But My Nemesis Is So Darn Tasty!

Immediately on returning from our anniversary trip, it was time for my (theoretically) annual physical exam. My doctor and I play this little game where he writes my prescriptions for ever-smaller quantities until I break down and agree to come in and get naked. Then I come in, pretend I write superhero comics (don’t ask), turn down a rectal exam, and leave with a new lease on medication.

This time, the nurse pressured me into signing up to access their spiff new website so I could do things. I had no context for why I had to sign up for a new account when I already had an account for their crappy old website, but she left the screen open on the computer. After a few moments of sitting around in a tiny gown, at least filling out the form gave me something to do.

The next day, while watching a marathon of “My Cat From Hell” — which, by the way, made me appreciate our own furry little bastards all the more — I checked my email and saw that my labs were available for perusal.

Oh, boy!

I logged in and read over a baffling array of test results. All manner of cryptic abbreviations were followed by context-free numbers. One thing that I did understand was the note “borderline diabetic” on my blood test.

I frowned over my gut at the words on my tablet’s screen. I knew I was in bad shape — I’d regained all 80 pounds that I’d lost on a “buy our horrible food” diet — but I hadn’t really expected to be headed for diabetes. My people are not generally fit, but none have ever had blood sugar problems. Sure, it could be that the cancer and heart disease just happen to get them first…

Resolving to cut down on carbs (and portions), I soberly returned to work, where I found a giant box of donuts in every kitchen. I held out for a few hours but finally gave in, figuring that a single donut was still better than the four or five I usually ate.

I wound up eating three, all told. Take that, diabetes!


Taxing Questions

WARNING: This one has a lot of discussion of vomit.

I’ve been in a lot of taxis this week, and I have to say that after about half of a block the novelty wore off. Initially I enjoyed just watching Chicago streets go by, but seeing how the cabbies moved us through traffic made me uneasy. Eventually, I distracted myself by reading the posted fee schedule.

$3.25 just to sit in the cab. Another $1 for each additional passenger. $0.20 per mile. $50 for vomit cleanup.

Wait, what?

I read it again. “$50 vomit cleanup”.

When encountering oddly specific charges like this, my brain goes through a predictable downward spiral of irreverent thinking.


There has to be a reason for cabbies to list this cleanup charge, and that reason is likely that fares throw up a lot. When I mentioned this to Wendi, she drily observed that drunks take cabs.

At least they aren’t hurling in their own cars, right?

How does this help?

Picture this:

A thoroughly plastered individual crawls into a taxi and somehow manages to convey a destination to the driver. The cab heads off, and pretty soon it’s weaving in and out of lanes, cutting off traffic, and making Automan-style right-angle turns. Our hypothetical fare feels a gallon of booze sloshing around, and the urge to spew rises like water in a death trap.

Suddenly, the passenger sees that there’s a $50 charge for downloading dinner in the cab! …and ralphs. Because, you know, belly full of poison.

It’s clear that the fee is intended to be punitive and is only listed so that they can say it was posted.

How much was that again?

This is where I always end up when punitive charges are posted — performing a cost-benefit analysis.

For $50 I can toss cookies all over this vehicle. Under the seat, between the cushions, under the window — anywhere I can reach. That’s not cheap, as thrills go, but it’s hardly more than a boat tour. Really, what’s more authentic? Throwing up in a cab, that’s what I think.

Just don’t forget to tip.

Spider – 1, Me – Minus Several Thousand

So there I was, watching the MST3K episode of “Giant Spider Invasion” when I happened to glance to my left. There, dangling an inch from my face, was a moderately large house spider.

When I finished my freak-out, I had completely lost track of my opponent. Now I’m feeling itchy, and I’m pretty sure that the spider is just waiting its chance.

I’ve got company coming in an hour. I think I’ll let him have the spider seat.

Our Marriage Could Probably Sneak Drinks

This month, Wendi and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, which I believe is traditionally the Fish anniversary. Therefore, we’ll be travelling to observe a variety of species in their natural habitat: the Shedd Aquarium. While Wendi takes in the tanks, I’ll be testing my courage with the goliath spider in the Amazon exhibit. If that infernal beast so much as twitches a pedipalp I’ll likely need an ambulance and a dry pair of shorts.

I think that’s at the center of our relationship’s longevity. Not the pants-wetting — enjoying the same things individually.

We met playing role-playing games, but we quickly discovered other shared interests. Comics, animation, keeping me from passing Russian: we had a lot in common. And while I prefer movies about zombies and she favors vampires, we can both agree that haunted houses are pretty neat.

My point is that we started out as friends, and 20 years of marriage has only strengthened our bond. We don’t like being away from each other, but we can happily sit in the same room doing separate things. We’re in a sort of sweet spot between togetherness and solitude.

Marriage is a partnership, and we make pretty good partners, I think. Plus, Wendi makes jam — so I kind of win.

The Lysol Exchange

There’s a business card in my enclosed porch that I need to get around to throwing out. It’s a plain white card bearing only the name of the company and some phone numbers. There’s also the title “Representative”, but no name to attach to it. That’s because the supply of business cards will outlast the guy who handed it to me.

As soon as I answered the door, I knew the score. Young man in a cheap suit, delivering a memorized spiel so rapidly that he didn’t seem to breathe, second dude staying behind in a simple van — commission-based wage slave, desperate to make this crap job pay off. I’d gotten sucked into a similar scheme while in college. 14 hour days, constant workshops, and absolutely no compensation. These gigs run through employees like musket balls through Pickett’s charge.

The guy introduced himself somewhere in there, and I wound up holding a can of Lysol. I set it down and tried to explain that I wasn’t going to buy whatever he might be selling (he still hadn’t gotten around to revealing that), but he was running back to the van to get something. It seems that by accepting the cleaner I’d unwittingly agreed to a product demonstration.

When he had lugged his case back to my door, I took advantage of his momentary non-talking to hastily inform him that there would be no demonstration or sale at this address. He took it in stride but asked for the Lysol back.

I shrugged and gave it back to him. I figured he needed it more than I did.