Category Archives: fear

Nursing. It’s for Other People

shotI wrote this short piece for my blogroll blog and I don’t have many followers over there so I thought I’d drop a link here to share a quick story.  Also there is a link to one of my favorite bloggers (nutsrok).

 

 

I encouraged and consoled and used my best confidence-building pep talks during these calls but I worried.  I was out of my league. I could no more be a nurse than fly to the moon.  I lack empathy.  Continue…

 

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Looking for the Money Shot in Iowa

I remind myself constantly that cameras – while they may not lie exactly – only reveal snapshots.  How many times have you been questioned about the look on your face at a particular moment, “Are you mad?”   “What are you thinking about?”   In reality, your nose was itching, you remembered a forgotten task, you had a foot cramp,  or actually, you have no idea why your mouth turned up or your forehead wrinkled.   Looking at photos of my own self, I often wonder, What Was I Thinking??

Cameras hyper-focus an audience on the face and body language of its subjects.  We have these two-hour time frames during televised debates to stare at (and listen to) people talk and display a whole range of emotion, physical reaction and thought.  What  looks  like an arrogant smirk may well be the result of holding back a fart.  These are, after all, human beings.  Farts and all.

Televised debates are incredibly powerful influencers because we are so visual and so vain and so attracted to perfection and so fickle- always looking for that one tell-tale moment when the candidate reveals the whole Monty with that one  expression (the money shot?).

Or, maybe I’m just shallow.

I think these GOP (and most) candidates are courageous and patriotic and ultimately, love America.  I had a moment last night while watching the debate  when I was overcome with patriotism.   I watched these people on the stage in various camera angles, up-close-and-personal, and I just felt so strongly about all of them.  I was proud and touched by their courage to be up there. I was overcome with gratitude to be an American and I thought, for a minute, that these candidates are all mostly good, or want to be, and mostly trustworthy and mostly meant, or wish they meant, everything they said.  It was weird.

All of that, I think, is a result of  ‘seeing’ the people instead of  just hearing them.  I can’t help but wonder how much that affects my opinion and I am trying hard not to let it.  I often wonder how just ‘hearing’ and not ‘seeing’ the campaigns of 2008 would have changed the result.

Like so many other people watching, I am listening for ideas, platforms and issues that speak to me directly and that represent my exact vision of my country.  Therein, of course, lies the real debate.  What, exactly, is my vision?

I am certainly not liberal but I am also not a fringey right wing zealot.  Libertarian ideas appeal to

Here.. put this on…

me but I refuse to try on Ron Paul’s tin-foil cap – although I have toyed with the idea.    Other than the isolationist concepts, he has some pretty appealing platforms.

I want to like Bachmann.  After watching the debates (so far) I am starting to warm back up to her, although, she seems a bit high-maintenance for the job.  How long exactly, does all that make-up take her to apply  everyday?  I know, I know.  Shallow.  I don’t like any kind of religion in my politics but I do believe that we should base decisions on goodness and justice.   All of that goodness mostly comes from God, doesn’t it?   Whole ‘nuther subject there.  Extremism scares me.

I like Santorum.  I actually, probably, like him the most.  But – there’s that whole religion thing again.  I just don’t really give a shit what gay people do.  Get married, don’t get married.  I don’t care.  I do believe in a strong family unit and I don’t think it is affected by what gay people do or don’t do.  Either you are gay – or not.  Period.  I’m not.  My family unit looks pretty typical.  I don’t mind if my neighbor’s does not.

Huntsman ‘appears’ to be a bit smug and over-confident.  Maybe he just has gas.  I generally like his platforms, although, honestly, I have not studied him much.

Romney.  I like him.  He does not appear to be basing business decisions on any weird, cultish, Mormon philosophy.  He just seems like a regular Christian guy who is smart and decisive and a savvy business man.  He does make stupid faces while he listens to the other candidates.  I bet he never farts.

Perry- I just don’t know.  Hard not to like a cowboy from Texas.  He is easy on the eyes.   Is he smart enough?  Would he be true to American values?  Texas is one of the only states that is still thriving.  That says something.

Ultimately, Gingrich appears to be the wisest, smartest and most qualified.  He does have that baggage and there is something lurking there.. for me.. that keeps me reserved a bit.

I think I would be fairly comfortable with any of them.  Except Ron Paul.  I would be okay with him as VP, although Biden has proved that office to be fairly useless.

So… what are your thoughts?

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Just Kill it and Walk Away

Blame it on the social network society- but I have become like a cat who plays with a mouse before I eat it and walk away, leaving its head and feet  for my human to step on and scream.   I’m not the only one.  I see it more and more on Facebook and blog banter.  I’m not sure I like it.

Let's play a little game..

This all occurred to me today when I toyed cruelly with an unsuspecting dumbass who attacked me on Facebook.  I knew it was cruel because I felt nothing.  I wasn’t angry.  I wasn’t defensive.   I wasn’t hurt. I wasn’t afraid.  I was, in fact, amused.   I did what I had to do.  I baited and re-baited the trap and watched it snap and snap and snap.  And I laughed.   The laughing was guttural and snorty, from deep in my chest and sinus.   Not the wholesome kind of open-mouthed donkey laughing  – like when somebody falls in a hole.  It was just mean.

The best thing about the attack was that it  happened as soon as I woke up and during my morning routine whereupon I have hot coffee at arm’s length, an ashtray with a burning hot cigarette on the wash stand (yes, I have a wash stand), and my phone in hand.  Also, the radio on the  AM band where I am learning to accept the new talking-head named Greg Something  as he bellows and argues and taunts some rotten politician or rule or law that I generally also don’t like.  The attack was timely.   It started my day just right.  I love to be attacked in the morning.

So there I was, sucking hard on a hot Winston, blowing satisfying plumes of grey smoke into the bathroom and just reaching for my steaming cup when the phone bloinked and vibrated on the hamper.   Odd and exciting.  I hit the Facebook icon and bam:   Garrett Mikkelson slammed my FB email with a giant, ugly, hateful and most delicious email calling me a “fucking retarded bitch..”  Naturally, I reeled with pleasure.   What a great way to start the day.   And it just kept getting better.

Garrett is only a virtual acquaintance but I recognized him right away.  A week or so prior I set out to troll some GOP candidate’s Facebook pages.   I landed on the Gingrich page.  I skimmed the usual fan propaganda  –  mostly boring and predictable and I agree with some of it.   Then I saw Garrett, also trolling but with a very different agenda:  Big Ron Paul Fan.  Big, Crazy Ron Paul Fan.  And angry.  Kept spewing frustrations and venom at the Gingrich fans and suggesting that Ron Paul is the only real choice for Commander in Chief and all who think otherwise should die (or, at least, piss off),

“…Its some small things to what our nation needs to get back on our feet. Tell me thats stupid or wrong and you can piss off.” 

Garrett made several other inflammatory and fairly goofy comments on the Gingrich page, most of which were either ignored or summarily dismissed using simple logic.   I have gone back and secured some of the comments so I can enjoy them again at my leisure.   Here’s a good one- in response to an obviously well-read, well spoken Newt fan:

“…you must not fly very much.. Warrantless searches of autos on highways, naked body scanners that cause cancer, participation in illegal arms trade, lightposts that record conversations. It’s essentially a headless beast with no elected oversight.

Wait… light posts that record conversations??  I missed that one the first time.  I guess I need to look  more into Ron Paul and his theories.  He may be more fun than I originally thought instead of just annoying as hell, as I originally thought.   I know, I know.  Paul is not tripping on the same brown acid as my new best friend Garrett.   But still.  Nothing funnier than an extreme conspiracy nut.   <*Footnote* (aka: body note)  Turns out there are reports of these lamp post listening devices being used in other countries.   Not sure if I believe it.  But it almost makes it funnier.>

Garrett  continued his coitus interuptus of the Gingrich orgy,  commenting  about war mongers and despicable candidates like  Gingrich who love fighting wars.  He insisted that this is his Country too and that he has a right to not be drafted or fight in a war,

America was the reason because of the attacks, im sure this whole entire war was a set up. Its terrible that it’s happened. But we must move, Ron paul is the most genuine candidate there is. Its sad that he doesn’t get more publicity, because he wins just about every single poll there is. But whenever Cain, Romney or newt win something they bust out the balloons and bring out the band for excitement. This all just makes me sick to my stomach, any you james, need to educate yourself.

While Garrett’s comments may seem almost too simplistic and benign for any decent person to even consider taunting – and to be clear – I did not taunt him in any way before this morning – he gets way, way more interesting.  Trust me on this.

In spite of my intended troll-only objective, I could not resist a jab or two at Garrett and some others.  I suggested young Garrett would defend his Country if it were truly his,

“Garrett Mikkelson if this were really your country, you would be willing to defend it. “

I replied to another Ron Paul Fan who is also an OWS  supporter,

“Dxxxxx Brown Don’t you ‘occupy’ folks have a City park to clean up?  Oh, wait.. that’s right.. working is for the 95% .. you know, the ones that fund all the losers and malingerers.”

And then I forgot about it.  I got on with my day.  My week.   I worked.  Cooked.   Slept.  Smoked cigarettes.  I drank coffee.  I celebrated Thanksgiving.   I never once thought about Garrett or the other trolls.  Then, I woke up this morning.  Garrett Mikkelson formally introduced himself to me, up close and personal.

I’ll post the whole email from Garrett when I’m finished here.  It’s short and violent.  I posted part of it already on Ron Paul’s Facebook page.  And the conspiracy shit-storm began.  Ron Paul fan’s are a

Here.. put this on...

distrustful bunch, anxious to share philosophies on gold and silver and greed and minding our own damned business.  It was like throwing a bucket of honey on a picnic table and the ants and flys swarmed it and became a little frenzied.  The rapid-fire responses  began immediately after my posting of Garrett’s email and they were urgent – but gentle.   Generally lacking any recognizable grammatical rule,  they eagerly list  suggestions that I join them in the conspiracy party, maybe try on a foil cap and under no circumstance should I save paper dollars in a bank account.

One guy suggested that I may have ‘made the whole thing up, that the email should be reported to the police, not to Facebook,

What you are doing is lowering your credibility to the claim that anyone actually did send you that message.”

Others suggest I immediately call the police and let Zuckerberg know about Garrett’s email.  Because Zuckerberg needs to know, they said.  And I should get Garrett’s IP address and,

“… be sure to save the emails.

I immediately received a friend request from a Ron Paul Fan.  It was creepy and fun and I couldn’t stop for awhile.  I’m still not finished.  But I’ve got it all on hold until I can think it through and load my .38.

In the meantime, the following is the conversation that started my day:

Garrett MikkelsonYou’re a fucking retarded bitch. Calling occupiers losers?.. and your god damn right i would defend this country.

Me:   huh?

Garrett Mikkelson: Next time watch what you say on public sites.

Me: or what?

Garrett MikkelsonYou’ve just proved your ignorance. Or else i’ll find you, cut you up into little pieces then feed you to my dog. Honestly people like you never cease to amaze me. Still living in Indiana?

He must have a pretty big dog.

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Traumatic Brain Injury

The facial expressions of pain and human weakness I have read about for years in literature and could never really visualize, I can see now on the face of my friend.   The mixture of fear, regret and barely controlled hysteria is too rich.  It nearly makes me sick.  Her freckled and pale face is deeply wrinkled and drawn and her normally green eyes have been swallowed by the black of her pupils.  She looks her age.  Her chin and neck are stretched in a constant state of cringing.  She is afraid or unable to make eye contact and just as well.  Her pain is raging in there and it’s easier for me not to look.   Her back is humped like an old woman’s as if protecting the soft center of her chest, where I imagine her heart beats and aches in a perfect, stabbing rhythm that is too deep to think about for more than a second.  Tiny hands curl toward her center and she appears to be hanging on, barely.  She is an old woman.  She is my age.

Bleary eyed and still heavily drugged, her son turns his head toward her voice and may even recognize it.  This is ‘tracking’ we are told.  We don’t know. We know nothing.  The brain is clearly functioning on some level.  He can turn his head.  The legs on this six foot-three-inch boy thrash randomly, violently.  This is ‘neurostorming’ we are told.  He squeezes our hands.  But what does he know?

A month ago he knew everything.   Now his eyes are blank and dilated and he responds to questions with simple answers: rote memory.  What is missing from this child’s brain and what is just bruised for now?  We don’t know.  It is a waiting game and nobody is guessing.  Anything could happen.

The decisions that ultimately created this scene for my friend is a conversation for later.   For now, we wrap his fingers around a fork and encourage him to navigate the food toward his mouth.  And chew.  And swallow.  And, ‘do you want a bite of carrots or potatoes?’   Is he really hungry?  We don’t know.  At 20 years-old he must be hungry often, we reason.  So we offer food.  But we don’t know.

Occupational therapists and speech therapists and physical therapists and nurse’s aids rotate in and out and speak to him as if he is three years old.  I cringe when I hear them. He is not three years old.  He is a junior at Kansas University.  A 4.0 Dean’s Honor Role student.    A future defense attorney.  A month ago he would have beaten them all handily in a game of chess.  A gifted musician.  Brilliant.  He is not a three-year-old.  He is handsome and humble and passionate about his world.  He commands a long line of young women who are completely disarmed by his perfectly white teeth and brutal charm.

Two months after his accident, he is finally able to smile and laugh.  It may be the most difficult part of his progress to see him affect what was once normal.  His bald and scarred head is too heavy for his shoulders.  He sits slumped and slack-muscled, drool suddenly rushing down his chin.  He knows to wipe it off and the corners of his mouth are cracked from the constant drooling, wiping, drooling, wiping.  But he laughs.  I tease him about President Obama, his hero, and threaten to bring my bowling ball and take advantage of his situation by finally beating him at it.  He laughs hard, his head bobbing.  His teeth, now too big for his head, still beautiful and white, are fully exposed behind his grin.   My friend beams from across the room.  Her son is alive.  He is smiling.   It takes everything I have to not cry.

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