopping around.)

There are a few things I could do to improve my situation, now that I think about it. I already keep my head shaved. Low maintenance—that’s my motto. Keeps me cool in the summer, too. My eyebrows could go. They’re two of the things I’m a little vain about; I actually have damn good eyebrows. But I sleep only on my left side, with an eye mask, and they do get bushy and tangled and wiry, and that hurts like hell. I doubt if I would miss them.

I have these long, girly eyelashes and I’m always thinking about getting rid of them just because of the way the women in my life carry on about them. Annoying. But they’d probably go nuts if I did that, and extra drama, I definitely don’t need that. God, my mom still brings up the tragedy of when I cut them off in high school. Anyway, these giraffe eyelashes of mine do a pretty good job of snagging airborne fuzz, cobwebs, cat hair and other floaties passing by. Of course, that means there’s always something gumming up my vision. That’s aggravating, but it beats having that shit actually in my eye, so the eyelashes stay.

My left ear though, that’s got to go. I told you how I sleep on my left side, right? Well that’s doing a number on my ear cartilage. It used to be just when I’d move my head in the night and my ear would fold over the wrong way like a damned dachshund and I’d lay on it for a few hours because I couldn’t move my head back and it hurt like hell. Now it’s the same situation no matter how I sleep, so I reckon it’s Van Gogh time. The right ear is fine, but I don’t intend to go around lopsided, so I’ll probably lose that one, too, for symmetry. No matter what kind of sorry state you’re in, you gotta stay presentable. When you look good, you feel good, and vice versa!

I am definitely having my jaw removed. Lord, the trouble it brings. I don’t know where to begin. The muscles that keep it in place and working right are all deteriorated and goobered up, so it’s both weak and unpredictable. When I’m lying in bed trying to get to sleep it just spontaneously starts wagging open and shut like a damned trout. I can’t stop it. Sometimes it’ll randomly clamp shut, usually with my goobered up tongue or cheek in the way. Ouch. My teeth never line up right when my jaw snaps shut like this, either, so I always get a nice gruesome tooth scrape to go with it. When I yawn, the joint pops out of place and I have to pop it back in, again with the skull-splitting tooth grating. Then repeat like five seconds later. ALS comes with a lot of yawning. Lame!

With the lame-ass jaw out of the way the tongue biting/teeth scraping problem is gone too. Presto! It’s not like I’m using my mouth for much these days anyway. I can’t eat or drink anymore. I can barely talk; my seven-year-old is about the only one that can understand me. That might be because I communicate chiefly in the form of dumb jokes, but who knows? I sure as hell can’t impress her with my world class whistling, rolling Spanish Rs, wet fart noises or any of the other cool mouth sounds I was looking forward to teaching her.

The only thing is my teeth. They’re pretty nice, I think. Sure, it’ll be a time saver with only half as many to brush, but I can’t imagine it doing much for my winning smile, with just the top row and all. Plus, I’m sure I’ll be drooling like a mother alien. Not a good look for a dapper man like me.

One thing is for sure, though. My poor, sore neck will be happy when I get rid of all that head weight. Right now it’s a royal pain carrying this thing around.

My whole right arm just sits there all day, doing nothing for society. Just being in the way. Using up valuable space and resources. Not merely content to be an indolent sponge, it does things to be a nuisance as well, like twitching and jerking at random. My index finger actually does this thing once in a while, it shoots straight out, erect, and stays that way a few seconds before going limp like nothing ever happened. Sometimes it’ll repeat that three, four times in a row. One time it poked my caregiver right in the crotch. I’m sure she got the wrong message from that little incident. That’s all I need. A lawsuit thanks to my deadbeat finger. So… it might be time to wave goodbye to my arm.

I know what I said about the importance of symmetry above, and it would certainly be more comfortable sleeping on my side with no left arm. But I need to hang on to that one a while longer for driving. I currently have just enough strength in my left ring finger to grasp the joystick that steers my power wheelchair. Without it I wouldn’t be able to roll from place to place to look out the window.

Speaking of rolling, I am kind of on a roll with the whole body hack thing now, and that has me thinking: how much am I really getting out of these legs? Sure, they still look pretty nice. Important for we image-conscious types. And they do have the strength to push me up in my chair to fart, which I do a lot thanks to this high fiber goop they pour into me. My legs even help me stand, although I can’t take a single step, and I’d just tip over if someone weren’t there to hold me up. I might be just as happy without them, though. Definitely lighter. Easier for my wife and caregivers to wrangle around. I would finally go pantsless in public without all the stares and rebukes. Maybe? I don’t know. I’m on the fence on this one, which I sure wouldn’t be if I were legless.

Now, while I’m sitting here tantalized by titillating fantasies of freedom from burdensome body parts, you may be reading this in pity and horror, envisioning me not as a pared-down Adonis, but as a ghastly Halloween prop, a one-armed torso, eyebrowless with a shaved head and a jack-o-lantern nose, no ears and an obscene overbite. But come on. If I can see it from your point of view, can’t you see it from mine? I’m just saying.

Cease and desist

If my faithful readers are perplexed by my most recent post, Volga P, it’s because I got my first Cease and Desist! Sort of. Let me explain.

A little while back a disgruntled reader sent me correspondence to the effect that she did not at all like having information about herself “in the public domain”, and demanded that all references to her be removed immediately. Apparently she felt that a series of stories I had posted were about her.

This put me in quite a bind, as, although I hate to disgruntle anyone, the stories in question formed the backbone of an arc spanning several years of my younger days. Without them other stories would make no sense. Removing them would leave a giant gap and—how shall I put it—fuck everything up. Not only that, but I would be throwing away months of hard work typing with my eyes.

In the end though, I grudgingly deleted the offending posts. The plaintiff’s shrill emotional tone (while attempting to sound as lawyer-y as possible) led me to conclude that I don’t have time for this shit. I hit DELETE.

Once my anger wore off, I got to work on a little “patch” of a post, the almost entirely fictitious account of Volga P. I ended up having much more fun writing it than I did the earlier posts even, and I sincerely hope it entertains, if not outright gruntles you.

Thank you for your continued support.


Portland II: The Hell Cows house

Winter 1991

Eddie and Annie’s House of Flying Toasters had been a slice, and I had learned valuable lessons about humanity there. But I needed to regroup after the zaniness, and also I looked forward to living with people closer to my own age. Fortunately, there was attic space available at The Hell Cows house.Read More »

Should I pray?

Good question! But first a joke.

Q: What do you call a paralyzed shark?
A: A quadri-pelagic.
[sardines applaud]

So there you are, plunging off a thousand-foot cliff, and miraculously you have the presence of mind to text me this important question. Not that impressive as far as miracles go, since by now you are either a comical you-shaped pancake lying on the canyon floor, or you just went ahead and prayed and your life was spared. Hosanna! In any case, I’m flattered that you thought of me. Maybe not flatter than you though. (Get it?)Read More »

Portland I: 47th & Flanders

Fall, 1990

Portland, Oregon was both a big town and a small city, and that made the move easier. On the one hand, I couldn’t wait to get the F out of the grimy little town I was from. On the other hand, I’d been in a few big cities during my travels, and while they were fun places to visit, I never wanted to live in one. Portland felt just right. Soggy maybe, but I thought I could get used to that. Plus, my older brother Nathan lived there, so I figured the transition would be a snap.Read More »

Should I go to church? Pt. 2

In Part 1 we discovered that if good vibes, free pastries and threat-free socializing are your thing, you’d better get your ass to church! We also learned of a couple of downsides for the youngsters, and here in Part 2 I’ll let you in on a few caveats for the adults. Otherwise known as…

Things that are SO BOGUS about church
While these are not necessarily deal breakers, the following are definitely worth knowing before you go in!Read More »