15 March 2006

How Much For The Gall Bladder?

...and apparently if I save 35% of my income from now until retirement,
I'll be just that!


Okay, so I finally figured out how I'm gonna die. Starvation. Here's why.

I don't know about you, but I sometimes like to torture myself with the knowledge that I have no real skills and am tripping, nay, barrelling toward doom with every passing day. All it takes is a tiny market fluctuation to give me an Eskimo-blanket-style toss right out of the job market and back to living in a Ford Maverick. That's what I get for being a writer, I guess. Everyone likes writers, but nobody needs 'em. And I know that you can relate because you made most of your career out of being a musician. Musicians and writers have pretty much the same retirement plan. Which is none. In lieu of retirement at age 65, here's what I see as the options for people like us: #1) Eat a bullet. #2) Take the gas pipe. #3) Armed burglary, followed by conviction, followed by 25 years of three squares a day served in your very own room, followed by carrying out #1 or #2 in a dank halfway house in Des Moines, Iowa. 4) Teach, followed by #1 or #2. (I'd love to teach, but being somewhat short of a degree in education, I don't think anyone is going to accept my qualifications as an itinerant dilletante.) Or #5) Participate in Great Britain's Arse for Shillings program headquartered at the docks in Liverpool (which, in and of itself is a retirement plan, if only a retirement of one's morals).

Why the glum ruminations? I just got done using the retirement calculator on the Vanguard website and it's telling me that I'm gonna have to save up $3.5 million in the next 25 years in order to retire. Which brings me to my next question. Is it possible to sell your organs to science while you're still alive? I'm not talking about signing up for medical experiments. I mean something like - oh I don't know - selling your gall bladder to the Chinese, or selling your venom glands to the Malaysians. If you could do that, you'd make a ton of dough in the short run and probably save at least one member of an endangered species to boot. And if I can't sell my whole gall bladder because it turns out that I need it for something, do you suppose I might be able to shave bits off of it and sell those? It'll grow back, right?

Another thing occurred to me and that is there is another direction to go with this whole retirement thing. Instead of amassing property and capital, one could reasonably de-mass property and capital. For instance, if I got rid of the six-acre apartment, the dog sitter, the housekeeper, the solid-gold 500 mph T1 line, the satellite, and the luxury of being able to urinate indoors, I bet I could save a wad. Let's see, if I add all the - (...that's sixteen thirty eight plus fifty five...carry the twelve...subtract pi...add overhead...subtract underpants...divide overcoats...subtract the other pi...) - crap, that'll never work. That's only a savings of something like eighty quid nine shillings tuppence a month. Maybe if I had a skill, I might even be able to throw myself a yurt on a potter's wheel using common garden clay.

If you have any great retirement schemes, I would be glad to hear 'em. I'm not above breaking the law (depending on which law, of course) or dipping my hand into the Republican money stream - which, come to think of it, is probably breaking the law.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.


14 March 2006

My Ass Will Not Be Moved

Dr. Brian Graham (above, vertical) demonstrates
correct clinical procedure for the frontal suplex
while simultaneously claiming the WWF
Championship Belt.


The diagnosis on my lower spine is in. The word is that I suffer from White Man's Disease. Viz., my ass does not move. In the words of Fatboy Slim, "If dis don't make yo' booty move, you booty mus' be daid". It's true, Fatboy. My booty don't move. It mus' be daid.

Here's how I found all this out. I told you before 'bout how I went and got an MRI and the sports med doctor (Dr. John Robertson who is ossum, by the way) told me that I had a bulge in my L5/S1 disc. Then they told me that they were gonna put weed in my spine to make it stop hurting. Then I went to my chiro (Dr. Brian Graham) and he said "Don't let 'em put weed in your spine, man!" So I say, "Okay, do your worst." So what does he do? He tells me he's gonna give me an adjustment, and then he climbs up on top of the third turnbuckle and does a full-frontal Haystack Calhoun body drop on me. Then he finishes it off with a vertical suplex and a whip-cracking roundhouse to my serratus anterior. I hear my spine go BANG! After that, all is blackness.

When I awoke, there was NO PAIN AT ALL! Dr. Graham had hammered the Love of Baby Jesus directly into my lower spine! And everyone knows that the Love of Baby Jesus is at least 200 times stronger than weed.

First I must say this. I don't believe - per se - in chiropractic. It's not because I think it's a lot of hooey - I don't. I just don't understand how it works. That doesn't stop me from going, though. There's something very weird and satisfying about some guy torquing on you until your joints make a mammoth crunching sound. It's kinda like paying somebody to crack your knuckles for you. Although it has been explained to me a bazillion times, I still don't get how it works. However, I certainly cannot argue with the results I am currently enjoying. Likewise, I would be more than happy to pay Dr. Graham handsomely to wave a chicken leg at my back if it would relieve the pain.

So I went back to Dr. Robertson who said, "Hey man, whatever works." And I said, "You're tellin' me Whatever works. Whatever works like a charm. I'm gonna have Dr. Graham Whatever me right into Palookaville!"

Dr. Robertson did go over my MRI with me, however. It was kinda cool to get to see the inside of my spine. I got to see the bulge in the disc - which is teeny tiny - as well as another herniation higher up which is much larger. It's on the outside of the disc so I don't ever notice it, so that's nice, I guess. Anyway, that is how I learned that my booty don't move. This is how it happened. Y'see, decades of languishing on a barstool caused the disc to become very sad. Then it dried out, compacted and became immobile. It's kinda like Brian Wilson, just laying there in bed all depressed for years, not wanting to do a goddamn thing, just grumpy as hell. And I'm kinda like Sparky Wilson, the Happy Wilson, the one who comes along after all those years and wants to go out and play. So now I'm like, "Hey Disky, wanna do The Twist?" And he's like, "Fkoff." And then I'm like, "Hey Disky, wanna go hike all over hell and gone?" And he's all, "Fuh-period-koff-period." So finally I'm sayin', "Hey Disky, wanna bend over so I can pick my underwear up off the floor?" And then he's totally, "Oh now you really must FKOFF!" And then he stabs me as hard as he can. And then I weep. It's a very difficult relationship.

There is an upside, though. The fact that the disc is about 90% hard means that it most likely doesn't have the elasticity to allow it to bulge further. So I can't see how it can get any worse. You take what good news that you can, y'know?

And speaking of good news, it's time to go home! Yeepaw! I'm going to move my non-moving ass out of this office for the day.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.