Monday, June 5, 2017

Impossible for us to be dismembered

Please refrain from rhetorical questions
You are already aware
Of the deep affection I feel
For your valuable cardiac tissue.

I was upright on my lower limbs
You were in the vicinity
The orbits of two planets intersected violently
And it was impossible for us to be dismembered.

Our lifespans could exceed the norm
By a factor of ten or more
But if you sustained an injury for which I was causally responsible
I'd prepare an alcoholic beverage from your ocular secretions.

I informed you of the possibility
Of aerial transport
Because everybody has wings
But a number of people remain ignorant of the reason for this.

I was upright on my lower limbs
You were in the vicinity
The orbits of two planets intersected violently
And it was impossible for us to be dismembered.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

This bouncing life

I bought a trampoline.  It's a big one, so big that you might think there's some kind of Freudian Trampoline Complex which I am unconsciously acting out.  And perhaps if there isn't, there should be, because I've got a big one.

I found an ad online for this used trampoline and got interested, which is a feat in itself.  It's not until you start reading ads for other people's second hand goods that you realise that the majority of people are idiots.  People will post ads without prices, without pictures, without salient features of the goods or even without a goddamn description of what the stuff is.  "Sale on Saturday. Many things."  Jesus.

So I texted the guy late at night and he got straight back to me - he wanted the trampoline gone pronto so I agreed to buy it and go pick it up on Saturday morning.  I was pretty chuffed with myself, but my Smaller Half was innately more suspicious.  "Why are they selling it? How old is it? Has anyone ever vomited on it? What does their house look like?"  She seems to go through life half-convinced that homeless people are trying to sell her old beaten up trampolines that they've been using to strain their vomit, perhaps to make a delicious clear vomit broth in the French style.  And why not - we all have our peccadillos (peccadillo: an armoured chicken).

On Saturday morning I drove to the guy's house, and out the front is a sad looking kid.  It occurs to me for the first time that only people with kids own trampolines so I am going to be snatching this kids trampoline away from her.  I feel bad briefly but then see the trampoline.  It is, as I've mentioned before, pretty big.  I'm stoked at the bargain price I'm getting on this baby so my qualms pretty much evaporate.

I double check with the crying kid that I'm at the right place - she tells me her dad said that I could start taking it apart.  So I get out my collection of four thousand Allen keys which are all the same size and discover that they are all the same wrong size.  Luckily I can work my way around this because I have a screwdriver which I can misuse to take this thing apart.  It takes me about 90 minutes to knock it down and shove it into my car.

Because there are some bits which I can't figure out how to separate, I end up having to drive home with the trampoline safety net draped over my head and shoulders like a demented beekeeper.  I hope I don't have a car accident or I might strain my neck.  I'm almost home when my phone starts ringing - it's the guy who sold me the trampoline letting me know that I've left some pieces behind in his driveway.  But I reckon they're mostly superfluous safety devices, included only as a regulatory requirement, and certainly not expected to impinge on our fun by their absence.

By the late afternoon I have reassembled the trampoline in my back yard and it is bigger than it looked in the old owner's yard.  By some miracle of geometry I have put the same pieces back together and ended up with a trampoline which is nearly twice as big as it was before.  Awesome.  I'd be keen to get on and have a bounce around but the mat is soaking wet from my Smaller Half having spent an hour hosing off all the vomit.  I hope it's a sunny day tomorrow.

Saturday, June 3, 2017


I can type.
I can type English.
I can put the words in a line and they make a sentence.
They tell a story.
Tell tell tell.
I have been away.
Not really.
I have been here with me all along.
And here with you in your heart too.
I have been away from this blob.
But now I am back.
And now I am front.
I am back.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Plating up

I've lived in a few different cities and states now that I am an old man and, prone to reverie as I am, I find that sometimes it takes only a tiny push to send me spiralling into reminiscence.  The most common is license plates on the cars in front of me as I drive.

When I see out-of-state plates on the car in front of me it transports me to a time when those plates were all around me and were the ones I saw every day.  The day-to-day thoughts and feelings I was having when I frequently saw plates from that state come washing over me.  It's like time travel.

Queensland plates, from my sub-tropical early adulthood, always imbue me with a feeling of relaxation.  I am wearing shorts and t-shirt in winter, I am dripping sweat onto a physic exam paper, I am drinking too much bourbon on a sultry midnight wander, I am daydreaming on a deck amidst emerald fronds and dark trunks.

Plates from the ACT, where I took my first real job, tighten me up. I can feel the tie around my neck like a horse's tack.  People are watching me, judging me. I need to conform, buckle down, get on with it. I feel the wind's chill in my spine.

Now that I have left South Australia, those too take me back.  I am walking along the beach in autumn watching the seals. I am struggling with my pager as the weight of work breaks my back. I am going on a meth-fueled rampage, stealing a police car and driving it the wrong way down the freeway before crashing it off an overpass and fleeing on foot, leaving the mangled corpses wrapped in rugs on the back seat. I am strapped to a hospital bed, sedated, as I thrash and writhe.

Happy memories, all these, even those which are dysphoric.  They remind me where I've been, what I've done, who I am, who I'm not, who I might have been had I not been the who that I am right now.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Only plastic surgeons should

I had a mandatory training review today, involving a fairly tedious 30 minute phone conversation with an Authority Figure to make sure I am Ticking All The Boxes.  It got off to an awkward start when the first thing he said to me was, "How was your morning?", to which I replied, "Pretty good, I spent half an hour BLANK". (BLANK, of course, replacing what I actually said, for reasons soon to be apparent.) He made a Concerned Noise and said, "I was once told by a plastic surgeon that only plastic surgeons should BLANK", causing me to execute a series of daring evasive manoeuvres to throw him off my tail.

But it made me think that you could write a good exam question about it.  Here goes:

Q314. Only plastic surgeons should:
(a) Wear shoes with such pointy toes that you are mistaken for an elf.
(b) Remove large sebaceous cysts from the face.
(c) Buy a Lamborghini rather than lease it.
(d) Sexually harass a subordinate.
(e) All of the above.

Feel free to leave a comment below with your guess as to correct answer, or to suggest a better alternative.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


Tonight I cleaned out my manbag.  No, that is not a euphemism for sexual intercourse.  I just figured that I looked like a bit of dill walking down the street towards work holding my stethoscope in one hand and balancing a sandwich, an apple, and a carrot in the other.  Well, to tell the truth, I had been thinking that for several months now, but I finally got around to cleaning out my manbag because my Smaller Half strongly advised* me to do it.

Which is nice, because as of tomorrow I will be able to put my stethoscope, sandwich, apple and carrot into my bag before I leave the house and my apple won't roll off the front seat of my car and onto the floor either, which can only be a good thing health-wise.  But, as I've already mentioned, first I had to clean it out.

My manbag management protocol is pretty much the same as the way my brain works.  I just jam into the top whatever seems useful or surprising that I've come across, and slowly things work their way down into the darkness below where they are forgotten or else take on a strange life of their own.
I found stuff in the bottom of my manbag going back to February 2013, which sounds bad but there is stuff in the bottom of my brain going back to the mid-70's.  Here's a highlist list:
  • 8 pens
  • 3 torches
  • 1 tourniquet
  • 1 butterfly needle
  • 3 paperclips
  • a document telling me that I officially don't have tuberculosis
  • almost 50 pages of patient lists, notes and discharge summaries
  • identification badges and access cards from 3 different hospitals, none of which I actually work at anymore
  • notes and summaries I had scribbled about such diverse topics as sudden cardiac death, management of diabetic ketoacidosis, differences between atypical antipsychotic medications, and "cultural safety toolboxes"
  • about a dozen phone bills, electricity bills, reminder notices, final notices, and termination notices
  • 20 or so payslips, unopened
  • "Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang", by Kate Wilhelm - winner of the 1977 Hugo Award
  • A nice stripy blue wool scarf
  • an empty shopping bag
  • several used-looking tissues (shudder)
  • a partridge in a pear tree.
About a third of it I kept, about a third of it needs to be shredded as its mere existence grossly breaches just about every confidentiality requirement I can imagine, and the other third I just ate with a nice chianti.

So tomorrow I will be able to transport my lunch in a snug, marginally hygienic bag.  It's exciting.  And I will start to fill it up all over again.


Monday, April 25, 2016

We're all in this together

Well my friends, I see your face so clearly
Little bit tired, little worn through the years
You sound nervous, you seem alone
I hardly recognize your voice on the telephone

In between I remember
Just before bound-up, broken-down
We drive out to the edge of the highway
Follow that lonesome dead-end roadside south

We're all in this thing together
Walkin' the line between faith and fear
This life don't last forever
When you cry I taste the salt in your tears

Well my friend, let's put this thing together
And walk the path with worn out feet of trial
'Cause if you wanted we can go home forever
Give up your jaded ways, spell your name to God

We're all in this thing together
Walkin' the line between faith and fear
This life don't last forever
When you cry I taste the salt in your tears

All the hour there's a picture in a mirror 
Fancy shoes to grace our feet 
All there is is a slow road to freedom 
Heaven above and the devil beneath 

We're all in this thing together 
Walkin' the line between faith and fear 
This life don't last forever 
When you cry I taste the salt in your tears

- Old Crow Medicine Show