Two weeks ago I let my car drift too near the curb of the street. I hit a curb-corner at the edge of a driveway and something there punctured the passenger-side tire. It was a financial setback. I had to buy a new tire.
But what it really cost me, was the confidence of all three of my children that I can still take care of myself. They were united in threatening to take away my driver’s license and treat me like an invalid.
It was a bit of an over-reaction to what actually happened. But God has it in for me. The challenges to my continued survival seem to never stop coming. At this writing I have six incurable diseases. Diabetes, hypertension, COPD, arthritis, psoriasis, and an enlarged prostate. On top of that, I am a cancer survivor. Skin cancer, 1983. My father has Parkinson’s and it is severely slowing him down. It is also a disease I am beginning to show symptoms of. God hasn’t killed me yet, but not for a lack of trying.
Personally, I am worried about my own frequent bouts of stupidity more than anything else.
Sure, I have diabetes and not enough income to get insulin thanks to pharmaceutical profiteers (another term for blood-thirsty pirates) But I have learned since 2000 to battle it with proper diet. It has been working. And it still does.
But I can be stupid, too. I hate being left out of restaurant trips to SpringCreek Barbecue or Chili’s. But the temptations to eat myself into a coma is always there right in front of me. My wife always eats food that will kill me and even offers me some. (She is not trying to kill me for my money, though. She knows I am bankrupt. That’s why she has to pay for these little family outings that she invites me to. And there are no huge insurance checks in her future if the mashed potatoes get the better of me.)
Arthritis is hard to live with too. My kids worry that my gas-pedal knee will seize up when I am going 55, or my break-pedal leg will fail to move when I need it to when the inevitable Dallas-area killer grandma is driving beside me in the next lane in her black BMW, thinking seriously about how to kill me and make it look like my fault on the insurance claim. I learned long ago to drive with extreme defensiveness in Texas. But still I can be stupid too. Like when I don’t watch the lane’s squiggles and curves hawkishly like I didn’t do two Sunday nights ago.
So, I have to be less stupid for more of the time. If not… if I die on the road some god-forsaken night, my sons are going to kill me. Even if they have to dig me up again to do it.
I am ill again. No apparent reason. Just headaches, body aches, and a pain in the chest. Day-after-day sort of pain for a sufferer of diabetes and arthritis. But pain is a reminder that you are still alive. It grabs you by the collarbones and shakes you with the realization that whatever you are going to accomplish will be done over, under, or around the difficult obstacles thrown in your way. So, I better pick myself up and get going.
As a novelist in poor health, every time I start a new story, already worked out in my head or not, it becomes a race to finish. My time is limited because I simply cannot last for very much longer. My body is failing, and each step on the path of life hurts and is hard to take. Like Icarus above, I am flying dangerously high and possibly too near the Sun. The novel The Boy… Forever, in which Icarus Jones is the key character, is swiftly coming to a close. The villain has already died the first time, and the hero is approaching the orb of the Sun. I am hoping to have it published within a month of right now, and hopefully long enough before my own rendezvous with the Son comes to pass.
This will be book number fourteen that I have published. It is already four novels more than I had realistically believed I could publish before six incurable diseases and the prospect of cancer, heart attack, and stroke that I have lived with since 2000 all does me in.
Ironically, this book that I am racing to finish before I die is about characters who are immortal, or make themselves immortal by consuming the essence of other immortals. And, of course, it is also another Pirate novel, feature the Norwall, Iowa 4H softball team and liars’ club that has a part in most of my other novels whether they are set in the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s.
The novel is currently 49,685 words in 160 formatted pages. It will be finished by about 52,000 words. I hope to have it complete by the middle of next week.
Further I figure to start another novel project immediately afterwards. Who knows how many more I can achieve before the end shall come.
December so far has not been kind. When my family came home from their Thanksgiving trip to Florida, the two boys had the flu. And, of course, they gave it to me. I have been seriously ill for the better part of three weeks. Having diabetes and being unable to afford insulin, I guess I am lucky to even be alive at this point. But I was unable to do any substituting in December. So, no extra money comes in during January. I will be paying for it for a while.
But one bright spot in the whole sickness story was that my daughter had reached semester test week without getting the bug and without missing school. Ah, but the Christmas flu fairies had a different outcome in mind. Monday, by the end of the day, she was bright green in the face and suffering. She was beside herself with worry about testing. She forced herself to go to school the next morning and take her first period exam. She got her exam done, and made a perfect score of 100 on it. But then she had to come home and go directly to the doctor. Yep, the flu. And probably gotten from classmates who also are missing tests about now. Wednesday and Thursday was misery and vomiting and fevers. She will live through it, but not with smiles on her bright green face. The school is understanding about her missing the tests, and it will be made up.
So, I have to take care of her with caution. If it is a different flu than I recently had, the Florida flu, I could get sick again. And this time it could easily be a fatal flu. I am not afraid. I have battled flu so many times that it no longer scares me. I know what to do. And I will get through it.
My title for today is a bad pun. It is because the phrase “Sick Humor” has two meanings. I tend to get punny when my nose is runny. I have been sick for a week. Not actually flu, but a bad cold that seems pretty close. And, of course, close counts with horseshoes, flu, and hand grenades. I have been stuck at home, able to do little beyond watch the impeachment clown-show. And, of course, by watching, getting punnier and punnier.
You get punny enough and you tend to feel bigger than you are, primarily because you get full of natural gas that comes out of your mouth… and of course, out of somewhere else too. And if you let it all out of the mouth at once… where it pollutes the general atmosphere and makes it hard to breathe… or if you let it out of the other place… where it can be potentially explosive… you will deflate a lot, and get very, very small.
But, really, it is a matter of absurd comparisons (and also Republican impairisons) as words are twisted to make them funny (as in “oddly seeming” and not as in “really ha-ha!”) and criminals are called “honest brokers” and the coppers are tarnished as “deep-state delusionals”.
You are supposed to take medicine when you are sick. And laughter is the best medicine. But don’t laugh at idiots. Idiots with lots of money will hurt you. They will hurt you financially. They will hurt you physically. They can’t necessarily beat you up because it looks bad… and maybe because of bone spurs. But they can hire lots of somebodies to do it for them. And they can take over your government.
The sickness in the White House has no cure. The cancer will not be excised. It will kill us all. Sometimes the humor is sick. And sometimes the jokes are not funny. And the biggest joke will be when the Senate declares the cancer not life-threatening. The joke will be on us.
I am sick. I am trying to laugh it off. But it’s tough. Maybe I will look for funnier clowns to watch.
I am on the third day of a severe cold… or possible flu. Yesterday I couldn’t even write. Body aches, chills, fever, cough, and sore throat, All those things I used to enjoy so much as a kid, because it meant a day off from school, even though I had to suffer royally to get it.
I remember my mother used to think I was faking it if she couldn’t actually see the symptoms. And, of course, she would often take me to the doctor to get a shot in my behind if I actually did have them. She was a professional registered nurse, so you couldn’t get away with faking it, or even get a day off for a mild case.
Yesterday I was supposed to substitute for an English teacher at Perry Middle School. Seventh graders, I think. I actually thought about faking being well so I could make the money for the day and get a chance to take out my grouchy ill humor on seventh graders. That in itself always used to make me feel a little better. Yelling at kids for their evil behaviors is medicine for the soul.
So, I ended up giving them the gift of a day off from me, one of meaner subs who actually expects kids to work when the regular teacher isn’t there. Of course, I had a fever of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so I didn’t really have the option to go in and infect everybody and give them heckfire from a cranky old man. The school district frowns on teachers who intentionally spread the flu, small pox, or the Black Death to their students. So, I stayed home and uncomfortably suffered quietly and alone.
I am having trouble writing today. I keep passing out for no particular reason. I know for a fact, if I go to the ER they will put me in the hospital and my tenuous hold on financial stability will go down that money drain. And my heart is not really the problem. My last hospital stay only yielded the theory that arthritis in my neck, in proximity to my spinal cord, is causing EKG machines to get false readings that suggest I am having a heart attack when I am not. It also complicated my bankruptcy situation. I cannot afford the health care I need. And I am not the only one in Trump’s America that has that problem. I don’t think I am going to die today. But there are no guarantees in life. Especially not in this hazy, cold morning in America.
Not everything is bad on this side of the mirror, though.
My family returns from Florida today. I have earned money from book sales on Amazon for the fifth month in a row, even though I am averaging less than two dollars a month. The sun is shining again in Texas after a stretch of arthritis-wringing pain from bad weather. I bought a gingerbread house kit at Walmart. I have at least one substitute teaching job this coming week.
I have passed the 35,000 word bar for my work in progress, long enough to qualify as a complete YA novel. But it isn’t finished yet, and probably going to be nearer to 50,000 words.
So, going forward, the world now looks very different. Thanos has been defeated. Trump is being impeached, though probably not removed. And though I am a pessimist, and am preparing for the worst, I am not unhappy about what the future may hold.