09 August 2007

Punched In The Love Donut

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The Brothers Hieronymous: A recent sighting in Portland, OR.
Clockwise from lower left: Thaddeus, Gregory, John. Rumor has it
they all have prostates.


Hello. How are you? I'm fine except for getting punched in the prostate yesterday. No, seriously, I had to go in for an overall physical exam because I've had ringing in my ears for about three weeks now. And I don't mean just a little. I mean like somebody testing a smoke detector in the next room all day, every day, every night and on weekends. Yes, it's disturbing. Yes, I know that my prostate is a long-ass ways from my ears. Tell my doctor that. Maybe he was just getting fresh with me.

I went to an Ear-Nose-Throat guy (who did not punch me in the prostate) to see what was up with the ringing. He took a good look inside my noggin and threw his hands in the air. Then he told me to go get the physical so's to rule out anything metabolic causing the ringing. He also made me stop drinking coffee for a month.
Why? Because my blood pressure is up as well. And perhaps because he just likes to fuck with me. He knows how much I love coffee. He probably just wants to see me cry.

And I don't get the whole blood pressure thing. Last March when I went in for my regular exam, I was the picture of health. Now my blood pressure is one fifty five over way the hell too much. What gives? I'm a vegetarian and I work out way the hell more than most people. I've always had 120/80 for as long as I can remember. Maybe it's just my simmering rage that has finally taken its toll on my blood vessels. Or maybe it's the salt lick that I keep in my office.

On the up side, I have a new regular physician now - a sports med-slash-GP who's real personable. You like a guy to be real personable if he's going to put a fist up your Hoosegow and try to rip out your uvula. Makes it less awkward. Anyway, he's not like that grumpenstein Dr. Fisse that I've been going to for the last six or so years. My last exam with him...well let me just say that I've had friendlier bar fights.

"You examine yourself do ya?" he says.

"Yeah," I says.

"Oh yeah? How often?"

"'Bout once't a month."

"Bullshit! Ya do not!" he shouts. "Gimme those! You don't know what you're doin'!" And then he grabs my junk and goes over it with the care and thoroughness of a jeweler who has the touch of a goatherd. Ouch. Cough.

But my new doctor Dr. Pitt (like the University, not the actor) is real cordial and gives you the whole rationale behind the effectiveness of the manual prostate exam coupled with the blood test before he winds up and punches you in the love donut.

"Put your forehead on the table," he says. I oblige. "Now I'm gonna touch - "

What comes next is nothing that I'd describe as a "touch". So I says, "Next time, you're gonna buy me flowers first."

Anyway, it's a necessary evil and all, I know. And I shouldn't complain too much because I'm almost walking straight again and it's only been about twenty four hours. Plus, since he's a sports med doctor, I got him to look at my right Achilles which has been sore ever since I attacked that pampas grass in the front yard last month with a spade and a lot of swearing. The prognosis? I damnshit near ruptured it and have to get ultrasound therapy on it for the next eight weeks. And he says no jumping off of stuff or sudden sprinting or I'll damnshitsure rupture it for real. Thanks for the tip, doc!

I tire of this topic. It makes me hurt. Allow me to change course.

Not to turn this correspondence into an ongoing review of self-help books (File under "general grooviness". -Ed.) - but this particular nugget was too good to pass up. As you know I'm in the habit of trying out various exercises in self help books and passing the savings on to you. I think that's probably a better way of reviewing that genre than to simply comment on the writing style, don't you? Otherwise, it's kinda like reviewing a new car based on its looks alone. One has to kick the tires, as it were. Or in this case, kick the therapy model. I think that people should try out therapists the same way. And by that I mean by kicking them. Onward.

"Wishcraft - How to get what you really want" by Barbara Sher has been around a while, probably since the late eighties, anyway. I picked up a used copy at Horsepucky Books (or whatever the name of that place is down in central Greenwood - the place I just found). The upside: it has some very potent exercises that will reveal things about yourself that you scarcely knew. The downside: there are so goddamn many exercises that you will probably die of writer's cramp before you finish the book. I mean, c'mon Barbie! I'm a writer. I write all damn day every day for business and pleasure. And even I cannot muster up the either the verbal ganglia or the manual fortitude to write the seven-odd concurrent journals you're asking us to write. Simplify it, wouldja? Cut it down to one journal that contains everything.

Okay, so all of that said - here is one exercise from the book that I would highly recommend doing. No, it's not easy. Yes, it will make you squirm. Yes, it will be some of the best stuff you've ever done to or for yourself. I guarantee it. If it is not, I will send you a full set of Bridgestone whitewalls for your Lincoln. (Tires not included. -Ed.)

Ready? Begin. Sit down with someone whose opinion you trust implicitly. Ask them to tell you everything that's good about you. Just the straight dope. No qualifiers ("you're really excellent BUT..."), and no backhanded compliments (viz., "you don't sweat much for a fat girl" and the like). You need someone who is going to take this seriously. All you do is sit there and write down every word they say. Go on like this for about three minutes or until they're all talked out. Like a good cup of coffee, it will blow your mind. It's also extremely enlightening and energizing. After I did this exercise with Teresa, I sat down and edited 235 pages of my previous work. (No seriously, I did.) Try it and see how it changes your life.

And you know what? I think next year at my annual exam instead of getting pounded in the Dark Side, I'm going to ask Dr. Pitt to sit down and tell me everything that's good about my prostate.