WORD OF THE DAY

– improvisational response to a word received in my In Box from Dictionary.com

The word of the day that comes in my In Box this morning means that which is favorable to promoting health. In other words, to eat right, exercise a lot, keep calm and carry on. To engage in those and other activities that will keep me in good mind and shape. Another of them, and also very important, is going to a doctor and getting tested when you’re supposed to. Which means taking the medical community’s advice and getting a colonoscopy when you turn fifty. Which, well, you guessed it, is something I didn’t do. And which was why, two and half years ago, constipated and in unbearable pain, I walked to the medical center two blocks away bent in half as if shot in the stomach. A few tests later the doctor sent me to the radiologist further down the street. Checking my scan, she told me to take myself to the hospital. “What hospital?” “Whichever one you want to go to. But do it today, now.” Still in agony, sprawled across the back seat of the town car that took me there, the look in my driver’s eyes seemed to wonder if I was going to make it to Beth Israel’s Emergency Room alive? And that was where, you guessed right again, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Oh the joy in finding out there’s a malignant tumor growing inside you that a simple, painless test might have caught in time and you have a year of brutal treatments ahead that may or may not cure you. Then you find out, because there had never been a reason to give it much thought, you’re never actually “cured” of cancer. Once the beast is loose it can be shrunk and removed, but there’s always a chance of it coming back anytime anywhere. The best you can hope for is to be “in remission.” A slippery medical term meaning the diminution of the seriousness or intensity of a disease. Not a complete recovery in other words as, say, stitches close a cut on your finger and that’s that until the next time you mismanage a kitchen knife. The dictionary definition of remission is to pardon, to forgive, as of sins or offenses. Though in my case it’s difficult to pick an offender? Me? Latent malignant cells that were always going to hatch? The environment? Life? Life as a preexisting condition? That always gave me a chuckle. How, before the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 health care insurers could reject an application due to a preexisting condition. Hah, hah. I could total my car and an insurer would still sign me on. But health insurance if I got cancer? I’m guessing if everyone forty and over had comprehensive testing done on them something would be found that would likely lead to, at some point, sooner, later, who knows, but sooner or later to a problem requiring extensive treatment and thus the outlaying of a lot of cash by both parties, insurer (private or public) and patient, with, nowadays, the patient taking on more and more of that cost. I say this knowing that without the ACA I’d have no insurance right now. I’d be insurance-less. I, someone who can afford to buy a plan from a provider without a subsidy, would be among the uninsured. No way any of them would have taken me on as my current provider “had to” this year even if the worst (most costly part) of my treatment (two operations, radiation, two stints of chemo, five scans, an MRI) was over with. I’m too much of a risk. And someday you will be too. The two insurance companies I had prior to my current one went out of business in successive years and I just received notice that next year the one I have now will no longer offer individual plans. But fortunately the ACA eliminated pre-existing conditions. I can’t be denied coverage or charged more. I won’t have to find out what it’s like living without insurance. I won’t have to go about my days with the fear of cancer returning and bankrupting me. The possibility of its coming back is enough to keep me on edge. So I’m good. For now. Albeit with a plan that covers less for more money. But that’s the current state of health insurance, a chart with a descending line reflecting the relationship between cost and coverage. And as more insurers exit the ACA I expect plans will get even more pricey and thus more unaffordable. But never mind that. Somehow, somewhere, get checked out. That’s a salubrious thing to do.

(2016)

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WORD OF THE DAY

– improvisational response to a word received in my In Box from Dictionary.com

chary, CHAIR-ee, adjective
1.  Wary; cautious.
2.  Not giving or expending freely; sparing

Since October 5 is my wife Geraldine’s birthday it’s best not to be chary on this particular day. Better to be incautious, unsparing, profligate. A bit over the top. Not recklessly wasteful, but leaning a tad to the extravagant side of town will do no harm. Will continue the domestic bliss we reside in. Wary with my funds I will not be on a day of this great magnitude. A big bouquet of fresh lilies coming in the door with me will be a good start. But not all of it. Chocolates, of course, will have to make an appearance. And I don’t mean one of those 3-packs of bon bons from the corner grocery. I mean a 25 piece selection from Jacques Torres of nutty pralines, pure ganaches and others with exotic spice infusions. A little time with those, some hugs and kisses for sure. Then the main event, the removal of a box hidden behind a bunch of books in my studio with the hand knit sweater from Canadian Sweater Company I know she desires but doesn’t want to spend her own money on. Hint. Hint. (Took it this time!) It costs a couple of bucks, as the saying goes. But so what. What’s a few President Grants to keep utopia running another year? Seriously. It’s a small sum indeed. Eight bills of dead President 18, in fact, before tax and delivery. And while my pen skipped a bit of white space as I was writing that, I’ve already given in to it, acceptance being Step 1 in recovering from my sparing ways. It’s like walking in the rain in that once you stop being cautious, when you finally accept you’re going to get soaked, you can just enjoy it. You can skip along in it, sing and dance, kick your way through the puddles. Just have fun. You get home, you stamp your shoes on the mat, you take off your wet clothes and bingo, you’re back to being your usual dull self. And this day is much like a rainy day. It’s a day to give it up and splash some cash around. To spend freely. It will make me a little lighter in the wallet for sure, but hey, like I said about keeping utopia running, it’s not for the chary.

(2015)

WORD OF THE DAY

– improvisational response to a word received in my In Box from Dictionary.com

Kakistocracy\kak-uhstok-ruh-see\noun

  1. Government by the worst.

Sounds too much like you know what. But that’s what we have on our hands in Washington. A shitty, cranky, dysfunctional cast running the country into the ground. Not the best. And in many cases not the brightest either. But we the people voted them in to lead us into the future. Corrupt as their vision of it is. We checked off their names. That’s you and me. Our votes were tallied. We got what we asked for. What we deserve. Countries always get the governments they deserve. We got ours. You like it? I don’t either. As a reminder of just how hopeless the situation is, a check of the headlines on Yahoo finds the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris heading up the news. Sure enough, the rejecters are at it again. And leading the pack are the Republican candidates for President. One of them says, “Do not succumb to the notion climate change is manmade.” From another: “It will make it harder to create jobs in America.” His home state Florida might be hotter than Hell and on the verge of a Biblical flood but Marco can’t quit his carbon fuels. And then there’s the reflexive, “I don’t know, I’m not a scientist” response used by many others. Well me no scientist either, I concur as I make a few revisions to this in my NYC studio with the windows wide open on a beautiful 72 degree December 24th afternoon. Same weather as it ever was. Not. Though mentioning Marco gets me thinking about another native Floridian, the recently departed, Orlando born, Daryl Dawkins, a.k.a Chocolate Thunder, former professional basketball player and poet when he wanna be. Chocolate Thunder claimed to be an alien from Planet Lovetron, a place he went to to study Interplanetary Funkmanship in the offseason. Now that should be a required course in any university core curriculum, and raises the question: would you rather live on Lovetron or in a world as imagined by billionaire Super Pac donators? Ditto that here. I do wonder what Chocolate Thunder’s unpublished reaction to the climate change controversy was? I’m thinking it went something like his famous spoken word outburst to the backboard he shattered with a monster slam in a 1979 NBA game. In fact, I feel that’s likely. And so with all due respect to Dawk, and mimicking his Interplanetary Funkmanship, I’ll go out there myself…

Climate change denying
Bullshit flying
Temperatures climbing
Sea levels getting higher
Trees bending
Ground breaking
Still denying
Habit is lying
Floods a rising
Glaciers roasting
Earth toasting
Carbon dioxide killing
The forces unwilling
Wind ripping
Devastating making
Only one way out
And it’s with no doubt
At least Bam
Is trying to keep us out of that jam

(2015)

WORD OF THE DAY

– improvisational response to a word received in my In Box from Dictionary.com

fecund, FEE-kuhnd; FEK-uhnd, adjective
1. Capable of producing offspring or vegetation; fruitful; prolific.
2. Intellectually productive or inventive.

Not very fecund am I in the area of producing babies, that’s none. Though there was, oh never mind, I will not go into that. I will not. I do believe I’ve been intellectually productive and inventive. Not or inventive. Why can’t I be both productive (you see “prolific” in the first definition!) and inventive at the same time? One might say being inventive will lead to greater production, and vice versa. Production being the mother of invention. Or a mother. Or is it sweat’s 90% of invention? Or is it 90% of invention is half sweat? Whatever. I can’t remember exactly how that goes. Though I am a capable producer of vegetation as in I have grown several green herbs in my backyard. Not necessarily prolifically, but necessarily in that my local “organic” grocery charges $3.25 to $3.75 for a bunch, half of which usually ends up being wasted. Or is it 90% of that half? Could be either. Or both. I’ll have to check the next time I buy some. Which will be never. That money better placed in the coffers of Brouwerij Lane, my neighborhood brew pub, which prolifically produces many delicious (and inebriating) varieties of craft beer. And in that way they are as fecund as I am, though, it’s apparent, in a much more universal and satisfying way.

(2014)