February 28, 2016


  I’m an insomniac.  Well, to be more precise, I’m a depressed insomniac.
Let me explain.
I’ve had problems sleeping all my life, but it had grown much worse lately, so my doctor prescribed sleeping pills and told me to call him in a week to let him know how I was feeling.
After a week, I called to tell him that the pills weren’t working.
He was busy.
I left my number.
He never called back.
This game of telephone tag, in which I was the sole participant, went on for 10 days.
Depression set in.  I didn’t need this kind of rejection, on top of being exhausted.
When he finally did call, I told him that I was disappointed in the sleeping pills, and now I was not only wide awake at night, but wide awake and depressed.
He prescribed a stronger sleeping pill and put me on Prozac.
I drove to my neighborhood pharmacy to pick up the $11 worth of sleeping pills and the Prozac.  Before handing them to me, the pharmacist said, “You’re not going to be happy about this.”
“So what?” I replied.  “I’m not happy about anything. I’m depressed.”
He shrugged and handed me the prescriptions.  The Prozac had a price tag of $162.00!  For 30 pills!  If I was depressed when I walked in, I was sure to be suicidal when I walked out.  What are these drug companies thinking?  They create a pill to effectively treat depression, and then make it unaffordable.  I had no idea that the Marquis de Sade was alive and well and running Dista Pharmaceuticals these days.
Now I’m more depressed than ever, and I can’t sleep for worrying about how I’m going to pay for this stuff each month.
I concluded that if I ever wanted another wink of sleep, I needed to get away from all my stress for a while.
Having no money, I decided to stow away on an ocean liner.
It was a Carnival Cruise.
Three days into the voyage, somebody lit a match and the ship exploded.
We were all picked up eventually, but as a result of the shark feeding frenzy, I am now known as, “Stumpy.”
Perhaps a good book would take my mind off my plight.  Once released from intensive care—on the promise that I would donate blood until my debt was paid, which I reckon will be some twenty-five years after my death; I made my way to the library—where, after an hour of browsing, The Collected Works of William Shatner fell from a top shelf and hit me on the head.
I tottered back home to wash the stink out of my hair, having neglected to take a book with me.
Once clean and dry, I flipped on the television.
A “Star Trek” marathon.
Screaming and irrational, I threw a boxed set of “Battlestar Galactica” through the screen, tripped, dislocated my shoulder, and broke my nose.  The sparks from the ruined TV jumped to the blood and delivered a shock that turned my finger and toe nails black and stood my hair on end.  Once I got up and unplugged the thing, all my hair fell out.
I’m a shadow of my former self.  Now I’m not only sleepless and depressed, but also mortally boat and ocean phobic, short, terrified of William Shatner, and bald, with a nose like Sylvester Stallone.
There was only one thing left to do.  Get rid of whoever was responsible for all this.  I had little left to lose . . . literally . . . and a jail term could only improve the wreckage of my life.  I planned my revenge carefully.
On the first moonless night, I made my way to my enemy and planted the necessary charges.  Moving back a safe distance, I picked up the detonator and pushed the plunger.
“Die, Dista Pharmaceuticals!  Die! Moowhahahahahahaha!”
I was, of course, apprehended. Can’t run too well, these days.
This afternoon, there is a parade in my honor, after which I will be released and driven to a brand new, donated, furnished home in the suburbs, provided with a car and chauffeur, and given a check for five million dollars.  Carson 1, Dista Pharmaceuticals 0.  Game over.
I expect to get a good night’s sleep tonight.

February 1, 2016


      I’ve decided that there is no good time to get groceries.
      No matter when you go; weekends, weekdays, early in the morning, mid-afternoon, or evening, it really doesn’t seem to make much difference.  And I’ve tried them all, so I know whereof I speak.
     My latest foray was early in the evening on Sunday.  My husband, Stij, is an avid (read that “foaming at the mouth”) Panthers fan, and a week or so ago, there was an “important” game on, so he wanted to “just do a quick shop.”
       It is to laugh.
      Walking into our local megamarket, we observed the cheery banner of greeting above the door, which read, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”  We pried a shopping cart out of the row that had been spot welded together, and set off.
     Now understand, Stij is the easiest-going person you’ll ever meet, this side of Mahatma Gandhi, but he won’t trust me to drive his truck since I told him I used to participate in Demolition Derbies.  The fact that it took a great deal of skill on my part to come out of one of those things with only a couple of dented fenders left him unimpressed.  All he had to hear was “Demolition Derby,” and the driver’s seat suddenly became an unattainable goal.
     All this by way of saying that we do the grocery shopping together, since I am sans automobile, at the moment.
     But, as I said, he’s an easy guy to be around, so I don’t mind . . .
     . . . except during football season.
     We’d barely stepped over the threshold of the store, and the first thing he did was check his watch.  He did this twelve more times before we even got to the produce aisle, where I like to start my shopping.
     “What do you want to eat this week?” I asked.
     “Food,” came his helpful reply.
     “For veggies, how about some green beans, carrots, and cauliflower?”
     “Fine, fine, fine.  Just get it and let’s get going,” he muttered, checking his watch again.
     By the time we got half way through the store, the whole endeavor became less like shopping and more like fleeing from aisle to aisle.  I was grabbing and tossing blindly, while he shouted at one innocent bystander after another to “move your bovine carcass out of the way!” 
     OK, so we made it to the bread aisle, which is the last one.  Watch-checking had escalated to every other second.  I was wheezing, soaked in sweat, and dangerously dehydrated.  I grabbed what I I hoped wasn’t some frou-frou artisan bread made with twigs, seeds, and gravel and we rounded the bend on two wheels at 90 mph, only to be stopped dead at . . . ta da . . . the checkout lines. 
     The lines were seventeen deep.  At the end, people were getting married, babies were being born, and old people, who were young when they got into line, were dying.  There was even a house being built at the end of the queue at register three.
     “#$#@#%@#$#@#$!” Stij commented.  “Come on.  We’re not waiting in these lines!”
     “Are you proposing we embark on a life of crime?”
     “No!  Just leave it!”
     “Patience is a virtue.”
     “Yeah, and silence is golden.”  This was accompanied by a look that can open coconuts at twenty paces and close mouths instantly.  “Come on.”
     Sighing, I abandoned our loaded card and followed him out to the truck.
     Did I say, “followed?”  It was more like “sprinted.”  By the time I caught up, he was already driving out of the parking lot and was irked to have to slow down to forty or so, so I could jump in.
Fortunately, we don’t live too far away from the grocery store; and a good thing, too.  The G-force on that short ride rivaled anything NASA could come up with, and pinned my cheeks back to my ears!
     Into the house we dashed – he for the television, I for the phone, where the plastic surgeon is on speed dial.
     After a brief confab with Dr. Karloff, I hung up with an appointment and yet another admonition to stay out of the truck on football nights.
     I expected to hear the TV blaring when I walked out of the bedroom, but there wasn’t a sound.  Fearing for the bric-a-brac, lest his sports lifeline had inexplicably given up the ghost, I ventured cautiously into the living room.
     He was sitting there.
     In the dark.
     This was not good.
     It was 8:02.  “Wasn’t the game supposed to start at 8:00?” I asked.
     “Yes.  8:00.  Tomorrow night.”
     I shook my head.  Nothing is worse for a North Carolina football fan than Pantherus interruptus.
     “Do you mean to tell me that I look like I just spent two hours in the front row of an Aerosmith concert for nothing?”
     “Yeah, but look at the bright side.  We can go back to the grocery store now, and . . .”
     “Excuse me?”
     “Never mind.  Forget I said anything.”
     He spent the entire evening sulking and staring into space, but it gave me a great idea for Valentine’s Day.
     I’m going to skip the lingerie.
     This year, I’m really going hard-core.
     I’m going to buy myself an official Panthers football jersey!