Army of Fun


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Friday, January 10, 2003

It was this past Monday. A Monday where America waited, hands aflutter with anticipation, for the newest Bush proposal to simulate, er, stimulate the economy. I'm afraid I wasn't doing my part. I was in no condition to make my preparations for lauding or critizing el jefe's latest. See, as often happens after spending time with children I'd been infected with some bit of the microbial nastiness that ceaselessly festers within them. It had been having its way with me for a few days and I'd been doing my best at ignoring it so it would go away, but finally it was obvious that I was going to need medical attention. An unfortunate turn of events, yes, but what else was there to do?

I called a friend of mine, let's call him Gary; not that he particularly wants to be called Gary, but when I brought up the idea of including his actions in "Army of Fun" I told him I'd use a pseudonym, and he was like, oh, okay, I'm okay with that I guess, whatever. Just don't call me Quinn okay? And I was like okay, sure, that never actually occurred to me, which was a lie because of course I had what with him being Eskimo and all, and by "and all", I mean gay. But I'm not saying that for cheap laughs. Like I'm all, oh, ha-ha a gay Eskimo, let's mock Gary, the 'skimo 'mo. Well, maybe a little bit, but still. No, I tell you that because so would Gary. He's one of those guys who throws those social labels out there within like ten minutes of meeting him. Gary is he who he is and he doesn't want anyone to mistake him for what he's not. As for you scoffers out there, the ones who think, like I really need him to tell me that, cause, oh yeah, like it would be so hard to peg a gay Eskimo, think again. Because it's not exactly like the lower forty-eight are awash with Eskimos. Sure, it's easy enough to figure that Gary's got Asian ancestors, but sans parka, seal-skin mukluks and a hunk of whale blubber stuffed in his gob, there's not really any telling in Gary's case whether that ancestry goes back 12,000, 120 or 20 years, or s is the actual case with your 'skimo migration to the America's 5000 years. As for the gay, well not being gay myself I can't speak to the efficacy of soi-disant gay-dar, but in my experience straight people either over-or-under-guess who's gay or not by way. Admitedly, I found this all out in less than ten minutes of knowing Gary, but it was kind of a special case. I was at a party desultorily chatting up this girl. Desultorily because I was busy obsessing over this girl I'd hung out with a few times, and because she was in the midst of this on-again, off-again, on then off, then maybe back on again at the time relationship. It was a kind of fun conversation and she was kind of attractive, I love girls in boots, but obviously it wasn't going to go anywhere. Anyway, Gary comes over to say hey to her, and she introduces us. Gary says hello and gives me this funny look then asks if I'm Eskimo. I'm all like no, no I'm not. Why do you ask? And he says that he's Eskimo and that I remind him of an Eskimo friend of his. Which happens to me a lot. Not being taken for an Eskimo precisely, but reminding people of someone else they know of this or that ethnic background. Anyway, I tell him that I'm actually Yanomami and Lunda, geographically pretty far away from Eskimo, and launch into explaining how my parents met which is always the next question anyway. As I'm doing so another guy comes over and gives Gary a more than friendly, quick around the shoulder squeeze and then of he dashes. Guy turns out to be, Gary explains, someone Gary started seeing lately so there you go. Gay. Eskimo.

Anyway, I call up Gary and he's willing to give me a ride where ever I need to go since he's free for the day having recently joined the ranks of the unemployed. I've been in those ranks for a considerably longer time myself which added a whole extra dimension to the being sick thing: having no health insurance. So I dig out the phone book and turn to the government pages looking for someplace to go. And, okay, I think I've found one. G' arrives and off we go to one of the county clinics.

Which as it turns out isn't accepting new enrollees currently. I'll have to go somewhere else to enroll in the guv'mint health program. Somewhere else turning out to be a very run down looking hospital up in the foothills somewhere. So Gary, who was kind enough to stick around until we were sure I'd be taken care of, drives me up there. I talk to the tired looking nurse's aide behind a pane of glass and yes they will see me, eventually. Great. I tell Gary he can take off, as I'm sure he's got something better to do, and he does, telling me to call him when I need a ride back. Muchos gracias G'.

The only thing more depressing than a bunch of sick, poor people, ranging from the guy with the back-cyst in the out-patient waiting room to the various scarred and worse by life invalids lounging in the sun in their wheelchairs, is the realization that by any reasonable definition you yourself number among the very people you find so depressing. Plus, the seating is not very comfortable being all metal with no cushioning and the seat you're, by which I mean I am, sitting in is broken, but it's conveniently in a corner so that I can slump ailing against the wall.

It takes two hours before they even look at me to give me an appointment. An appointment for three hours later. I wait. I have no choice. My throat is so painful I can barely swallow, which I have to do a lot because my throat and mouth are coated with a hot, foul film and my salivary glands are working overtime wash it all away. I involuntarily bring my hand to my mouth everytime I swallow. I think it's some kind of bacterial infection, strep or it's ilk. I spit a lot.

Now, many people would think that this was a bad experience. And, it kind of is, but I will get to see a doctor eventually so it's a lot better than suffering without care, not being able to eat or drink and eventually losing my hearing due to the damage caused by a curable bacterial infection. So this is the portion of "Army" where I advocate "socialized medicine" as it's opponents sometimes refer to it. As if the idea of socializing the health of the social body is not just undesirable but somehow evil. Yeah, current government run health-care is pretty crappy. But that's because it's marginalized not because that's the essence of it. As things stand now there's money to be made and the government is not going to compete with that. Just think about this: when Clinton Health-care went down in 1994 it's opponents warned us we'd face health-care by bean counters and denial of procedures due to cost. Well, they were right. Th difference between what we have and nationalized health-care is that the people have no say over those responsible for managing there health-care.

Eventually, I got to see a doctor. He asked me a couple questions. He looked down my throat. He prescribed anti-biotics and codeine, exactly what I thought, though I would have hooked myself up with better narcotics. Sigh. Thanks for caring.
Fyrste, 12:35 AM