Category Archives: illness

Followed by a Moon Shadow

Moonshadow by Cat Stevens

I first heard this song as a freshman in coll20160424_181349ege.  It struck me that it was hauntingly beautiful… but maybe I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant.

The song is about losing body parts and being okay with that.

That can actually be kinda creepy, right?

It is probably a song about gradually dying.

But that’s not really what it’s about.

I am there now.  Peeling, cracking, drying out… my life has reached the downhill run toward the finish line.  But I am not worried and not afraid.  Life is so much more than hands and eyes and legs and feet.  I can lose those things and have no regrets.  I am so much more than merely the sum of those physical things.

My spirit soars.  And my life is bound up in words and meanings that are now written down, and are at least as imperishable as paper.  And may, in fact, be written on a few human hearts here and there.

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Filed under feeling sorry for myself, healing, health, humor, illness, insight, inspiration, music, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

My Brother’s Keeper

It is a Biblical question. After Cain killed Abel, God came asking for Abel’s whereabouts. And Cain stupidly answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Stupid Cain! Did he not know that God already knew the answer?

And stupid God. Why did he ask a question to which he already knew the answer? And why did he ask stupid Cain whom he must’ve already known was stupid?

But the answer to the question in this bit of Biblical moral mythology is supposed to be, “Yes, Cain. You are your brother’s keeper.”

So, why am I, a confirmed Christian Existentialist (an atheist who believes in God), trying to tell you something from a Biblical story?

Well, the matter is simple. As I will very likely die soon from Coronavirus (which I am not yet infected with, but, you know, the kindness of fate…), I am trying like heck to impart what little wisdom I have gathered in my life so that I may leave something behind me that has worth.

This current pandemic is itself a demonstration of the truth behind the claim that I am my brother’s keeper.

I wear a mask everywhere I go now because a mask protects not only me but it also protects others from me. After all, I have no access to testing. I may have the virus and just not know it. Then my exhalations would contain droplets of water that have viruses swimming in it. The mask, combined with six feet of distance, keeps my exhalations from reaching the lungs of uninfected others, and potentially slaying them as Cain did to Abel.

It is because of Texan prejudices against mask-wearing and social distancing that I know I will probably be infected before this pandemic is over. And my diabetes, blood pressure problems, and previous difficulty with bronchitis and COPD insure that I am not part of the 80 percent of people who will survive the virus. I will get pneumonia and die.

When I suggest, however, that we should each take on the responsibility for the safety and well-being of others, I do not mean that we should become a zoo-keeper, and keep them all safely in cages (the Senator Cruz method of keeping Mexican immigrants safe). You cannot presume to control the thoughts and behaviors of others. You must only adopt the way of love and brotherhood. You put the interests and needs of others before your own. You lead by example, not by decree.

Before you start complaining in the comments about how stupid I am in this essay because I blaspheme against God, and at the same time don’t see people for how they really are, remember that I used to be a school teacher. You don’t do that job because you want to be rich and powerful. You do that job for love of others… specifically, other people’s children. And it is true that everybody has their bad points. Everybody is thoughtless, or wicked, or deeply troubled at times. But everyone also has qualities about them that make them beautiful, or kind, or noble, or selfless, or… well, the list of good things I have seen and nurtured in other people’s children is far longer and more profound than the bad things. No matter who they are, no matter what color or culture or religion they are, my brothers and sisters and their children have worth.

So, here I am, declaring that I am, most definitely, my brother’s keeper. (And unlike Cain, I did not kill him. He and his wife live along the Texas coast, near Houston. And they are not in a cage.)

And here is the question most critical to my survival…

Are you your brother’s keeper too?

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Filed under humor, illness, Paffooney, philosophy, religion, wisdom

Down the Rabbithole

Sometimes life goes well.

And sometimes it goes really rotten.

And it seems that it goes badly three or maybe four times as often as it goes well.

This has been a bad week for me.

I got a booster shot two days ago to protect against further Covid problems. But I am still ill today just from the injection.

And yet I am still supposed to be funny on Fridays.

So, today, I am going to explain why rabbits’ feet are not going to help.

They are not lucky for me.

I have been a rabbit for forty years, since I was 25 and starting a career as a teacher.

Rabbits are always alert, always ready to face whatever predators may come our way, foxes, weasels, bears, tigers, bankers, health-insurance salesmen, lawyers, and politicians.

Rabbits have a field of vision that stretches for well more than the human 180 degrees of view.

They have to put together sensory input quickly, thump loudly with a hind leg, and bolt down the rabbit hole.

Critics would say that a rabbit doesn’t act assertively enough, standing up for himself in the face of what is unjust, life-threatening, and wrong. But it is not easy to be a rabbit in a dangerous world where bad luck is more common than good.

And think about it carefully, in a harsh and unjust world-environment. a rabbit’s foot is never lucky to the rabbit it came from.

So, feeling rotten, surrounded by crumbling pipes and leaky plumbing in this old house, and getting nothing but spam calls on the phone from scammers, this fat old rabbit, going blind and laid up with arthritis pain, is still happy to count all four rabbit’s feet still attached.

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, humor, illness, metaphor, Paffooney, rabbit people

Mickey’s Eulogy

No, Mickey is not dead. So, don’t worry… or if you are celebrating, stop it!

I just got to thinking that since I am feeling ill again, and every time I have a cold or flu or a Covid variant it could easily be the death of me with my six incurable diseases, I really ought to have the chance that Tom Sawyer once got to eavesdrop on his own funeral.

Of course, there would undoubtedly be more laughing and joking at my funeral and less crying than there was at Tom’s.

The purple mouse-man would begin the service. He would be wearing his best polka-dotted bow-tie. And he would say, “We come here today not to praise Mickey, but to bury him. He was nothing like Julius Caesar. In fact, he was nothing like anybody we know of from history, recorded newspaper accounts, or Shakespeare plays like Julius Caesar. He was a novelist and an amateur cartoonist. And the best thing that can be said about him is that he was a public school teacher for many, many, many, probably too many years. And he never killed a student (that we can prove,) and he never made a student leave his class dumber than he was on the day he entered the class (and Jorge is not an exception to that statement because the drugs he took that melted his brain came from a San Antonio drug dealer, not from Mickey’s wonderful teaching.)”

And then there would probably be former students that wanted to say something. Clint would probably say something like, “I never had a teacher as funny as him. We would put tacks on his chair, and he always would see them before he sat down, but he would yelp even though he had secretly removed the tack first so that he could tell by which one of us was laughing hardest who was probably guilty. But he never blamed me for the ones I did. He blamed Robert for those. He only blamed me for the ones Robert put there. And Robert put more of them than I did, so it was not fair that I had to talk to the principal more than Robert did. That’s why I ratted Robert out and we both got put on in-school suspension for a week. And then, when we both came back to class, he was laughing harder than I ever saw him laugh before. And I began to suspect he was really evil then.”

And then Leopard Girl would stand up and say, “He was also a good teacher for imaginary students. We would be exposed to all kinds of books and stories, and we had to read and have opinions about stuff. And if we liked a character in a story, he would make us write an imaginary conversation with that character and argue with them about treating the environment better, or being nicer to other people, and think about things from the story that impressed us the most. And you know what? I think sometimes he tricked us into actually learning things.”

And then it would be the talking dog’s turn to speak. And he would get up front, sniff the podium, pee on it, and say, “He was not very smart. He thought dogs could actually talk to people. Like this one time we were walking in the park and this German Shepherd started barking at him. He tried to tell me that the dog was saying good morning to us and inquiring about Aunt Mabel’s lumbago. I told him the dog was barking in German, so he couldn’t understand what it was saying. He claimed he took three years of German in college. I told him that what the dog really said was that if it could get off of its leash, it would come over and eat us because we smelled like burglars. He told me that I was a dog and didn’t actually understand German, and that the word actually meant a person from Hamburg in Germany. I told him I was just a dog and I didn’t actually speak English either!”

I have to admit, my funeral will be nothing at all like this. My sisters wouldn’t stand for having a dog talk at my funeral. And my wife would want to have me cremated and put into a coffee tin to save money, forgoing the expense of an actual funeral so she would have a bit more money to spend on shoes.

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Filed under feeling sorry for myself, humor, illness, Paffooney

My Second Quarantine Adventure

I am now confined to my bedroom for another couple of weeks. Me, alone with my imagination, having to put on a mask to go down to the kitchen to make soup or go to the restroom. And it is the second time. But this timek I am the one infected. Before it was number two son who brought it home from work and got us all locked up at home.

To be honest, I haven’t gotten a test yet to determine that it is truly Omicron. If I do, I have to have somebody help me get there as we do not yet have any home tests. That would put whoever volunteers at risk. Plus, an official diagnosis creates more days missed from work for my wife who already has to teach in a germ-filled middle school with a mask on all day.

So, since I am only assuming I have Covid Omicron, I get to take care of myself in isolation. And if it is not Omicron, for which I am triple vaccinated, I have to worry that the regular flu is probably more dangerous than Covid and could potentially kill me.

I tend to get sick from regular flu even when I am vaccinated.

But while I am holed up with headaches and sore throat, I am finishing a novel, The Necromancer’s Apprentice. I have one chapter and two illustrations yet to finish.

This will be the first novel I have written set entirely in Tellosia, the kingdom of Fairies, Sylphs, Pixies, and Elves that exists just beyond the edges of the small town of Norwall, Iowa. All of the Fairy people and fairy animals are shrunk down by modern disbelief in them to a size where a six-foot person would be only three inches tall.

I hope to have it published in the next week. I, of course, now have additional time to work on it.

The Necromancer’s village of Mortimer’s Mudwallow

So, I have a choice. I can sit and suffer and watch TV, or I can get busy and write and publish.

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, humor, illness, novel writing, Paffooney

Sicky Saturday Art Day

I am not posting anything sick. I AM SICK. So, expect random pictures from my gallery file.

Cissy Moonskipper is now published and available on Amazon, along with Horatio T. Dogg, Super Sleuth, both of these being novellas. The Necromancer’s Apprentice is added to the soon to be published.
So, now I have pieced together another post on a day when I feel awful with possibly-Omicron (though I am triple vaccinated.)

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Filed under artwork, humor, illness, Paffooney

Chicken Soup Time (a twelve-line poem of recovery)

There comes a time when life really stinks,

A day when the life force grows green-brown and sinks,

Yes, I am ill and my every breath kinks,

And I cough and I burp and the end of the nose pinks,

So, I gather together under the covers,

The rotten parts of me over which the fly hovers,

And cook them in heat of the dreams of old lovers,

And fantasy dreams, whose richness discovers…

The stories that make the sum of my life,

And memories of people who’ve hurt me with strife,

And good things and great things and details all mixed,

And stew while I’m sleeping til things are all fixed.

Blue birdsxxx

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Filed under humor, illness, Paffooney, poem

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

Being a fantasy and science-fiction writer with a considerable reputation for being totally ignored by the reading public, I often think about where society and science are taking this world as we continue to climb ladders towards the future and slide down the chutes of unexpected consequences.

And being a pessimist, the future I see is almost always grim. Of course, that’s not an unexpected thing from a writer who consumes a lot of very speculative ideas from other science-fictiony thinkers and proclaimers of gloom and doom.

But the War of the Worlds thing will not happen. Alien civilizations that are far more advanced than we are are already here, living among us and in secret enclaves in caverns and under the sea. We don’t have to worry about invasions from outer space. They could’ve akready taken this world from us if they had wanted to. Again, this is not a factual explanation. This is merely fanciful speculation based on things I think are probably true.

Of course, they are not going to solve our problems for us either. It is not in their own interest to save us from ourselves. No alien repairs to the environment reversing global warming.will ever happen. They have in the past intervened in nuclear crisis. There is considerable testimony from credible and qualified witnesses that UFOs have routinely messed with our nuclear arsenal, even disassembling warheads on rockets in mid-flight and neutralizing missiles in silos. They don’t care if we die. They just don’t want the planet wrecked.

The Democrat-bot continues to deliver haymakers to the Republican-bot, but notice who dominates the majority of the ring, no matter what happens.

One of the things that the alien residents of this planet might allow to occur, and even enjoy watching, is that the current two-year pandemic may prove to be the thing that makes homo sapiens go extinct as a species.

The political fight over pandemic responses threatens to turn the corona virus into a super-mega-killer virus. Already the Republican Deadly Propaganda Ministry of Lies over at FOX News has stirred their mindless minions to reject anything that could end the pandemic. Don’t shut down businesses. Don’t get the vaccine. Don’t wear masks. Don’t help people by creating green-energy jobs or stimulate the economy by giving money to people who need it and will spend it. Better to all die than to let Democrats get credit for doing something right and good. Ignore all the billionaires making record billions while their mindless minions die out allowing the virus to endlessly mutate and become more infectious and more deadly. Given enough mutation time, the virus could kill all human beings on Earth. Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates and Donald Trump can then have all the money in the world. Good luck eating that in a world with no farmers or grocery stores. They will then die out too, just like all the human beings did before them.

If these disturbing science-fictiony predictions worry you or make you afraid for life on Earth, then Good! You need to pay attention to these very things. But remember too that this is a humor blog. I am hot-cow-poop as a prophet of doom. What I say is very likely not right at all. And you can tell by the picture that Mickey is more often mistaken for Santa Clause than Nostradamus. Still, give these dark notions from a pessimistic fool a thought or two. Somebody has to solve these problems if we are to survive. And how do you know that this somebody is not YOU!

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Filed under angry rant, illness, insight, irony, philosophy

Complaining for the Sake of Complaining

Sometimes you just need to vent for the relief you get from releasing all that extra fart-gas that builds up in the brain from too much politics and environmental stress.

Have you noticed that there seem to be certain pests that you just can’t seem to get rid of? Mosquitoes? Rats in the attic? Fairies in the garden? In-laws who need money?

The St. Louis Cardinals seemed to be poised, based on late-season improvements, to make a bid for a World-Series surge in the playoffs. But they were taken out by the Los Angeles Dodgers in a one-game wild-card playoff. Wait till next year again.

We find out more and more bad stuff and crimes from Trump’s Presidential Administration (Prexydental Apeynation?) every single week. And the criminal is still not in prison yet? If this were a true banana republic, he would’ve been executed after the coup failed.

I keep taking careful steps to improve my health and become physically fit enough to stay alive. And yet, I can’t seem to get healthy enough to visit the Bluebonnet Nudist Park for a second time. I called them and found out that they are very willing to take Covid precautions and help me out. But blood sugar balance and a number of small wounds that won’t heal keep me from going au naturel.

I am too old and irritated to go for very long without ranting about the general unfairness of the universe. I am mindful that people like me can easily become annoying and are no fun to be around. So, I try hard to limit the Mr. Grumpy vibes I give off in this blog to only a day or two per week. But I often fail. So, dang it! I just have to spout out a little more today. That fart-gas in the old brain cavity really builds up fast.

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Filed under angry rant, baseball, cardinals, humor, illness, nudes, Paffooney, politics

Vaccination Day

Yep, today I have an appointment to get a vaccination against Covid 19. Sure, I have to drive all the way to Fort Worth during rush hour to get there. And, yes, I have had bad reactions to flu vaccines in the past. But I am going to do this because it is worth all the risk to get a 90+% guarantee that I might be able to survive this pandemic.

Making your way in the world today is complex and daunting, especially when your poor health leaves you in pain every single day. You reach a point where you get depressed and wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just be done with it once and for all. I am certainly not going to die unfulfilled. I feel like I have contributed more than I have consumed. The world is slightly better for the fact that I have lived in it. But I am addicted to living my life, even with its complications. I need more of it if I can get it.

And this vaccine is not like the dead-virus vaccines that caused me pain in the past. It is new technology, a synthesized vaccine achieved by timely harvesting and decoding of the virus before it burst onto the world scene. It is the same sort of eleventh-hour solution that we will need to rely on in eight short years to rescue us from extinction by human-caused climate change. Momentous events are in the offing because they have to be. We are an inventive species, and we will either invent our way out of multiple existential crises or we will wipe ourselves out much faster than the dinosaurs were closed out.

But that’s all serious stuff. And this is supposed to be Funny Friday. So, Mickey, how do you rectify that mismatch?

Well, the Wizard in my Paffooney for the the day, Eli Tragedy, is basically a buffoon. His magical spells are mostly a matter of either dumb luck or extremely unfortunate blunders that magically turn out to benefit rather than destroy. Much in the same way that Big Pharma corporate wizards poofed up the vaccines.

And Mickey, as old Eli’s apprentice, can steal his master’s magic hat long enough to miscast his spells to the point that the world is awash in gallon after gallon of laughing-juice. And despite the troubles Mickey will be in, lessons will be learned.

So, here’s to vaccination! Today is my opportunity. May the cure not kill me, and let’s give life another chance.

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Filed under health, humor, illness, wizards