Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Failure of the Day: Sky = Down

I wrote an entry on the Christian Taliban in the white house and how we (and by “we” I mean everyone who is not an evangelical) are now Jews, America is Europe, and the year is 1933. I still think that’s true—and if you find that overstated, you do so at your peril—but I deleted the post after I wrote it. You can read that same sentiment elsewhere and by smarter people than me. I think I’ll leave the political analysis to my betters, partly because there is plenty of it already and partly because I just don’t have the heart to hash and re-hash through it here. I'd just as soon save this space for my own personal failures and leave the country’s massive, heartbreaking, and terrifying failures alone, at least for the most part.

And it’s not like election day was without personal failure for me. That was the day I found myself sitting the office of the infectious disease specialist—a nice man who got much nicer when I told him I was writing a novel about my experiences with doctors. Terrific ploy, that. Even if you’re not writing a novel about doctors, tell your guy that you are and watch his demeanor change. You instantly transform from the smelly, whiny barrier between him and the data he needs to stop your complaining into Mike Wallace and a camera crew waiting in his driveway. It’s awesome.

The infectious disease specialist poked around in my underarm, asked me a bunch of questions, and then laid it out for me. He wasn’t prepared to make it definitive until after he could take samples to the lab, but all signs pointed to not the staph infection or the folliculitis my internist suspected but—you guessed it—a whole new chronic and incurable disease called hidradenitis suppurativa. Aww yeeeeah, lucky number 6. Please believe me that should the bright idea pop into your head to look up this disease on the Internet and check out some pictures of the symptoms, DON’T DO IT. Seriously. It freaked me out real bad until I remembered that there are really horrible pictures of psoriasis and MS and PCOD out there too, and I don’t look like those either.

Chris, touchingly, was angry on my behalf when I told him. I thought that was so sweet! I always forget to take umbrage with the universe for this stuff. It’s not even that I’m used to it by now—I never argued the fairness of it when I was getting the first disease—it’s just not in me to expect fair play. That’s the fringe benefit of my complete inability to perform an act of faith.

I did, however, realize that I’d need to write a whole new chapter of my novel now, just when I thought I had only editing left to do. My friend Paul pointed out that I am up against a deadline wholly apart from those given by agents or publishers and the like. I need to finish my novel about all my diseases before I catch another one and have to start again from scratch.


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