Monday, December 13, 2010

Pharmacies, Penguins, and Richard Russo (to the tune of "plop, plop, fizz, fizz...")

O, to be a screaming ninny, O!  a screaming ninny, O, to be!

This is what I have been reduced to, after spending the day in such worthwhile endeavors as establishing The Manor as a No Call Zone for the American Heart Association.  You'd think that those ne'er-do-wells would not waste time by canvassing Tête de Hergé (très décédé, d'ailleurs) territory, as there is no heart disease here.

Let's see, what other important tasks has this hypoxic and huffing hunk o'humanity been up to?  Mostly trying to have all my medications that are currently being mangled by local retail pharmacies transferred to Medco's mail service, where they can mangle them, in turn, but for an extended, 3-month period.  It seemed an easy enough thing to do when I thought of it -- and I thought of it precisely when Fred announced his intention to murder a local retail pharmacy employee.  We have been playing "who called whom?" and "who has the prescription but not the medication?" since December 8.  This morning, we switched to a new game called "who has the prescription filled... CORRECTLY?" 

What Fred wants to know from his growing list of Pharmacy Friends, it seems, is:  Why the hell do I have to be present in person for you to confess your pharmaceutical failures and inadequacies?  Isn't that exactly why you have our phone number and email addresses?  Hmmm?  And then, as I said, he dreams of the quick garrote.  O, that boy and his piano wire!

When he finally appeared with my drug in hand, five days after it was prescribed and probably ten days since it was first needed, Fred was triumphant.  But since he, like I, still struggles to breathe after being ill with The Crud, his victory was celebrated by a weak, trembling fist in the air, followed by total collapse.

Would you believe... they gave me extra pills?!  It's a trap, I know it must be a trap.  They are waiting by the phone, ready to impugn my honesty as I have repeatedly impugned theirs (before understanding that it was competency in question, not character...).

I pity my Go-To DoctorGuy.  He is part of the inimitable MDVIP organization, a medical delivery system designed to privilege prevention of illness and maintenance of health.  How he ended up with me as a client is something he must ponder at least several times a week.


We email regularly.  I actually saw him for a fairly extensive visit last Monday.  Two days later, of course, I was deathly ill.  That's the rhythm of our relationship:  I see him; He tries to kill me, I survive but launch a defensive email campaign.


Somewhere in there, I started amusing myself with animal videos on YouTube.  God bless YouTube.  Really, I mean it. 

Well, God bless Richard Russo, also.
Specifically, God bless his novel Straight Man.

If you are, or if you know, a frustrated academic, Straight Man will bring you as close to hilarity as anything can at this point in the university calendar.  By page 19, I had logged two episodes of uncontrollable mirth, bed-shaking mirth.  Indeed, pant-wetting mirth, were I the type, which I'm not.

I'm NOT, I said.

I did, however, end up with the entire domestic staff, Fred, The Castafiore (distressingly déshabillée), and all three extant Manor Felines trying to squeeze through our bedroom door like an implausible number of overfed circus employees leaving an imploded clown car.  I sounded, according to them, as if I were in distress.  With the advent of bronchial pneumonia, my harsh laughter apparently approximated the bark of a California sea lion

I hate those moments.  You so want to have the people (and felines) peering at you on your side, you know?  They look so distraught, you think.  If only they, too, could experience the joy of this rambunctious prose!  That's when you hatch the worst idea conceivable:  I will read them a passage!  Then we will all be {giggle::giggle} on the same page!

I chose to share the bit about William Henry Devereaux Jr's dog and his propensity for head-butting people in the groin as an expression of pure joy.  It was what was on the page.  I thought it could stand the exposure. 

Yeah, so that was about the time when animal videos from YouTube gained preeminence over any type of reading... at the suggestion, precisely, of the domestic staff, Fred, The Castafiore, and all three extant Manor Felines.  Fred allows me a half hour of Richard Russo at bedtime, on condition that I not wake the Cistercians down the road with my verbal shenanigans.  It's a glorious 30 minutes.

There is something reassuring about what we, as a species, tend to find funny.  Particularly (and precisely), I am reassured by what we find hilarious in the exploits of the animals with whom we share the planet. 

One of Fred's Militant Existential Feminist Lesbians condescended that these poor animals were exploited by our raging egocentrism as humans.  "Nuh-uh," I countered.  "It only makes sense that we interpret the actions of another species through the actions of our own, because, heck, we really are the center, object, and norm of all experience!  C'mon cutie, give us a smile!"


Take penguins, for instance.  (Any reader out there who periodically shouts "Or she!" gets brownie points)
I resemble these birds and the many human feelings they evoke.

All statements and claims of humor and/or interspecies resemblance will be subject to reevaluation upon our return to baseline ill health.

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