Thursday, September 30, 2010

Massage Hell

I always feel blue after every health-related appointment. Today was massage day. One hour and and a half of deep tissue massage. Bliss? Deep tissue massage is never bliss. I hate massages that just feel nice. I feel them to be a waste of time. I get oodgy. When will this fucking thing that’s a complete waste of my time be over?

That’s how I feel about reading books that require nothing of me. I am constitutionally unable to read them. I get distracted in a nanosecond, and I don’t give a bloody damn. Now Tom Jones was funny. Wildly funny. (FYI read all the bloody footnotes, they're priceless.) Evelyn Waugh is a scream. Most modern literature (if it can even be called that) is one fucking waste of time. I need meaty. I must have it, or I’ll go bananas. And I’m already so, so this tripe can’t possibly be good for me. As I suppose you all can tell, reading shit is irritating. Seriously irritating. And often I am just physically able to read it.

But why ever should I feel blue after having a successful deep-tissue massage? (Success is measured by whether I open up and “let the therapist in” to the nasty painful spots.) I received an A+ today from my masseuse today. This pleases me. Go figure. But if all has gone so well, why am I blue? Each appointment with anyone who is supposed to make me feel better is accompanied by sadness. I would guarantee my life on it.

I ‘splain: Each and every health-related appointment (which seem to be all I have on the calendar these days) reminds me that I am not convalescing with the expectation of recovery. I am convalescing to continue convalescing ad infinitum with less pain. I still can’t wrap myself around the fact that I will never heal. That I will never get better. I am working to remain alive and as comfortable as I possibly can. Appetizing, is it not? (This while my fantubulous husband is giving me a foot massage, homework from Rachel the kickass massage therapist.) We open up my feet, the rest of the tight-as-a-drum legs should eventually follow. A fine plan. I receive a foot massage, and I’m sad. Like I need reminders.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Fen or the Dingo Ate My Lozenge

Lucky me. I have a draining, stented left ear. (Mazel tov, honey!) The right one. That’s another story. After redraining my right ear, my ENT saw that my right eardrum had become swollen since our last visit. This should not be. He poked at it a few more times hoping he’d find room for a stent. No dice. So no stent for right ear. But I do get antibiotic drops to use for the next two weeks to see if the swelling has gone down (which he likely made worse by poking around the ear drum around some more). If it hasn’t, another Cat Scan for you, baby blue.

So I’m still pretty damned deaf. (I know, I know, I have to chill about the left ear and let the sucker drain.) Kristen (the best therapist in the world) will be arriving momentarily. If I can actually hear the session without too much trouble, I will be pleased.


Two hours later… “pleased” is too strong a word. Two words would work much better: barely improved. I still felt like a tadpole. Fuck. This has already gotten old. (For all of us, I know.) But I actually heard most of what was said to me. That is an improvement. That I heard it from beneath surface of a fen…that’s where the “barely” comes in. Damnit.

As we all know, when we can’t hear, our own body sounds seem much louder than for those who live above the fen who usually don’t hear your body sounds at all. (No I’m not talking about farts here…) Right now, I’m referring to breathing and the mucous that is settling on my throat and probably my vocal chords too. I heard what I think is a slight raggedness in my breath. That frightens me. I associate this sort of raggedness with a bug that has or is settling in my lungs. Now, if I could hear like a healthy human being, I don’t think I’d hear a thing. But I‘m not, and I heard it, however faintly.

I get my poor husband who’s on a conference call to help strap me into The Vest, the thing that while in action looks like a “Flotation Device” in all its flotation-ness and beats the crap out of my lungs- front, sides, and back. Clever bugger, isn’t it? We get me in my harness and twenty minutes later, Aretha in Paris (of which I listened about halfway through last night) and I are done almost simultaneously. Crap is moving. No more raggedness. Fear subsides. Lovin’ on Aretha. (This album gets a bad rap. Totally undeserved. I think it’s pretty kickass.)

Time for my afternoon nap. (Yes I take a nap every afternoon.) Still coughing up stuff. (This I really do have to get out or else I can get myself into real trouble.) Given my new lease on life (oxycodone) I’m really not in the mood to drop dead of a cold. (And boys and girls, I only take it when I need it. Haven’t needed one for the past few days.) So now, kids, oxycodone, is not my new favorite candy. Cepacol lozenges were for a awhile. (But they taste something awful, but they, unfortunately, work. I still take them when desperately needed.)

Isn’t the word “lozenge” just great? Lozenge. It’s so unusual to find a word in English you can really sink your teeth into. Lozenge. It’s good. I’m reading a little of my new Grant bio (not Cary, though that would work just fine), before I tank. (I think I’m in love. First it was Charles II. You woman-loving rascal, you. But now, what about my Ulysses??? The greatest general in the world. And such a nice boy.) Lozenge. Isn't it yummy?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Feel Tzkruchen

Saturday, I was all ready to write one of the most depressing posts I’ve ever written and shared with you all some utterly disgusting incidents while I was being sized up in Pittsburgh. All I wanted was to let out was the worst of the worst. I was even going to include a warning up front not to read further if easily grossed out.

I didn’t do any of those things. I ran out of time, and I still haven’t figured out how to use this fucking laptop without doing a real number on my neck which the P.T. (Tamar, the best P.T. on the planet.) finally fixed on Friday that I promptly fucked up again by getting back on the computer. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t like pain. My back hurt something fierce on Saturday. I couldn’t hear. My sex organs didn’t and don’t work as they should. (Not just on Saturday.) I’d had enough. More than enough. I was beginning that great fall into the abyss, but I didn’t think I’d still be alive to hit bottom. I’d be gone long before that. I’d had enough.

The next day, we planned a brunch to celebrate Lydon’s twenty-ninth birthday and his engagement to Joanna- (not at the Bowery Ballroom). Chip’s mom and our nephew Nye were there as well as the usual set of dubious Lipmans. (Bagels, nova, the whole schpiel.) I popped an oxycodone two hours prior to arrival. Back pain gone. I announced to the entire group my litany of non-lethal, but still real lousy “cascading problems.” (The most lethal thing I’ve got to deal with is I. Even more than an upper respiratory infection. Either can kill me. I think the former is more likely to get me than the latter.)

But pain free, life feels different. Maybe even worth living. I no longer have the need to disgust you or myself. I think that’s serious progress. In one five milligram little pill. If only I could figure how best to place this fucking computer, so my neck stops hurting like bloody hell.

Tomorrow is stent day. Right now, I don’t think I’m very deaf. I could be and have not a clue. I’m here sitting in the living room by myself. But yesterday, in a room full of people, it was rough. My mother and I were having problems hearing the conversation. You don’t know how miserable it is asking someone to repeat something, again. Even when you know you’re speaking to someone who loves you, you can just hear that tiny edge in his or her voice because it’s a pain in the ass to have someone say to you, “Excuse me, what did you say?” Over and over again. I can better understand why so many of us (I sheepishly raise my hand), have difficulty dealing with older people. All I can say, hey guys, you just have to have a little bit more patience. They don’t mean to be difficult. And when they are, you’ll recognize the difference instantly.

It is now Tuesday. Stent day. I head to the ENT in about a half hour. I became very upset last night. As I’ve bitched about (I think) over and over again about my short-term memory problems. (Often I don’t have one.) Spelling confusion. (I never misspelled anything in my life…until now.) I also found out that I was completely befuddled by long division. Long fucking division. Yes, I had taken an oxycodone. (Back and neck.) But that wouldn’t make long division into the math equivalent of a Rubik’s Cube. (I could never figure those things out.) I was and am freaked by this.

And will I ever know if a part of my brain is damaged (during the eight-week medically-induced coma) or am I just fucked up by the medication I’m taking. I’m afraid I’ll be on these “psychotropic” drugs forever. Anyone want to risk reducing these babies? Not when I figure while on all these drugs, there’s still a chance of an “Au revoir, mes petits!”

Right now, all I want to do is give my head and neck a fucking break and put this computer down and far, far away. First Since When submission is this week. (For an agent, not a publisher.) Oh boy.

Spelling of "tzkruchen" courtesy of my mother who worked it out phonetically with Leah from Florida.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Fly

Have you ever given yourself a wedgie? I most certainly have. Many times, in fact. Not because I enjoy them. Oh, quite the contrary. But those de rigueur thong underpants (no undie lines girls!), makes it a snap. You transform yourself from human being to Guantanamo Bay torture victim in one painful quick second. Do you know how horrible it feels to be held up totally naked by a string looped between your legs? Well that’s what it feels like. And just having suffered a doozy, please be understanding when I appear to be sticking my fingers up my butt. I’m only trying to remove that string which at that precise moment is slicing through my nether regions. (My butt doesn’t need any squinching or fondling of which I’m aware that would also requiring undergarment adjustment.) Franny’s poor butt just requires the implement of pain removed as quickly as possible.

Oh why can’t I just get the love for those adorable boy briefs? (End of self-induced wedgie problem for all time.) They are awfully cute, n’est pas? Yes they are, and you can’t have them sweetie poo. Because the girls who wear them are young enough to have been birthed by me. I would be pushing the youth thing surreptitiously. Not a good thing when you’re 48.

Now I now understand in a way I had been unable to do as a youth: my mother’s disgust when she saw 50-year-old women in hot pants. There is such a thing as age appropriate or better said, looking like an idiot. (This was the early seventies, the Age of “Who wears short shorts?” and James Brown’s Hot Pants.) I grok it now. I’d rather have the wedgie, because I would know I’m being the asshole (for continuing to tempt the evil thong gods) yet acting my age. I just wish to God that I hadn’t bought into the nonsense that panty lines are an embarrassment to all of humankind and must be eradicated.

My other bugaboo. I rather dislike or hate with a fucking passion when someone (could even be me) steps on my tubing that follows me everywhere like a good little doggie. And it rips the cannula out of my nose. This is not something I can get used to. Frankly can you think of someone who would? Stepping on my life-line isn’t dangerous. (Unless you count a nasty growl from me dangerous.) Getting pulled like around by a nose leash is miserable. It hurts. Not only do I hate it, I also find it terribly humiliating.

Stepping on my tether, my leash. My leash on life. Ugh. (For the godawful pun and for being leashed.) Like on Judge Judy, when she lays into people who don’t leash their dogs. She’d approve of my set-up. I’m on a long lead, but it only allows me a taste of freedom. I can’t leave the apartment by myself. If nothing else, the neighbors don’t have to worry about rabies.

My hearing is better today. Yesterday not so much. It’s a problem when I’m straining to hear my therapist. Or the masseuse. Or Tamar, the best P.T. on the planet. I see stents in my future. (Obviously, the back still cries for love.) The E.N.T. has been convinced. (Blow noisemakers, throw confetti.) Let’s see how much we can take away from Fran before she's locked up in the attic and madder than a hatter. Or better yet, lock me in a cage, like a dog crate. That would work in an apartment. Bingo!

“I can’t take it no more baby…And furthermore, I don’t intend to…” (FYI, Janis, at the fade out of Move Over.) Big words from the ill one- me- though it could easily be Janis, couldn't it? I know it's just bravado. Sometimes I like to think I have some say in any of these matters. (sigh.) Please be patient while I act like a tough guy. It's the closest I'm ever get to actually being one.

Do you remember the original movie The Fly? At the end, the man-fly is sitting on a bush and in a squeaky high-pitched voice calls out, “Help me! Help me!” (Long ago and far away, I used to do a very good imitation of the Fly’s plea, I scared the shit out of my normally tough, cool older brother Doug. This, he could not take.) That man-fly, he was so totally fucked. He knew it too. (He was the brilliant scientist who got himself in this hideous mess.) But he couldn’t help but cry out, even when he knew it was all for nought, “Help meeee!” I’m beginning to feel a kinship with that goddamned man-fly.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Haikus for Jews

Hormones have officially gone missing. Oh they’re here. They’re making their presence known those sons-of-bitches. I’ve just be unable to reel them in and give them the long timeout they most richly deserve. When will my body stop conspiring against me? It’s done enough damage. Now, it feels the need to rub my face in shit for the fun of it. How cruel. Yo body, I’ve got the message.

No, I don’t. (As I hang my little head in shame.) I don’t know a damned thing. Because if my dot of a crisis plays a role in the trials and tribulations of the Universe, that’s really silly. That’s really too much. That’s really too funny to fathom. Whoever you are, I think you could have picked on someone who actually has a role in the trials and tribulations of the Universe. “Oops, my mistake, Franny babe.” I can forgive, once you correct the fucking situation. I promise, after such “correction” has been made, I’ll be generous in forgiving your stinking, lousy mistake once you right it.

Randy Newman’s got it hands down:

"I burn down your cities--how blind you must be

I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we

You must all be crazy to put your faith in me

That's why I love mankind

You really need me

That's why I love mankind"

Cool fact of the day. The reason Key to the Highway appears on Layla is because the band overheard the song in the next studio being recorded for Sam Samudio’s Hard and Heavy. They liked the tune. They recorded it. Wow. Fuck, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Today I embrace my curmudgeonly-ness. Yes, I love the small stuff. (Though every now and again I would appreciate a really big good thing. May I have one now please?) But realistically, where I’m at is it, my darlings. Oh, over the past three years (after relearning how to walk and such), the improvements have been teeny and incremental. (Redundancy seems apropos here.) I feel perfectly entitled to be one fucking curmudgeon. And even if I wasn’t entitled, who’s going to stop me?

It’s a riot to feel so free locked up in an apartment. They could make a sitcom out of it. Nah, way too much depressing , and each episode would be one thought balloon after another. Now I am big fan of thought balloons, but I think they need to meted out judiciously or else they lose their punch.

When I first got the cancer diagnosis (back in the good old days), Chip had heard of these adult (as in “grown-up” not “porno”) cartoon books where the authors/artists each tell of her own experience with cancer. One was okay. Not haha, but it had a hopeful ending. Then Chip found another one that the reviews all said this is the one to get. Hysterical, really helpful as you begin your ordeal. Another young woman gets breast cancer, has lumpectomy, cancer come back with a vengeance, she finds she looks best in a blue wig she picked up (that must have been the uproarious part) for cheap one day out with her girlfriends. More cartoons relating to the illness. Then they just stop. Just stop. Well all you asshole critics, it stops because she’s dead. She’s dead. She is dead. A real pick-me-up. All I can say, if you or a loved one has cancer, you’re better off with Haikus for Jews. They really are funny. And no one dies in the end.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Are You Experienced?

I had a horrible day yesterday. I felt completely out of control. (Not being able to keep computer files and panicking when I can’t get a handle on the mess. I have a god-awful short-term memory. Ask me something from five minutes ago. Forget it. I can’t do any of it anymore. And so many other stupid things that I used to find easy.) I sometimes forget how fragile I am. I misinterpreted an email, because of my low feelings of self-esteem I’ve been feeling these days. (Why? Because I can’t do the shit that all you can do. And I never will.)

Okay, I didn’t exactly misinterpret the email. I just read it in such a way that made me feel deficient for not “doing more.” And not appreciating the small joys in life. Hell, if I try to appreciate anything smaller, they’d fucking need a microscope to see the fuck it is. What’s more, I haven’t the foggiest what more I can do. More exercise? More writing? “Touching base” with more people? (Oh, puhleeze.)? Loving my peanut butter and jelly more than I already do? (And I can’t do what you all can do.) But oh, this stuff hurts so much! I feel like I’m hanging on with just the tips of my fingers. No, don’t worry. If I die, it will be a natural death. So chill, s’alright? (s’alright.) Good.

Complete change of subject: I know I’ve come a little late to this game, but I fucking adore Jimi Hendrix. I never was crazy about the stuff the d.j.’s played over and over again. Those songs are still not my favorites. But the tunes I never heard on those three records are remarkable. And there is something so sweet about him that brings out the mother in me. (Somehow, I don’t think that’s what Jimi was going for.) So with three “new” albums to get to know, I’ve got what to listen to. (And I can also relate…the second song on Are You Experienced is Manic Depression. Why the hell do you think he was self-medicating? (and Kurt Cobain…Janis…)

Well, I think I'll go turn myself off,

And go on down

All the way down

Another one of my sweeping statements: most artists suffer from manic depression. They love manic. And when they’re manic, watch them magically create until they crash. They crash hard. Like Jimi. What a perfect song. I’m not manic-depressive, but I’ve recognized two manic periods in my life and shit, were they productive as bloody hell. Both in relation to Since When. The second time preceded my trip to see if could get placed on the lung transplant list. And that month prior, I got more and more wound up. I finished Since When. Rewrote the damned thing front to back. Then off to Pittsburgh to crash like a flaming hot air balloon.

When Chip and I got home, I really wanted to avoid “the big crash” that I expected when the possibility of transplant blew up in my face. (Survival stats beyond low…) So I just continued to write and magically, I didn’t fall to pieces. (The first time was the big one, oooh baby, never to be repeated.) But if you’re manic depressive, your highs are so much higher and your crashes are lower than low and unavoidable. (That’s where my maternal instincts come in. I would just rock that poor baby to sleep and tell him that I love him.)

I must have written about my Duane project. I’m telling you, that baby has kept me out of trouble for at least a year. I am trying to collect every piece of music Duane Allman played as a session musician. (FYI, side one of Layla doesn’t include Duane. He had to have been gone by the time it was recorded. Otherwise, why record any of it without Duane?) He died at only twenty four. God knows what we would have heard from him.

Duane Allman did not suffer from manic depression.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Relax, Damn You

I was in the midst of my deep tissue massage (as deep as I would allow Rachel to get in…Meaning not deep enough.) Note to self: work on forcing yourself to relax. You all may think that’s funny, but I tried that one before and hot damn, it worked.

I took a vacation at a hiking spa in southern Utah eight million years ago. The only reason I was placed with the toughest guys (mainly women) was because I was the little girl who just followed directions. We had to run this course through the rocky, hilly sparse terrain. We were never told to run but run was the only way for me to keep up. At the end of the course, those who bothered to finish (yeah, I finished because they said to, don’t you get it?) were told to ascend the “six-minute hill.”

I have no fucking clue how steep that damned thing was, but I’d never seen a hill so steep that I was expected to climb. Just one steep mother of a grassy hill, that’s all. They (those spa people) told me to, so I did. I couldn’t believe there were actual young people saying, “Oh no, this has been enough for me!” I climbed the godddamned thing. Chip would say to those laggards, as he says to me when I ask him for something, “What! Are your legs broken?”

We hikers were never told this was our placement test. When I was told I made the top team, I burst into tears. I went to the man who looked most like a camp director and told him there had to be some kind of mistake. (We’re already in November. Little Franny is closing in on high tide with her Seasonal Affective Disorder. (I’m one fucking mess aren’t I? But a highly functional fucking mess.) I burst into tears again and told him there was no way I’d be able to keep that shit up. “Oh, we just speed things up to see who does it and who doesn’t.” And the hill…if you say, no hill, no serious hiking for you. He said you were great out there. (Like he knew.) Well I did it. He told me to.

Among parts of the spa package were three massages. I had never had a massage before, and I was more than dubious. This Slavic sports massage therapist kept insisting that I relax. I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. I seemed perfectly relaxed to me. Sometime in the next day or so, I got it. I had my goddamned epiphany. A real “aha” moment. I knew what I had to do.

I went back to the Slavic master who was shocked to see me after what he must of thought was a debacle of a massage. “I know how to do it now.” He looked dubious- wouldn’t you? But okay, take off your clothes, get under the sheet, and we’ll begin. I told myself, “You fucking little turd, you will relax. “And I gritted my teeth and voila Mr. Slavic Master, dig in. there’s plenty for everyone. I opened up, gritted teeth and all. “How did you do that?” “I forced myself to do it.” I think he thought me crazy, but we both had a helluva lot more fun than the first time. And I fell in love with the glorious pain of a deep tissue massage.

Today was massage day. Ninety minutes. Some real fine pain. Man, I’ve started to open up, but I have a ways to go. But I can still make myself do it. I force-feed myself relaxation. That’s sick.

Midway through the massage, I thought about a recent David Letterman Show. (All while making myself relax, ignoring that I had to pee in the worst way, and passing on the fact that my neck hurt in a bad way). Michael Douglas was on- with a ton of very coiffed hair I imagine hawking his latest Greed movie. Besides his hair, I noticed he didn’t look all that good.

And Dave (many years after sharing his heart disease scare and his quintuple bypass very openly and movingly with his audience) asked Michael about what was happening with him. You know Dave knew…I didn’t. Michael Douglas told us he has been diagnosed with stage four throat cancer. Stage four in any cancer isn’t very good. It usually stinks. He said his one saving grace, the cancer has not spread below his neck. Yeah, I’ll say. Poor guy. He was diagnosed three weeks ago. Had his first chemo treatment. I‘m telling you, just one knocks you for a loop. No wonder he looked like shit. The two men then hugged. And then I imagine we went to commercial.

As I was lying facedown with all my breathing apparatus impressing runes in my face, it finally dawned on me. Was that warm hug goodbye?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

July 4, 1826

This is crazy. But I can’t stop writing. This one is completely cathartic. (Fuck, that’s what I’d prefer it be.) I’m terribly sad. I’ve written about my lost group of darlings who kept me sane through three horrible years at Paul D. Schreiber of High School of the Port Washington Union Free School District a bunch of times before.

I’ve never been the most prompt of letter writers. Often , I never wrote at all. (Which angered those who were on the receiving end who received from me…nothing.) I guess this is payback time. The phone and I don’t get along as well as we used to. (My voice usually paying the price.)

Sad. Oh weeks ago, I indicated to a sibling a lovely story of her sister- one of the lost. (I know, I make them sound like The Lost Tribe, don’t I? But that’s actually not a bad way to think of them.) I wrote that I had a post about her wonderful sister (who is unable to rejoin the world). Something dreadful happened in the years she was away- transforming her into someone unrecognizable and unreachable. That’s the horror. The terrible sorrow. She was delightful, wickedly funny, loving, and totally unaccepting of self.

The latter I learned many years later. I think in our few intense years together, we all took her behavior as simply neurotic, invisible, smart girl pains that would slowly heal only after leaving the hell that was Paul D. Schreiber High School of the Port Washington Union Free School District. Well they didn’t. And hope against hope, I thought making contact with a sibling on FB would somehow get me closer to my lost sweetheart. But that can’t happen. Not in real life. There is no substitute for the real thing, but I wasn’t looking for a substitute. But I was looking for something I frustratingly never found. (Expectations will be the death of me yet.)

In fact, I felt a hand in my face, attached to an arm stretched forward as far as it could go. I was not to be allowed in. I wasn’t wanted. Not like when I was a fixture at their house. The days when her sister and the rest of the tribe could read each other’s minds was long, long, ago in the Dark Ages. I was asking for a taste of something that is no more. It is not she, the sibling, who is at fault. It is I for wanting more. More than possible for anyone to give. That hurts.

I feel so goofy “becoming a blog exhibitionist.” It’s the same damned me I always was. I’m just on a written page for the world to see if it bothered to take the time to read my “poils of wisdom.” Some are you are wise beyond your years. Give yourself a hand. Always a little (sometimes a lot) angry, usually acerbic, very often funny. There’s a lot of funny in this world. Unfortunately, many fail to see the humor in it. Too bad. I find it much easier to live as if we’re part of some ghastly uber- Super Thing’s big joke. That’s helluva lot more interesting than God.

There is nothing good about when I feel lousy the way I do every fucking day. There are no lessons to be learned from this. I’m not of the school (surprise): “cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me.” Anyone who says that is not being honest with himself or is a blithering idiot. Yeah, so you survive your cancer. You’re always looking over your shoulder for the horrid thing that’s next. Or waiting for the other shoe to drop. Pick your cliché. The effects of chemo stick to your psyche like a piece of chewing gum. (Juicy Fruit?)

Yeah, so I’ve learned not to be frightened (for the most part) to say what I feel. Trust me, this wonderful ability to communicate and share really bites when it comes with the everyday worry of picking up some ordinary upper-respiratory infection and dropping dead. (I always feel so terrible for poor Freddie Mercury. He was so frightened about the reaction he’d get telling the public he had AIDS. When he finally screwed up the courage and did it, he died the very next day. A la Jefferson and Adams both surviving to July 4, 1826 and then dropping both down dead as if they planned it that way. Like when you’d tell a girlfriend, let’s both wear skirts tomorrow! Yeah, just like.) C’mon, y’all, we live in a bad place, so let’s enjoy as much as possible.

Oh, about the communicating and sharing? Don’t even think so for a second. I’m just on my soapbox pontificating. I don’t see any dialogue here, do you? Any sharing. Nah, fuhgedaboutit. I wasn’t made that way. I just often appear so. (Oh my, so curmudgeonly today, aren’t we?)

I’m just sad.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fin and Tail Rot

Perhaps the bloom is off the rose. The new and exciting is no longer fresh. Have I become a circle? Thoughts, feelings, ideas that sound suspiciously familiar? I feel I’m long past that point. At this point, I’d rather be The Cyrkle. They had two, (yes both jangly and upbeat) two megahits. I’m still looking for my first. (Blog post, not book. A published book would be an insane kick.) A megahit blog post. A triple platinum blog post. A Triple Crown blog post.

I’m just not that good. Perhaps if I had more disgusting yet fascinating leftover presents from touch and go bout with fin and tail rot. Uncontrollable drooling is always a good one. Fail safe, that one. Incontinence is not. (And I’m not.) My left ear is still leaking ear-wax colored water from where it was lanced and drained last Friday. That’s not bad and even better, it happens to be true. Aha! My hormones have been located. They are hovering around Mars as they make their way home. (Metaphorically, have no doubt about the latter’s veracity. I tell you no lies. At least none of which I am conscious.)

But these are nothing to write home about.

While I have nothing physically disgusting or otherwise to report, I am ecstatic that the LP of Sam Samudio’s Hard and Heavy (1971, Atlantic) has been transferred to disk (Emmy-winning liner notes to boot) and has finally arrived! Duane Allman appears on two tracks. One of which I already own on one of the two Duane Allman Anthologies I have. For one fucking song, I bought the only copy of Hard and Heavy I could find anywhere. Someone was selling one on Ebay.

Now people, I have a working turntable and bought the upgraded Yamaha receiver (when I was up grading) because it had a phono jack. So I have not given up on vinyl though I am ashamed to say that I don’t play my records often. The stereo components live in one room, and the records, another. I can’t easily remedy the problem being that this is a “grown-up” living room not a dorm room. (Except it really is more like a dorm room now, so I can have easy access to my beloved corner of the couch) But what sucks is that I can’t just pop between rooms grab a few, play’em, and then grab some more. Fin and tail rot makes moving difficult, as you all well know.

While Duane was the impetus for this purchase and transfer to disk (an all-Duane session work playlist- the tasty just got tastier)- I was really hot on checking out the record. Sam Samudio, my friends, is Sam the Sham. Sam the Sham! Of Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. Is that not crazy or what? Of course I had to have it. The man behind Wooly Bully? Count me in.

The music is good. It had to be. The irony for poor Sam. Atlantic issued a single of Sam singing a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobby McGee. He sung a quiet, wistful song. It was out a couple of months before Janis released hers. Forget it. Who remembers anything but that stellar version? She made it her song. Like Harry Nilssen took Badfinger’s Without You and transformed it. Joe Cocker with Dave Mason’s Feelin’ Alright? Like Aretha with Otis Redding’s Respect.

When Janis single came out. Atlantic pulled Sam’s off the market.

I say, Sam baby, yours still lives. With me. And it moves me. As it was supposed to.

Oh yeah, I really like music. Fin and Tail Rot notwithstanding.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bye Bye Johnny

For the very first time, I removed a "friend" from my list of many on FB. You have to have misbehaved terribly for me to reach this point. Honestly, the old Fran would have turned it around, upside down, twisted it in ways it wasn't meant to be twisted, and I still wouldn't remove you. Wipe shit all over my face, it's okay, let's see how we can work this out. I still went too far with this, but I was tired of being insulted. I was tired of being called a moron. Am I supposed to find this cute? Does he have such an inferiority complex that he assumes he's being attacked and attacks back? Did I crush his buzz with my little size five feet? Why so fragile? What do I care? How the hell did I become the lucky one?

I didn't allow him to be King Shit. I actually tried to have a conversation. I'm sick to death of lol and all the other clever internet argot. So much of that crap is so fucking dull. Being provocative is fun. I love it. It always gives me something new to chew on or allows me to see something in a whole new way. Convince me. Don't call me a moron. With this dude, I must have appeared to be on the attack. Me? I just respectfully disagreed. Did I make him feel like less of a man? Good grief. If he can find some little ole stranger so antagonistic, to quote Chuck Berry, "Bye Bye Johnny."

All from the right-hand corner of the couch. A scene. I've had a scene. A real honest-to-God scene. Hot damn. Bob did say I had strong opinions. I guess I must. I must get used to it. Fran 2 lets 'er rip whereas Fran 1 kept it all inside. (Except at work. I could speak my piece when it was for or about my client. I was not able to ever do the same for myself. Until now.) Cutting ties. My goodness. This was one big step.

I suppose if everybody liked me I'd be like a bowl of farina. Tasteless mush. (I must confess I do like that mush with a little maple syrup and a lot of milk. Hmmmm.) You know what I'm getting at. I probably just saved me and my new unfriend a lot of grief. We'd continue to piss each other off. Over and over again. He'd thank me when he's 72, except this whole kettle of fish will be long forgotten.

Did the hormones have anything to do with this? I think so. But I only did what I wanted to do. I just did it. Without the sturm und drang that might go with Fran without stupid pills. (Amazing. stupid pills really have a use. Good to know.) Anne Boleyn, rather than facing the axe asked for a French swordsman. The swordsman, like a surgeon. The Brit with the axe, not so much. Big move, Anne. Quick and neat. Neat.

Sure Plays a Mean Pinball

As I sit watching football with the mute button on though I am a human mute button so why even bother? (No, I can hear. Only not very well. I just like the idea of being my own mute button…I find it amusing. I’ve lost my touch. Please, you needn’t tell me what I already know. It disgusts me. (Perhaps a good narrative device? Make note to self.)) Like I give a shit about the NFL. Don’t get me started on them. I think them evil incarnate.

I sit on the doughnut placed as always on my spot on the couch. (At the far right.) I'm annoyed at my continued deafness. (Conveniently forgetting that seconds ago I was amused by it.) I know that my hearing will improve as the day goes on. I don't know why it does that. If I did, I'd do it all the time and do away with this annoyance once and for all. Why am I convinced I'll be spending the next three months with stents in my ears? Can't wait.

Today, Chip is riding to eradicate some incredibly rare genetic disease that has only been found in fewer than 500 Ashkenazic Jews. No I didn't miss a zero. 500. What a nice boy he is! I’ve completely ruined him.

I'm being babysat by my mother today. (I cannot be left alone.) She made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (God love ‘em!) And brought me a nice glass on water with plenty of ice just like I like it. We sit here like a couple of alta kockers. She can't hear either. We make a great pair.

I have been told by my P.T., the very best in the entire world, to make sure I drink lots of water after she's finished with me- leaving me nothing more than a limp dishrag. (No, she doesn't give me a dish rag, I am the dishrag.) She said it was important to wash out the toxins her work had released during the session. I always knew it. I now have proof. I am toxic. Poison. Venomous. Contaminated. I guess that's something, isn't it?

Next week, I am emailing my query letter and a couple (or maybe three) of chapters to an old Carrie Palmer Weber Junior High School and Paul D. Schreiber High School classmate of the Port Washington Union Free School District who is now a literary agent. Hamana, hamana. I'm actually really happy with the query letter. But I have absolutely no fucking idea which chapters to send. A me, a Europe, and a Brooklyn? Which ones? As my (toxic?) hormones are now off for a visit to Alpha Centauri, I'm entirely useless. May my husband be of some assistance in this matter.

My uselessness: I just published this post as is, because I have taken an overdose of stupid pills (in addition to the output of my the endocrine system that now stretches well beyond our galaxy) which allow me to remember nothing, make moronic choices, and misplace all remaining brain cells. Pain in the butt, that’s what this is. So, I’m deaf and dumb. My glasses are prescriptions behind, so I’m working on blind. It’s too bad, but I think I’d only be worse at pinball which I was never very good at in the first place. Franny’s Holiday Camp.

(Don’t fret, I deleted the post so if I’m lucky, no one will have been the wiser.) But I was smart enough to copy and save it in word first. Wasn’t that clever for a (temporary) idiot?) I’m pleased as punch.

I have just slept for the past two hours, and I’m now fresh as a daisy. Fresh to eat the Vietnamese food Chip, my rider, my tough guy, is hunting and gathering right now. Life is good is it not? No not really, but the dinner should be dandy. I guess lying down for two hours doesn’t help clear those Eustachian tubes. Maybe peak season will last a bit longer this year. Get ‘em while they’re hot.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Haute Cuisine

Stuffed eustachian tubes. It almost sounds like some weird delicacy prized in some strange corner of the world with a very short growing season. "Oooh! It's the season for eustachian tubes. Let's get some while they're still available!" "You just have to try those stuffed eustachian tubes. They're divine here!"

I just was battered by my fantastic P.T. (Battered in the way I like. reminded to drink lots of water to remove all the toxins released during the session. I'm toxic. Cool.) My god, does my body have eons to go or what? Everything is tight. I've got every last thing so damned tied up tight into everything else that it would take an army to loosen me up. (You know the rack may be of some medicinal help here. Yes, that rack.)

In a few minutes Chip and I and my stuffed eustachian tubes are off to the ENT to get the verdict to stent or not to stent. Since I feel like there is a fat water balloon in my head, I think the answer is obvious. But I've thought a lot things I assumed obvious for a long time that just fucked me up and good.

Chip was out at a meeting this morning, so he set the alarm for me to make certain I take my medication on time, do all my morning ablutions, and get my ass up in time for Tamar (the best P.T. on the whole goddamned planet). I discovered upon "Gee, let me see what time it is" that Tamar was arriving in 45 minutes and I missed the alarm Chip so carefully set for me, because I was to damned deaf to hear it go off. Shit. Scheduling the ENT appointment for today was finely well chosen.

I made it. With 15 minutes or so to spare. Though I don't know how. All ablutions were abluted. Clothes, clothed. Pills swallowed and inhaler, inhaled. I may have been a tad disoriented, as if struck by lightning but still very much alive and on two feet, but am I not always disoriented for some goddamned reason anyway? (And I was also still in the Cone of Silence. I'll miss it's peacefulness.) Who cares for what reason?

When I see Tamar or now Rachel, the massage therapist, I know very how far I have to go to before I could fit somewhere on the wee edge of the bell curve of humanity. At this very moment, I am downing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Mmmmm. Fuck, I fit on that fucking bell curve for that sandwich alone.

I remain stentless. For now, anyway. I was offered another option that had not been posed to us before. I could try another course of steroid, no way in bloody hell. My poor cousin who was compelled to take high dosages of them for six years, is now in chronic and horrific pain. Steroids and their relatives destroy the liquid in the connective tissue in the entire skeletal system. She is now just bone on bone with nothing in between. This is agonizing and permanent. (As you can well imagine.) We touch base on a regular basis. Only when you've been in hell yourself can you truly understand.

This afternoon, my eustachian tubes were drained. A quick snip, a little suction and whooee! I can hear again! The idea here is to break the cycle of the stuffed tube. If this is only a temporary fix, stent heaven, here I come! So get 'em while they're hot. Unstuffed eustachian tubes, a little fresh ricotta, a nice little provencal sauce, you've got something. But all I can promise is that their availability is limited. Soooeey!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Take My Wife, Please

Happy New Year, mein kinder! I'm much less deaf today. I think it's because I choked on the super-hot mustard that comes as a condiment with tonkatsu last night. The stuff is wasabi-esque, and I love it madly. Last night, it must have hit the wrong bit of gullet as it was going down. (This was not one of those "wrong pipe" deals) That piece of gullet didn't like the mustard. Though I can't imagine why, it so perfectly compliments the tangy/sweet tonkatsu sauce. A perfect go-with. In fact, my gullet had a major problem with it, so I ended up in a coughing fit that lasted about ten minutes, long after the guilty mustard was washed down the pipe.

I believe that fit helped clear out those stuffed eustachian tubes allowing me to breathe like a person. I don't know the last time I felt like this. Even though there was something really pleasant about the utter silence. I felt at peace with the stuffed sinuses, excruciatingly-painful back, and one quarter lung capacity. Chip reminded me last night that the last time I had one of these mega coughing fits, it ended with my throwing up. I forgot that part. And lucky me, I didn't get a chance to re-experience it. Dinner stayed down. What a great night!


Today is 9/9/10. The massage therapist came in yesterday and beat me up. And how. That is exactly what I wanted and asked for but shit, it hurts like bloody, fucking hell. (I already have an enormous visible bruise on my right buttock). We've booked her for ten more sessions.

A few years ago, I saw a seriously gentle massage therapist a couple of times. I couldn't take it. I couldn't stand having someone making nice to me like that. Forget the foot reflexology. I didn't get it then, and I'm sure as hell not going to get it now. I went batshit (internally) She was a very sweet woman and gave a great massage, I'm sure. But I couldn't ever see her again. It's probably then I knew I needed the deepest deep tissue massage or fuhgedaboutit. I want to ripped open from the inside out. I want to be purged, dissected. I want to hurt like hell. I want my guts removed and shoved still pulsating in front of mine own two eyes. I found my torturer and muse. Her name is Rachel.

Now, my hormones have been roiling for a week or so. They've gone totally batshit, which means I've gone totally batshit. My hormones, this very second are orbiting Jupiter when they're supposed to be here, minding the store. I hate roiling.

Oh, my deafness, to spite me, I got clogged up as the day wore on. Right now, I'm in aural limbo. Chip still needs to look at me if I'm to understand him. But his hearing stinks, so it works out well for the two of us. You should listen to a minute or two of my therapy sessions, "What was that? Could you say that again? Huh? Wha?" Very revealing stuff. Now that's what I call getting to the heart of the matter.

Rachel asked if I suffered from any panic disorders. I said no until I remembered, you numnutz, you've been diagnosed with PTSD. That's one cool panic disorder to have. And I didn't have to to Iraq or Afghanistan or 'Nam to get it. Just go in one door and exit as a shard of your former self, needing to relearn most physical functions it took you forty-five years to get right. And no longer able to breathe. That'll work just as well. Like a charm.

I've been walking the hallways every day, and I hate it with a passion. Each lap ends with five to ten minutes of gasping for air. Who knows why some days are more difficult than others. To maintain some semblance of human-ness, I have to force myself to reach a point where my body is crying for air every fucking time. (I have to make sure I've made a visit to the bathroom prior to all exercise because when reaching gasping apotheosis, you want to empty both bladder and bowels. So far I've avoided this.)

No wonder I want someone to rip my guts out.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Autumn of Doom

What else is new? My goddamned back shows zero signs of improvement. This is getting ridiculous. No. It is ridiculous. I now live for boiled clay heating pads and 5 mg oxycodone tablets. Gimme.

Good news: Rich gave me on the thumb's up for my query letter and synopsis for Since When, the two precious documents I need to get started finding an agent much less publishing a book. This is a relief. If no one wants it, I can't say I didn't give it my everything.

Slowly but surely, I've noticed I've been less worried about the killer bug that I believe looms somewhere in my future. It appears that it has moved out of my rearview mirror and has moved back somewhere in the mess of cars behind me where I can no longer see it. Now mind you, this silly crap is just that. Crap. It has no more veracity than my long held belief that I'll die tomorrow (or soon thereafter). But this is a lot less scary. And a helluva lot easier to live with.

But don't you forget, silly girl, you are about to enter the Autumn of Doom. (Sounds very Tolkien, doesn't it?) The same time two years ago when I had some sort of upper respiratory illness from August into early January? The time when one of these beauties made it's home in my lungs? When my lung capacity went from crappy to one-false-move-and-then-you-die capacity? Ah yes, I remember it well.

I heard from Mark, my college boyfriend after my last post. He wanted to make sure that he understands very well what an idiot he was back then and he's not like that anymore. Well, since we speak often, I know you are well aware of what a dumbass you were back then (And what a dumbass I was, don't forget.) And now, you're just a sweetheart. Yes you are.

But I was not a dumbass about the strip poker. (That was actually kind of fun.) Mark, I still love you, and I don't even remember the last time I was pissed at you. (Oops, maybe I do, but it is no relevance here at all.) We were both young and stupid. And hey, look at he bright side, I haven't told the "My First Orgasm" story yet. (If you remember it.) I'm saving that for another day. (Don't you get squeamish on me!)

An aside about first orgasms: I was an utterly fantastic orgasm maven, having oodles of orgasms at will, and had been for eons, alone. Letting myself lose control with someone else, that was a whole other kettle of fish I discovered. You could say I have had some trust issues.

The hot clay pack has done it's work. I'm no longer whimpering. That is a good thing. The Yankees are have tied it up. (This is also a good thing. I'm no longer whimpering.) Hearing and breathing. Let's save it for another day.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

More Than Human or Blue Hawaii

I don't know what got me thinking about this, but I did. I imagine, thinking about Cliff got me thinking about our freshman year hall. Well, it was my freshman year hall. (Cliff was a sophomore. He was one of the few "older" guys.) My brother Doug always told me that for the first few weeks or months, The Hall works as a single unit.

Yeah, like eating at 5:30 p.m. at Stouffer dining hall. Where were we, some retirement community in Florida? I found eating as if there was an early-bird special was obscene, but I did it anyway. That's what The Hall wished- as if it were a huge, single-brained creature and we were simply it's limbs, entrails...doing its bidding.

Lesson from my brother. You weren't put on the hall with these people because of compatibility. You're all together randomly. There is no magic to it except proximity. I heard, but I'm not sure I listened. This Hall was unusual. It was a thing unto itself. (Like Theodore Sturgeon's Homo Gestalt from More than Human.) I remained the gall bladder of The Hall, and they were my buds, my posse. I was the girl among a bunch of guys. (A place I was very comfortable with being the only girl among my brothers and also the cousins who were young enough for me to play with.) Boys, girls, whatever. Friends are friends, right?

No, dodo brain. I should have taken the hint real early on. Maybe even the first week. A couple of the boys suggest to me and my roommate to play strip poker. I was smart enough to know that they were going to cheat (and it was beyond obvious, they used no finesse doing it whatsoever) and that my roommate and I are going to lose and lose bad. Which we did. Why would I take part in such a thing? I did it to prove a point though I don't remember what it was. But it sure was important. (ahem)

Okay, you now have a bare-assed girl in your room. Oooooo. What did those two boys expect? An orgy? What were they planning on doing with me? Well, nothing. They hadn't gotten that far in their hysterically funny plan. I sat there. I looked at them. (Sounds like Lola.) They looked at me. Guess the game's over; I'm going back to my room. Goodnight.

My roommate who chickened out about going bare-assed thought I was hysterically funny and totally kickass. I don't know about that. But really, what are you going to do with a couple of naked girls (one partially) who have zero interest in you who you haven't paid for? Not a damned thing. Maybe that was the point.

Perhaps those boys (the two who participated in the "game,") assumed I would be easy. Oh lord no! To sleep with you, I have to believe something real is happening. That may mean I'll sleep with you on the first date, but not because I'm easy. I did not have a toilet full of boyfriends (ever). I've had frightening few. (Three?) And only one of them was just for sex. The gorgeous, drool-worthy Australian grad student who made me feel hot again after surviving (barely) what had become the relationship from hell. I consider the former therapeutic. Like a spa treatment. So, I've only been in love twice. Thank the gods for saving the best for last. (Thank you all for sending me Chip.)

One of the boys on the hall became enamored of me. He was my puppy dog. But I was so afraid to pull the trigger, so to speak. Coming from Paul D. Schreiber High School of the Port Washington Union Free School District, I came with zero experience with situations remotely like this. I could only guess. Finally, February, I guessed yes. And I had the best of the rest-of-the-second semester. Fantastic. If only life were really like that. But we all know it ain't.

I could tell by the tone of the letters I received from Hawaii. (Hawaii? The boy spent the summer in Hawaii with his best buddy, a real ladies' man (a jock/stud type). My boy also went feeling confident that he was able to get women to sleep with him. (He should really thank me for that.)

Back at school. My sweet boy has turned asshole and cheat. (At school too?) This wasn't supposed to be in the script. Of course it was. I just assumed I was falling short in some way, and I'll fix it and we'll go back to what it had been, because wasn't it fucking wonderful before? I approached the problem intellectually. Because I've always found solutions to anything I've had to deal with. And I could deal with this, because I knew he loved me still. (He did.)

Forget any sober levelheadedness. I was as emotionally immature as they come. Hysterical tears. Often. I was also completely convinced that I'd never find anyone who'd love me again. Foolish girl. I demeaned myself big time by allowing him to treat me like shit. And all my freshman buddies. It's like a divorce. The boy got The Hall boys. Did I expect otherwise?

Well I got The Hall girl and two others who we hadn't known before our junior year. These three are my babes. Then there's David who I met first week freshman year. He and the babes are it. I'm no longer angry at my boy. I love talking to him. He has stuck by me through my whole nightmare. Thank you Mark! We still connect. Neither of us quite knows why, but we do. And that's good.

Hey, I didn't lose all the boys either! Not by a long shot. This makes me very happy. (And weepy too.) and I have Rich now to add to the pantheon. Painfully, my boy Cliff who stuck by me through thick and thin is gone. A huge loss for me and a huge loss for so many lives he touched. I was just lucky he found something about me to love. He was easy. You couldn't not love Cliff. If you didn't, there was something wrong with you.


It took me about three years with a few welcome breaks to finally cut the chord with my boy. Love is not enough. Love is never enough. Love and loathing can exist together. Some things have no solutions.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sympathy for the Devil

Chip is on the way home from Monticello from Cliff's funeral. I wrote to Steven, Cliff's brother, that I was just unable to go and that while he's gone, Mom is here babysitting me. (She wanted to go to too. She adored Cliff. as noted before, with damned good reason. What a sweet mensch! He's now, as we, oh so reluctantly, say goodbye, he's singing "For Your Love" with a bunch of putti who also love The Yardbirds.)

No, it's not what you're thinking. I am trusted to behave myself. (And I will. Without a doubt.) No one wants me left alone just in case something awful happens and I need help. Like the old lady in that horribly cheap commercial, "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" But she has a groovy device she wears at all times, so she's never really alone. "Only $23.99 in three easy payments!" (Probably not such a bad idea even if the commercial is an embarrassment to humanity.)

Ah, Chip has arrived. He said there was about 500 people at the funeral. I am so glad the world turned out for Cliff. No one deserved it more. What a good soul. What a great soul. Steve and I exchanged emails yesterday. We both agreed we'd very much like to stay in touch. In this way, we can keep Cliff alive. Or as alive as we're able.

These things are never easy to keep up, but it is possible. My friend Suzanne died about thirteen years ago, and Chip and I have become very close to her husband. That friendship has withstood the passage of time and is a friendship in its own right. We love you!

I succumbed. To what??? Actually I succumbed after getting "permission" from Suzanne's widower. He's a microbiologist, so I trust him especially when it comes to things like this. He told me to take the oxycodone. Take the fucking oxycodone!!! I have dozens leftover from when I needed a real cough suppressant. (Who knew? It's the best cough suppressant known to man.) Now I need it for my excruciating back pain. I'm seeing the chiropractor, the best P.T. in NYC, and I exercise. (You try it when you can't breathe.) My buddy told me not to be an idiot and if I need it (and I do), take what medical science has to offer to make you feel better. Aye, aye, sir!

My therapist (head therapist) said today that excruciating pain is not good for my psyche. (Any psyche.) I'm down with that. The awful thing is that one pill cuts the pain, but it sure doesn't eliminate it. (These are the zillion leftover 5 milligram oxycodone pills from when I took them when I desperately needed an effective cough suppressant.) I still hurt, but it's now tolerable-ish. Perhaps I need to see the orthopedist about the correct dosage to take for a back in excruciating pain. I had no addiction issues. I don't think that I ever will. (Big mistake, don't ever say never, i.e.: I'm young and have so long to live.)

I'm enervated. No it's not that. I'm still in pain. Too much pain. I just got off the phone with my cousin who is suffering herself. She told me 5 milligrams isn't going to cut it. Chip is emailing the orthopedist. In the meantime, another 5 milligrams isn't going to hurt anyone. (I swear I'm not the addictive type otherwise that bottle would have gone down my gullet eons ago. And, back to the "offing oneself' nonsense. If I really were going to do it, a nice bottle of pills seems much more preferable than cutting ankles, wrists, and carotid arteries. The latter is a total mess, overly dramatic (one shouldn't emote when committing suicide- that's plain embarrassing) and is just entirely too unpleasant for me. Like in Sympathy for the Devil:

So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste

Taste and civility count. In all realms of life and death. A lesson that should be taken by all. (And some, more than others.) So you needn't worry, I won't embarrass you. I will be such that the word "cringeworthy" can never be used to describe me. And not to worry, suicide is totally off the table, mein bubbellehs. (That, I think would be completely tasteless, don't you?)