On a wheeled horse I ride. i.am.rollerman

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

TimeWarner Cable, my name is Satan, go ahead please.

In Life on October 31, 2010 at 7:45 pm

"Thank you for calling Time Warner Customer service, My name is Satan, go ahead please."

It had been a SRU* week as they say in the trade, until 12:14 p.m. on Thursday.  (* Sunshine, Rainbows and Unicorns — meaning no problems)

Without warning an app that I had been troubleshooting for three weeks and had just pinpointed the fix loses its connection to the big boxes outside of DC and promptly sh*ts the bed. Then a second sign “VPN connection has failed.”  You just sunk my battleship.

I duck my head under my desk and sure enough the broadband modem lights are not their normal solid Christmas tree green.  “Must be the cable is out,” I innocently think so I wheel my fat a** into the family room and attempt to fire up the cable box. “This cable box is not authorized.”  That’s disrespectful, but since it is blustery out I still think that the physical cable might be down.

I roll out to the back porch to see if my sales manager telecommuter neighbor is home. He’s not home so I dig the old cable statement out of the bill box to look for a customer service contact.

As requested I “enter in the main phone number of the house.”   Satan then speaks; his recorded message is foreboding “You have an outstanding balance of $606. In order to receive any service today you must pay a minimum of $193.00.”

They’ve got me by the boys. I need the internet to work and the hospital monitors my ticker over it  so I tap in my AMEX #.   No less then TEN seconds of the last number being tapped into the phone my broadband modem comes to life.   The Christmas tree is back to full green I’m back online, only five minutes late for a meeting that I’m playing safety net on.

I’m online but TIME WARNER is on my mind, having just released a large bug up my a**. During the meeting I connect to my credit union’s home banking system. Apparently within the past 35 days I’ve paid TIME WARNER over $440 in addition to the$193 just paid minutes earlier.

Due to the labyrinth of meetings on all days called Thursday I must put off my call until the evening. Good thing, I’m sure I avoided having a stroke or blowing a blood vessel in my neck.

It’s now 9:15 p.m. and I reach Tessa. I explain the situation, tell her that I’ve made two payments, both with bank confirmation numbers and that I would like a phone call tomorrow morning on my 703 line to discuss why you folks thought it necessary to turn off my cable service instead of, hmmm, maybe calling or emailing me. You do have my email address; I get a new TIME WARNER promotion every other day via email.

Tessa is apologetic yet cheerful, and I feel, as I lay my dented skull down on my pillow that tomorrow will continue in the “Sunshine, Rainbow & Unicorns” mod us operand i of earlier that week.

Fast forward to Friday morning at 11:30, still no phone call on my 703 line from Time Warner. I leave my office passing through the family room. The house phone is ringing. It’s Time Warner. Hmmm, why are they calling me on this line?   Sure enough it’s someone with a pissy attitude to discuss a “work order” she is following up on.  Since when is returning a customer’s call considered a “work order?” Satan has returned and I am now prepared for the worst.

She’s not calling me on the number that I requested they please call the night before.   A simple request, not a power play on my part. I have all the call materials already assembled at my desk. My 703 line is a speakerphone, which I need in order to keep conversation notes entered in via my keyboard. They probably didn’t understand my request since I only repeated three separate times and didn’t have a “select # button”  associated with it.

Satan bellows: “You claim you made your last payment xx days ago, but I only received it this morning…” “In addition you claim that you paid us $xxx 50 days ago, but according to my records that payment was $1 short, so we consider your entire account 60 days past due.” C’mon Satan, keep poking that unchained dog with a stick and see what happens. 

“In addition, since we were forced to shut your account off you must now pay a $7 service fee.”

Fido has taken his last poke. My back fur is standing on end and my less than straight teeth are bared to the gums. I am now in the squatting position pushing out these stool shaped payment factoids for Ms Satan:

– My typical TM bill is in excess of $225.

-On all of my payments this year I’ve round up to the next dollar, except for this particular one.

It doesn’t matter, I am considered totally in the arrears on the entire bill, not just .0044% of the entire bill (notice it all begins on the third decimal point.   It’s not even 1%).
So Ms Satan you just turned off the service of a $2,700 per year customer because they owe you less than a dollar for 60 days? It get’s better.

Mr Satan: “Sir, you claim you made your last payment to us xx days ago. I only received it this morning.

I make all of my payments via a bill paying service offered by my credit union. As is my norm with TM, I set up their payment the day I received their paper  bill, to be received by TM three days before the bill is due.

NOTE: I’m not putting a stamp on an envelope and mailing it three days before it’s due, I’m setting up an electronic funds transfer to take place three days before it’s actually required.

Wait for it, wait for it…

“Sir, just because you have a bank confirmation saying that you paid us doesn’t mean I have the money. It can take up to xx days internally for me to receive the money. Until I receive and credit the money your account is considered delinquent.”

Here it comes Satan, it’s my turn to speak.

Even though you’ve been rude and abrasive and did not call me on the number that I requested three times, only 12 hours earlier, I have selected to simply ignore your faulty logic of turning off a $ 2.7K annual account for a less than a dollar oversight. You have now entered the area of absurd.
Just 13 hours earlier TM remotely and automatically turned off my cable and broadband connection

AND

within ten seconds of me entering the last digit of my AMEX account into an automated remote attendant to “regain services” (a queer us of the word services) my broadband modem lights flicker back on and the haunting voice of Doctor Phil returns to the house,

You are telling me that it take XX in office days for you to apply an electronic payment that you received in-office over XX days ago?
I have a lot more that I wish to say, but I don’t. I tell Satan that I am now far beyond angry and I am going to hang up now, for their benefit and mine.

Before hanging up I tell Satan  “…I expect and would appreciate a follow up phone call on this matter on my 703 number…”
Just like “all of the nice girls” on prom night, I sit by the phone waiting for a call that I know I won’t come.

In My Dreams I am a Dancer, that’s just the Impression That I Get

In spinal cord injury, wheelchair on October 28, 2010 at 12:21 am

Not the ballroom dances that I learned attending classes with our dinner club back in the mid-90’s or the graceful moves that I could make on ice skates.  I could out skate anyone….not bad for a guy now 6’2″ and 225+. * (*Truth be told I’m self taught. I’ve got the movie “Ice Castles” in my DVD collection)

I don’t dream that I am Fred Astaire, Baryshnikov or one of the pillow-biters on Dancing with the Stars.

No, in my dreams I am Ben Carr.  If you don’t know who Ben Carr is, you’ve probably seen him but never knew his name.  Carr is the dancing guy for the Boston based Ska band the “Mighty Mighty BossTones.”

Carr is not exactly graceful, but he is inventive. His interpretation, I believe, is based solely on what he hears. His inspiration, most likely the joy he feels when listening the BossTones.

Carr, then a follower of the BossTones was added to the band one evening after a club owner wanted him to leave after helping the band setup because he was under 21. Frontman Dicky Barrett told the club owner that Carr was “with the band.” Thus Carr’s stint as the band’s dancer began.

See Carr’s dancing through out the Bosstones’ video “The Impression that I Get.”

My days are not spent worrying that I won’t walk again. I know I will. Friends tell me they have dreams of me walking again.  I just don’t want to walk, I want to dance like Ben Carr.

A Shotgun Marriage of my a**hole and my neck

In spinal cord injury, Spinal Cord Pain on October 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm
“…People say ya look like M.C. Hammer on crack, Humpty
That’s all right ’cause my body’s in motion
It’s supposed to look like a fit or a convulsion…”

It’s either 20 of 12 or 20 of 6.  I doesn’t matter.   I feel it.  I taste it. It’s my a**hole being pulled up towards my belly button.  It’s also my neck being sucked down into my a**hole.  An unseen force is trying to wed my a** with my back, and I don’t take too kindly to this shotgun wedding.

Guilty as charged.  I’ve unleashed this beast.  When you poke a big dog with a big stick, expect it to bite back big. Full bore unencumbered muscle spasms. My mid-section is shaking more than Michael A. Fox on a Celebrity Cruise to Alaska.   I feeling like that dude in Digital Underground’s  Humpty Dance video. (shout out to Mike Finch for this).

This all a byproduct of my weekend regime aimed at core fitness.

“Take things slow” the Mrs says.  I reference the “1983 Christmas tree incident.”  That piehole shuts quickly.

Metaxalone.  My current cure for the civil war between North and South.  Finally peace returns to my body…until 5:40 when the thrill ride begins again.

Calling in enforcements from Dr  C.   I can see Baclofen at 40 clicks.

Post Script:   Mrs. Neidermeyer arrived with the Baclofen.   Peace is returning to the kingdom

Taking the “bene-” out of -its

In Work on October 25, 2010 at 10:20 pm

An annual rite of passage for us folk who work for a mega-conglomerate, re-enrolling for coverage by our healthcare provider de l’annee (that’s French for “of the year” I’m trying to class up the blog postings up a bit..).

A new wrinkle this year is we also have a new benefits website.

Please got to the following http://benefits.bigcompany.com

I can dig it.  I like doing everything online without having to speak with a “customer service representative.”   It’s not the conversation I detest, its the pre-conversation aural stool that I must endure:

“Pulse uno para el español that’s “Press one for Spanish”  For those not playing the versión en español of our home game.

(This is NOT meant to be a dig on my Spanish Peers.  Aren’t you all sick of hearing this on every call introduction?  Most, if not all of you speak English AND Spanish.  Not many of us gringos can speak Spanish AND English.   Score one for team Hispania)

“This call may be monitored for call quality.” Not their goal.  We need to record any conversation in lieu  of any future litigation.

“If your call pertains to… press…” What number do I press if I’m beyond annoyed, 11?

Then it’s the pompous on-hold music. Its purpose to elicit the image of “a reputable institution of high morale standing.”    Sorry.  When I hear harpsichord music I think of the Addams Family and when I hear that other ditty I think of “Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard.”    “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?”  “But of course!”

Finally after ten minutes I bail on the call, without speaking with either Amélie or Pierre. meunier au revoir! (That’s French for see you later sucker!)

I once again attempt to use the web site.  I tried to use it this weekend but I didn’t have an important bit of information, my employee ID #.

“Your employee ID# can be found on your pay stub” (reads the help button on the screen)

I joined the company 18 years ago before the internet and have always had direct deposit.    The last pay stub I saw was back in 1980 when I worked at Convenient Food Mart, store 182 (holler to all my former homies!!).  I finally locate my employee ID # on one of my employer’s intranet sites.

Next, “Enter your temporary password” (which is the last four digits of your social security and your first four characters of your birthday).   Again I am stumped.  What is my birth date?  I can’t call my Mother, she’s deceased.  What if I’m Chinese, should I subtract a digit?   I call my Wife; I’m back in bizness.

After signing in, the first step is to pick a new user name and a password.   So much for the foreplay, real decisions need to be made now, schnell, schnell!

(To be continued)

Put that “Junk” back in your Trunk

In People on October 25, 2010 at 6:31 pm

"...real...perfect...junk"

I’m tired this morning,  having stayed up to watch the Vikings vs Packers game on Sunday night.  The Packers won and Brett Favre was knocked around more than a pinata at Pedro’s birthday.

For those not aware of the titillating under belly of NFL happenings, Favre is under NFL investigation for sending inappropriate text messages to a member of the NY Jets organization while he was with the Jets back in 2008.  Apparently receiving unsolicited messages of this nature constitute ‘sexual harassment’ in the workplace.

Favre has admitted to sending the text messages but none of the photo variety.  Favre claims that he did NOT send pictures of his ‘junk’ to the NY Jets employee.  The Mrs. and I disagree on many issues, but the one topic that we both agree on is “junk” is called “junk” because it looks like “junk.”

Even being the proud owner of the perfect set of “junk” I don’t have pictures of it on my desk nor would I send a picture of it to anyone other than my Urologist.   One thing that was hit hard by God’s “Ugly Stick,” the “junk”.

Favre ain’t stupid, although he tries to appear that way when the situation fits him.    He is vain, so any pictures of his “junk” are most likely hanging in his locker or perhaps being knawled by the dog from the Wrangler commercial.

Where Favre is stupid (callous in my book),  is that he’s a married man (true, shotgun in nature.)  His “junk” or any text messages referencing it should be between he and his Wife.   If he does claim (which I believe he will) that the messages were only sent because he was lonely and in need of companionship.  Well in that case, that’s what his “junk is for.

Dear Penthouse Forum…

In Life on October 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Excuse me, but is that a golf ball in your front pocket?

Another bit of my childhood died today in the passing of Bob Guccione, the former publisher of the now defunct Penthouse magazine.   What teenage boy of my era doesn’t remember the phrase “Dear Penthouse Forum…”

I haven’t read a Penthouse in years, and who remembers ever buying one?   My buddies and I would always snitch our Father’s copy knowing that we would never get called on the carpet for it.

...and speaking of the carpet not matching the drapes.

My last memory of Bob Guiccione was back in 1986.  Back before I became a Father I was an avid (but poor) golfer.  I was playing the back nine at the Dinsmore public course in Staatsburg, NY.

Coming down the fairway on one of the final holes I shank my drive over a rock wall of a private residence that borders the course.  The residence of none other than Mr. Bob Guiccione. (Prior to Uma Thurman purchasing the place after catching Ethan Hawke playing holes on another course.)

Neighbors remember Ethan as a regular court jester. "Go on Uma, pull my finger..."

I grab my long rough wedge from my bag, as it lay on the lip of the fairway.   As I stride toward the back gate of the rock wall I can’t help but think:

“Dear Penthouse Forum, I was golfing the back nine at my local course when my errant drive ended up beneath a chaise lounge  in the backyard of a young blonde who was sunbathing nude.

She got up from the chair, her ample pert bosoms heaving and dripping of sweat and sun tan oil.  I couldn’t match the carpet with the drapes, because this apartment has no rug.

She sees me and fawns “come and get your ball stud, and leave your wedge there.  You need to bring your wood to play in my rough…”

Rest in Peace Mr. Guccione.

P.S. I did get my ball back that day.

This looked like the woman who retrieved my ball that day, except this woman is 50 years younger.

A willowy woman clothed in only a clingy sun dress had found my ball.   With the body of a well toned athlete and the mouth of a long shoreman, she threw me the ball yelling “keep ya f*ckin ball out of my garden…”

Shepard of an Invisible Pack of Kittens

In Friends, spinal cord injury on October 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm

At the suggestion of any old friend/college/co-handicapper/yes u BobJ, I am reading the 1997 autobiography of Jean-Dominique Bauby,   “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” on my Amazon Kindle.

 

Jean-Dominique Bauby "dictating" his memoir and dinner order to Claude Mendibil later seen below in the 2007 film

 

 

"Go on, I dare you, pull it..."

 

I have only read the preface and the first chapter and feel the need to put my Kindle down and state, in my best Bill Clinton finger wagging tone: I have never read this book and only have seen only seen the opening moments of the movie.”

I do remember the book’s title, as it is an awkward pairing of two words:

“The Toilet Seat and the Hummingbird,” or “The Frenchmen and the Bar of Soap.”

“You got chocolate in my peanut butter” “No, you got peanut butter in my chocolate.”

There are no similarities in our injury, vocation or lifestyle, yet we have one bond.

INJURY

He suffers from an ailment that I’ve never heard of: “Lock-In Syndrome.”   Although in my single days I have seen many suffer from “Locked Together Leg Syndrome.”   Yes, thank you, I do write my own material.

I only suffer from a bad case of Caucasian “I Can’t Walk” disease, the subject of a 1992 Phil Collins video.

VOCATION

He is a Foreign News Correspondent.    True, I do work for a news organization, but my job is to herd undetectable chunks of data to and from different destinations,  fore which I earn the job title of:  Shepard of the Invisible Pack of Kittens.

He is a writer. I am not a writer (yup, here it comes. “Although I play one on TV“). I merely work for a company that employs writers.

LIFESTYLE

Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after his book was published on March 9, 1997, of pneumonia.

True, I am physically still alive, but I am an idiot,  my spirit dying on July 2, 1987.  (I’m safe, the Mrs. doesn’t read my blog and doesn’t think I remember or anniversary date…what, oh Hi Honey, what, no stop, stop please, can someone please call 911?).

 

Nous aimerions une pizza avec une paille d'alimentation s'il vous. Translation:I would like one pizza with a feeding straw please.

 

OUR BOND

Our connection is purely in writing style.

For me it’s like riding in the backseat of my parent’s station wagon with the French brother that I never had, playing the age old children’s game “Je sais que vous êtes, mais ce que je suis?”

“I know you are but what am I?,” I would say.

He would repeat: “Je sais que vous êtes, mais ce que je suis?

It would continue until my Mother grew weary.

Leaning into the back seat, with a Benson & Hedges 100’s dangling from her lips,  she would scream (“remember, it’s the 100’s!” she would yell as I rode off on my bike to the convenience store with her permission to buy cigarettes note in my pocket.) “…you two need to cut the merde!!!

Yes, fond memories of the family that I never had.

La Fin

I Died & Went to Heaven 3 Times and All I Got was this Stinkin’ Goatee

In spinal cord injury on October 15, 2010 at 1:18 am

Wait, what, is it my breath? Come back, wait...


December 2005, my first of three months at Helen Hayes Hospital (HHH), East Nyack, NY.  I am there to rehabilitate after a life altering climbing accident that has left me dead three times.

During those days leading up to Christmas Eve, I cannot get an odor out of my nose. My three ward mates “J”, Dave and a Mr X, all claim they smell nothing.   What do they know; none of them had bathed since I arrived three weeks prior.  (Truth in advertising, none of the four of us was physically able to bath.)

The smell is a constant as I’m wheeled into different treatment rooms.  Was someone left strapped into a standing frame too long and lost control of their bowels?  Is the staff wiping down the therapy mats properly?  Unlike a Jennifer Lopez movie, this stink stays with me longer than two hours.

Looking for any clue I ask a ward nurse to flip me and see if I have “…any black friends visiting…”  Dave, a barber from Harlem, shot six times during a robbery hears my request, bursts into laughter, pops two staples and then defecates himself.  (All we have is each other and our humor, yes true story)

During final rounds I ask my SCI Doctor if she smells it.  She says no,  but she tells me something that I’ve heard all too often throughout my life.  “…You’re the one that stinks.”  No, not like that stink on a monkey type stink, but much deeper.

Two things in short supply on my wing at HHH, self-respect and accessible mirrors.  True, there are mirrors, but none I can see into.  Having two “still fresh” titanium rods shoved up my backside, I am unable to pivot my head much past center.

Circle get's the square, I'll take Charles Nelson Reilly to block please.

The following day I am provided with a hand mirror.  Funny, I don’t remember leaving my face this way.  I have a series of scars on my forehead, reminiscent of the forehead artistry of late 60’s Charles Manson.  True, I am German, but neither from that era nor mindset.

My lip reminds me of Angelina Jolie’s, but “lip” is a singular, as in “Willis, don’t give me no lip” or “Willis, give that man the rest of his lip back.”

My top lip is puffy, my bottom lip is not, as in “not all there.”   It’s grooved in the middle, like the mark a garden hose leaves in grass.  The groove is later identified as being from a drainage tube.

I have also grown what appears to be a full dark black goatee.   I’ve attempted to grow goatees in the past, but never a keeper. I am a Kraut, but resemble black Irish and have thus always grown a cornucopia of different facial hair colors.  Now I resemble Clairol color “Che’ Guevara.”  (…Perhaps that explains why I’m having dinner with the Castro brothers.)

Che Guevara

The nurses on the floor admire my goatee.  “Yo Poppi, you so handsome” the Dominican staff would remark. The source of their pleasure, I sooner discover is the source of the stink.

“Honey, I don’t think they told you but you were left on the prone-ing table too long without being turned,” the Mrs. told me.

Back at Albany Med Center, I am in an induced five week coma, in an effort to stave off the ill effects ( see “death” in the medical dictionary) of a full blown case of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

I am strapped face down, buck naked into a device called a prone-ing table.  This allowed the doctors to rotate and turn my body to achieve the optimal treatments results, not unlike a chicken on a rotisserie grill.   Why not, I already had the titanium rods shoved up the backside.

My neck is strapped down while my face poked through a 10 CM hole in the bottom of the table (yes, it is appropriate to think of a baby attempting to escape the clutches of the birth canal.)

Can I get an Episiotomy over here at table two?

The problem was the circumference of my head well exceeded 10 CM.  My face may have poked through the hole, but my chin remained pressing against the table’s vinyl surface unmoved for three days.  My chin had suffocated and then died.

Ever watch one of those documentaries on unsuccessful Mount Everest climbs?  You typically see a video shot of a climber’s frostbitten toes, feet, fingers, hands and nose, the darkened purple skin getting its hue from a lack of oxygen.

I hadn’t scaled any mountains, I climbed much higher.    On all three of my summit attempts I am turned back just before the peak.  Each time my Sherpa brother-in-law drags me from the gates, in a shopping cart no less,  and back down the hill.  Sherpa is also my CPA.  This reeks of symbolism.

When I awake from my coma, I am cloaked only is a large swaddly t-shirt that reads:  “I went to Heaven Three Times, and All I Got was this stinkin’ Goatee”

And back to the goatee.  Below the facial hair is a large area of necrotic skin. “Necro” as in I sleep with dead people “Necro”-philia.  That’s right I don’t see dead people, I smell them.  For the past three weeks I’ve been sniffing the early stages of gangrene, right below my nose.  It’s a smell best unsmelled.

Keeping with the “tis better to give than receive” tone of the holiday, Dr. Lecter returns to my room with a single scalpel.   Ever heard the expression “give me some skin?”   And with only the glow of my respiratory monitor to guide her, Dr. Lecter, without any numbing agents, anesthesia or drugs, removes my goatee and then some.  “Well Clarice, how does that look?”

Dr. Lecter

I can’t scream.  It hurts to much scream.  Nor can I speak; (see earlier excuse in this sentence. ) Unbeknownst to Dr Lecter who thought the room to be empty, behind her sat a young girl about eight years of age, the niece of Dave the barber.   I am scarred while she is now emotionally scared.

Post Script: In February 2007 I am at Albany Med Center for “clean up work,” their words not mine. Apparently there is actually a medical diagnostic code for handling the “mulligans.” I am there for my chin replacement surgery.  Soon I shall be free from the pointing fingers of Babes. “Mommy, is that Man Michael Jackson?”

As I’m being wheeled into the operating room, I tug at the Plastic Surgeon’s pant leg.  “Dr. M, can I ask you a favor?  I know we didn’t discuss this earlier, but can you give my new chin some character. I’ve also wanted a distinguished chin.”

“Why certainly Clarice” he replies, “Merry Christmas.”

Crusader for the Non Bi-Pedal, On a Wheeled Horse I Ride.

In Life, wheelchair on October 9, 2010 at 6:28 pm

I am out on my weekly self appointed crusade to patrol the parking spots deemed worthy only for us wheeled class.

My first three stops: CVS, Staples and Wal-Mart.   Wal-Mart, normally a Hedin of faux parkers is unusually quiet.  With ample parking and no gawkers in sight, I decide to dismount.

Backing into a van accessible spot, out of nowhere, an unmanned shopping cart meanders in to my line of sight.   I have now backed my van into the shopping cart which is now sandwiched between a concrete post and the back of my van.  I have wounded my mount.

Unlike the other dents, caused by anonymous idiots who didn’t feel it their responsibility to stop and report their sin or at least leave a note on my window shield (which of course I am not able to reach.)

If they were literate and had the common courtesy to leave a note, it would most likely read:

“Dear Handicapped Van Driver,

I am sure that you are most likely already bitter, having to still drive a pimped out MiniVan with your children all raised.  True, most men of your socio- demo and economic class are driving Cobalt Blue Audi A2 convertibles. (Me, I drive a Benz.)

So me saying “sorry” is a waste of both of our time.  You see, I need that time since I now must waddle into the store and stand in line to purchase the new “Gears of War” video game.   It looks amazing on my 50 inch flat panel.  You can’t believe what you can afford when you’re on public assistance.  Now excuse me while I can still go and purchase a soda with my food stamps.

P.S. OK, I did hit your car, but don’t be a hater.

Signed: A large majority of today’s population

True, I am pissed, but I am also amazed that this individual could fit all this with no misspellings on a Popeye’s Chicken store receipt.

My final stop, Sam’s Club.    The parking lot is three quarters empty.  None of the handicapped spots are occupied, except for one.  Parked DIAGONALLY across a Van accessible Handicapped Spot, clearly marked “FOR VANS ONLY,” is a 2009 Cobalt Blue Audi A2 Convertible.

The plate has none of the required handicapped logos.  It’s a New Jersey Veterans of Foreign War’s Plate with a Purple Heart Insignia.   There is also a sticker on the car’s bumper that reads, verbatim “Recipient of a Purple Heart.”  Just to give them the benefit of the doubt, I wheel around to the front of the car.  Bingo! No placard hanging from the front window either.

In Rehab and in life I’ve met several veterans and police officers who have been wounded while servicing duty.  None of these individuals wanted to talk of their experiences or injuries without ample prodding. Even after much prodding these individuals still down play their contributions and hope to once again hide their wounds.

Now fuming,  (I would also be frothing at the mouth too, but I was dehydrated from my dosage of Lasix)  I retreat back into Crip Force One, disguising myself as one of the bucket seats, hoping to catch a glimpse of this individual.    I wait about an hour.  The parking lot empties and then once again fills, but still the Audi A2 convertible remains.

I decide to take this recon mission mobile, exiting the van and entering the store, hoping to locate Commander Pant Load.

The smooth polished concrete floors of Sam’s Club are my license to thrill, allowing me to scour the store in under five minutes.   Apparently I am traveling so fast that one my Wife’s friends, shopping at that time found it necessary to report me and to let her know of my “recklessness.” (a topic of several upcoming blog posts.)

Little does my the Mrs know, but I wasn’t even in my motorized chair, I was in my manual chair, propelling myself.  There is a difference.

Having searched all of the aisles and discovering no one I exit the store  As I make my way through the gauntlet of can shaking children in their various school paraphernalia cluttering the front exit (the norm at most stores), I have, who I believe is the perp in my sight.

An older gentleman with a full head of gray hair topped off with a VFW purple sidehat.  He’s wearing a purple VFW jacket as well with a Purple Heart Insignia.  Around his neck is an Italian Horn pendant hanging from a gold chain.   He reminds me more of an Atlantic City Casino worker than an honored war veteran.

I’ve seen this guy before, as a matter of fact, every time I’ve been to this Sam’s Club.  He is sitting at a card table selling chances to win $100K in a raffle to benefit Veterans of Foreign Wars.

A young Mother with two in tow approaches the card table, reaching into her purse.  Without warning her young  Son stumbles and falls into the card table.   Quicker than I can say “I smell a fraud” this former Rambo, is able to launch from his chair and prevent the card table from toppling.

Something smells bad at Sam’s Club, and this time that smell is not coming from me.    I could be wrong; he might have fought in the “Sham Offensive.

Sore wa koko ga Itai

In college life, Spinal Cord Pain on October 8, 2010 at 9:56 pm

 

Exiled from PBurgh, on A Steel Horse I Ride....I am Gaijin hear me roar

 

A strange title for a blog post and something I am all too familiar with now.

The year is 1982 and I am “…a Gaijin on a motorcycle in Japan…”   The Judge’s words, not mine, during my court appearance to settle the civil damages.   I was a strange person in a strange land experiencing a strange sensation, a sensation that is still with me.

On my 100 cc Kawasaki motorcycle, I am late for Kokusai Bijinesu class.  I signal to turn right (a left turn in Amerika Gasshukoku). Speed forward ten seconds. I am wrapped around a stop sign spitting out a Pokey Stick.

“…I can’t breathe.  I’m late for class.   Did I just sh*t myself?  Did I turn off my space heater?  I hope she’s not pregnant. What is that running down my back? Damn it, I ripped my sweatshirt…”   Just some of my thoughts as I lay in a pricker bush waiting for assistance.

I am taken to a hospital.  The Doctors don’t speak English.   They don’t even speak Engrish.   I had more than the wind knocked out me.  I am missing nearly all of my Japanese.   Sore wa koko ga Itai, is all the Japanese I can remember and repeat as I point to my back, my chest and then my nose.  (It means I hurt here, sweat mercy crap..)

Damage Assessment: Four broken ribs, two jutting from my back, a cracked sternum, oku no stitches and a broken nose.

Destroyed: 100 CC Kawasaki Motorcycle and one pair size 32 JC Penney’s Brand white male briefs, no longer white.

Long Term Damage Assessment: Lower Torso Nerve damage.

I recover quickly from my rib and chest injuries.  I don’t have a choice.  Even onara o suru is painful.  I have one no one to take care of me and I need a motorcycle for transportation.   You’re not in Tokyo Dorthy-san, “you’re in the jungle baby.”  This is the boonies of the main island, think upstate New York.

The Judge awards me a replacement 150 cc Yamaha (score! 50 cc more! schwing!)  and  words that I remember to this day “…あなたは日本でバイクに乗って、外国人であるが、この事故の障害で50%となっている。

Translation: “You being a foreigner, in Japan and on a motorcycle are 50% at fault for this accident.”

My dreams of becoming a Japanese Defense Attorney… gone.

Translation key:


oku no: Many, as in too many

onara o suru: To break wind, not the Bob Seager song.

More to follow.