Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Try this at Home

I was shopping with my current wife at Staples the other day. We were filling up the cart with "staples" and came down the aisle with all the "do-it-yourself" kits - things like create your own Will, or use this template to make a Lease.

I found one called "Divorce Made E-Z". I dropped it casually into our cart (he, he) and let her go up to the register to pay.

I stood a few paces back, pretending to look at some point-of-purchase display - and then the fun began.

"Funny. Very funny. You think this is funny?," she said with a snarl. She spotted me, "Hey, you wanna get this? Go ahead. You'll need it."

The other people in the line looked over to my direction. I froze, looked away. I remembered the advice someone once told to do in an uncomfortable situation - faint.

I was too chicken to fake that one so I just pretended not to listen to the heckler - just another crazy person in Staples.

"Yeah, that's him - in the black fleece," she told everyone. "I know you can hear me. The other people wanna know if I should buy this. Whaddya you want to tell'em?"

I walked further into the store, away from the register, aloof to the whole scene. I looked back briefly. People shook their heads.

At the back of the store, I scanned the wall, the corners. "Where's that fuckin' exit?" I was going to burst out, away from this hell, into the parking lot - to the car that my wife drove us here in.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I Got Hosed

Literally. I got a firehouse in my ass and a garden hose down my throat and I had to pay for it.

That's right, it was that time - the endoscopy and colonoscopy - the double whammy.

I'm all for preventative healthcare procedures but I don't get the exorbitant costs around it. Is this what our new healthcare plan is supposed to take care of? I doubt it.

How much do you think this 20 minute procedure cost? Wrong.

Considering I had to do most of the work myself, the price I had to pay was absurd. I should say, most of it was absorbed by my health insurance but not enough of it. This was no simple co-pay, my friends. I was on the hook for a good 10%-15%. Yep, my plan sucks.

After chugging 64 oz. of fluids, overdosing on laxative pills, and hugging the porcelain potty between my thighs for a good few hours, I got to wake up early and head to the doctor's office. Once there, I had to undress and put on that stupid gown. "Don't forget to leave the opening in the back," the nurse said. Duh!

I was pricked with a needle so a catheter could go into my arm and then wheeled into the procedure room. "How are you today?" the doctor asked. Duh!

I was knocked out with the most wonderful anesthetic drug (the same one Michael Jackson used on his last day) and then what seemed like moments later I was being jostled out of one of the deepest sleeps ever. Then to top it off, I was told by the pretty nurse that I had to fart before I could leave. Sheesh!

All of this cost about $8000!!! Here's the breakdown: the gastrointestinal doctor's time, the anesthesiologist's time, a rental fee for the procedure the room, the anesthesiologist's drug, a biopsy (which is standard procedure and the linchpin for actually being able to charge all these crazy fees), lab costs for analyzing the biopsy, and a fee for hose sterilization (they re-use those things???).

In the end (literally), everything turned out fine. The doctor said I did a great job on the prep and everything looked sparkling clean. He even handed me a report with color photographs of my shit pipes. But I look forward to the day when I can buy my own home test kit (drug included) from the local Walgreens, hook up a link to my TV and a hose to, well, you know,  and run a test in the comfort of my bedroom for a couple of hundred bucks. Now that would be an advance in healthcare.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Five Foods of Fun

How many times have you seen those dietary suggestions in the news and the list of the five most important foods you need to eat, or else you will die?

Well, I eat those foods. And I want to die.

  • Oatmeal: Part of the whole grain family. Do you know how boring it is to eat oatmeal every morning? My Quaker Oatmeal (Natural) looks like shredded cardboard flakes and tastes like the paper mache I used to chew on for fun in art class back in the 2nd grade, except the newspaper and starch recipe had more flavor.
  • Salads: The leafy vegetable. Sure, I eat salads but I can only get through them with a ton heavy saturated salad dressing. Do you think I'm nixing any health benefits here?
  • Almonds: Nuts and seeds. A great way to satiate any hunger pains. These little kernels vitamins and omega-3 fats fill me up, and constipate me at the same time.
  • Yogurt: Lowfat milk. Great for my bones but wreaks havoc on my digestive tract. There's a lot of gas build-up here, but thank god for the nuts that block the exit.
  • Tea: The source of antioxidants. Not bad stuff, but I'm so sensitive to caffeine that if I have a cup just after noon, I can't sleep that night.
So why do I put myself through this regimen? So I don't feel guilty when I wolf down a Baconator once in a while. 

The Baconator gets a bad rap, but I believe it has its own unrecognized five groups of healthy food - the bun (whole grains), the lettuce (leafy vegetables), the meat (another constipator and source of vitamins and lots of fat), the cheese (milk products), and the coke the comes with the family meal (full of antioxidants - have you ever seen how coke can cut through paint and metal?).

Go ahead, try it. You're stomach and the spackle build up on your intestines will thank me later.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Untangling the Mess

This blog has been about promoting nothing else but my miserable life. But recently I came across a book by the social media evangelist Gary Vaynerchuk and thought it would be useful to mention it here. It makes sense of the morass of social platforms out there that many of us may have no clue how or why to use in our lives - blogs, vlogs, flickr, twitter, viddler and piddler (this last one isn't up and running yet).

Gary's book, Crush It!, does a great job within a simple format of explaining how all the various social media tools out there can come together to do positive things for you. Chapter 6 boils it right down to the bare bones.

Most of all, it goes beyond a textbook tutorial because Gary talks about all these things from his own perspective, his own business and his own meteoric rise.

The best part is that he wants to share his findings with everyone because he knows how well it works for him and how it can work for us.

And I know how well it works because Gary's business, the Wine Library, was started right down the street from me. I watched it grow from a dismal little storefront to a mega-internet success. One of my friend's even worked there at one time also attesting to the phenomena.

Gary has the guts to cut through the mess and put it in his own terms and encourages us to get out of our private hells and do the same.

Now go crush it!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Go On, Smell It

Who knows how old this stuff is? I think SPF 4 may be outlawed by now. But I keep a little stash hidden away, for special occasions.

Any time I need a little splash of summer, I open the flip-top, give a gentle squeeze around the bottle's midriff, and inhale the fresh essence. It's like being on the beach. Go ahead, you know you wanna try it.