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I’m not going to let this turn into a video blog, but in the last week I’ve had do deal with some changes to my situation, most relevantly I had to wipe my computer after several days of not working correctly.

It’s just good to know that no matter how bad my problems with technology may get, I’ll never be quite as badly off as this guy:

Though I’ve been tempted to boot my computer the same way.

Cane Comparisons

Well, sooner than expected I’m walking without a walker, opting instead for a cane. Grandaddy’s cane; actually, great-Grandaddy to me. It was a present to him from a Cooperative that probably had something to do with tobacco farming (he was a tobacco farmer). However, he never used tobacco and he also never used this cane. I never met the man myself but I’m benefiting from his unused walking aid.


Not my great-grandaddy

Well now that I’ve got the ability to travel upright I’ve been getting out a bit more. In my various travels, here’s a fun list of people I’ve been compared to based on the fact that I’m walking with a cane:

  • A Pimp
  • A Homeless Person
  • Mary Poppins
  • A Vaudevillian
  • Willy Wonka
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • …and many more! How hilarious! Just popping in to say Happy Holidays and make sure all you northern hemisphere-dwellers stay warm and bundle up! Gonna go on a walk with my cane!

    …CANDY CANE that is!

    But really, it’s just an ordinary cane.

Welp

Between getting more surgeries and re-learning how to do things like walk (or in my case, hobble flailingly), climb stairs (STAAAIIRS), and other such activities, I haven’t been here for you much.

That’s the answer to “where the hell was Karen.” Here’s the answer to “Where the hell is Matt?”

This made me want to dance…but I don’t think I’m quite there yet. Just the same, Happy Holidays.

Clumsiness = Heroism

Well, I’ve got some news for y’all up in this blog. Yours truly? A hero. Not like a super hero…more like, a super duper hero.

Wonder-Woman
Pssh. Amateur.

All this time, I thought falling down those stairs and breaking all those bones made me some kind of dumb klutz…but little did I know, it made me a hero – failure at gravity is actually success in courage. Now, I’m not applying this label to myself; I’ve had this heroism thrust upon me. It started a last week when a friend visited and took me to wander around my hometown’s supermarket. Toward the end of my visit, I decided I needed to use the restroom, so I wheeled my chair on over to the ladies’ room and attempted to cram myself through the thin, maze-like “handicap-accessible” entrance way.

When I saw someone trying to exit at the same time, I tried to scootch over, lodging myself in a corner, essentially stuck. The woman in question looked down at me with eyes overdone with about seventy layers of aqua blue eyeshadow.

Her face was twisted with sadness as she uttered, “You are such a brave woman.”

blueeyes
I’d say wearing that shade was pretty brave.

I wasn’t sure how to take that. It’s not particularly brave to ram your dumb self into a wall and get stuck, but maybe I did it in some impressive way you just had to witness. I smile and thank her as she tugs my chair out from the wall at an angle to let me through.

“So brave,” she repeated. “How long have you been in that thing?” She was referring to my wheelchair.
“About a month,” I answered, “but I”ll be up again in a few weeks.”

She clicked her tongue. “Wow, I just can’t…you are a brave, strong woman. Do you need help with anything? Anything? I really don’t mind!”

Well, folks, we were in a public restroom and she was insisting to help me with anything so you’ll forgive me if my voice got a little panicked and I shooed her away as quickly and politely as I could: no I did NOT need help with anything in a public restroom, strange eyeshadow lady, no, no, no, no, nonono.

ANYTHING
ANYTHING

So I wrote the whole event off as a lone weirdo mistaking me for a veteran or something.

But then! As my ability to get out and about increases, so do my social demands! Last Sunday, my family took me with them to church, where everyone already knew about my accident. And it happened again! I was called brave, strong, incredible, beautiful, and every one of these adjectives was followed by woman, which is great, because if they hadn’t specified, I never would have guessed.

So as it turns out, all you have to do to get a hero’s treatment is show up in a wheelchair. Maybe people see it as me taking one for the team – statistically, somebody’s gotta wind up in one, and I’m just doing my part to keep them on their feet. How thoughtful.


In this issue, Little Miss Helpful gets cancer so you don’t have to!

I’ve had dozens of people tell me they just couldn’t do what I’m doing; frankly I didn’t know that getting by from day to day was so impossible. That kind of makes me wonder how they’re also dressed, groomed, and in public but hey, it’s a serious thing for someone to admit they can’t face their lives, so I wasn’t going to pick at them.

So admire me, readers, for I am the strong, brave, courageous person who fell down some stairs and now gets around the house and hangs out and does stuff: feats far beyond the capability of any normal human apparently. Don’t applaud. Thanks are not necessary. Cash is just fine.

Paypal is accepted.

Here at SayNoToCrack, we’re against the use of illegal drugs. And the use of legal drugs illegally. But in the past month, due to my accident, I’ve had to consume a number of prescription medications, including a pain killer, which opened me up to a whole new set of experiences: being physically dependent on a drug, and going through mild/moderate withdrawal. How did this happen, you ask? Let me lead you through the steps:

Step 1

First step, be injured enough that you get prescribed some addictive pain medication. Don’t bother asking if the meds are addictive. It also helps if you have a doctor who also won’t bother to let you know the meds are addictive.

Step 2

Take the meds until you run out. Don’t bother using your brain and wondering if you should have maybe eased yourself off them instead of just taking regular doses until you’re forced to quit cold turkey by the bottom of the pill jar.


No more for you!

Step 3

Notice that your clothes don’t seem to fit comfortably anymore. Then notice that your skin doesn’t fit comfortably anymore. Then notice that you are somehow entirely too hot, while simultaneously far too freezing to be able to relax. Never be comfortable again.

Step 4

Feed all your friends and loved ones into a pit of vipers. Because it’s either that, or a pit of angry jungle cats. But then the cats get out and attack you, so maybe that was the wrong choice.

snakecat
??

Step 5

Wake up sweating buckets. Sheets, pillows, pajamas, and skin are totally soaked and in literal need of a towel to dry them off. Call for help to do this, because exposing your soaked skin to the freezing air will almost certainly kill you.

Step 6

Wish for more nightmares, because at least you’d be asleep. Never sleep again.

Step 7

Cry all day.

Step 8

Decide that this emotionally and mentally unstable condition you find yourself in is absolutely the perfect time to read an emotionally-charged book series like the entire Hunger Games trilogy. Idiot.

Step 9

Finally work all the drugs out of your system. Sleep decently for the first time in a week and enjoy your food again. Write a blog about it.


Success!

…and there you have it! These are the 9 steps through physical dependency I found worked for me. I won’t say you should try it out yourself, because it was an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but I’m glad I had it.

Who am I kidding, it was terrible. Always ask your doctor for all the particulars, kids!

Adventures in Gravity

I know how you’re feeling. You’ve opened SNTC in your browser and you’re staring at the screen, the sting of betrayal hot on your mind. You see a new post from Karen and you think, what is this. What could she possibly say? How long has SNTC stood empty of comment, leaving your poor readers alone and lonely? Too long, you say. I owe you something now. You deserve karmic revenge.


I google image searched “karmic revenge” and was given this picture

Well, you got it. In penance, I’ve thrown myself down some stairs for you. Except replace “thrown myself” with “tripped and fell” and “for you” with “for no reason” and tag “I broke both my feet and my pelvis cracked in half” at the end.

pelvis
My pelvis.

So for the past month I’ve been too busy having plates screwed to my bones, downing pain meds, getting about a hundred thousand foot surgeries, wheeling around in a chair, and feeling like a moron to actually get online and be productive.

Nowadays I have nothing but free time, so you should see more soon.

sincerely,

Karen

hi

I must admit I’ve saved the best Lee story for last. I won’t go too far into the buildup for this one because it wasn’t entirely family appropriate. Suffice to say, there was one day in particular that Lee was feeling ill and had pains in her stomach muscles.

She was threatening to go home which, as understaffed as that workplace was, would have been a disaster for the day’s work, so I decided to share with her an old trick; I would show her how to make a home made heating pad.

tummyache
Stomach Ache

The process was simple. First, I sent her to the store on her break to fetch a small bag of uncooked rice. Next, I took a sock (It was a second-hand store, there were an abundance of widowed socks) and filled it with said rice, tying it securely off. Third, I microwaved it until it was sufficiently warm.

I gave it to Lee with these specific instructions:

  • Never microwave it for more than a minute at at time.
  • Never microwave it for more than two and a half minutes altogether.
  • Always take it out and shake it before putting it back into the microwave, to test its temperature.
  • Don’t leave it in the microwave unattended.

And in the end it looked somewhat like this:

sock
Socky

I hand her the freshly warm sock and this advice. So what, readers, do you imagine the first thing she did was? Gratefully place it against her sore stomach? Grab a belly pack (again, thrift shop) and wear it with the sock snuggled inside? No. She shoves it into her pants.

So it’s gone from me hearing her complain about her pain (mainly on the plain), to hearing her make jokes about how, with the sock in her pants, it looks like she’s got a…well, it’s an easy joke. And a lame one. And she told it every chance she got.

But eventually, like all things, the sock cooled down. So Lee moved to the back room to reheat the sock. However, when she did so, she ignored all my specific instructions and placed it back into the microwave for a solid, uninterrupted two and a half minutes. The sock was already slightly warmed when she put it in, and I can imagine it was pretty scalding once it came out. But, because she didn’t shake it and check the temperature, she wouldn’t know that. Instead, she put it right back where she had it.

firesock
Welp, time to shove this in my pants.

Soon Lee was complaining of a new pain – a severe burning sensation. However, since she’d leapt right back into work, she had to help a line of customers before she could get back to the back room and pull the offending sock out. One might say, if she hadn’t stuck the thing in her pants to begin with, she wouldn’t have had that problem. I might also say it.

But the real punchline is not Lee’s burnt biscuits, but rather the fact that she went over my head to file an injury report about it. She was denied. Because it doesn’t take an HR genius to know that when you shove a hot object into sensitive places, you’re going to get burnt.

A quick break

Let’s take a break from my stories about Coworker Lee for a moment.

Have any of you heard of this thing called the “iPhone”? Well I guess these “iPhones” have weird little programs called “apps” and basically, from what I understand, this is a pretty good representative of such apps:

And that’s basically how I feel about iPhones.

Let’s continue with Lee.

In addition to being a stellar craftsman, Lee was also an amateur poet and writer! I remember like it was yesterday the sunny afternoon Lee pulled me aside and told me about the poem she was going to write. When it was completed, she intended to donate the poem to a local homeless shelter.


Actually, we’d rather have money

The poem was about how, if you really thought about it, like, tsk, love really is the only thing you need.


How original

“I mean,” she continued, “you can have all kinds of money and like, things, but if you don’t have love, it’s like…I mean, just being alive is a blessing, you know? I think the people at the homeless shelter will appreciate that.”


Hmm…actually, I’d rather have money.

Now, you know me. I do like to poke at bad concepts for songs and poems. But I figured here it was in everyone’s best interest to keep my mouth shut. And was I ever rewarded. Later that day, Lee pulled me aside again, and told me the story of a lifetime. She was going to write a book, she told me. She was going to write…a masterpiece.

Now this I really hesitate to share in case she finds it, but you know what? I can’t keep anything from you guys.

The book revolves round a couple in Germany. Why Germany? Why not. It’s before WWII (because she doesn’t want to have to “deal with all that.” I assume “all that” is “the Nazis” but they were definitely around before WWII so I’m not really sure what her point was.)

Basically a couple meet and fall in love and it’s perfect. They are high school sweethearts. Together they have their perfect wedding (her standing in a field, with wildflowers….I always thought it took more to make a wedding than that, but what do I know) and everything is great.


“I do!”

He’s a musician, and she’s a seamstress. They try having kids but it doesn’t seem to be working. At this point in her telling Lee looked at me earnestly and asked if I thought they “knew what infertile and fertile was back then.” I assured her that by this point they had decent doctors and institutions and electric light, they most assuredly knew what fertility was.

So they go to a doctor (” ’cause they’d have gone to like, doctors back then, I think,” she explained) and he tells them she’s infertile (assuming they know what that is of course).

But then, in a miraculous turn of fortune, SHE HAS A BABY AFTER ALL. Hooray!

But that baby is AUTISTIC and DEAF. Alas!

So they raise the daughter as well as they can, and she learns how to sew, and run the house, by watching her mother. This, for those of you unaware, is the opposite of autism. Autistic people don’t really have the ability to learn by watching. Moving on though, the mother then DIES OF HEART CANCER. In Lee’s pre-war Germany, doctors know about autism and cancer, but not fertility.

So it’s the inspirational story of a widower and his deaf autistic daughter who can run the home with him. Lee believes this kind of story, even though it’s unrealistic, will appeal to mothers of autistic children because “they’ll want to believe that kind of thing, you know, could happen with their kids.”

I’d almost worry about her writing this one day and it actually becoming a giant hit, but honestly, I don’t believe it will ever be written, just like her Etsy site will never be built and her poem will never be donated. Lee was a woman of ideas.

And some of her ideas would sometimes lead her astray…

(to be continued)

When I was a kid, the movies taught me that there were five things that I wanted. Now, you’ll have to remember that it was the early nineties, and, being a kid, I was impressionable. It is only with adult eyes that I can see that I totally still want these things now.

1. A lightsaber

When I was a kid, this was the ultimate icon of being awesome. This weapon of the Jedi was only to be used by the capable, the talented, and, naturally, the awesome. Every kid thought that he could be that way too, if only he had one of these.

The problem, of course, is that, were it real, the lightsaber would be the most dangerous weapon one could wield. At least with a gun, you can be fairly certain the deadly part is facing away from you. With the lightsaber, it’s flailing all about your face, and getting hit means you lose a body part. Instantly.

And, while the new series may have made some parts of the Star Wars universe less awesome, lightsabers only got better.


Everything is better when doubled

2. A dinosaur

For some reason, it seemed every kid my age went through a dinosaur phase, where it was all we could talk about, or read about. It may have had to do with the fact that Jurassic Park came out during this period, and was oddly being marketed to kids, despite featuring lots of gory, dinosaur-related carnage.


Cuddly

But that didn’t matter. Most kids, especially kids that were smaller than the others, or maybe got picked on a lot (I was pure muscle and eight feet tall, this wasn’t a problem), wanted a dinosaur to be their best friend. Everyone would do what you said out of fear of being eaten. Bedtime was a thing of the past.

3. A Wise-Cracking Animal Sidekick

The dinosaur thing kind of fits in with this. As its been said, everyone is the hero of their own story. Being pumped full of Disney cartoons, I grew up with the assumption that all heroes had sarcastic animal friends who were quick with a song, joke, and eventual straight-to-video spinoff. So I never could understand where my sidekick was. I knew many animals as a child, and not one of them sang, or even had the voice of Nathan Lane. The only animals I could get to follow me around were the wasps whose nest I disturbed.


And their jokes are terrible

2. My Parents to Disappear

For some this may seem odd, but I know at least one person my age read that and went “Kevin!” No, not your brother. Though he may have stolen your car again.


Kevin!

One of the biggest hits of my childhood was Home Alone. This movie knew what kids wanted. Every kid deep down knows that he could take care of himself, if given the chance, and this movie proved it. Kevin not only learns to feed himself, and go shopping, but he also fends off two burglars, as inept as they may be. We could all do the same. In was inherent in our genes. We just needed to opportunity. If my parents had gone on vacation, accidentally leaving me behind, I knew that I could not only do as well as Kevin, but better. I knew it wouldn’t end with me crying in the corner the second the wind outside made scary noises. No, that only happens now.

1. Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Room

I don’t even feel the need to explain this one. I’m just going to show you.

Beautiful.

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