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

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.


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.


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.


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 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

  1. Dear Writer:
    It”s very interesting this posting coming today as I was going to write to let you know about an article in today’s D&C starting on the back page section of the 10/17/10 Sport Pages about another very brave person and family who also suffers from locked in syndrome and some of their accomplishments.
    I think you also show a very good story telling writing ability. Keep up the good work.

    • …The Prodigal Son returns. Are we doing Thanksgiving again this year?

      • Yes that is our plan. I do not believe that the Malcom family is going to be able to be there due to all the issues with Michael’s parents at this time. But we are looking forward to this annual get together. We will probably will be there for at least 2 days possibly 3.

        Love to all, Dad and Pat

      • Great, and bring your paint brushes

  2. I am laughing too hard! I can’t BELIEVE you played that “Je sais que vous êtes, mais ce que je suis?” game as a kid too! What are the odds?!?!

    I read the book, saw the movie — it was all very Fwench — he WAS brave and his story tres tragique (both true with no tongue-in-cheek), but your observations wrap the intended profundity of Bauby’s story in a wacky, crackly wrapper American context which I really enjoy.

    Love your stuff Jeff. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • RE: “Je sais que vous êtes, mais ce que je suis?”

      Having grown up for a portion of my childhood just outside Toronto, the school day was mandatory half English / half French, as were the cereal boxes, food wrapper, etc., but my French is all but out of my head.

      Thanks once again for the kind and encouraging comments. This blog entry post was not meant to be as long and involved as it was, but, to quote the still-dead Michael Jackson I didn’t ” Stop Until I Got Enough.”

  3. This latest post to your blog raises several questions in my mind. Foremost, does this mean I have to cook my own turkey this year or do you have room for all of us? (Yes, I know that I have a lot of children, but our numbers have not increased this year at least as far as I know, and yes, I know that most people wait for a phone call instead of inviting themselves through a public blog, but this is so much more fun.) Question #2 -Did you really marry only in 1987? ( The “Mrs.” may not read your blog, but her sister-in law does and one’s spirit does not die with marriage. It dies when your children become teenagers and you learn that you really know nothing.) And my final question is how does one shepard kittens that are invisible? Sheparding kittens would be hard in its own right, but ones that are invisible would make the task almost impossible. Just saying. Thanks again for the laughs! Love you!

    • Family never requires an invitation, just an RSVP. Did I invite family to my coma? No, people just came, had some fun at my expense, ate dessert and then left with their pant button undone. Nothing changes except my arse is now covered.

      Question #2 -Did you really marry only in 1987? Yes, I did. To be clear, one part of me did die then, my immature undeveloped triplet. I still have my parasitic “reckless” triplet still attached.

      RE: And my final question is how does one shepard kittens that are invisible? Sheparding kittens would be hard in its own right, but ones that are invisible would make the task almost impossible

      …and you wonder why I get paid the salary that I do (not being a braggart)? Think about working with something that physically does not exist. It’s like being a bag boy in the Fart Market.

      Rollerman loves you as well.

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