Monday, March 27, 2023

Even the Gods


I'm at a narrative loss once again this morning.  Thematically not so much.  I just don't have it in me to put a narrative to the theme. . . if you get my drift.  So this will probably be another jumble of disconnected observations.  Etc.  

Look and See.  This well illustrates a jumble.  Still. . . it's cool, right?  Right?  Maybe you just don't know anything about photography?  I'm telling you, it's cool.  

Thank you for all the cards and letters about my impending death.  Q now blames me for death in general, but he is wrong.  All I say is that if we have to go, I don't like taking turns.  We should just all go at once.  But with great tribulation, I got out the old blood pressure machine and decided that I needed to take my own reading.  It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad for someone my age, and it surely wasn't near the stroke level they registered me at in the doctor's office.  O.K. I thought.  But maybe the machine is off.  So I decided to go to the local pharmacy and take my blood pressure there.  Nearly identical to the reading at home.  I took it this morning--same thing.  I will check it at another pharmacy this afternoon.  Does my doctor have a machine that is geared toward prescribing BP meds?  Was it given to her by one of the pharmaceutical reps?  Do I sound paranoid?  I know my blood pressure goes up at the doc's office, but she says no, that isn't happening.  It's the same physician my mother and all her neighbor's use.  They are all on BP meds.  She does the same thing for every one of them--sends them to the cardiologist.  The cardiologist runs a slew (slough?) of tests and finds everything fine.  We are all starting to think she is crooked.  

So yesterday, I was feeling better when the phone rang.  My hands were in the dish soap, so I didn't get to the phone in time.  When I looked, it was a call from the physician's office.  WTF?!?!?  I waited, but there was no message, so I called back.  Robo-operator.  My heart rate skyrocketed.  My adrenaline was pumping.  Why would they be calling at 12:55 on a Sunday afternoon?  It had to be bad.  My blood test?  I don't know.  I had to sit down.  I was done for.  Why wouldn't they leave a message?  

Fuck it.  I opened a beer.  It was nearing time for the NCAA basketball tournament.  I'd gotten up and had gone back to bed, but when I got up the second (or third?) time, I became productive.  I have negatives in holders that I haven't filed all over the house.  No proof sheets.  So I got out the light table and began looking through them and putting them in the appropriate binders.  Thousands of images of every make and model--35mm, medium format, 4x5, 8x10.  I had taken out my DJI gizmo for making videos and gone through a tutorial (for about the 4th time) and learned how to use the fucker again (future project) and then made a couple videos of myself.  I looked o.k., but you know how a bad t-shirt can make you look weird?  No?  Well. . . the right fitting t-shirt is essential for looking good.  I had on a bad one.  Jesus, I thought, I look like shit.  Change your t-shirt, man.  Surely.  

But after the call from my doctor's office, I was shot.  I sat on the couch and watched far too many hours of television.  I was sad.  I was lonely.  After the first game which was a heart-racer to the end, I decided to go to the pharmacy.  Even with the beer and the excitement of the game, it was the same as it had been in the morning.  I grabbed some stupid grub that I would make for dinner and feeling a little better, I went home.  I decided on a cocktail.  I called my mother and told her I wouldn't be over.  I told her that I was rattled and why.  Then I watched the second game.  I was texting with my old college roommate, the one with whom I played gym ball incessantly.  We'd won many tournaments.  I have trophies.  We were good white ballers.  Long-haired hippie ballers.  We'd play any game--2 on 2, 3 on 3, 4 on 4, 5 on 5, half court, full court, pick-up or regulated.  We just played.  

In our senior year, we tried making money refereeing intramural games at the university.  Somehow, they gave us the fraternity finals which was a joke.  We hated frats.  This game was between a Black fraternity and a White one.  Stands were set up for the three hundred or so people who came to watch.  What we learned that night was that it isn't easy being a ref in front of a crowd.  Sometimes, neither one of us saw who touched the ball last.  We'd look at one another with dancing eyes and then point in one team or the other's direction to indicate possession.  We would be assaulted by boos and catcalls and worse.  

He texted me during yesterday's game saying the refs were bad.  

"Remember when we reffed?"

When I was filing away negatives earlier in the day, I found a bunch of old pictures and negatives from "back in the day" that hadn't really been dealt with.  I was planning on scanning some of them later.  

"Did we have refs jerseys or anything?"

"We had t-shirts that said Intramural Referee."

"Why don't we have any pictures of that?"

Before digital cameras, people didn't think so much about capturing everything.  But somewhere, I thought, I have a photo.  

The second game was a crazy comeback by a team we were rooting for.  

"Halfway there," I texted.  Our own home state has two teams in the Final Four.  We'd like to see an in-state Final.  

I scanned some photos.  There were girls.  There was me.  They were pretty.  I was pretty.  There I was naked in the bathroom mirror.  I was built.  

"I miss playing," my roommate texted.  

"We couldn't be on the court with these boys.  They are too fast, too big, too strong."

I meant on our best days.  Gotta be real.  It was easier then.  Everything was.  People are driven by some strange, privileged, commercially-driven mania now.  It seems a disease, really, but that is just my Bohemian romantic outlook.  We shouldn't have to work so hard to be good at things, especially if we were once pretty and built.  That's what I think. 

My roommate had both hips replaced.  I am sure I am going to have to buy a new knee.  We played too much too long.  We were gods.  You can find us in the broken-god shop now among the piles of the thousands and thousands of others.  

The phone seems disconnected.  The internet must be out.  I have many chores.  I am starting to think about hiring someone to do them.

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