Thursday, September 25, 2008


Over the summer I tore the radial collateral ligament in my thumb. My brand new health insurance had just kicked in, so I called the 24-hour nurse line to ask about protocol.
The auto-answer had an interesting sequence: "If you are a doctor, please press X. If you are a member experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please hang up and dial 911."

I pressed neither X nor called 911, but instead opted for a live nurse with whom I could have a real conversation!
Nurse: How may I help you?

Me: I think I broke my thumb. I'm new to this insurance company and I want to know if I need authorization to go to the emergency room.

Nurse: Is this a life threatening emergency?

Me: I think I'll pull through.

Nurse: OK, let me get some information.

She asked me the standard questions - name, ID#, allergies. OK, all reasonable.

Nurse: On a scale of 1-10, how yould you rate the pain?

Remember, I practice karate. I've broken all kindsa body parts. When I was 17 I had a compound fracture of my 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae from a roller skating accident with David Shapiro. I've had kidney stones! I know #10 on the scale!

Me: If I don't move it, a 2. If I move it, a 4.

Nurse: Do you have any concerns about your weight?

Me: What?

Nurse: Do you have any concerns about your weight?

Me: Yeah, I'm concerned that I'm about to be a few ounces lighter if my thumb falls off.

I am so curious to know if they ask men this question. I called asking for a answer to a legit and concrete question and I had to talk about my weight? So I refused and told her that all I really wanted was to get my thumb sewn back on. She was nice about it but didn't actually know the answer so she looked it up on the company website. Any ideas about the weight question?
The pic above is the thumb monkey - the temporary housing in which thumb lived before Dr. orthapaedist got involved. Then it lived in a soft cast for 8 weeks.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Worn in the USA

When I first inherited this jacket in junior high from my brother it had a small explanation point on the back made of...metal studs (!). It slowly accumulated the detritus of personal and cultural references, not least of which would be the cap to a bottle of burbon - great reliever of junior high math class boredom - in the pocket (yup, still there). I paid Susan Yandell about $20 for the backpiece in my first year of high school.....

Somehow The Who became my buffer to the world. Who knew that just a few years later I'd be in love with LL Cool J (still am), dance to Big Daddy Kane, see Run DMC at the Roxy and LOVE Salt n Pepa (still do)?

My jacket had the above patch. My mom belonged to "Another Mother for Peace" and we had these patches, pendants (I think I still have mine) and, if I recall, a jigsaw puzzle. Of course that was the Viet Nam war era, but both the patch and the org are still relevant. Here are a few other jacket attachment faves:
  • Home-made "no nukes" button

  • Button that reads, "We have not come a long way, and don't call us babies"

  • Button that reads, "How dare you presume that I'm heterosexual?"

  • Handcuff keys attached by a safety pin (what? where did I get those?)
On the inside a bunch of my friends wrote their names and myserious messages in ballpoint pen. The thing weighs about 10 pounds and I never wanted to leave home without it. As I recall, I wore it to a job interview. Never underestimate the need for armor!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stop Hurting Your F*cking Kids!

Today jury selection begins in the murder trial of Nixzmary Brown. In the name of everything sacred - are you fucking kidding me? Hows about we print a roster of kids who have been abused, maimed, and murdered at the hands of their parents? And by parents I mean anyone who is supposed to know better. Anyone who takes care of a kid.

And what about the rest of us? We must be RELENTLESS in our efforts to protect children. Wait, wait, how about this - we must be relentless in our effort to protect eachother. If someone is being hurt it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY as human beings to make the hurt stop. You know, if someone, say a mom (could be a dad, agreed), is being hurt at home, (read my entry on Friday, August 1, 2008) and in turn she can't/doesn't protect her child, then it becomes OUR JOB to step on in. Help her escape the abuse and protect the kid/s. There you go. Not hard. Figuring out how to broker a peace deal between Georgia and Russia - very hard. Calling 1-800-298-SAFE for info on domestic violence - fucking EASY. Calling child protective services 1,000 times if necessary? Easy. I know that the cops don't always come when you call 911. Call the mayors office. Call the school. Call everyone until the kid is safe.

You know what I've learned as a martial artist? No one ever died of embarrassment. Ask someone you're worried about, "do you feel safe going home? Can I help you make a safety plan?" And then make some calls. It's our responsibility.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Just One of the Many People Smarter Than Me

Look, I can't be any more eloquent than Thomas L. Friedman was in this Op-Ed NYT piece. Go read it...please.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ring. Hello?

Mom [picking up my ring]: There's something wrong with this Hebrew.
Me: Yeah, its Sanscrit.
Mom: Oh. Well, they shouldn't make it look like Hebrew.