Thursday, March 03, 2011

Grumpy Old Man With A Backache Doing Math


by James Jarvis
from Westside


Depressed? I'll tell you how depressed I am. I was sitting out at the Benched Players benches at noon today, sitting with a few vets and the old man (my homeless attorney who I had gotten out of county jail where he'd been sent for $26,000.00 in parking tickets), sitting there minding my own business when a beautiful woman walked by.

Under normal circumstances, I'd have said she was pretty enough to call 'kitty' in a room full of pit bulls just for the chance to jack off in her shadow, but while I am in Grayworld, she was just a momentary interruption of the direct sunlight I was getting on my face.


Sunlight. Very important for the treatment of chronic depression. Sunlight good.

Depression wasn't enough for me. I had to wake up yesterday with a backache. Oh, goody, my lower back is out again. It hurts to take in deep breaths, so I'm shallow-breathing throughout the day... and the blood pressure's acting up again. Feels like my radiator's plugged up, my oil pump ain't working, my transmission's slipping and the teeth of my differential are grinding.

I'm getting lots of diagnosis(es), mostly from part time security guards: unlicensed medical practitioners, yes, but at least I don't have to wait 4 hours in the VA waiting room to get their best guesses.

My supervisor says it's kidney stones. One of my quad mates says imminent heart attack. The American Indian security guard guy says it's cancer. Two other security guards conferred with each other and have diagnosed prostate blowatosis exacerbated by fullashit-itis.


So I'm drinking a lot of water and cranberry juice and spreading deep heat on my back and shallow breathing and answering all invitations to conversation with terse one-liners or basic grunts and doing math for the pain.

Yes, math. Algebra. I have discovered in my desperation to deal with my backache that doing algebra helps the pain. It forces me to concentrate on something other than the internal workings of my increasingly cranky body.

Take the formula 9(2+x)(x+y) + (x+y)^2. We all know that translates to (x+y)^3 (18+10x+y)^3 , but during the factoring of this, there is no pain.


So, if you're not hearing much from me lately, it's because I'm doing math.


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