The Unfortunate Incident by Rick London c2012

     Have you ever thought about a really fun thing, event, or person of whom to blog, and the more you thought about it the more you said to yourself, “Are you absolutely out of your head?”

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   This is not the kind of story you share with strangers, much less other adult friends with whom you’ve reconnected on facebook and/or Twitter because even though you’re a thousand or so miles apart now, you can almost feel their face blush traveling through your broadband and smacks you right in the psyche.

     This is one of those blogs. 

      One of my favorite songs of irony is one of Eric Clapton’s lesser-known tunes called, “Don’t Show Me Anything New, I’ve Seen It All Before”. And even though the man has great humility and it is easily recognized in the tune, that is, that he’s being facetious and telling an important tale such as, “Even if you are worldly like me, and think you’ve seen it all, something new comes along new and bites you on the butt and you are humbled yet more”.

      That is what happened to me, bit me in the butt… literally (well almost my butt) last Wednesday morning on a beautiful but chilly mountain hike with my beloved wife Lee. I knew the minute this insect (or whatever it was) did its dirty deed, that it had done so, but I was so fascinated being out in nature with Lee (that is my usual feeling once high up and far from the maddening crowd), I put my brain into denial mode, sort of brushed it away with one of my Wal-Mart $6.50 fake goose down navy blue gloves with verbose wrist-grips,  and continued on the journey and forgot about it….until last Friday night which was 2.8 days later.

       I’ll be blunt.  Whatever it was, it decided my left testicle would provide enough nourishment for the rest of the winter and apparently had a double-helping without even asking the waitress.   I was glad I had a few ounces of hydrogen peroxide left in the bathroom as it is my end all/be all relief for every venomous insect in the forest (that happens to find me tasty). For me, Hydrogen Peroxide is the same as what Windex was to “Toula’s” Dad in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.  It cures everything. Or so I thought.

      Fast-forward three or so hours and Lee, whose desk sits behind mine in our living room office, asked me if I was okay. I guess I was making sounds as if I may not be, such as screaming at the top of my lungs and saying words I haven’t really used since I was an anti-war hippie demonstrator with shoulder length hair in the late 1960’s.  I am 58 years old now, people. It’s hard to even get a “darn” out of me. Not Friday night though.   On the other hand I know I’m also way too old to be a mile above sea level with an insect’s fangs drenching the life-force from my body.    I finally was able to respond to Lee. It probably was not the response for which she’d wished, or even expected.

     I asked, “Baby, do you remember congratulating me a few days ago for not having to go to the hospital emergency room since, oh, about 1.5 years ago when I had to have a very large kidney stone removed?”  Oh wait, had a brief visit there in the summer after a hiking accident followed by 3 months of physical therapy.  Then 2 dental surgeries. My this has been a fun year.

       “Yes I surely do,” she responded with a sweet hug and kiss. 

       “Well, as much as I appreciate it, I have a feeling this temporary record I broke of staying away from the ER, is about to be revoked,” I added.

        Why, what’s wrong? Is it your heart?  A having any chest pains?    What are your kidneys feeling like? Do you feel faint?”

        “I’m afraid it’s worse than all that,” I finally revealed. “It appears I have burned a good bit of my scrotum off.”

      “That’s not good,” she jokingly said, probably thinking I was joking and had a punch line on the way; as that kind of thing is “normal” in the London home…a serious statement; followed by a delayed punch line.

       “On purpose?”, she asked?

        Suddenly I felt like Kramer talking to Jerry on Seinfeld.  “Of course not on purpose. Do you think I would do something like that on purpose?”

        “You sometimes do some odd things”, she reminded me (as if I didn’t know). 

         “Well, I’ll go get the van. You surely don’t need to be driving to the hospital”.

       I chuckled in an odd sort of way thinking, “As if I could really drive a motor vehicle in this sort of pain. This feels like a kidney stone on steroids.”

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        I tried to wait it out, thinking if I could just go to sleep, I would wake up tomorrow and it would have healed and I would have forgotten this stupid deed and moved on with my life.  The Universe decided last Friday night was a night that was not going to be real merciful, so I stumbled into the van and she rushed me to National Park Medical Center where half the staff knows me by name, but my reasons for being there were more “traditional” such as heart surgery, kidney surgery, testing for sleep apnea and all the other fun ailments to which AARP has built a glossy page-turning empire.

        We waited the usual 2.5+ hours in the “television room” and watched (what was probably a funny episode) of “Family Guy” but I was not laughing. Also, wondered why the hospital had “The Family Guy” on at night in the waiting room. It’s an adult cartoon and there were kids in the room. Made no sense, but my pain was too much to complain. I just wanted relief.  I just sat there with Lee to my left, her head on my shoulder and concerned green eyes (that turn a pleasing turquoise blue when looking up at the sun) my somewhat mad brown eyes wondering I’m sure, “How does he get himself into these messes?”

       Meantime I’m staring at the little blue “hospital ER beeper” that every patient gets figuring if I just started at it a little harder, the ER Dept. would pick up my “pain vibes” and yell my name to come in.  Next thing I knew I’d nodded off and maybe an hour later my name was called (surely not from some vibe connection”; it simply was my turn. I was last in line of everyone else waiting with me there.

       The young admittance nurse knew me by my first name. 

      “So Rick.  What brings you here tonight”.  Suddenly I realized the actual sting and consequential evaporation of my skin due to my pouring hydrogen peroxide on it, may not be the toughest part of this entire ordeal after all. 

      The toughest was about to happen. I was going to explain to a woman, maybe in her 20s or 30s, in front of my wife, what I had just done to bring me into their fine medical establishment, known for phenomenal surgeries of the heart, lungs, brain, delivery of babies; but to my knowledge, though I figure for certain I’m not the only one who has done this and found themselves there with a blue beeper; I suddenly knew how lucky I was that Lee was there with me.  But I figured I knew just what to say.

       “I think I was bitten by a bug in a most unfortunate place Wednesday, and tonight I poured several ounces of pharmaceutical grade hydrogen peroxide on that same unfortunate place, which made it yet more unfortunate of a place.  And it remained unfortunate for another three or four days…in spite of the fact  that I was now being treated by the proper medicine, eating all the right foods, taking organic herbal tinctures.”

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      I figured she’d “get the picture” after that bold statement regarding my stupidity.  But nooooooooooo.

      “What unfortunate place was that, Rick?”

       “Very unfortunate,” I responded.

       “If you don’t tell us exactly where, we can’t treat you now can we?”

        “On my scrotum”. 

       “Your scrotum”?

         Had I said something wrong? Had she never run into this type of situation before?  Maybe she had and was on the prudish side (not that this was something I enjoyed talking about with strangers, people I barely knew, and to be honest, people I knew very well.)  When a person does something that stupid, it truly is the kind of thing one prefers to keep to oneself. 

       “Better than having been your penis”, was her actual response. 

       “Did she really say that?” , I wondered to myself? 

     I suddenly felt very alone (again glad Lee was there because she has seen my stupid side, seems fairly used to it, and carries on with her day after I’ve implemented some dumb act (like the one described above).

       She led us down the hallway into a large ER room in which she said the doctor would soon be there to examine me. 

      He was there within 15 minutes or so. He was a tough old army doctor and I liked him.  Less than two years ago; one week I went by ambulance to the ER room almost every night with severe pain below my stomach toward the side.  Having had kidney stones before, I knew that might be an option.  He didn’t remember me, but said to Lee, “But I remember you” (that happens more often than not).

      But every doctor of that late shift sent me back home telling me it was my imagination.  Then came Dr. U.S. Army.  That was my fifth time that week to the ER room.  They hung up my x Rays on the wall across from me.  Lee immediately noticed it and told the doctor what it was. 

That time the doctor (the old crotchety army doctor actually took the time to examine it closely and said to Lee, “You are absolutely right ma’am. And even though the kidney surgery and consequential lithotripsy was a very painful event, I was grateful Lee had seen it and later Dr. Army had verified it. It took a month or two to heal, but finally did so quite nicely.

      Fast forward to last weekend explaining to half the medical staff that it seemed right at the time to saturate the sting or bite with hydrogen peroxide and having each one of them tell me why it was not such a great idea, I finally quit talking about it and let them do their work .

      After 5 days on a strong antifungal/biotic salve, and drugs that make you forget your phone number and current dog’s or cat’s name, Twitter & facebook passwords, first dog’s name, mother’s maiden name, my name, your name, and what planet we are living on (but I did remember if Newt were elected being born Cancers, aka moon children,  Lee and I might have first dibs on a Lunar Condominium). I am now beginning to heal.

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       Please let my experience be a powerful lesson to all others who are contemplating making the same error I made.  And of course that error was (and is) after having such a weird experience, not taking a camera with oneself to the hospital.

    The expression on every single employee’s face was one of someone who was either currently laughing and couldn’t stop, or had been laughing behind my back and finally almost stopped.  I am so fortunate to have friends in the medical community who find such emergencies so hysterical.  I just wonder how any of them would have felt…if the salve had been on the other foot.

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I am a goofy sometimes coordinated, sometimes not, hiker, nature and animal-lover, designer and cartoonist. Oh and freelance writer and songwriter, sorta.  I founded Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts which have been Google #1 ranked since January of 2005.  I am married to my beloved and patient wife  nature/photographer Lee HillerLondon who founded the popular HikeOurPlanet.com nature blog.

“Along Comes Romney” Parody by Rick London c2012 To The Tune Of Association “Along Comes Mary”

 How does one vote for a President when every-one on both sides are creeps?
And then there’s Romney.
And there’s Newt being cruel and terse,
Aimed less at Obama than the entire Tea Partee.

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And the Polls they vary,
And whatever happened to that Palin girl the political Barbie chick,
To McCain she was such a tease,
And asked an easy question at the debates & Rick Perry was stunned,
A 3rd grader could answer with ease,

And what a motley crew this bunch,
And if Ron Paul were elected there’d be no govt so no numbers 2 crunch (but every enemy would eat us for lunch)

facebook is the place where bullies dictate you for whom to pick,
Then Huntsman saw the asylum & resigned from the fray,
Who can vote for candidates who live for Donald Trump’s strokes?
Rick Santorum wears that gray sweater for us to trust him but we can’t, not Hathaway.

And then along comes Romney,
Implemented programs so socialistic they make the European Union seem like
The Heritage Foundation

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And as the candidates’ self esteem erodes as the attack-ads its like reality tv,

And Obama’s not so great but he got Osama Bin La-DIN,

Now when I saw the 1st debate they were all eating each other for lunch,
And Newt throws a punch.

They’re all at the podium as if every other one of them has passed bad gas,
And the flatulence makes mere humans out of these political stars,
And now Huntsman is gone,
He’s had enough of the insane battle scars.

Anyone but Romney,

Who says he likes to fire people, but he of course feels their pain in a Clinton-like way.

But when he could shut his mouth he spews some more,
Most of us know when a politician opens his mouth he lies, and spins the truth.

Finally we realize their truth is the only truth, anymore.

At the debates Perry was sure out to lunch, (oops)
And racist Ron Paul hasn’t a hunch.

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I’m a goofy not-to-coordinated mountain man living my dream with my wife Lee Hiller-London. I enjoy writing and creating offbeat cartoons (Londons Times Cartoons) & funny gifts and love quote and wisdom quote gifts at my various shops.

“Tap The Page” (The Kindle Fire Song) by Rick London c2012 (Parody to the tune of Bob Seger “Turn The Page”)

On the information superhighway
At Amazon dot com..
No need for Google search engine,
At the Kindle Store you won’t go wrong.

 

Boy, girl, man or woman,
Reading more makes you less a bore,
Or did you find it on Google or if you did on Bing,
You’re downloads queued….
Tiny letters are for fools,
 Kindle Fire’s hotter than cayenne,
Kindle is to books like hair is to shampoo..

Reading spam,
And other Internet sins,
I’m Sam I Am,
Just a Dr. Seuss page,
   Just Say No…Autobio by Nancy Rea-gin’,
I read so slow,
    Kindle Fire’s the rage.

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Well you’ve just been on facebook…reading someone’s rant,
Wishin’ they’d find a therapist to unload,
  But sorry they feel blue,
   As you’re about to implode,
And you pretend that they’ve unfriended you,
You have a Tolstoy to download

  And the worst they like to stalk….
         Can’t you just be a fan?
But they tell you how to live, how to eat and how to pray…

   All you can say is “Oh man”….
And my wife is taking photos of all those pretty birds
 While someone’s telling me the benefits of Ayn Rand.

Sam I am,
Downloaded a Seuss again,
99 cent special a grand slam,
Leaving readers engaged,
Like a fine bordeaux,
Everybody wins,
Reading slow,
Tap the page

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 The protective case makes it feel just right,
Doesn’t have much weight,
Words in books have synergy,
Like vintage on Ebay,
No more turnin’ pages..nothing on CD,
   Just tap the page.

Jack London or Rudyard Kipling,
       Classics I never really read,
Or Emerson if I desire,
For my daily bread,
Lookin’ at bargain books..appetite is whet,
But ended up w/a CD of the Grateful Dead.

Sam I am,
Or The Road Less Traveled again,
Green Eggs & Ham,
Screen shows a Seuss page,
      There goes my dough,
Downloading a book again,
Broadband’s slow,
Tap The Page.

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Sam I am,
What’s in the bargain bin?
Sam I am,
What’s the new rage.
Readin’ slow,
Tennessee William’s roof is tin,
Paper books are gone,
Tap the page
Readin’ slow,
Readin’ slow.

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Am a goofy vegan animal-lovin’ mountain man just trying to write stuff.  Love nature, wildlife, dogs, cats,  & my wife @LeeHillerLondon.  I founded Londons Times Cartoons in 1997 which has been the #1 ranked offbeat cartoons & funny gifts on the Internet since 2005. I hope you enjoyed.

“Kindle Fire” (Song Parody To The Tune Of Crazy World Of Arthur Brown’s “Fire”) by Rick London c2012

Kindle Fire (By Rick London c2012) Song Parody to the tune of Arthur Browne’s “Fire”

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The yellow arrow I slide to the left & bring you….
Kindle Fire…no pages to turn.
Kindle Fire, Now its so easy to learn.
From Grisham to Robert Burns.
Auto-biographies for which you may yearn,
Gonna download “The Firm”.
Oh the lending library did you find?
I’m now past 50 & book’s small letters make me feel blind
In this electronic age we’re all so refined.
Readings a great way to unwind.
Gonna pay Amazon all that I earn.
Kindle Fire…it’s so much fun.
No pages to turn.
Books are so messy they make ya wanna hurl,
Matters not if you’re a boy or a girl,
Escape into words from the daily grind.
Don’t let paper book letters make u go blind.
Pledge to buy nothing with a bind,
You know to read or fall behind.

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I’m a goofy vegan mountain man who likes to write songs, cartoons, and classic novels.  I’m still working on the 1st classic novel…will update within next century. I founded Londons Times Cartoons in 1997. It has been Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts since Jan. 2005.

2012 Retrospect: I Shouldn’t Be Alive, Ya Know by Rick London

It’s 2012. Whoaa. Who’da thought it?  I hate using other’s lines but to quote Eubie Blake (later often used by Mickey Mantle), “If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself”.

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The quote is obviously facetious but there’s a little bit of truth even in facetiousness.  I really would have.  But back in the days of my youth, I was quite certain there was no cure from which what I ailed. I longed to live fast and figured I’d probably die young. I got the living fast down right; no doubt about it.  I spent most of my youth and later my adulthood in trying to experience every experience that could ever be experienced, do so as quickly as possible, and then move on to the next.  I kept a great diary.

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This paragraph is for the young people who think “this sounds like a great idea”.  It’s not, trust me.  I was blessed and humbled to have intervention by some amazing souls along the way, including my now beloved wife Lee Hiller-London or, if you’re on Twitter, @LeeHillerLondon.  By the time I’d met Lee, however, I’d slowed down quite a bit and was even living in a town smaller than the one in which I was raised, Hot Springs, Ar. which Lee and I call “home”.

To be fair, and I know it sound macho and renegade, but I truly lived through things that perhaps if life were fair,  I shouldn’t have.  A few were, (but not limited to) going through a windshield with no seatbelt…they were not required when I was 17 years old in my 1970 Dodge Superbee which I bought from my favorite auto-dealer “Harry Dole Dodge” in Hattiesburg, Ms that I kept for a total of 3 months before totally totaling it.  Forget my “hippie years” (I know I did, or never remembered them). There were way too many reasons I should not have lived (many of them involved my liver).   Ironically, this many years later, the late Harry Dole’s daughter Sherry is now Lee’s and my favorite animal artist.  She is amazing.

At age 28, I figured, I should up and move to Miami because I’d gone to USM with a friend who had moved there.  We were roomies for 2 months before we both “needed our space” and I rented a room in a strange little old lady’s home who claimed (over and over again) that she was once a flapper at Radio City Music Hall in NYC.   Though it’s cruel, to be fair, she more closely resembled Flipper (but meaner…much meaner).  Oh, and I didn’t have a job, but just knew I would be a great journalist; and, I drove in on the night of the Overtown riots, only to hear (and nearly be hit by gunfire and such).  But I was Superman…or so I thought.  I did manage to land a job at Miami’s Community Newspapers but that’s a whole other story altogether.

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Fast forward a few years and I was in NYC doing standup comedy in nightclubs in Manhattan, NJ, The Bronx, Brooklyn and you name it.  I did a PR internship during the day, or on other days worked in a health food store, and often bartended and/or drove a cab. I think I slept an hour or two a night.  I lived through that.

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Did a stint in Washington, D.C. because I was well aware that “I must be a journalist” by now and though I landed a few cushy jobs, I never did much with them and opened my own bus tour company.  I sold it and went to L.A. to learn screenwriting because that was just part of “living fast” and I felt I’d not lived fast enough. I learned how to write movies and wrote a few but nothing got very far past development; not even “Elvis And Godzilla” (I’m not kidding, a giant Elvis calmed the giant beast with songs like “Return To Sender” and “Heartbreak Hotel”.)  I’m sure I got plenty of laughs by Hollywood directors and producers (but not for the right reasons). Then came the giant Northridge Earthquake which swallowed my entire home. Only because my barking golden retriever pup “Otis” barked loudly five minutes before it hit, did I escape obvious doom. Thank you G-d (and Otis) once again.

Fast forward 5 years and I’ve suffered a major heart attack, then appendicitis, then another major heart attack (which was rougher) and kidney surgery, and here I am.  It took what it took.  I laughingly told Lee who has also experienced some scary times (some of them health related), that I really didn’t know I was going to live this long or I would have planned.  So now I’m planning.

What does that mean?  Again, this is (hopefully for the younger persons out there). Education is important; no its “the key”.  Fast crowds seem glamorous but if you inspect “fastness” with a microscope, you won’t find a happy soul…really. Lots of smiles and laughter, but just surface; lost in a masquerade.

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Eat better.  Lee and I are eating vegan now.  Again if I had known then what I know now, I would have started that a long time ago.  Drugs, alcohol, etc also can seem glamorous as can the crowds involved.  That s the big illusion.  They seem so. I promise, they are not.

We clean and decorate our home.  Our walls are full of Lee’s amazing nature/wildlife photography scattered with a few of my silly cartoons.  We budget for another plant or two every month and we put up about 2 cartoons and two of Lee’s photos per month.  Every time I look up, I enjoy where we live.  We get to see what we do, and we have nature inside living with us when we are not outside playing in it.

I would have immersed myself in more nature (as Lee and I do now) with hikes that we enjoy. We don’t speed through them. We’re often passed by joggers who “just want to get it out of the way”.  I used to own all the best jogging shoes made and ran two marathons. That was all part of “living fast”. Jogging is healthy, I believe, but like anything one can overdo it, and even ignore responsibilities.

I know what you’re thinking.  Rick is trying to “be perfect” or “better than”.  Am sure it seems that way but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s too late for that.

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I am listening to my inner voice.  It tells me what really makes me happy. Not someone else’s fleeting opinion.   Someone else’s agenda of what I should do or be is truly their issue and none of my business.  I  love what I do today and there’s not a lot of “glamour” in it, but a lot of fun.  And life should be fun.  Not always fun.  But if one finds oneself in a situation where it is not fun at least some of the time, as an adult, it is our responsibility to find what “that fun is”. It might be numerous things. It might be one or two things.  As long as it is not harmful to oneself (or others), most likely it is a nice contribution to society, and really, for what more could one ask out of life?

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I’ve been described as “A goofy vegan mountain man who means no harm”.  I’ve actually been called worse, but will leave it at that.  I founded Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons in 1997 which have been Google #1 ranked since 2005 and Bing #1 ranked since 2008.  I like to design things as well and have several lines “Rick London Designs” and “Rick London Funny Gifts” which can be found at Zazzle & Printfection &  Google Shopping and available @Amazon and @Sears. My best friend and wife is Lee HillerLondon.  Please follow us on Twitter.  She’s @LeeHillerLondon & I’m @RickLondon.  We both enjoy social media.