Hello, Failure

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

Monday, October 27, 2008

Failure of the Day: Futbal? I Hardly Know Her!

Once upon a time I considered everyone who watched football a cretin. I was young and judgmental and as annoying as we all are at 23. And 33. Mostly I just didn’t know anything about it and hadn’t watched even a single game, so I had no idea how it was played, or what the rules are, or anything. That changed when Chris got sucked into fantasy football league during our last year in Seattle, and suddenly the living room TV was all booked up on Sundays with that strange white noise of crowd sounds and instantly orgasmic announcers.

I like sitting on the couch with Chris (he’s toasty!), so eventually, I picked up on the basics and could watch a game with something approaching appreciation, if not pleasure. It’s something to see 300-pound men hurl themselves at the ground with no regard for their own physical well-being. Bodily fearlessness is as anti-Nancy as it gets, and anti-Nancy is my favorite, of course, so the next thing you know, I have my own fantasy team and am having perfectly reasonable conversations about Peyton Manning.

Yesterday we watched in person as Chris’s beloved Seahawks eviscerated the poor, defenseless (no, really) 49ers. I was again impressed by how easy and convenient MUNI makes it to get to the ballpark. I was likewise impressed by how many Italian sausages and ice cream bars I can eat in a single afternoon. But what really struck me was how many of the fans were absolute cretins. Rude, sunflower seed–spitting, homophobic epithet–shouting, drunk morons.

But it’s not football’s fault. Any crowd will bring out the worst in those with a predisposition to assholery. There was no shortage of drunk morons at the various Litquake events we went to earlier this month, too. And really, I’ll take a drunk football fan over a drunk poet any day—the drunk football fan won’t get all sad at the end and make you read some godawful thing they wrote. So, you know, go Hawks.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Failure of the Day: High

Having now successfully completed about 30 percent of my year end dental extravaganza, I am now chin deep in love with nitrous oxide. Even though I just heard from a friend who managed to use so much of it that she permanently damaged her liver (and really, how do people get ahold of black market gasses? And in large enough doses to cause irreparable organ damage? Jesus, I need to get out more.) and now requires monthly B-12 shots.

But in the happy and controlled doses offered by the dental girls, I am free to meditate on the nature of whatever it is that got stuck in my head that afternoon without fear of Hep C or any of the other low-impulse-control crowd’s bugaboos. For this week’s appointment, I was focused on the word pulp. The crisis on tooth 15 involved removing some old fillings that were, I was told, perilously close to the tooth’s pulp, whatever fucking horrifying thing that is, and if they got too close, I would need a full-blown root canal.

So pulp it was as they strapped the nosegear on me. But as my arm and legs dissolved into that fantastic electric throb, it seemed to me that books get turned to pulp too, and that I was writing a book about pulp: the soft, vulnerable mush that acts as the stuffing for our bodies, and before too long it was all really cosmic and profound. I was sure I had uncovered a Larger Theme in my novel that I need to remember and incorporate into my writing.

It wasn’t, and I hadn’t, and I didn’t, of course; I was just high. But it was nice way to pass an afternoon, which is pretty impressive considering how many fingers and pointed sticks were in my mouth. I ended up not needing the root canal, and can go back and get another regular old crown in couple of weeks. I’ll get the nitrous for that appointment too.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Failure of the Day: Mouth

You know the 22 Fillmore? That crazy people mobility machine, that homeless guy motel, that bad smell factory?

On the 22 Fillmore this afternoon, it was all I could do to manage my straight-up euphoria. It spouted in plumes from my head; the Okkervil River songs on my new birthday iPod that I have heard a million times sounded so triumphant I nearly wept. On the 22 Fillmore.

What I know for sure is that whatever medical, physical doom is still flying around out there for me is headed right for my mouth. In my jaw are planted the seeds of my ultimate destruction. I can feel it. I feel airplanes crashing into it; I feel exploding shards of bone every time the train takes a fast corner. Death is a missile aimed at the base of my tongue.

So when the dentist told me that I needed two crowns and not the NINE plus a root canal that my last dentist tried to sell me, and also that I had no new cavities and that my gums are healthy, and that yes, she understands completely that I have an obligation to act as my own pain management advocate and that I am not drug-seeking but on the day after she’s been rooting around in my mouth with pointed sticks I get to have a vicodin or two, I thought yes. Yes, this is how we run a perfectly serviceable adulthood.

I am keeping my distance from doom. My mouth is closed to it and I feel invincible.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Failure of the Day: Easy. Ass.

And it’s just that easy. I remember now why I blogged… for those times when it’s slow during the day and both my novel and my current poem smell like ass, it’s nice to do something EASY.

Some of my thoughts for the day:

The free maxi-thins at work are neither maxi nor thin, but they are free, and as such, totally sufficient.

Kaiser are persistent buggers: After establishing care with the new internist and getting my annual check-up taken care of last week (during which the Doctor congratulated me on my weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol—that’s how healthy I am) the dermatology, neurology, and mammography people have been calling me more than daily to get me in for my referrals.

Now, except for the mammogram, which I submit to begrudgingly because I recognize the necessity of that uncomfortable glass and boob sandwich, I have no use for these specialists. Neurologists have never been more than the notetakers of my disease, dutifully marking up my chart and then sending me home empty handed 100% of the time for oh, the last 17 years.

Dermatologists, on the other hand, are another class of villain entirely. Over the years, they’ve cured my psoriasis a few times now, albeit temporarily, either with anonymous drugs in clinical trials that I’ve never been able to get ahold of again, with delivery systems of common drugs that have “fallen out of favor” and so are not available any longer, or with UV light treatments that they wont prescribe anymore because some dumbass once burned themselves with the home light wand and sued over it.

Oh, but they call. Wont I please make an appointment? Sure. You bet. At my earliest convenience. I’m thinking early 2009.