Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ham Planet (Part III of Syrinx)

Source: TeePublic
Back in the day, Doris aka Biggie Dee was the hottest hamplanet ever to cruise The Strip. Yessiree, that dame was 420 glorious pounds of cornfed horndog scooterbeast to be exact, replete with a voracious appetite for pocket sausage and baby batter in addition to an already steady diet of KFC, BK, and McD's. That was just before the smiley-faced orbs began their visits, back when she was still shacking up with Sanjeev Patel.

Sanjeev was a bearded Pakistani speed freak who bore an unfortunate resemblance to Rasputin. Possessed by a disabling fear of hippopotamuses, he sported crotchless panties and a butt plug whilst tending bar at The Peppermill, his dream in life being to secure his very own DQ franchise so that all manner of slackers, crackers, trailer trash, and whores might continue to be nourished by Brazier Burgers and Oreo Blizzards. Alas, his dream was never realized, being wholly eclipsed by Biggie Dee's mega-celebrity.

Everyone who was anyone in Vegas knew about Biggie Dee. Her notoriety came not just from being O.G. as fuck, but also because of her legendarily elusive meat wallet which had recently been designated as a geocache location. Best of all, the contents of her cache were muggleproof, a lurid holy grail buried so deeply within musky skin folds and yeasty pudendal crevices that even the most experienced of pelt pie plunderers was rendered impotent in defeat with notsomuch as the faintest whiff of pungent victory. So, basically, her hoo-ha inspired a fan club of deranged admirers whose chances of actually glimpsing her mystery bits were slim to none. Well, that is until Skeeter set his sights on pillaging that raunchy village.

Skeeter caught wind of the fact that although Biggie Dee's geocaching fame was exceedingly profitable, her largesse transcended her corpulence in that she routinely donated the entirety of her massive weekly earnings to the local Vegas chapter of Tweakers Anonymous in the hope that Sanjeev might one day clean up his act. Seeing as how she was a do-gooder, Skeeter figured she and Faith would get along just fine, giving him a clear shot at snagging that dusky treasure.

The first step in any tweaker's recovery is to immediately replace meth with incessant self disclosure and caffeinated refreshment. And who better to lend both a solipsistic shoulder to cry on and an endless supply of Amway's premium antioxidant and probiotic-infused 100% fair trade organic coffee than Charity Faith Crenshaw?  She was, after all, Vegas's self-proclaimed redeemer of miscreants and lost souls, having resided there amongst the decaying filth for all of six months now. Skeeter gleefully obliged Faith in her fantasy, blinding her to the true design he had on her as an accessory in his snatch-snatching scheme. Once Skeeter got done with them, poor ol' Sanjeev and Biggie Dee were gonna need all the help they could get.

Part I: Syrinx
Part II: Vegas

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Vegas (Part II of Syrinx)

Now, Skeeter's wiener hadn't actually pounded a human orifice since prior to the new millennium; strictly speaking, he was all talk no action. But believe it or not, even hairy balled flaccid tube steakdom does have its merits, especially in a glittery cesspool like Vegas that's teeming with opportunists, converging and multiplying like flies feasting on gilded shit. So from that perspective, Skeeter's impotence was an attribute, not a flaw.

Vegas. What better place on earth to fulfill his dream of opening the world's first Cunts, Punts & Blunts, a sex shop/sports bar and medical marijuana dispensary all rolled into one? The only chink in the armor was Faith and her moral uprighteousness. Where there's a will, there's a way.

 "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord."--Ephesians 5:22

Miraculously, manipulating Faith into leaving her day care job at the Reformed Church of the Perpetually Unworthy had required only a modest degree of effort. By exploiting her devout and unwavering belief in the subservience of women to their husbands, Skeeter managed to convince her that peddling Amway in Vegas would permit her to serve not just him but the Lord our God, assisting them both in disinfecting and detoxifying mankind through bio-friendly detergents and phytonutrients. Any way you sliced it, this situation was a win-win.

Faith's zeal for meddling, martyrdom, and self-aggrandizement was a convenient foil for Skeeter's sleazeball business venture, allowing him and his limp dick to sponge effortlessly under the radar, milking the tit of human kindness and shitting out gold bricks (albeit mostly fake ones). And let's face it. Faith was an epic bitch, a real buzzkill who was so inherently unlikable that nobody really paid much attention to Skeeter anyway.

"A night in the arms of Venus leads to a lifetime with Mercury."--Elizabethan saying

Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, the open sores Doris Patel acquired on her twat after an evening of oral tomfoolery with Skeeter being a prime example. Only Doris was convinced that it was Rasputin's evil spirit, and not Skeeter, who'd visited this grave psychic and bodily harm upon her. The smiling faces within the orbs she frequently attempted to photograph told her so.

Part I: Syrinx
Part III: Ham Planet

Sunday, October 4, 2015


From A Martyr's Perspective (collage by my father, WP Mazur)
Charity Faith Crenshaw was a woman of her word. Whatever her word was, it became her deed and her crusade, and by Jeebus, she never went back on either one. She sure as hell was no Indian giver where words or deeds were concerned. In her mind, anyone and everyone needed a helping hand, whether they realized it or not. Whether it was forcibly presenting a welcome-to-the-neighborhood batch of her prize-winning peanut butter and jam thumbprint cookies to the only household on the street whose kids had multiple food allergies or reporting suspicious individuals and events on a daily basis to the neighborhood watch, resistance to her tireless efforts was futile. She was a helper and a giver who liked to stay busy by minding everyone else's business.

What Charity really got off on, though, was the self-sacrifice--no, the martyrdom--involved in extending her hand to those in need, especially when her services were completely unsolicited. Now, this wasn't meddling: it was her Christian duty. She took her name as seriously as her word, and of course, the word of the Lord. Well, maybe except for the apostle Matthew's word who in his self-titled bible chapter 6:1-4 had this to say about charity:

"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven... So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you." 

Back in the day, Matthew had been a tax collector, and since Charity eschewed paying taxes on the grounds that her tax dollars were preferentially funding bling, such as cell phones and fancy basketball shoes, for the burdens of society who were too lazy to work, she felt it behooved society to disregard Matthew's word. The passage which said "Work makes you free" resonated with her the most. Only, she never could seem to locate that verse in her dog-eared copy of the King James bible. Anyhow, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 justified this aspect of her self-righteousness quite nicely: "Anyone unwilling to work should not eat." That was more like it. After all, hard work never killed anyone, did it?

Because of Charity's devout faith in her own virtuousness and piety, she felt blessed. Blessed with the knowledge that she was one of God's elite chosen few, uniquely poised to inherit His kingdom and its abundance, what with all the saints and angels and manna and precious jewels and pearly gates, although she was a bit worried about how she'd get along with those heathens who'd been grandfathered into heaven by default. Jesus's infinite mercy really kind of annoyed her. As did Skeeter, that slothful womanizing tub of lard sperm donor Charity begrudgingly referred to as her husband.

Ironic as her sham marriage was, she'd stuck with it, being a godly woman and all. That's precisely why she disagreed so strongly with Matthew about how one's good works should go unrecognized publicly. If the left hand didn't know what the right one was doing, how on earth would a marital martyr like her receive acknowledgement for enduring such a sorry excuse for a man? Perhaps even more troubling was the fact that she'd become increasingly unable to feel her hands anyway. So yes, she needed to pay attention to what her hands were doing.

Verily, God had given Charity an extraordinarily heavy cross to bear in this pestilent pox husband of hers, but suffering his scourge in silence was no longer an option. She'd permitted his rottenness and evil to besmirch her steadfast convictions long enough. In contrast to the smoldering syrinx that was covertly hollowing out her cervical spinal cord neuron by neuron, Skeeter was 265 pounds of inert wasted space, the momentum of which had to be stopped.

Part II: Vegas
Part III: Ham Planet

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Misadventures of a Middle-Aged MILF: The Sampling Error

On Tinder, I'm Betty. Don't ask.
Oh, the joys of online dating when you're a newly single 52 year old MILF. Match is riddled with serial messagers and dirty old men, Coffee Meets Bagel isn't serving up much of either, and Hinge is total crickets. So far, the only luck I've had has been with Tinder. But, after last night's date from hell, I've concluded that Tinder's like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get.

Since separating amicably from Spartacus a month ago, I've been enjoying an extremely active social life, meeting tons of interesting men and having a lot of fun. I'm trying to learn how to do conventional dating, which is something I've never tried in the past. Testing the waters of serial dating, so to speak. I'm a confident, intelligent, independent, sexy woman who doesn't take myself or anyone else too seriously and, perhaps most importantly, isn't looking for a relationship. NSA* all the way, baby. What's not to love about that, amirite?

Welp, it pains me to report that my little social experiment in dating, which had actually been progressing along quite swimmingly--with mad props to Tinder, Uber, and awesome intown Atlanta life--hit a major sampling error snag last night. I'm still trying to get my head around the sheer awfulness of it. Where to begin? 

It all started with a swipe. On Tinder, you review photo profiles, swiping left if you aren't interested and to the right if you are. Needless to say, I spend the vast majority of my time swiping left. What is it with guys my age? Even most of the ones in their early 40s look worn and haggard. Maybe I'm just too picky. I am, as you know, a freak of nature who can still pass for someone in her late 30s or early 40s *sigh* Believe me, it ain't easy being a hot middle-aged MILF, LOL. 

Anyhow, Richard aka Douchebag Dick or D2 for short was reasonably physically attractive with nice teeth and his tagline, "Relax...Nothing is under control," seemed kinda groovy. Based on our Tinder convo, we shared a few things in common, namely being self-professed free spirits. "I'm most interested to hear what people mean by free spirited," he'd declared in one of our message conversations. Seemed benign enough, so I agreed to meet him Friday night for dinner at a nice restaurant on Krog Street. Unbeknownst to me, that statement actually heralded the first of many red flags.

Ecce Homo (Behold the man), y'all!
After sweltering outside for 7 minutes in this godawful Atlanta mid-summer heat because my Uber driver needed to stop and pee before coming to pick me up, I sent D2 (name obscured by wiener sausage) a text message to let him know I was running late. For some reason, I only saw the text portion of his photo response which indicated he was already at the restaurant having fun. "Cool," I replied. Even if I had noticed the accompanying photo at that moment, it still wouldn't have made any sense until now.

He seemed surprised when the hostess showed us to our table. I guess he forgot that I'd made reservations and even emailed him a confirmation. Whatever. I've certainly had my share of blonde moments. Once we were seated, I must admit, the conversation flowed remarkably well. Both of us have adult kids, so we traded parenting misadventures and talked superficially about prior relationships, you know, the stuff you usually talk about when you're first getting to know someone. We placed our orders for food and wine, deciding to share a foie gras appetizer and The Luminary's signature seafood tower. So far, so good.

Things started getting weird when D2's response to my question regarding what he did for a living was, "I live a life of leisure."

"Oh?" I replied, "How'd you swing that?"

He then proceeded to fill me in on how he's been on "walkabout" for the past few years. Yup, you heard me right.  So, this sojourner on a globe-trotting mind-expanding voyage of self-discovery loves everyone and everything indiscriminately--especially women--because we are all connected and part of each other in some way, does a little business here and there, pops in and out of different cities, and laments the infrequency with which he encounters like-minded individuals. "I'm extremely comfortable with who I am as a human being," he concluded. It's worth noting that prior to this transformation during which he supposedly divested himself of all attachments to people and material possessions, yet still posts Instagram pics of expensive cars and bottles of booze, he described having been a successful wealthy conservative Fox news-watching suburban businessman. And, he's at a point in his life where he feels he's ready for a relationship.

Douchebag Dick aka D2
I began to get the distinct impression D2 was sizing me up to see how I fit. Like, as we were talking, he'd favorably approve of any like-minded responses I delivered as "beautiful, beautiful" while furtively radiating a condescending aura of intellectual superiority. At one point, he even inquired why I pretend to be so dumb. Wait, WHAT?? "Because I've read your blog and you're obviously highly intelligent." Me...dumb? For serious? Did he really just ask me that?

For realz, don't ask me how I managed to overlook that last comment. Like I said before, I really don't take my own opinions or anyone else's too seriously. Our conversation finally shifted to a discussion of what it means to be a free spirit with specific regard to how that influences one's major life decisions. For me, most of my major life decisions have been intuitive and spontaneous, based in action and doing what I wanted to do, not rumination and introspection. I mean, shit, if I'd put too much thought into becoming someone's mother or going to medical school, I'm pretty sure I would have talked myself out of those things.

I mentioned the fact that I was a good student in high school, and how I don't remember any teachers taking an active interest in mentoring me like they did the smart male students. Back in 1979, girls were still supposed to be nurses and secretaries. I wondered aloud how my life might have been different had I been encouraged to explore the same options as my male counterparts, adding that although I've done whatever I wanted to do in life as a woman, I've had to learn to fly under the radar to accomplish certain things.

What's so intimidating about my jugs?
This immediately prompted D2 to launch into a largely unintelligible diatribe about how "none of that mattered then and it doesn't matter now" because according to his supreme wisdom, I was mired down in the past and gender inequality is a social construct that only exists in our minds and since he doesn't practice it or believe in it, he is exempt from acknowledging that it's still a problem for certain other individuals. In other words, sexism, classism, and racism are all just figments of my imagination. That's right about when the psychobabble shitstorm hit.

"OK," I asked, amused. "So, here in Atlanta, GA, guess which one of us is gonna get arrested for walking around in public without her shirt on? How is that not sexism? It's just basic common sense that this is how our laws work."

He countered indignantly, "Oh, you're one of those," implying that I'm a bitter, angry woman who feels she's been wronged by white male-dominated society. Bitch please, gimme a fuckin' break!

Only someone with Play-doh for a brain would deny matters of common sense experience. Such as how, in the state of Georgia, it's against the law for women to bare their breasts in public, which is why I have to fly under the radar when I want to go outside without my top. Just because I disagree with that law and find it completely outrageous doesn't mean it's not real with real consequences. It's also a well-established fact that, for every dollar a man makes, women with the same level of education and experience still make about 76 cents doing the same type of work, a statistic that hasn't changed much in the past 20 or 30 years. But, yeah, this guy's gonna sit here and argue with me that the gender gap in equality simply doesn't exist!

Dumb li'l ol' me
This tit for tat exchange went on through coffee and dessert. I kept calling bullshit on his bullshit and didn't let him get away with his slew of ridiculous denials, all of which were clearly based in some sort of phony new age philosophy. In a nutshell, I rendered him incapable of mounting a compelling argument. Predictably frustrated at having been outwitted by a woman, disgruntled by his failure to impress me with his vastly superior intellect,  he leaned back in his chair, folded his arms across his chest, and proclaimed whilst shaking his head, "Wow, you're really uptight!" Then, he pulled himself back up to the table, leaned forward with his hands clasped, and asked me very seriously, "Do you have any idea how hard it is to be a tall white male in our society?" Oh no, he did-n't!

But wait, there's more. The pièce de résistance of this unbelievably terrible evening came when he finally revealed that he's an e.s.t devotee, and how he thought I'd really gain a lot of insight from such a program. I knew it!!! In case you're not familiar with e.s.t. (now known as Landmark Forum), it's a cult of narcissistic existentialism that employs brainwashing techniques to produce marvels of the universe who can't think for themselves like D2.

"Betty, you and I won't need to see each other again. I've learned so much about what I don't want in a relationship from you tonight."

Sorry loser, gtg, my carriage awaits!
Unbelievable. I reached into my purse for my debit card and phone, obviously ready to pay for my half of dinner and summon Uber and get the fuck outta there.

"Wait, Betty, let's move this over across the street to Krog Bar for a nightcap. I'll pay for dinner since I gave you a hard time."

Ha! "No thanks," I said, placing my Uber order. "I think we're done." Well, actually, I did allow him to pay for dinner since I'd endured his barrage of egotistical insults.

Thankfully, Uber was only a couple of minutes away. In what was to be the last awkward moment of this nightmare, D2 insisted unsuccessfully on driving me home. "Uh, no way." It seriously took him a minute to fully comprehend that he wasn't gonna get lucky with Betty, the dumb broad from Tinder, LOLZ.

Randall, my Uber driver, arrived just as we exited valet, whisking me away into the night like a knight in shining armor.  He listened enthusiastically as I recounted the various horrors of my evening, a dialogue which was punctuated generously with "WTF?!" and "You've gotta be kidding me!" Nope, you just can't make this shit up. It wasn't until the next morning that I noticed D2's photo text from the restaurant, featuring the female bartender posing in front of the drink she'd made him. Who the fuck sends their date a picture like that?! Anyhow, Randall earned 5 well-deserved stars that night. As for me, well, I earned perspective, a free dinner, and this awesome story.

*NSA: No Strings Attached
**name changed for creative license and to protect the guilty

Monday, June 1, 2015

Dark Horse Heroes

Part VI (Conclusion) of Opportune By Design

As usual, Pete was parked by the bar, sipping on his fancy imported mineral water. He was the first to witness Jackie's bizarro entrance. Springing from his stool to investigate, slipping and sliding in Jackie's bloody trail, Pete raced toward the now-occupied can. The door wasn't locked, but something or someone was blocking it.

Pressing his ear against the door, he could hear Jackie muttering and clanging around with water running in the background. The clamor was quickly followed by a blood-curdling scream and a sickening thud. Then there was silence. After a couple of minutes of yelling and beating on the door so hard that he bloodied his own fist, Pete started using his body as a battering ram, finally managing to budge it open just enough to peek through with one eye.

What Pete saw inside that shitter could never be unseen. There lay Jackie, collapsed in a pool of bright red blood which was already seeping out beneath the door, his head apparently having struck the toilet. Pete shouted at the bartender to call 911, ramming the door frantically until he was able to squeeze inside. The full horror of the remaining scene instantly made him retch. In a macabre display of ascetic self-mutilation, a rapidly exsanguinating Jackie still clutched a scalpel in one hand and his own meticulously excised testicles in the other. Evidently, he'd attempted to exorcise his own demons.

Once the paramedics arrived, Pete made his way through the resultant commotion to see if he could find Hillary. He was sure she'd want to know about Jackie. But Hillary was nowhere to be seen. She'd been sitting at the bar about an hour earlier, drinking heavily and chatting up a quiet shifty-eyed stranger.

Pete remembered seeing a strange van at load in, a big white one with tinted windows, out of state plates, and a conspicuously absent Confederate flag bumper sticker. It stood out like a sore thumb amongst all the muscle cars and Ford F-150s. Back in the springtime, he'd joined the search party when that poor girl, the one who'd gotten her head lopped off, went missing. Although there'd been reports of a similar white van in that area, her killer was never apprehended. Quickly putting two and two together, Pete bolted toward the parking lot.

Outside, the air was thick and dusk was closing in. In the waning twilight, Pete spotted the van backing out of its space. A sudden flash caught his eye. Lying in the gravel by the van's passenger door was one of Hillary's signature silver stilettos. Pete lunged reflexively, grabbing onto the door's handle with both hands, breaking off the side view mirror in the process.

Without warning, two police cruisers whipped into the parking lot, blocking the van's exit. Two cops jumped out and ran right past the van. They were there to restore order inside Junior's, and since they'd assumed whatever was transpiring over at that van probably involved liquor and a skanky bimbo, they didn't concern themselves with it.

Meanwhile, Pete smashed open the passenger window using the severed mirror. Inside, Hillary was slumped in her seat, looking as if she'd been drugged. In a fit of panicky rage, Pete hoisted himself up into the van through the shattered window, and went straight for the driver's throat. The van surged and halted, then surged again violently over a parking stop.

Pete's immediate instinct was to get Hillary and himself out of the van as quickly as possible. Temporarily stunning the driver with an amateur choke hold, he unlatched the door, kicked it open, and pulled Hillary out to safety. He squared her away, then charged back toward the van. The driver, who appeared mildly dazed but still cocky, gunned the engine and took off.

According to police, in a neighboring town that same night, a man driving a white van was found dead, the apparent victim of the elusive predatory tweaker, known as Waffles, whose calling card was a Dirty Cupcake. The man had seemingly lured Waffles into his van with a bottle of Robitussin and a bucket of Colonel Sanders. Surprisingly astute for a robotripping meth whore, Waffles suspected malfeasance the moment she spied the unsavory assortment of paraphernalia stashed in the back of his van.

Eyeing rolls of duct tape and plastic sheeting, zip ties, and a muddy shovel, she correctly pegged him as the Flint River Butcher. With great consternation, Waffles reached for her purse. Lucky for her, the killer was too distracted masticating his drumstick and boning her in the ass to take notice. "Here ya go, baby. Fuck me with this," she purred, brandishing a neon pink dildo.

In a single stroke, the Flint River Butcher went from pushing fudge to pushing up daisies. The million volt jolt he received was just enough to rupture an occult aneurysm buried deep inside his brain. The shock killed him instantly.

After making sure he was dead, Waffles calmly plucked a small turd from her rectal vault, pressed it firmly into his bellybutton, and decorated it with fried chicken sprinkles from the bottom of the KFC bucket. She then replaced the cap on the Eve's Ammo Super Deluxe Dildo/Stun Gun combo she'd received as a welcome gift at the women's shelter. Click. Big Wendy and Miss Dolly took their call to Christian service very seriously. This innovative new line of double duty defense devices, dispensed free of charge to all whores of Babylon, was their contribution to women's advocacy.

Despite EMS's attempts at resuscitation, Jackie was pronounced dead on the scene due to his self-inflicted wounds. Right before he died, he'd had a brief lucid interval during which he repeatedly murmured the word "eunuch." Unicorn, eunuch. Hmmmm. Given Jackie's nature, and the nature of his injury, he probably got what he deserved.

Hillary skipped town after her brush with death. Every once in a blue moon, she'll send a postcard to Junior's with a California postmark and no return address. The cards themselves are different each time but her one word message, inscribed in girly script with pink ink, is always the same: "Saved." The last card to arrive included her last name, Rutledge. Pete had no idea what Hillary Rutledge was doing with herself, but he understood her message. Wherever she was, he hoped she was happy and that her new life was as opportune and easy as she'd always been.

Perhaps Jackie's auto-castration was his singular act of contrition, his peanut-induced psychosis a metaphor for a penance gone terribly wrong. When you connect all the dots, Jackie's sacrifice was Hillary's salvation. Hillary and Pete were dark horse heroes, fearless and genuine, their flaws redemptive. Hell, even Big Wendy and Miss Dolly got in on that action, a tad self-righteous maybe, but righteous champions of the unclean nonetheless. Vice may be the spice of life but maybe life's the real vice. It takes a good heart to triumph over moral decay, but an even better one to live like there's no tomorrow. The down-trodden, the exploited, the so-called immoral: they're full of stories like that. And this was one of them.

Part I: Opportune By Design
Part II: Proclivity
Part III: Transgression
Part IV: Mayhem
Part V: When In Doubt, Cut It Out

Original artwork by WP Mazur, MD

Saturday, May 30, 2015

When In Doubt, Cut It Out

Jackie did such a bang up job assisting Dr. Dongbang, he could practically perform the procedures himself. During his training, he developed a man crush on Dr. William Stewart Halsted, the aristocratic 19th century surgeon who pioneered the principles of modern surgical technique while jacked up on cocaine and morphine. Jackie's mantra quickly became "When in doubt, cut it out."

If only Jackie could amputate his failure to impress Thurgood along with that aggravating crinkling in his left ear. He'd become convinced those satanic peanuts were conspiring to haunt him, orchestrating his demise as they deliberately cascaded across the crinkly cellophane, one by one, straight into the hopper of that wretched kosher peanut butter machine. Dr. Dongbang assured him it was only earwax.

When Dr. Dongbang was offered a prestigious medical directorship for a 49 bed hospital in Macon County, Georgia, he took Jackie with him. As for Big Wendy, she stayed behind in Birmingham where she and Miss Dolly (of all people) founded Eve's Ammo, a successful home party business that outfitted Christ's defenseless female apostles with personal alarms, stun guns, survival knives, and pepper spray.

Much to Jackie's chagrin, Montezuma was devoid of porn shops and strip clubs, but Junior's Flim Flam Room provided access to an even greater pleasure: Hillary's legendary blow jobs. Hot damn, that girl could suck the chrome off a tail pipe. According to Jackie, Hillary's talent for gently handling delicate tissues was right up there with Dr. Halsted's, only she got props for going commando and having a nice rack.

But Hillary's heart really wasn't in whoring. The only child of an apocalypse-obsessed womanizing preacher, she'd cut her teeth on fire and brimstone. While Daddy busied himself spreading his seed and The Good News, Mama stayed holed up in the bed with her jug of jungle juice and a permanent migraine.

Hillary was a lonely, well-behaved child who always did well in school. To her despair, she developed much earlier than the other girls, giving her an instant slut reputation she'd done nothing to deserve.

More than anything, Hillary loved animals. Her dream of becoming a veterinarian was dashed when Daddy's congregation sued him for conspiracy, extortion, fraud, and money laundering, leaving her family destitute. Daddy was incarcerated, Mama was involuntarily committed, and Hillary ended up quitting high school and giving head at Junior's. From Hillary's perspective, it was a good thing Jackie's mad stacks were even more generous than his loathsome spooge. Were it not for that, she'd have left Montezuma a long time ago.

The crinkling in Jackie's ear was increasingly accompanied by the droning, thought-like voices of Thurgood and Dr. Halsted, which at first were low in volume and critical in nature but quickly escalated into threatening commands.  Clearly disturbed, Jackie grew more and more reclusive, at times failing to report to work. It wasn't long before he stopped coming to work altogether. He just sort of disappeared.

Fly fishermen occasionally reported catching glimpses of a strange man wandering the banks of the Flint. These sightings always attracted a lot of attention because earlier that spring, a turkey hunter and his son discovered the decapitated corpse of a young local woman lying in a shallow grave down by the river.

Several months passed. One evening, as the midsummer sun was starting to set, Jackie stumbled into Junior's. He was wearing nothing but a scrub top and a pair of Crocs, mumbling incoherently--something about a unicorn--and dribbling a steady rivulet of blood as he retreated in zombie-like fashion to the men's crapper.

Part I: Opportune By Design
Part II: Proclivity
Part III: Transgression
Part IV: Mayhem
Part VI (conclusion): Dark Horse Heroes

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Part IV of Opportune By Design

Shortly after Jackie was released from Thurgood's employ for having irretrievably desecrated both the kosher peanut butter machine and the employee restroom, Otto was busted for tax evasion. Regretfully, he'd always paid Big Wendy under the table, so her name wasn't actually anywhere on his books. Oops. So much for mea culpa, tua culpa. Seeing as how Otto'd be chillaxing in Club Fed for at least the next three years, she went ahead and got herself new job keeping the books for Dr. Suck-chin Dongbang, a Korean urologist.

Dr. Dongbang seemed nice enough for a Buddhist, although Big Wendy suspected he'd barbecue his own dog in a New York minute. Several months after she started working for him, Candace, his switch-hitting surgical technician, walked off the job during a particularly arduous penile enhancement, quite literally leaving Dr. Dongbang holding his own dick as well as the ginormous one he'd just fashioned of silicone.

Violet nearly lost her shit when she found out Jackie was living on the dole. Almost. Thanks to those daily milk and molasses enemas she was so partial to, her rectum was about as empty as her soul. In Violet's mind, the only thing worse in life than pecans or small children was a homeless slacker. It was with great reluctance that she allowed Jackie to move back home, especially since she'd converted his bedroom into a cash-in-advance colon hydrotherapy studio where she gleefully irrigated toxic poop shoots on her days off. Considering Birmingham's recent influx of yuppie granolasexuals, all of whom had irritable bowels, she could hardly keep up with the demand.

Jackie's plans for his immediate future involved planting his flatulent ass in front of the TV. Needless to say, Violet wasn't about to have him jizzing all over her good furniture, molesting her CPR* manikins, and scaring her intestinally-challenged customers away, so she started bringing Couch Potato to work with her. She'd quit traveling a while back and was now working as an operating room scrub nurse.

Operating rooms are notorious for attracting personality disorders from across all healthcare disciplines, and Violet was certainly no exception. Just as Hillary's special kind of mayhem was uniquely indigenous to her, so was the barely contained chaos within Violet's OR.** It was like the wild west pretending to be civilized.

Instead of outlaws and gunslingers, there were surgeons throwing tantrums and hurling instruments, arguing with each other over whose case was more urgent while yelling at the anesthesiologist on call for keeping their patients alive, scrub nurses terrorizing medical students who'd violated the sterile field, sleep-deprived surgical interns who looked disinterested, comatose residents holding retractors, hungover techs closing incisions, scalpels that were never quite sharp enough, scissors that couldn't cut paper, circulators incessantly badmouthing the recovery room staff, endless elective add ons, perpetually faulty equipment, and excruciatingly slow turnovers. The only thing everyone agreed on was that when something went wrong, it was probably anesthesia's fault.

Well, lo and behold, the moment Jackie first lumbered into the OR, his shit came together. Colpo di fulmine, as Tony the Italian OR pharmacist would say. Lightning struck, and it was love at first sight. So many interesting bodily fluids and toys, not to mention the partially concealed nudity and rotating parade of foxy anesthesia nurses.

On Violet's dime, Jackie enrolled in a local community college surgical technician program. Nine months later, he graduated sorta cum laude. Big Wendy always did have a soft spot for Jackie, so when she heard from bubblegutted Miss Dolly that he'd just earned his certificate, she recruited him to help dissect Dr. Dongbang's dicks.

Part I: Opportune By Design
Part II: Proclivity
Part III: Transgression
Part V: When In Doubt, Cut It Out
Part VI (conclusion): Dark Horse Heroes

*CPR=cardiopulmonary resuscitation
**OR=operating room
artwork by W.P. Mazur, M.D.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Part III of Opportune By Design

Being a Priester and all, albeit a distantly related one, Violet's disdain for pecans was viewed by her odious spawn as an egregious aberration. Why, Jackie had nothing but mad love for nuts of all kinds, particularly the pair corralled within his feculent plum-smugglers, suspended beneath the ever-tumescent pork sword he polished habitually. He really elevated the art of holding the sausage hostage to a whole new level.

Unfortunately, the kosher peanut butter grinder at Thurgood Peebles' natural grocery was as attractive to a then-pubescent Jackie Priester as it was for Birmingham's orthodox Jew crowd, so much so that he went and got himself a job there. Grinding and extrusion were amongst his favorite things and warm peanut butter sure did make for some sweet lube. Now spooging was finger-lickin' good. Given that Jackie's only real parental figure had been Smelly Mrs. Kelly, Thurgood quickly became his hero.

Thurgood wasn't a Jew, but according to Miss Dolly Sasser over at The Primitive Sovereign Free Will Fellowship of Evangelical Righteous Redemption, he'd been living in sin with that Jewess harlot, Sharon Nussbaum, since sometime in the late 70s. "Fornicators," she'd mutter under her breath while perusing the aisles inside Thurgood's. But Thurgood Peebles' Wicked Den of Transgression was the only store in town that stocked Exquisite Exit, her favorite laxative, so although by shopping there she was knowingly violating 1 Corinthians 5:9 in which the Apostle Paul had made it abundantly clear that she should not be consorting with sexually immoral people, Miss Dolly was able to rationalize that the suffering she'd experience from unmitigated constipation did indeed necessitate her patronage, thereby making her a martyr instead of a sinner. Absolved by her own generous self-sacrifice and occasional bouts of molten diarrhea, she trusted Christ would abide.

Sharon's parents were peanut farmers in Sumter County, Georgia. Upon learning of the growing demand for kosher-certified peanuts in the South after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, they'd emigrated from a kibbutz in Israel and bought a farm near Plains. Sharon and Thurgood met while working the concession stand at the Pleasant Valley nudist colony close to Dawsonville. Except for the hairy mole on her right tit and his uncircumcised schlong, they were both perfect 10s. Oh, and Thurgood also happened to be black, which greatly upset Sharon's parents at first, but once he agreed to ritual circumcision, they seemed OK with him banging their daughter. They even helped finance his grocery store and supplied the kosher peanuts when he and Sharon decided to move to Birmingham.

Raw peanuts in the shell don't require special certification, but shelled ones do. Depending on what type of Jew you happened to be, you might or might not be allowed to partake of peanuts or peanut butter at Passover. Thurgood was sure of one thing, though: most orthodox Jews in Birmingham did consume peanuts and peanut butter at some point during the year. So, the peanut butter machine was kind of a big deal because back then, there was no such thing as freshly ground kosher peanut butter and furthermore, kids in those days didn't have allergies to peanuts, gluten, eggs, yeast, dairy, tap water, refined sugar, food dyes, air, and high fructose corn syrup like they do now.

Jackie's main task was to keep that machine lubricated, an easy undertaking for even the most dimwitted of greaseball wankers. The small quantities of peanut butter yielded during the lubrication process ensured a never-ending supply of piece grease which emboldened Jackie to baste the ham even while he was on the clock. One afternoon, Thurgood summoned Jackie, who was busy beating off in the bathroom, to execute a new task. "Boy, I need you to fill up this here hopper with some a them special peanuts that's been sanctified by Rabbi Feldman, " he instructed. "They's marked 'U' with a li'l circle 'round it." In his self-coitus interruptus daze, Jackie mistook a rat turd for the symbol Thurgood had specified, hypnotized by the rhythmic crinkling of the bag as an avalanche of iniquitous peanuts tumbled into the hopper.

Part I: Opportune By Design
Part II: Proclivity
Part IV: Mayhem
Part V: When In Doubt, Cut It Out
Part VI (conclusion): Dark Horse Heroes

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Part II of Opportune By Design

Jackie Priester was the bastard son of Miss Violet Priester, a traveling nurse who strongly believed in the unproven health benefits of daily milk and molasses enemas, and Otto Hoffhein, an equally depraved Austrian ex-pat and small appliance salesman with a proclivity for Little Debbies and the cache of used sanitary napkins he'd clandestinely pilfered from Big Wendy, his corpulent eternally-menstruating bookkeeper.

During one of their cannabis-fueled outdoor games of naked tag, Big Wendy went bucknutty on Otto after he'd given her a good Barbasol foaming and then tried to escape by jumping over a hedgerow. She gave chase, leaping into the air and levitating momentarily like a deranged zeppelin before plummeting at warp speed atop his outstretched leg at precisely the moment he'd finished negotiating the hedge, crushing his right knee so badly that he now walked with a permanent limp, his right leg having been surgically rendered shorter than the left.

Nevertheless, Otto remained optimistically opportunistic. Despite his dysfunctional relationship with Big Wendy, he chose to focus on its only positive aspect, namely unlimited access to her discarded Kotex pads. Quite frankly, he found them irresistible. He sequestered them safely amidst expired Star Crunches and Oatmeal Creme Pies in the bottom drawer of an inconspicuous file cabinet. On payday afternoons, Otto would fondle the besmirched pads in bare-handed admiration, dutifully replenishing those that had lost their whang with fresh sticky ones he'd retrieved from the feminine hygiene disposal bin located in the employee restroom.

Otto and Violet often left Jackie in the care of their housekeeper, Mrs. Kelly, a frumpy chain-smoker who sported a mouthful of rotten teeth and occasionally stole hams from the deep freezer out in their garage. There was one morning when Jackie awakened to find Mrs. Kelly passed out in his bed. The stale air surrounding her smelt of cabbage and poop breath, but he had a solution for that. He'd always enjoyed the crisp, invigorating scent and pleasant hallucinations provided by the orange Glade Mrs. Kelly kept in the upstairs bathroom. It erased all traces of her from olfaction. On that particular morning, Jackie inhaled so much of it that he emptied the can. When he encountered her standing at the foot of the stairwell, screeching at him to come down for breakfast, he calmly informed her, "Mrs. Kelly, you have a hole in your head."

Violet was distantly related to the pecan-peddling Priesters of Fort Deposit, Alabama. The only thing she cared for less than pecans was small children. She'd met Otto while shopping for a hotplate in his downtown Birmingham appliance shop, just across the street from her nursing school dormitory. They secretly met twice for coffee in a neighboring town. After their third encounter, Violet permitted Otto to fuck her up the ass, partly because he'd reported a severe allergy to latex, but mostly due to the fact that Violet really did despise kids. There was also Nurse Grimley to consider. Because of that old battleaxe, their rendezvous had to be kept on the QT.

Nurse Grimley, a priggish prude who dually functioned as nursing advisor and house mother, ruled the dorms with an iron fist, strictly forbidding her students to masturbate or entertain male visitors under any circumstances. She discouraged dating entirely until the end of the last semester. According to her, any infraction--especially of a sexual nature--was grounds for immediate dismissal. Given Violet's predilection for rectal stimulation, Otto's sensitivity to latex, and Nurse Grimley's zero tolerance policy on gravidity, she determined that cornholing was the most reasonable contraceptive option for satisfying both her carnal impulses and her desire to graduate.

Part I: Opportune By Design
Part III: Transgression
Part IV: Mayhem
Part V: When In Doubt, Cut It Out
Part VI (conclusion): Dark Horse Heroes

Friday, May 22, 2015

Opportune By Design

                                                              Part I

Like one of Samuel Rumph's prized heirloom Elberta peaches, Hillary was also a Macon County native, only she reeked of a special kind of mayhem that was uniquely indigenous to her. She gave the best blow jobs in Montezuma for just $25 a pop.

Tonight was no different than any other night over at Junior's Flim Flam Room, except Hillary wasn't quite caught up getting her drink on. Rock solid booze buzzes were a prerequisite for fellatio, especially considering the smelly jackasses who frequented that joint. She shuddered, thinking of Jackie Priester and his farty shit-britches. Gawd, he stunk to high heaven. She suspected he was well aware of his vile funk because he always paid her double. Sighing heavily, she redirected her attention to the nearly empty bottle in front of her. One more shot of Jack Daniels, and she'd be good to go.

Hillary's sturdy frame easily accommodated a few extra pounds of whiskey legacy weight, and despite all of her vices, she'd never touched a cigarette, so she still looked pretty good for a broad who'd just turned thirty-six. She really didn't look a day over 32. Regardless of the weather in middle Georgia, her attire never changed: tight skirt, even tighter shirt, no bra, no panties. Oddly enough, that ease of access afforded her a sense of clarity and control. The sweetness of her round face and mess of dirty blonde curls were doll-like, offsetting her overall crudeness. She was at once an eyesore and a sight for sore eyes.

Pete Overholt was the frontman for Lazy Swamp Ambush, Junior's southern blues-rock house band. He sat at the bar, nursing his store bought bottle of mineral water, waiting for the rest of the crew to show up for load in and contemplating Hillary, who was already three sheets to the wind and giving fat Jackie an over-the-pants in a dark corner near the rear exit. Raised to be a proper Montezuman Mennonite, Pete was now an outlaw, an excommunicated ex-husband, still wrestling with the fresh anarchy of his nascent identity. Hillary provided a welcome distraction.

Barely visible in dusky silhouette, Jackie's eyes rolled heavenward as Hillary kneaded his dank junk, her free hand preoccupied with an astonishingly elaborate ritual swiping of lip gloss. The dim red glow coming from the exit sign highlighted her ample décolletage. Fleshy and indignant, her left boob had a habit of working its way out of the flimsy halter top that was struggling to hold it captive, simultaneously alluring and revolting like milk you know damn well is spoiled but you go ahead and taste of it anyway.

Although he'd partaken of Hillary's reasonably priced services on several occasions, Pete couldn't recall if she had a last name. Had he just never thought to ask? Watching Hillary in action, he quickly concluded that both her wardrobe and anonymity were opportune by design, easily forgotten indelible misfortunes, less an oversight than an intentional convenience.

Part II: Proclivity
Part III: Transgression
Part IV: Mayhem
Part V: When In Doubt, Cut It Out
Part VI (conclusion): Dark Horse Heroes

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Special Just for Me

Me & Chester, contemplating the medicinal value of these 'shrooms.
Did you know that springtime weather actually has medicinal properties? I'm emerging from a very serious and humbling bout of influenza, trying to regain my former level of physical strength after losing about 8 or 9 pounds, and still struggling with the aftermath of being treated with antibiotics for a secondary bacterial sinus infection, bronchitis, and laryngitis. This is the sickest I've been since the night my boys were born at 32 weeks because I had full on Listeria sepsis. Whew! In the process I've discovered that Atlanta's beautiful sunny blue skies and crisp morning air are the best remedy for lifting my spirits. It's as if each day since my illness is being served up by Mother Nature, special just for me. Even the rainy days are spectacular. Maybe I'm more acutely aware of Nature's offerings right now because of having recently been so sick. Regardless, I've certainly enjoyed being active outside, taking in all the amazingly colorful and fragrant blooms.

Birds do it, bees do it. Apparently, lady bugs do it, too.
Yesterday, I think I must have walked about 7 or 8 miles. After breakfast with Spartacus at Radial Café, I walked over to Chester's house, about half a mile down the road. Chester has very short legs and I'm a fast walker, so we sort of had to find our mutual pace. He knows pretty much every nook and cranny of Kirkwood, and our walk turned into more of an exploration. We ended up in the Kirkwood Urban Forest, which was marshy and swamp-like after the previous day's torrential rain. Both of us got quite dirty and muddy. We saw billowy white puffball shrubs, tiny purple ice flowers, canopies of lavender wisteria, strangely knotted tree trunks, and these two ladybugs getting it on. As we walked, we talked about so many things. The topics we covered went from mental illness to our relationships with our parents to parenting adult children, and ended with a discussion of what it means to be empathetic. In the meantime, Spartacus texted to say he was picking up some sandwiches at the neighborhood deli. I asked him to please pick up a turkey reuben on rye for Chester and a green veggie wrap with sriracha veganaise for me. Yum!

What a day for a daydream, custom-made for these daydreamin' boys.
Famished and a little sweaty after our long morning of exploration and conversation, Chester and I high-tailed it back to my house for a picnic lunch in the park. While waiting for Spartacus, Chester and I sipped cold cucumber mint water, munched on grapes, and continued our conversation. He is excited about a new lady friend, and I couldn't be happier for him. She lives out of state, in the town where they both grew up, and he's going to be visiting her soon. Hopefully, she'll come down here and I'll get to meet her in person. 

Spartacus arrived with the sandwiches, a bag of blue corn chips, and some cold drinks. I packed those into a cooler, along with the rest of the grapes and some lemon hummus, grabbed a big blanket, and we all walked down to the park across the street to enjoy our little feast. I found a shady spot for us to sit, but after lunch, we decided the shade was a little too cool. So, Chester pulled our blanket beneath the gently shining sun and a lazily soaring hawk, and we stretched ourselves out for a post-prandial nap. It was positively heavenly.

As I mentioned a few paragraphs back, the day before yesterday was one massive thunderstorm. In the evening, the rain was so bad that the Atlanta airport was closed to all incoming flights, which meant that our dinner plans with my friend, Bryan, who was flying in from Chicago for a weekend conference, were off because his plane was diverted to Birmingham. Quel dommage! 

Jerney & Mom, staying dry inside the aquarium
Earlier that morning, my mom and my niece, Jerney, made the perilous trek from Acworth to Atlanta so we could visit the Georgia Aquarium. It started out a little rough. Because of the storms, Mom's drive had been treacherous and slow, and we were over an hour late for our scheduled ticket time. We'd forgotten about the fact that this week was spring break. Needless to say, the aquarium was literally a sardine can, packed full of throngs of people, making it difficult to navigate and quite anxiety-producing to boot. Mom's had bilateral knee replacements and now walks with a cane.  I was surprised that there really wasn't any decent handicapped parking close to the facility, so Mom did a lot more walking than she's used to. Getting a wheelchair would have been an option, but the place was so crowded and frenetic, we decided to see a few exhibits, and then return to my neighborhood for a quiet lunch. Initally, Jerney wasn't enthralled with the idea of anything other than fast food. But, by the time we got to the little café, the rain had stopped and the sun was beginning to peek out from the clouds, so we got a table outside. I'm pleased to report that Jerney ate every bite of her grilled cheese sandwich. 

I've thought a lot about my mom since then. For the past several years now, her life has revolved around the care of this sweet little girl because my brother, Jerney's father, has been in and out of prison. Jerney adores her grandma and is extremely attached to her. In many ways, my mom has been the only real constant in her life. She is definitely Jerney's primary source of stability. Mom doesn't have to do the things she's done for Jerney, my brother, or Jerney's mother. I think it's what she wants to do, and maybe also what she feels she needs to do. Personally, I think she qualifies for sainthood. 

My mom, the first love of my life (L: me, center, my sister, Emi)
Last weekend, which happened to be Easter, Mom expressed feeling disappointed that she hadn't been invited by any of us for Easter dinner. Because Spartacus and I aren't religious, we don't celebrate Easter. In fact, I had completely forgotten that it was Easter. In her email, Mom said she needs to feel special sometimes. In other words, she needs to be reminded of it. This is something I don't really struggle with in life, because my sense of feeling special is internally generated as opposed to coming from an external source. Anyway, after observing Mom and Jerney during our time together on Friday, admiring how tenderly and spontaneously she kissed Jerney's head and bare shoulder, it was very clear to me just how special she is. I remember Mom's kisses, too, and how I reveled in her undivided attention. I wish she could fully realize the impact she's made, but I can certainly help in reminding her. She was, and still is, the first love of my life, special just for me. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Freedom, My Ass!

It isn't just Texas that's crazy,  Mr. Hastings.
Just as Alcee Hastings, that Florida congressman who recently (and quite awesomely, I might add) messed directly with Texas by referring to it in a House Rules Committee meeting as "a crazy state," I'd argue that anyone who thinks our current profit-driven, multiple insurance payer system of American healthcare is working well is equally crazy.

Hell, it's worse than crazy or inefficient: it's downright uncivilized. Such blasphemy, coming from an American physician, right?

Fear not, though, I'm not going to bore you with my opinions on why the good old US of A would be far better off with a single-payer system like Canada, France, or the UK, you know those uncivilized countries that actually provide universal healthcare coverage for their citizens, paid for through the tax base (which is something we could easily implement if American medicine wasn't all about the $). Oops, I just said and totally meant that. Guess that makes me a socialist, LOL.

But seriously, anyone who can't admit we've got some glaring problems to fix has clearly never had to care for a sick family member.

Me and my handsome rock star sons.
Those of you who know me or have read my blog know that my twin sons both suffer from cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that affects primarily the lungs and pancreas, the median life expectancy for which is currently around 40 years of age. Daily treatment for this disease consists of multiple inhaled and oral medications, inhaled and intravenous antibiotics, chest physiotherapy, a nutritionally dense high calorie diet, exercise, and hospitalization for pulmonary exacerbations. In other words, treatment ain't cheap or easy. Their medications alone cost thousands of dollars each month, an expense which is mostly covered by our insurance.

Fortunately, we're insured through my husband's employer, who pays 100% of all employee's premiums and provides significant reimbursement for our deductibles. That's all well and good, but what's going to happen when Nick and Rory turn 26 and can no longer be covered by our insurance? Patriotic Americans proudly refer to our country as the land of the free. Here's a question for ya. How free a society are we when job and career choices for so many of us, including my musician sons, are limited by whether or not we can afford insurance coverage?

Yep, that's my unretouched ass.
Freedom, my ass! Let me tell you a little story about how it's taken nearly a year for Humana, our insurer, to approve a standard of care chest physiotherapy device for my sons.

Our journey begins in early spring of 2014. That's when we first learned of the Afflovest, a completely self-contained, battery-operated chest physiotherapy vest which permits unrestricted freedom of ambulation whilst one is actively using it. What an amazing technological breakthrough!

Given that Nick and Rory have spent years of their lives, tethered to an older model vest and a chair for at least an hour per day, the Afflovest presented a real quality of life-enhancing opportunity. Being able to do other things during chest physiotherapy, like walking, eating, and grooming, not to mention the fact that the Afflovest can be used and charged in a car, would permit a little more time for restorative sleep, convenience while traveling and camping, and improved compliance with treatments. Wait a minute...eating while doing treatments? That would be amazeballs, given that the old vests routinely made Nick and Rory vomit if used within 2 hours following a meal.

After reading rave reviews of the Afflovest on other CFer's blogs, I checked to see if the device was covered under our Humana plan. Although it was covered, the only Afflovest provider in our region was considered out-of network. According to Humana, the provider would have to waive its out-of-network reimbursement. Why Humana couldn't have just designated the only regional provider for Afflovests as in-network is beyond me.

Nick's instrumental angry tweet
Anyhow, I contacted Scott, the Afflovest rep, and was delighted to learn that the waiver had been approved. I figured it'd all be downhill from there. In late spring, Nick and Rory's pulmonologist and respiratory therapist submitted a request for the Afflovests, the first of many. Humana repeatedly denied these requests, asserting that the Afflovest was a convenience, not a necessity, as well as being a duplicate device.

I gotta be honest...this kind of crap makes my blood boil. The people denying such claims aren't physicians; they're uneducated flunkies, armed with algorithms. Maybe a little negative publicity would help things along? #inhumana #unethical, #humanasucks, anyone?

Having recently discovered that large companies really do pay attention to their Twitter feeds, I launched an angry tweet campaign against Humana. At first, it was like magic! One minute I'd be tweeting my health insurance-related discontent, and the next, a very apologetic customer service would contact me, promising to thoroughly review and investigate our case. In the meantime, Nick and Rory's pulmonologist and respiratory therapist forwarded letters of medical necessity to Humana on their behalf. Confidence was high, but dwindled as each successive interaction hit the brick wall of rejection. Three weeks before Christmas, I was about to throw in the tweet towel. And then, Nick--who rarely even uses Twitter--chirped up and tweeted his rage against the healthcare machine. This time, Humana listened.

Spartacus & Jerney, toasting Christmas with green juice.
A Humana customer service rep contacted me, advising me to construct a letter of appeal that would "tug at the reviewer's heartstrings" and assuring me that no further documentation or letters of medical necessity would be needed. Say whaaat? This struck me as odd, especially coming from someone employed by Humana. He basically spoon-fed me every detail I needed to include in my letter, from addressing quality of life issues to the specific problems Nick and Rory encounter with their current vests to reminding Humana of its advertised goals to provide patient-centered care and improve community health by 20 percent by 2020. Naturally, I was in the midst of holiday shopping madness at IKEA during this conversation. I'm sure everyone in lighting and textiles heard me groaning at the very thought of having to compose such a letter.

On December 20, I sent my thoughtfully composed, evidence-based letter--complete with research references to support my position that the Afflovest is a necessity, not a convenience--to Humana via certified mail. It wasn't an easy letter to write, especially paragraphs like this that most parents can't imagine having to draft:

Optimal lung function in cystic fibrosis doesn’t just impact quality of life, it factors significantly into quantity of life. In other words, initiating therapy with the Afflovest means my sons would no longer have to choose between quality of life and quantity of life: they’d be afforded a fighting chance for enhancing both. 

The Afflovests are here!!!!
On January 5, I received a call from Scott. After so many prior disappointments, I was afraid to answer. "Humana has approved the vests," he said. My heart literally skipped a beat, and I was overcome by a rush of accomplishment and relief: a palpable decompression. Needless to say, Nick and Rory were equally thrilled with the news. 

Since the vests were on back order, we had to wait about a month for them to ship out. One thing CF teaches you is patience. I mean, we've spent the boys' lifetime, waiting for better treatment and hoping for a cure, so what's a month in the scheme of things, right?

Last Wednesday, as I was driving home from work, I got a text message from Rory, who works at The UPS Store. There was a photo of some boxes. I was like, "Huh, why is he taking photos of boxes at work?" The text box that followed read: "vests." Duh! I'd totally forgotten that we'd specified the vests should be shipped to his workplace since no one at our houses would be home to sign for them.

And there it was, in living color, the bright blue and yellow vest we'd fought so hard for.

Rory, rockin' his Afflovest.

This morning, the first thing I saw on Facebook was Rory's status update: "The new Afflovest rocks!" Then, I noticed that Nick had messaged me late last night, telling me, "The Afflovest is so cool. It's like freedom!"

Ah, yes, freedom...

Clearly, Nick and Rory don't take their freedom for granted. Being liberated from their clunky and restrictive old vests has got to feel pretty damn liberating.

But, the hands of time keep moving forward. Soon, they'll be 26 and too old to remain on our insurance plan. That'll be another battle for another day, and believe me, I'm prepared to go to war for them.

In the land of the free, being a musician and having health care coverage shouldn't be mutually exclusive, but unfortunately, they are.

So, until some real freedom happens, and by that I mean single-payer, publicly funded, universal health coverage for all American citizens, I'll proudly just keep baring my unpatriotic lily-white ass.