December 2004 Archives

Merry Christmas, Boston Charlie

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Growing up Catholic meant that Christmas was chuck full of carols coming from the radio, the record player, or my mother for weeks prior to the big day. Secular or religious, the air was full of Christmas tunes for most of December.

Even today, after I haul out my infamous mp3 playlist of Bing Crosby, Mannhiem Steamroller, and Gene Autry around the middle of the month, and it performs background music chores while cookies are baked and the tree is trimmed, there is one carol (well, actually two, but NO ONE outside my contemporary siblings has ever heard the Line Material Christmas song...) that I have to sing myself.

Cartoonist Walt Kelly wrote these lyrics for his Pogo comic strip to the tune of "Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly".

Christmas isn't Chrsitmas without my off-tune massacring of this song.

It Just Dawned On Me...

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Even if your nose is stuffy, when you go out to clear the snow off and warm up the car on a morning when it is -9.4º, it's best NOT to breathe through your mouth.

Nancy’s “Appendix”

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nancys_addendum.jpgNancy’s appendix ruptured last Saturday night. I was there but I didn’t know it happened. I was asleep. You’d think that a rupturing appendix would make some noise - something along the lines of a “pluuush!”, or a “pfffit!”, or a “splursh!” - but it didn’t. If it had, I’d have awakened and realized that Nancy was in a shitload of pain. But she didn’t wake me up because I had to get up early to take Corie to the train station and she thought that she was simply suffering from over indulgence from the Thanksgiving engorging festival. So she suffered through the night and was half asleep when I got up at 5:15 and went off with our darling daughter to the train station in Albany.

All that is not the point of this story. You see, it turns out that Nancy didn’t have a normal appendix. And this, I insist, is why I never heard it rupture.

We need to digress here a minute to talk about why and how appendices (appendixes, appendi, appendula?) rupture. Nancy’s surgeon went to in excruciating detail about how poop fills the little bugger over time and calcifies into a hard mass that effectively plugs the opening to the intestines. When the appendix finally decides to host billions of noxious, festering bacteria they have limited room to party. With the opening plugged, the appendix swells with noxious, festering goop that has nowhere to go. Eventually it just bursts, spewing billions of noxious, festering bacteria into the abdomen where they are delighted to find all sorts of tasty human tissue to munch on. This causes tremendous pain (and, I suspect, a loud “pluuush” noise).

Ah, but Nancy’s appendix was different. It was not over on the right side as in normal American humans. It was toward the center and pushed inward, nestled in a pocket of fatty tissue near the arteries that nourish the intestines. This faked everyone out. The pain was across the front of her belly, not where good American appendix pain is supposed to be. The billions of noxious, festering bacteria spewed forth into fatty tissue which had far fewer nerves than other abdominal tissue, causing less pain than would be expected from a good old American ruptured appendix. And, most importantly, IT MUFFLED THE NOISE FROM THE EXPLODING ORGAN!!!!.

We take comfort from the fact that this can’t happen again. You only get one appendix and once it is removed, it doesn’t grow back. But I’ve been having this nagging doubt over the past few days. Maybe they didn’t really remove the appendix. Maybe it really wasn’t the appendix. Maybe it was the addendum, or the index, or some other such non-appendix organ. Maybe THAT’S why I didn’t hear it rupture.

I’m not going to be sleeping deeply for a while…

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