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Rant #58
(published Mid-year, 2001)
My Summer Vacation Redux
by Terence S. Hawkins

[Editor's Note: Terence S. Hawkins is a Connecticut trial lawyer and frequent submitter to Poor Mojo's Almanac(k). His pieces include The Minnow Files, Protocols of the Elders of Sweden, Why I Don't Explain How I Lost My Sweater, A Fragment from Raymond Chandler's First Scenario for the Sopranos and My Summer Vacation.]

Dear guys—-

Oh Christ I'm in the shitter again.

So it's a nice day and the wife and I say what the hell let's go down to Norwalk for the Oyster Festival. Which sounds pretty harmless, right? Unless of course you fail to take into account the fact that these little blobs of shelly mucus biologically concentrate all the e.coli surging through the pungent brown waters of Long Island Sound and that every time you slurp one down you're getting a little something that's passed through the sigmoid colon of a crack addict whose HIV status is just a little iffy. Which of course I don't take into account as I line up for the freebies the Maritime Society is passing out in its little tent, freshly shucked no more than four hours before giving the early September sun plenty of time to work its magic on the still expiring evolutionary pinnacle of the Pre-Cambrian Epoch. Quivering as though with the last pulses of their tiny primitive hearts in plastic shot glasses in a bed of ice. Dirty gray like sperm congealing on a lake of pubescent bathwater. Yum yum, I say, giving mine a double dose of hot sauce and antibiotic lemon, tossing back the salty slime with a wink as though to say, there, ladies, I don't know what you're complaining about.

So we're wandering around the food enclosure and I'm kind of wondering about how long it takes for Hep A B and C do become symptomatic and we notice the beer tent. And well what do you know I have to wash down that little bit of fleshy wastewater, and we wander around some more and I say hmm better make sure I've killed all the germs and then some. And then we're out in the main area and I'm watching some guy who looks exactly like Professor Irwin Corey standing in front of a carney sideshow tent with what he says is an African Eagle and is in any event one damn big bird and as it spreads its clipped wings I notice it drools, something I never thought birds did, but as it does I think damn it is hot. So I go back to the beer tent where I make the interesting discovery that Red Hook is owned by Anhueser Busch but not until I've done my bit to enrich what I thought was a struggling independent micro-brewery and in fact each and every one of its stockholders and their families out to the second cousins. Damn, it was hot.

So back in the main corniche I find the wife who's standing in front of a tent in which some guy in Dockers is maneuvering some other guy onto this weird upside down couch that has what appears to be a toilet seat on top, into which the guy in Dockers thrusts the other guy's face. And for one dizzy instant I wonder if this is like one of those websites I wander into by accident with names like Casa del Morto or The Last Taboo. And the wife hands me this bunch of paper that describes the many miraculous cures affected by the discipline of chiropractics. Which cures include, incidentally, blindness deafness and dysfunctions of the knees and sexual organs, which I guess makes sense if your sexual organs reach your knees, as mine I am happy to say do but I've learned not to brag.

And I think hell, why not, I can always use some adjustment, so I sign a waiver which absolves the good shaman of liability for the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and the adverse consequences of the Potsdam Treaty. And then my face is stuck through the toilet seat and this guy is knuckling my lower back and maundering to the crowd about dermatomes and engrams and phlogiston and I notice that he's wearing two beepers and a cellphone clipped to his belt, which is all I can see anyway, because my head is pretty locked up.

So I say something to the guy, just because he's on my nerves all of a sudden.

He pretends he didn't hear me and starts talking even louder about the music of the spheres and the flow of the Life Force and Madame Blatavsky.

So this just gets him more on my nerves. So I repeat my question a little louder. WHERE DID YOU GO TO MEDICAL SCHOOL.

And he starts going on and on about the monopoly of "so-called real doctors" over "health" and as he does he starts digging his fingers really hard into my cervical spine.

So I scream I CAN'T FEEL MY LEFT FOOT and then I add in a sob YOU FUCKER but he keeps kneading away and I scream FOR JESUS' SAKE STOP IT'S SPREADING LIKE WILDFIRE OH GOD NOTHING BELOW THE WAIST.

And the crowd is pretty much silent so I can hear the guy in Dockers babbling that that means it's working because this man clearly had devils in his spine. And he digs what I'm pretty sure is a knee into my lower back which is exactly the wrong thing to do to a guy who's just drained the entire output of what he thought was a micro-brewery who's lying face down and I have what I unfortunately decide is an inspiration and let my Kegel muscles give up the unequal battle and because I'm face down I can watch the front of my J Crew khakis darken and drip as I shriek OH MOTHER MARY I'M INCONTINENT BASTARD BASTARD WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME.

So I guess someone ran to the aid station a few minutes before because just at that second a couple of big beefy sunburned guys in blue shirts with Civil Air Patrol or maybe Civil War ReEnactor patches are tying me down to a back board and sticking pins into my fingers saying can you feel this, buddy, can you feel this. And as they're carting me away we pass my wife who's trying to pull off her wedding ring and just before she asks them to get the car keys out of my pocket I roll my eyes up into my head and moan at the top of my lungs, to the extent you can moan at the top of your lungs, I'M BLIND.

Well, needless to say the MRI came back negative just as the blood alcohol tests came back positive——really positive. So they just handcuffed me to the bed. Which sometimes I would enjoy but not just now.

Oysters were good, though.


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