I remember 2010, how rough it was. Real rough on me, mentally and emotionally, just about completely relating to job issues. Between taking a ton of abuse at Vail's Dry Cleaning, leading up to my walking out and subsequent half year unemployed due mostly to my confidence issues, I got real lucky in getting hired by one of the best guys I've ever worked for. Though that was rough starting out, because in all actuality, I wasn't working for him during the first month, but whatever. Here we are now, apparently I'm doing a smashingly good work, got a raise, an endorsement to advance, and workwise I haven't been happier in years. I've only called in sick one day. What a day THAT was. Man, I was so sick, I was barfing SO heavy, it looked like the shit in my bowels took a u-turn and headed up the other direction. Sorry to make you gag. Hey, that's all I did! But, it was only one round of it. But it was the most heavy, intense round of being sick I've ever dealt with. Let's just put it this way... there were two years out of the last seven that I didn't get my flu shot, and those two years I was as sick as I could have possibly been. Needless to say, I'm sporting this season's immunization. I did have a bit of a cold this season so far, but I can handle a cold. I can't handle u-turn poopie pukes though.
I've made... I think three trips to the dentist this year too. One for a checkup... found out of course, had two holes that were one on each side, that was a piss off. Why not both one side? Get frozen, bang bang, done. Nooooo. Had to get that stinkin' needle x 2. I remember my brother Rick telling me that this dentist uses freezing gel, Orajel kind of stuff, and then you don't even feel the needle going in. Yeah. Maybe not 'going' in, just when it's coming out the other friggin' side of your head and you feel like a voodoo doll when the freezing party's over. Don't get me wrong, if he's gotta freeze, he's gotta freeze. Last thing I need is a raw nerve waiting to reach out and touch that drill and let my brain know that Armageddon's here. But honestly, I walk out of there trying not to talk unless I really, really, really have to, or else I wind up sounding like a drunk meth addict that just got nailed with a tranq dart and looking like the dog from 'Turner and Hooch'. "Sooo, Michael, we can expect you back for a cleaning in about six months?" I shake my head. "Oh? When abouts would you like that then?" Figures. I need yes or no questions for frig's sake. This required explaining, of course. "Mubuy insurbances obenly cubbers bun cleabing uh yeebir." She understood right away, of course, knowing the language of Frozemouth. "Your insurance only covers one cleaning a year, okay." "Yebuss." "Okay, so we'll make an appointment for the other side... what's the best time of day for you?" Sigh. "Saybum tibum, laybeet abterboon. slurrrrp." You said it Hooch. Back I went two weeks later for the other bitch in my mouth, and I was in the clear.
Or WAS I? Duhn-duhn-duuhhhhhh.
Of course, about a month later, I followed up with the faithful soft-toothed tradition of the Cooks and got myself what my old retired dentist called a 'fender bender', or a broken off tooth. Last time I let one of those suckers slide, I wound up having to have the whole thing yanked out. Piece by piece. Plus, the added fun and joy of dry socket. Try eating Doritos for the first time after that's been done. I was speaking in tongues. When it comes to the dentist, NOTHING ever comes easy for me. My kid? Not a cavity yet. She's fifteen. I think I had at LEAST fifteen cavities by the TIME I was 15. I loved my sugar. Nowadays, I've got so much metal in my mouth, my last dentist advised me not to go swimming. I plan on making an audition for the Jaws character in the James Bond films if there's ever a casting call for it.
Anyway, I got the fender bender taken care of. Not without more voodoo doll needles, though, and a deep freeze in the jaw that made me wonder if my mouth was going to wind up zombified. Maybe not the walking dead, but the chewing dead maybe. As it turns out, it didn't really work that great. I've got a food trap in there now that I'm dying 'not' to fix, because I don't want to OD on Novacaine, and I chew on the right side of my mouth so predominantly that I'm probably starting to talk like Jim Ross in the WWE. But I'll just hang in there for awhile. Not to mention, with all the x-rays I've gotten in my life, who needs a friggin' nitelite when good 'ol Mikey's around??
Something else I wound up dealing with, or discovering maybe would be better put, is that I have weather activated migraines. I didn't even know such a thing existed until I did research on it. When I talked to the doc about it a couple of years ago, I told him only Tylenol 3 seemed to stand a fighting chance to get rid of them when they came on, not recognizing at the time that they only came on when there were low pressure weather systems in the air. And man, let me tell you, when those sinus pains are at their worst, they're enough to just level me. My balance goes bonkers and everything. There were times that I had to forego the Ty 3's and go for my heavier meds that I took while I was dealing with kidney stones before that. Anyway, I haven't seen the doc yet again, but when I do, for my check up (complete with the good 'ol finger puppet routine because of prostate cancer in the family), I'll discuss it then. He gave me Maxalt before, specifically for migraines, but I didn't want to take it unless I really had to, and I've got a pretty good threshold for pain. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know.
Physical issues aside, there were emotional ups and downs through the year that I wasn't quite ready to deal with, because I thought 2010 was such a write-off in that department that I'd get a free pass with 2011. Nope. No, I really thought 2011 would be better. I think, looking back, it was at least as bad. Not pointing fingers at anyone for anything either. Just saying that's how it was. I have an incredibly understanding wife, who acknowledges with me that I have a fair amount of stuff to deal with. What I have to learn, ultimately, is to not take things so damn seriously. Not just the bad things, but the good things too. The bad things... people say things, no matter what. I talked to Janice and Alexandra the other day, and we were talking about the past year, like I'm doing now, while we were having lunch in the car in the parking lot while I was on lunch break. Alexandra said at the end of the discussion, "well Dad, now that we've depressed you all over again...!" To which I said, "no no, you guys. The fact of the matter," I said while talking with my hands, "is that I've learned one thing in the past number of months. I've learned that I have to not be offended so easily. I can't take things too seriously. And that I have to let people take me at my word, and if they can't, it's then their problem to deal with. If I have a bar of gold in my hands, and I give it to a friend or brother or whatever, I'll tell them, 'this is real gold'. They will either believe it's gold, or maybe some cheap rock, or maybe a gold plated rock. But the fact is, I've told them what I know it is. And it's up to them to believe it or not. And my word," I finished, "is as good as gold. And they can take that to the bank, or throw it away. Either way, it's not my decision."
Hence, I sit here in my house at my computer keyboard, typing out this blog, knowing that there are going to be a few people who actually do read it. And here is my bar of gold: I am a human being. I've made mistakes, but I've done a lot more good things than that, that far outweigh them. If you know me well enough, you know that much. I come to you now as a humble man, with a humble heart, without want or need for a wealthier living, but for a richer life. And nothing will enrich my life more than the experiences I've encountered along the way that I can use for a reference point for the future. This does not make me impervious to mistakes. But, the mistakes I make, and the mistakes you make, make us both, make us all, wiser to each other and more understanding. As we drive down the long and winding road of life, we take the potholes, and sometimes stop to fix a flat. But if we find ourselves on that road again for whatever reason, at least we know what to watch for. I look to those who have more time on the clock than I do, and willingly absorb whatever cautionary tales they have to offer. And I hope that the same wisdom that I impart to those with less time on that clock will take the same heed.
I wish to take this moment to thank those who've commented on my last 'A Wrong of Passage' blog. My friend Darren spoke a bit on facebook to me about those days. It's true, we say now we wish we could have known then what we know now, but we made it through. It all happens for a reason. Perhaps it's because we were meant to be the adults who supported the kids today to stand up to this problem and hopefully deal with the root of the issue, the 'bullies', who no doubt are being bullied themselves, somewhere in their lives. It's just learned behavior. I think Pam, also on facebook, would agree with me on that. Michelle D, Caren, Sara, Tammy, and Donna, I appreciate your reading and your kind words. And Tim (aka Jean Guy Rubberboot), one of the most solid and steadfast friends I've ever been blessed with, you're right on all counts. One thing I'd like to say about that blog, though, was that I wasn't aiming so much at ringing the dinner bell for my own pity party, as much as saying, I'm one very small example of what bullying behavior can amount to in an adult later on in life. Don't ever expect every person to handle situations the same. Some of us are stronger than others, while there are those, like me, who are stronger inside in spite of those times. I am who I am, and I'm proud of it, because of what I've gone through. Every day I wake up in the morning and face the day, is one more battle I've won. And my counter attack to those dark times is my discussing it. I've won the battle. I just want to pummel the enemy long after that bell's rung.
Now, if you'll pardon me, I have the incredible urge to go and vigorously brush my teeth.
Fire up the colortinis now, boys and girls, and watch those pictures fly through the air.
And if you don't hear from me before then, Merry Christmas to you.