the great theologian and my personal adviser on all matters of faith rev. mike coglan once asked me to imagine for just one moment what it would feel like if i knew, really knew, that God loved me. exactly the way i am. even with the things i have done or, perhaps especially, the things i have considered doing. regardless of how anyone might feel about me and their criticisms or snubs of no mind because God loves me. hold that imagining for a moment. and then another moment.
stick with me here, we’re going to get through the bad news like a quick liver sausage dinner and save the good news for last like a delicate tiramasu!
i absorb all the negatives and slings and arrows of outrageous (and some spot on) circumstance and influences. maybe you do too. i’m not good enough. i’m too fat. i’m too stupid. i’m too old.* i’ve done too little to deserve to suck oxygen in the same planet as (insert anybody’s name here). i’m not good enough for any expenditure of the two greatest treasures–time and talent–that any worthy person has.**
some people i.e. the coolest of cool kids can oscillate rejection and acceptance in just the right way. third period they’re sharing their snickers with you and seventh period they boldly announce that you’re a bed wetter. the truly bad news is you’ll still think they’re cool and that you’re not. you’ll hold onto seventh period until you’re on your deathbed and you tell the story of that betrayal to a nurse who will just assume that you’re mumbling again. the baddest of all bad news is that you can’t be betrayed by a stranger. only by someone you love and trust and think you know.
are we done with the bad news yet? well, actually, not quite. just one more smidgen of liver sausage coming in for a landing on your tongue.
all this bad juju makes for bad choices, bad health, bad consequences. i’ve got more than my share. too many sleepless nights thinking of what did i do wrong. too many sleepless nights standing in front of the refrigerator sniffing through boxes of leftover Chinese carryout. too many times i have gone along with something i didn’t feel right about. but thought that if i did, i’d be liked, loved, accepted. i am invariably wrong.
how about you?
are we done yet? are we done yet? yes, stop it we are! we’re at the good news and the six month plan.
my dear friend and couturier jeweler designer susan laid down the law in a very tender but firm way after the portland airport incident. i had collapsed just after being molested in the usual but invasive way by a tsa agent. i had a seizure. a concussion. i woke up in an ambulance with a paramedic asking
“what’s your name? do you know your name?”
“i don’t remember,” i replied haughtily. well, as haughtily as one can do when one is in an ambulance and doesn’t remember one’s name. i added “lots of people do not remember their name.”
“what about your birthday?” asked another paramedic crowding into the scene. “you know your birthday?”
“a gentleman never asks that question of a lady,” i said. full throttle maggie smith vigor. “i wouldn’t presume to ask yours.”
i don’t have a primary care physician. i haven’t been to the dentist since cyndi lauper put out her best album. i don’t get my hair done or my nails did (slight reference to drake — you fancy huh?) i’ve sort of given up.
“you need to take care of yourself,” susan advised. “you’re the only one who will. you need to spend six months taking care of yourself. putting yourself first. nobody else. you’re number one for the next six months.”
she’s known me since i wore leg warmers over my jeans so i trust her.
excuse me? where is the good news here? i thought we were at the good news part.
well, there is good news. i am going to spend the next six months repairing myself. maybe you need this too. maybe we do it together. i’m starting small. but i’m going to work my way back to whatever i was before the tippy cup sprayed all over me.
number one i’m not going to buy any article of clothing that is black for the next six months.
my next project is to get myself a primary care physician. oh, and a dentist. i am taking recommendations. bon vivant and devastatingly handsome seventyish bill seymour has given me the name of one i hope will take me on. a little rough getting a primary care physician these days bur we’ll give it a shot.
*lately, i’ve been getting the “too old or otherwise invisible” message from folks. guess my age. anything less than 56 gets you a prize. i don’t know what the prize is. it might be a pony. or backstage passes to (insert name of hipster band here). or it might just be a thank you note.
**that one is not quite true. my good friend and theater impresario chris johnson is directing a play i wrote while on a thirty day road trip to canada. i did not drive and write at the same time. otherwise i’d have to insert that picture from the ohio turnpike again. the show was produced by theologian slash accountant jim masini
p.s. i managed to get an appoint august 22 with a doctor in glenview. first thing of course is getting approval from the insurance company. . …