cooterville social life

"My god," I said to Jane the bartender. "The last six people to text me work in the Cooterville service industry."

She glared at me. "I'm trying to find a way to not feel insulted by that statement."

"Oh, there isn't one."

spot on

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Lynn isn't often quotable, at least not in a good sense, so this must be shared. I was complaining about an unexpected consequence of getting older: young girls suddenly finding me safe, harmless, even asexual. Girls who 10 years ago wouldn't have given me their numbers at gunpoint are now volunteering them. It is bizarre and strangely emasculating. "But I might be dangerous!" I want to protest.

Lynn summed it up perfectly. "Old is the new gay."

oh, by the way

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"Did they tell you that you severed the two tendons in your back, too?" said the surgeon.

Nope. Nope they did not. They were too busy sending me to physical therapy to treat completely severed tendons.

Now I get to choose between the surgeon who won't return my calls and my insurance's preference, Doogie Howser. He has a whole three years' experience after college. Which was Brigham Young.

the abyss also gazes into me

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I'll learn more about my fate after meeting with a surgeon on Friday, but it seems likely that I will lose the use of my right arm entirely for six weeks. When you type for a living, and when you like to bathe more than once every fourth fortnight, this is daunting.

I can hire some poor soul to sponge my armpits and walk Fredo, of course. Uber Eats, keep your engine running. Everything seems solvable except work. I just cannot imagine editing or coding one-handed or, worse, using speech-to-text.

I might actually have to take my first vacation since 2002.

wearing thin

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It turns out living in a hotel for forever doesn't excite me. Maybe I should have chosen a place with room service.

This morning it occurred to me that I'm looking forward to absolutely nothing. When your MRI is the highlight of all future plans, perhaps this is a sign you need to make some future plans.

good god willing

I knew better, but I shared Allie's joke with Lynn. Of the falling boulder killing my car but not me, Allie had snarked, "John, that wasn't God sparing you. That was God missing."

Lynn took offense and sat bolt upright. "That was God sparing you." She was incredibly confident.

We've fought this battle before. Every possible outcome is proof not only of God's existence, but of His divine intervention. If the boulder misses my car, it's God's will. If the boulder destroys my car, God spared me. If the boulder kills me and Fredo, He's calling me home. Fredo is just shit out of luck.

"Dear Jesus," I prayed aloud after Lynn's proclamation, "Thank you so much for sparing me from the boulder you sent to destroy my Jeep. I'm sure whatever the Jeep did to anger you, it had it coming."

Lynn glared at me. I'd like to think she was silently saying a prayer for my eternal soul, but I think she was just pissed.

• • •

Now that I'm waiting for an MRI on my shoulder, Allie wondered what Lynn would have to say about God causing my slip. I thought about it. "God sent the boulder to destroy my Jeep because He knew I wouldn't be able to drive a standard a month later. See how it all dovetails together?"

putting my shoulder into it

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Yesterday at 6am, I took Fredo for a walk. It lasted under a minute. The sidewalk had frozen over, and for the second time in a month, I went down hard.

My right shoulder absorbed all of the force, and it was immediately clear that something was wrong. I couldn't move that arm at all. I drove to the emergency room, where the x-rays were negative for a break. My shoulder was separated.

You know how in the movies, they violently reset your shoulder, and you scream in pain, and then you're fine? Everything but the last detail is accurate. I am completely incapacitated. The very thought of leaving the hotel makes me woozy. I cannot protect myself in the least.

It sucks. The silver linings are few. I barely missed Fredo when I fell, so there's that. More importantly, my cigar stayed in my mouth. I am oddly proud.

salad days

In my mind lately, I've been hearing Dorkass call me a big tub of goo. A lot.

"A salad and iced tea?!" Amanda the bartender exclaimed. "Are you going healthy or something?"

"Yeah. I feel all blobby and gross after Christmas."

"Me too. I put on 12 pounds," she said.


The iced tea detail is important, lest you think I was impaired when I made a weight-loss bet with a 24 year old. No, I'm just that stupid.

When I saw her a week later, I repeated my order. She confessed that she and her boyfriend were about to go on a Cabo vacation and as a result, she was probably going to lose the bet. We chatted about weight loss while I picked at the plate o'crap in front of me. There's nothing quite like a chain-restaurant salad to make me lose my appetite completely. I asked her what the dessert options were. There were three. Her favorite was the six-inch-tall chocolate cake.

I ordered it, and she was beaming when she brought it to me. "This makes me feel better about Cabo!"

"Well, prepare to feel worse, because that cake's not for me." I ran for the door.

It wasn't the first time a woman yelled "ASSHOLE!" as I bolted out of a bar. Won't be the last.

ryan gosling

One of the more bitter parts of getting older is women considering me harmless. "Here's my phone number!" chirp 20-somethings, and I'm forced to recall how this same woman never, ever would have given me her phone number when I was an actual prospect.

"Do you know how to text, grandpa?" I hear in my head.

• • •

The five newest contacts on my phone are four such bartenders and a waitress. This brings us back to my diversification effort. Today, I co-worked for the first time.

The space was gorgeous, something straight out of a movie. Open brick walls and exposed ducting contrasted with gleaming glass conference rooms and cubicles, and of course, an all-stainless and granite shared kitchen. When I saw the vintage Space Invaders machine, my inner 12 year old shrieked.

I sat next to a guy who looked like just Ryan Gosling if Ryan Gosling were 5'8". He was inarguably gorgeous, and he had that sparkle that reminded me of how much I hate Ryan fucking Gosling. We chatted for a bit.

"Can I just say," he smiled, "You have the nicest voice."

FAKE RYAN GOSLING THINKS I HAVE A NICE VOICE! I beamed like the easily flattered, hypocritical schoolgirl I am. We chatted some more, and he revealed he was doing some creative writing. I asked what he does for a living.