It’s been over a year since I wrote anything in this blog space, and it occurs to me that I should make an effort to write more. After all, how am I going to keep challenging my author friend, Michael Diamond, if I’m not challenging myself? (Mike’s first book, Origins of the Black Idol, is available at major online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble; I was his editor.)
So, along with writing more, I’m going to focus this year on improving my health, my bass playing skills, and mastering VMware vSphere 5 to get VMware Certified Professional (Datacenter Virtualization) certified – more on that later. (I know it’s a bit late to make New Year’s resolutions, but I am a bit of a slacker, so you ought not be surprised this post comes at the end of February).
Stick with me throughout the year and you might learn something about yourself, your fellow humans, and the universe, or at least be mildly entertained at my folly along the way.
The last few days I’ve been dealing with a malfunctioning car and a brief but intense illness. It’s been less than pleasant. Add the Chicago Blackhawks playing like crap in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and losing all my phone numbers and email addresses in Address Book (and thus my iPhone too), and this week looks pretty bad on paper.
There’s a silver lining though: another page in my novel finished. It’s been slow going, and I could probably find more time to write, but I feel good about the words. Do I think this novel will be sellable? Probably not. But it will be written, and that’s more important to me.
So, to anyone out there who thinks they can write a book: do it. There’s no better advice on writing than that. You will suck at first. You will get better if you try. That’s all.
For those of you who have known me for some time, you may have noticed that my hair is not as full and luxurious as it once was. For those of you who haven’t known me as long, trust me: my hair is getting thinner. This comes as no surprise: my maternal grandfather is definitely thin up top and my great-grandfather was quite bald when he passed away.
I, however, was determined to keep from losing my hair completely. I like having hair and, as I proved for a short period in high school, my naked head is less than beautiful. In fact, my melon is rather lumpy from many childhood head injuries (which may explain a lot about me, but that’s a blog for another day). A few months ago, I started taking minoxidil (the generic name for a prescription drug whose name I’m not going to use since I don’t want to get sued by a major drug company) in an attempt to deny fate and keep what hair I have left.
It turns out that this attempt at vanity is futile. Shortly after I started taking the hair-saving snake oil, I started getting dizzy spells. Mostly they came when taking the elevator at work or turning my head quickly. At first I didn’t think too much of it. Then when my friend (who’s only about a year older than me) went to the ER with chest pains, I started to get a bit concerned. Generally speaking, dizziness for no apparent reason is a good indicator of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is not good for one’s heart or brain. Since there’s some history of stroke in my family, I was doubly concerned.
But I still didn’t go to the doctor and I didn’t stop taking my precious hair tonic. I figured that since I was working out on a regular basis, I could get my blood pressure (as I thought the problem was at the time) under control and the vertigo would go away. Then I gained 10 pounds in about as many days.
That’s when I stopped and thought about the situation. I remembered something about weight gain on the drug packaging. I went back to the label and there it was in black and white.
Side effects may include:
Turning you into a giant fat ass.
Making your fat ass fall down in public because you got dizzy taking a five story elevator ride.
OK, maybe that’s not exactly what it said, but it’s pretty accurate. Both of the major health problems I’d been having were directly attributable to me not wanting to have the rest of my hair fall out. This was confirmed today by my doctor, whose skills and judgment I find to be of the highest caliber. (He diagnosed the herniated discs in my back because I had a pain in my lower abdomen. I would have never guessed in a million years that my back was the problem, but he knew it within five minutes. That’s damned fine doctoring, in my opinion.)
I’ve stopped taking the minoxidil and have resigned myself to the fate of becoming a cue ball. But at least now I won’t fall down and look like a jackass or have my heart explode in my chest like a baked potato because I weigh five thousand pounds.
And the moral of the story is this: vanity can be a good thing if it’s properly restrained. I was misguided in taking a stupid drug just to keep my appearance intact. But, not wanting to be a hideously obese C.H.U.D. is what ultimately got me to see the doctor and get an answer (and solution!) to my problem. My blood pressure is in good shape and I’ve started losing weight again. Yes, I’m sad that I’m going to lose my hair, but I’m less sad that I can get back on track with my exercise goals and (hopefully!) remain alive and healthy to see my daughter grow up. Besides, bald is beautiful, right? If I look half as good as the specimen in Exhibit A, below, I think I’ll be OK.
I must admit to no small degree of confusion. I finally got my scale unpacked last night, so I decided to weigh myself. The scale measured me at 225, a loss of -5 pounds from my starting weight. Yes, I gained five pounds somehow. As if to place an exclamation point on it, my normally somewhat snug pants are strangling my genitals this morning. (On the plus side, my junk appears enormous. Eat it up, ladies of *the nameless company I work for that trolls the internets looking for people talking about them*!)
Normally, I would give up at this point and consign myself to my fate as a fat guy. I have, however, decided that this is not even close to over. I am redoubling my efforts. Instead of a moderate workout in the morning, I’m hitting it hard. My sodapop mix is going from 50%-50% regular-diet to 25%-75%. I’m having egg substitute and turkey sausage with my breakfast in place of their more fattening counterparts. Let’s see what you think of that, gut!
My wife sent me a picture message of my daughter, Muirne (MEER-nah), the other day and I almost burst into tears. Not because it’s a bad picture; quite the opposite, she’s a very cute kid. I was upset by the picture because it makes painfully obvious something about her.
We’ve recently noticed that Muirne’s right eye is lazy. It’s especially pronounced when she’s tired, but it wanders even when she’s awake and alert. I was concerned at first, but I figured a temporary eye patch and maybe glasses would solve the problem. Then someone mentioned to me the possibility that Muirne might need surgery and I kind of lost it.
We have an appointment with an opthalmologist, but it’s not until February. I’m going slowly insane waiting for the next two weeks to go by.
It’s tough to adequately explain how I feel about this. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I hoped my daughter would be… perfect, I guess. Not perfect in the overbearing, you’d-better-have-straight-A’s kind of way, but more that I hoped she wouldn’t have to deal with any difficulties early in life or ones that would be permanent. The thought of my 2-year-old going under the knife terrifies me in a way no horror flick ever could.
Hopefully, it’s a non-issue and in a few years she’ll have no problems with the eye whatsoever. Send out prayers to whatever god you believe in for my little girl, please.