Nerd Rant: Wolverine; Forget The Geneva Convention, Let’s Talk About The Health Code

To paraphrase Julie Andrews, let’s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start. When you count you begin with 1, 2, 3; when some unknown individual violates the health code you begin with Wol-ver-ine.

If you are unfamiliar with Wolverine, the basic premise is that he has the ability to heal very quickly. This ability allowed him to survive a surgery that coated his skeleton with super-strong metal. My first point has nothing to do with the health code, but why on earth would you need a metal coated skeleton if your bones can immediately knit back together? Anyway, Wolverine has massive claws that somehow reside within his hands, if the movies are to be believed. These claws may or may not have been present before the skeleton augmentation surgery. They come out when he needs them, somehow, and are the source of his many health concerns.

Wolverine can be seen clawing through many substances you wouldn’t want in your body. Metal doors, asphalt, helicopters and their requisite fluids and fuels, and various beasts, creatures and common-folk. Wolverine cannot be seen scrubbing or even wiping down his claws before retracting them. This is concerning and there are a few options here. First is the idea that perhaps his skin makes such a tight seal around the claws that offending matter is wiped off as the claws retract. Ideally his skin would then heal closed before particulate could invade the skin leaving glops of gook or grit, depending upon what he has clawed, between the knuckles. If this is so, he is never shown wiping between his knuckles. The other option is that the stuff makes it into his system on the claws and if this is the case, it indicates that Wolverine has antiseptic blood. Unless they simply don’t bother to address it, Wolverine never suffers from infection after retracting his claws. He must have terrible hand-acne if this option is correct. If all that grit and particulate make it under his skin, his body must be constantly working to push bits of doors, poles and people back up through the surface of his flesh.

The most egregious violation that Wolverine commits is the disrespect he shows for the people and creatures he claws and the teammates fighting beside him. Even if he has antiseptic blood, it doesn’t mean that victims of his clawings know this. And let’s say it is a huge battle with many, many clawings. Does he pause between attacks to sanitize his claws so that he isn’t spreading potentially infected blood from victim to victim? And let’s also say that he is clawing to kill and isn’t concerned with infecting those he’s fighting. Does he just assume that everyone else has antiseptic blood? As he’s viciously slashing un-friendly folk, is he paying attention to the blood-borne pathogens he’s potentially flinging about in a manner that is much more intense than conventional war-time mayhem?

It has been said by some, and refuted by others, that Wolverine had bone claws before his skeleton surgery. Perhaps when he allegedly fought in the Civil War, this wasn’t an issue. Bone is porous to an extent. Perhaps the claws used to absorb the very blood they shed for neutralization by his internal organs. If this is the case my previous point is moot. He doesn’t realize the danger he is placing others in. HIV and tetanus may mean nothing to him, and he may not even realize he’s flinging these things about. Still, I’m sure those of us who actively avoid infections hope and pray that, one day soon, OSHA, EPA and maybe even PETA get together and educate Wolverine on modern health and safety concerns. Maybe even some sensitivity training is in order. He needs to consider that not everyone is a giant walking Germ-X factory and the true wolverines from which he derives his name may not wish to be besmirched by an inconsiderate maniac.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy the superheroes of your choice despite their downfalls. After all, they’re just as super-human as the next individual.

A don’t…follow in their footsteps. Unless you have money and are a Batman fan

 

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Reflections on Death and the Burial of a Strange Man

My wife and I spent the weekend visiting the graves of our respective grandparents for some reason. It got me to thinking about a lot of things. Mainly, I considered the death traditions we celebrate and the secondly it got me to thinking about the manner in which I’d like to be laid to rest. If you are sensitive to conversations regarding death and interment, you might want to seek reading material elsewhere. My sense of humor is less than sympathetic in this regard. I think it’s a coping mechanism. Still, it could be offensive. Consider yourself warned. Proceed at your own risk.

It is strange the way we commemorate our dearly departed. We generally either put them in a box in the ground with a stone to mark the spot or burn the body and dispose of the ashes in a treasured location or store them on a mantelpiece. We visit the resting places of our relatives to reflect and place tokens. It seems, to me at least, a more meaningful tradition is to visit the places my loved ones lived and laughed and loved rather than the plots in which they were buried. My wife and I did this, also, on the way to the respective cemeteries. We drove past our grandparents’ old houses and various other places of interest in their lives. I found this much more satisfying than marveling at the fact that I soon stood over the resting places of their remains. I suppose I can see how being close to their mortal leavings can provide a sense of closeness with their eternal being.

All that aside, I began to think that if people are going to visit my resting place after I’m gone, I’d like to give them a show. I want my sense of humor to live on despite the death of my body.

I’m inspired by some inappropriate 1800’s era tombstones from New England I read about in a book call “Weird New England”. If you enjoy the thought of someone’s body spending eternity underneath a stone engraved with insults, you should check it out. If I’m cremated when I die, and you should stumble upon my urn, you’re likely to read on the side a saying such as “They burned me, then urned me.”, or, “I was incinerated; my mortal remains herein incarcerated. My soul is gone, my ash remains; if I should spill I’d likely stain.”

If I should be buried and I die in some horrific fashion, a photorealistic engraving of my expression at the moment of death will adorn my stone. With or without the engraving, my casket will be buried in quicksand with a thin layer of false turf covering it. There will be a fine-print engraving to encourage one to step closer to read it. The resultant motion of the person thrashing about as they sink into my grave will activate a recording of me either screaming an ear-splitting, pterodactyl-reminiscent scream or moaning a loud and disorienting zombie-esque moan.

Burial or cremation, one thing is sure; you should probably avoid me in death as much as in life unless you enjoy heartless and narcissistic pranks perpetrated upon your person. My poor wife. She’s going to have to be buried next to this.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…think often of your lost loved ones, as they were as well as as they are.

A don’t…feel compelled to visit my grave. You really don’t deserve that.

Daylight Saving Time: Simple Plan to Help the Farmers or Plot to Decrease Population; A Ridiculous Conspiracy Theory That Holds a Bit of Water Despite The Lunacy of the Claim

I have heard, but not bothered to confirm, that Daylight Saving Time was instituted so that farmers would have more daylight hours to spend in their fields. That in itself seems ridiculous. Why should the government control something like that? And what, if farmers were actually the inspiration for the act, does it say about the government’s view of farmers? To me it says that Uncle Sam sees farmers as incapable of managing their time efficiently and in need of federal assistance.

This is ludicrous, but its implications pale in comparison to the ominous “secondary” effect of Daylight Saving Time I recently discovered.

My work is east of my home. I go to work at a reasonable hour; 8:00 a.m. This could be true of many people in our nation. I haven’t bothered to gather statistics, but I’d be willing to bet that a considerable percentage of people drive east at times approaching 8:00 a.m. Before the clocks were moved forward one hour, by government mandate mind you, my drive to work was fairly pleasant. At some moments, I could see a sliver of the sun rising over the horizon, and I found it beautiful. After the time change, however, this same route traversed an hour later is a direct route to the very center of a large celestial body so bright its light cancels out virtually everything in my field of vision. I found it disturbing, painful, irritating and deadly.

I drove 30 mph in a 50 mph zone for nearly a mile because driving directly toward the very sun overpowered other drivers’ brake lights. My eyes were squinted nearly shut because when I opened them everything around me was washed out by the sun’s impressively powerful glare. When the road finally curved a bit, I still couldn’t fully open my eyes because my lids and eyebrows were twitching from overuse, my eyes were watering and burned with intense afterimages.

The next day I wore sunglasses and found them only barely better than driving with my eyes denuded. At least I didn’t have to squint quite as hard.

I checked my facts to an extent. Some of my coworkers also experienced this blindness perpetrated upon us by our own government. Thankfully, we have recently had morning cloud cover and, so far, I haven’t been killed or killed anyone else due to governmental interference in my visual acuity as I drive to work.

In conclusion, it could only be a matter of time before the conspirators win and I rear end someone because they are rendered invisible by the act of driving directly into the sun. Even the aftereffects of a brief foray into the solar realm affect driving ability significantly. Even if that first mile doesn’t kill me, the following miles might as the afterimages continue to erase the traffic in front of me from my sight.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…wear sunglasses after you spring forward. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it helps.

A don’t…lose all faith in the government. Perhaps they were presented with false facts by groups concerned with global de-population. Perhaps the government takes the role of pawn rather than perpetrator in this instance.

 

Plastic Surgery and Severe Diarrhea: Two Topics That May Not Go Well Together

First, a spoiler alert. The next paragraph of this post could be construed as disgusting. If you are squeamish or would rather not read about bodily functions, skip the next paragraph. Please rest assured this is not a journal of my personal bathroom habits. I would never presume to be so crude. It is simply a rant and rave over a possible side effect mentioned in a pharmaceutical commercial. If you’d rather not read about severe diarrhea, skip to the third paragraph.

Severe diarrhea? Is diarrhea not already severe? I would personally classify normal diarrhea that way. How bad does it have to be to substantiate the qualifier “severe” as a medicinal side effect? We all know how bad normal diarrhea is, so I won’t go into any detail on that front, but great googly moogly, what is severe diarrhea? All kinds of pictures pop into my head. Pictures of firemen losing control of fire hoses. Pictures of fountains spewing strongly enough to support the weight of a flailing recumbent human. Pictures of people unwillingly visiting outer space under the power of  fecal propellant rather than rocket fuel. This horrid bio-disastrous event needs a much better name than severe diarrhea. I submit “fecal jet-pack syndrome”.

Now, on to the more decent purposes of this post. I am a plastic surgeon. I am very good at it, but the income is not very good. In fact, I have never been paid for my services, though I am skilled enough to re-attach a severed head.

Don’t get any crazy ideas. I am not a well trained benevolent saver of lives, although I have saved a few lives. Not with plastic surgery though. When I say I am a plastic surgeon, I mean that I operate on literal plastic. Dolls, dinosaurs, board games, kites, cap guns…those kinds of things.

The severed head re-attachment was my very favorite operation. When my daughter was about three, she came running into the living room one day in a panic. “It’s killt!”, she exclaimed. “Daddy, will you help me, it’s gots killt!” I dropped whatever I was doing and, now in my own panic, followed my daughter to her room. I assumed she had somehow stepped on a mouse or some other such horrendous event had occurred. When we entered her room, however, my panic subsided. My daughter ran to the corner of the room, picked up a doll in one hand, its head in the other and brought the pieces to me, nearly in tears, pleading “Its gots killt, Daddy. Will you help it?” I didn’t mean to laugh, but I couldn’t help it. My mirth had the benefit of sending my daughter into a fit of hysterics and headed off the impending emotional melt-down. I performed plastic surgery and the doll beheading became a game. “Daaadddyy…” my daughter would taunt in a sing-song voice as she approached me with yet another decapitated effigy, “its gots kiiiilllt.” After a while it became a little creepy and she thankfully outgrew it, but the first event rewarded me with a beautiful memory and a warm hug.

I guess I get paid for my plastic surgery after all.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…practice plastic surgery, even if you don’t have a license, Just be sure to practice it on plastic people rather than human subjects. If you have children, the rewards of plastic surgery are stupendous.

A don’t…be afraid to comment if you ever experience severe diarrhea. I’ve come down with a case of morbid curiosity and would like to know exactly what makes it so much worse than the regular kind.

Jerkology 101: An Introduction

I, being a reluctant people pleaser and fantasizing unsung hero, have thought a lot about jerks. My distaste with verbal confrontation has inspired me to think deeply about the nature of jerks. I have been writing a field guide to common jerks.

Among my many eccentricities is an obsession with field guides. I have a field guide to fish. A field guide to birds. I have field guides to edible plants, poisonous plants, varmints, pests and survival techniques. If  “field guide” is in the title, I’ll find the money to buy it.

As I live with this obsession, combined with my fear of being verbally harangued by negative entities, it is only logical that I should create a field guide of my own. This field guide is entitled thusly: “Field Guide to Common Jerks”. It used to be “Field Guide to Common North American Jerks” until I realized that the types of jerks are universal. Versions of each jerk can be naturally found on every continent and in every city, town, settlement and village the world ’round.

I have written the field guide almost in its entirety. I had planned to publish it, but I decided that the stories of Sir Donkey Legs would be more marketable due to the originality of the characters (most of the credit is due to my children on that front). I still plan to publish the field guide, as soon I finish publishing my Sir Donkey Legs stories. So far there are two more ready to go, I’m  just waiting on funding.  The field guide will be given to the world. Until then, I offer it, for better or for worse, to my fellow bloggers.

I’ll begin by introducing you to Jerk philosophy. I have found that there are two basic types of Jerks. All of the Sub-Jerks fall under one of the following two categories: Active Jerk and Passive Jerk.

Active Jerks are those who actively try to physically hurt you. In this category you’ll find murderers, Satan himself and rapists. The Passive Jerk category includes such Jerks as those who insult you out of jealousy; cheaters and thieves.(Speaking of thieves, I used to work in a jail with a gentleman who would sing his own version of the classic hymn “Bringing In The Sheaves” which he called “Bringing In The Thieves” any time a new inmate arrived in our facility. If you’ve ever heard the original, you can imagine how humorous his version is in an incarceratory setting.)

This post is simply to introduce you to the idea of the philosophy of Jerkology. When you’re too afraid to confront others, you spend a lot of time thinking horribly of those who’ve insulted or mistreated you. The field guide is my way of passively dealing with that issue. I guess I myself am a form of passive jerk. Future posts will introduce you to the multiple different jerks contained within the guide. Be on the lookout for a book version, complete with illustrations, within the next few years.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…keep up to date on my Jerkology posts to determine whether or not you yourself are some sort of jerk.

A don’t…be a jerk if you can help it. At least not in public. Everyone deserves not to have been a jerk to. If that makes any sense at all.

A Strange Scar and an Injury Lost to the Sands of Time: A Man Reminisces; Hopes He Was Kidnapped By Aliens

I have a scar on my right thumb. I have no idea where it came from.

I have plenty of other scars. I have two on my right hand from building floor trusses. Those clips they use to hold the trusses together can wreak havoc upon your hands if you aren’t careful and I nearly passed out as a result of both injuries but was able to drive on.

Drive on is a curious phrase. It doesn’t mean to me what it may mean to others. It has a connotation relative to operating a motorized vehicle. I instead see it as a means of encouragement during hard times. It was a favorite quote of my Drill Sergeants in basic training. “Drill Sergeant, I’m hungry.” And the Drill Sergeant said “Drive on, soldier.” So I did. I drove on. I completed basic training. I survived one tour of duty in a combat zone.

I have adapted “drive on” to apply to my non-military life. I have a set of dog tags that say “drive on” and I tap them against my chest any time I am facing a stressful situation. It is strange, perhaps, but it helps.

Those last two paragraphs aside, I cannot for the life of me figure out this scar on my thumb. I have asked my dad. He doesn’t remember any childhood injury I had that may have caused it. My truss building scars have nearly faded, but my thumb scar is as clear as ever.

The only solution I can conjure is that I have been abducted by aliens.

There are two options if this is the case.

Option 1: The aliens kidnapped me when I was a child. If this is so, it would explain my unreasonable anxiety about which I have recently posted. My fear of re-abduction is translated by my rational mind as a fear of everything else.

Option 2: I was recently kidnapped, implanted in the thumb, and given false memories of having wondered about the scar for years. This is implausible. They would have given me a memory of the injury that made the scar.

Conclusion: I was abducted by aliens when I was a child.

Most probably this is completely untrue. Despite the implausibility of this, I choose to believe it anyway. It is much more compelling than having slammed my thumb in a car door or something.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…let your imagination run wild. It is mildly ok to imagine unrealistic scenarios.

A don’t…give the men in black any pertinent information, should they ever visit you. They will only use it against you.

Dealing With Stress: A Personal Approach That May Help Others

I am easily stressed by the most mundane thoughts. It doesn’t take much to turn my exuberance into nausea inducing horror. I spent the night after I talked to an Army recruiter wide awake and horrified even though I hadn’t made a decision or signed a paper yet. I once went and looked at a car and again spent a sleepless night worrying about something I had not even committed to yet. I’ve vomited because I was a day late on rent or a credit card payment. I spent an entire week when I was 12 convinced that I had AIDS because I had helped pick up trash on a road side. When I thought of publishing my book it actually crossed my mind that people would despise it so much they’d seek me out and berate me personally and the thought made me sick.

I am easily stressed. I’ve lived with this my entire life and thought it was simply a part of being alive. As I’ve aged, I’ve begun to realize that not everyone has this strange affliction. I’ve worked with people who can simply shrug things off and go on and I envy them. Sometimes I think of the spy in “Bridge of Spies” who, when Tom Hanks marvels at the fact that he isn’t worried simply asks “Would it help?”. I am in awe of this character.

Lately, it seems as if my mind is so tired of living with my constant worry that it has begun to simply reject it. This is involuntary and I am very grateful for it. Whenever this happens I get a feeling of peace that I wasn’t even aware could exist. My stomach feels content and warm rather than tight and on the verge of upheaval.

This good feeling is fleeting, though. Fleeting, but amazing. As it begins to recede, I chase it as I used to chase that old familiar stressful feeling. It has been a while since I actively sought out stress, but it used to be comforting in a way. I would seek to find a worry then attack it like a dog with a piece of bacon. I’d swallow it whole and then seek more while it was still trying to digest. I don’t doubt that living this way was killing me.

Now that I’ve begun to chase the serene feeling rather than the stress, I’ve realized a lot of things. First, I don’t feel that I have the right to worry the way I used to. Maybe my credit score will drop a little, but my children are fed. Maybe I’ll tank a final, but I have a job and my bills are paid. Maybe someone will berate me for my book and maybe my book will never sell, but I have a home to keep my family warm and dry and a yard in which my children can safely play. Not everyone has these things. Who am I to make myself sick over things when I have so much?

I have resisted a medical solution to my problems. I don’t feel like taking pills that will make my hindquarters expel things before I’m ready. I don’t like the idea of masking my problems rather than dealing with them and it seems this philosophy has begun to pay off.

Anytime I feel stress now, I immediately begin to think of all the ways in which my life is amazing and comfortable and how it could be so much worse and this quiets the stress. My constitution strengthens and I can rationally deal with whatever it was that was worrying me.

This is by no means an immediate solution, but with practice I have been making a lot of progress.

I went ahead and joined the Army. There were many sleepless nights, but I learned to be strong and to thrive despite uncomfortable conditions. I bought the car and I learned that repossession doesn’t ruin your entire future. I published my book and it recently garnered a rave review from an independent reviewer that I did not previously know. Will there be detractors? Certainly. Will it bother me? Maybe just long enough for me to take the time to remember what I have.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…remember what you have and what others lack. Not only can it help you feel better, it might even inspire you to reach out to others whose situation is much less stable.

A don’t…find me judgmental of those who seek a medical route or take my story as an attempt to turn people from medicine. Medicine can be helpful and I don’t turn up my nose at those who choose it. Medicine is a valid route to healing, it just isn’t the route I personally took.