March 29, 2002
"Be a pal, and lend me your ear.." - 19th Century Painter Paul Gaughin to his roommate, Vincent Van Gogh

Well, that was fun. Oh, yep. Got struck with a horrible earache tonight, no doubt resulting from a month and a half of on-and-off cold symptoms. Literally, I have been sick since Mardi Gras with brief periods of what felt like I was over it. Occasionally (between coughing fits) to relieve the nagging sense of what I knew I must do, I cursed Jill for taking me off her insurance. I mean, fer sure! Bogus! She didn't have to do that! Just because we broke up, damn. The fucking insurance company never would have known.

Anyway, sloughing it off on her was easier than going to the local charity hospital for antibiotics. I've heard nothing but horror stories about that place, and always, no matter who tells the story, it's a 10-hour wait in an emergency room full of sniveling mutants, odorific street people with gangrenous limbs, and the usual contingent of gunshot victims and recent amputees.

So I don't go. Didn't go. Haven't gone. And days have turned into weeks, weeks into months, and today my body throws some pain my way, pain to make the coughing pale by comparison, and wham! Suddenly the entire right side of my face hurts, my right eardrum at the epicenter of the explosion.

Okay, body. So, you got my attention. Now what? It's nine o'clock at night on the eve of Good Friday, which equates to an even longer wait at the church-affiliated poor people's hospital. The pain is so bad that I go tearing through drawers and boxes and whatnot in my bedroom in search of my remaining few Demoral, the anti-migraine ordinance that I used to lob like little grenades across enemy lines to the headaches yelling obscenities at me from the jungle of my brain. I'm seeing that scene in "Apocalypse Now" when Willard gets off the boat at night on the front line of the Vietnam War and there's that Vietnamese soldier howling from the jungle, "G.I., G.I., fuck you, G.I.!"

Well, the thing is, I had sworn off the Demoral after that horrid night when Matilda died. But that's how bad the pain was. Bad. Bad enough for me to put aside my queasy feelings about the drug I used to put my little friend to sleep.

So, I pop a Demoral and run to the local all-night drug store to buy rubbing alcohol to pour in my ear and try and kill the shit that's causing me the pain. But they're out of rubbing alcohol, and the pharmacist, rather than just doing me a little Easter holiday favor and slipping me some penicillin without a scrip, gives me this blah-blah-blah about how if I have an infection alcohol won't help and will only make me jump through the ceiling. Well, I doubted that. Long a migraine sufferer, I figured I got a pain threshold this guy wouldn't believe. I was about to find out just what hitting the ceiling felt like, but not from alcohol.

No, I poured garlic oil in my ear instead. This on the suggestion of both Harrod's mom and Colleena, both of whom extolled garlic's great bacteria fighting qualities. A few hours later now, I have yet to find out what good the garlic has done me. But I know the bad.

I just thought I was in pain with the earache itself. But after squeezing several garlic cloves over my tilted-head ear and thinking I wasn't getting anything and so squeezing more until I heard that familiar fwump! sound of liquid penetrating the inner ear, then screaming judiciously, well, I discovered some new plateau of pain never before reached by mortal man.

When that garlic oil met its enemy down deep in my head, I don't know whether that was the bacteria screaming or my ear screaming or what. But I did indeed go through the ceiling. Straight up and through and onto the roof, all covered in lime and plaster and cobwebs. And screaming.

Truthfully, that shit hurt so bad I thought I was gonna puke. I whipped my glasses off, snapped off the music and lay down on my bed and commenced to hyperventilate. And drool. Yes, there was much drool. For in reality, I wasn't actually screaming aloud. No, this was a silent scream, the kind reserved for true blue horror and above-the-neck pain so bad that screaming only makes it worse: headaches, toothaches, root canals, and earaches, I guess. I drooled and hissed and held my face with my right hand, and had you told me the stuff coming out of my mouth was blood, I wouldn't have doubted it a bit.

And I guess my body was tense, like, just hit by a truck kind of tension. Because after a millennium or two had ticked by and the pain finally abated leaving me and my 27-foot-long beard lying in the ruins of some futuristic city, I stood up and wham! A big-ass muscle in my back just went, "Waaaannnnng!" and suddenly I couldn't even stand straight, so badly had I thrown out my back. Wham! Bamm! Double trouble. Oh, whatta night.

Lordy, lordy, Jesus! Please raise Thyself up from the stony grave! Come back from the dead and bring us morphine, socialized medicine and your cordless drill. We gotta kill us that blasphemous Easter Bunny and drink his chocolate voodoo blood so that NO MORE, I say NO MORE! will your gonzo disciple be left to drool in infernal, insurance-less hellfire and brimstone pain.

Amen.

RSM


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