The room held a battleship-gray metal desk along with two chairs. That huge chipped and dented desk dominated the small room. For all I knew, it probably saw action during the last world war.
The doctors deemed that my 11-year old tonsils needed yanking out. Doctors in the 1960’s were ready to slice and dice those things out as soon as a kid had a few sore throats.
First they said I needed blood work. That’s how I ended up with that desk sitting in one of those chairs.
An older girl, maybe six or eight years older than me walked into the room and sat across from me.
A enormous needle connected to a huge glass vial appeared on the desk. She took my unwilling arm and jabbed me with the needle. And jabbed and jabbed, dozens of times (or so it seemed). Finally the torture ended. She left and I was sent to my hospital room.
An older woman walked in holding a basket with more needles and vials! She said that the torture I had just undergone yielded no blood work after all. I said impossible, I can’t go through this again.
Before I knew it, the woman inserted the needle in my arm, filled the vial with blood, and left the room. Rather painless.
So I was a guinea pig for a novice in training. That’s what happens when you’re a nobody with no one to protect you, no status, no wealth. Surely those Kennedy kids never got any medical personnel in training.
Life is not fair.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Land of Confusion.”
Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!
Ninth grade algebra made me want to scream. It was a combination of things: my mind didn’t connect with the math and the teacher stunk.
Yeah, I’m blaming the teacher. She hated me. I had long, dirty-blonde hair, wore wire-rimmed glasses, and looked countercultural (early 1970’s and hippie like). She invited any student that was having problems to come in after class for extra help. When I did, she blew me off and said just read the math book, it will explain it to you. She frequently made remarks about how the protesting students on campus were scum and I guess she pegged me as scum.
Besides hating me, she was nearly as clueless about algebra as I was. So many times the smartest kids in the class had to correct her work on the blackboard since she got all confused and couldn’t solve the math problems.
She was short, chubby, and big-busted. And she insisted on wearing sheath dresses from a few years back when she was thinner. That’s how the students gave her the nickname of Boob Tube.
I nearly failed that class. The next year I took geometry and got an A in it. So it wasn’t just me being totally stupid.
In college, I took algebra even though I knew it may bring down my grade-point average. I was averaging an A all through that class until the chapters on algorithms. Then I got lost and ended up with a B. Yet I was thrilled that I understood the algebraic concepts and passed with a decent grade.
I should have visited my old algebra teacher and shoved that B grade into her face. Then I should’ve told her she needed to get an algeBRA.
In the third grade, I fell in love with Nick Naroni. Nick had black hair, green eyes, and was actually a taller third-grader than I was. He also read Greek and Roman mythology or at least versions of those stores that could be found in a public elementary school library. So being in love as I was, I adopted his interests and also began reading mythology. Nick failed the fourth grade and I lost sight of him, but literature remains a passion of mine.
I just finished reading Andy Miller’s book “The Year of Reading Dangerously.” Last year I read “My Life in Middlemarch” by Rebecca Mead. Both of these authors reflect on how a book or books can affect a person’s life. What a goofball I am, I read about other people reading. Or so my husband thinks I am.
In Andy’s book sometimes you can’t make out where the books he writes about end and where his life begins. His book reading propels him through a sort of mid-life crisis. After many years where parenthood, the hectic pace of life and work interfere with his first love of reading, he becomes determined to make the time to read fifty great books (and two not so great). The books truly connect with his life.
One time, Nick did an oral report in class on mythology. He started asking questions about the ancient gods and I answered every one of his questions. As you know, I’d been reading. Then he asked a question about something that I didn’t read about: “Why is the month of January named after the god Janus?” Janus was a Roman god with two faces. The probable answer clicked in my head right away. “Because one face looks to the old year and the other to the new year,” I responded. All my correct answers surprised the teacher and Nick. I was so proud of myself. Decades later I’m still reliving my moment of glory!
Anyway, the books through my life are precious and have become part of my essence. Thanks Andy (and Nick) for providing me with a blog post topic. I’ve got stories about my book reading too.
Oh, The Irony
This week’s challenge explores one of the oldest — and trickiest — literary devices.
She said she loved Wales. I said, I do too!
Mary was my mother’s good friend from childhood and I sometimes drove my mother over to her house for them to visit. Neither of them ever drove a car, and now that they were older, even the public transportation just a few steps from their front doors, could be daunting to them.
So I would come by and sit while they talked. I learned:
- Old women acquire a license to say anything they want, no matter how outrageous.
- If you don’t rinse the coffee cups inside and out, you drink coffee that tastes like soap.
- No amount of dusting will keep 7,000 knickknacks placed about a house dust free.
Yet I got excited about my shared interest with Mary. Whales.
Whales represent America, American literature, natural beauty, grace mixed with strength; mostly due to an influential class on Melville I took in school.
Now Mary kept talking about her passion, I kept talking about mine. A few times she looked at me quizzically. And a few times I thought her comments about whales were odd.
Finally she pulled out a large coffee table book off her coffee table and showed it to me. The title was “England and Wales.” A castle graced the gorgeous book cover.
This was the most ironic conversation of my life. I tried to take another sip of the coffee.
Veverican horoscope for October 2014:
- This month starts out with a sunny disposition which continues throughout.
- Hope for the future figures strongly by the 5th.
- Feelings of being uprooted will occur during the first half of the month.
- Celebrations abound early in the month.
- Your world will be turned upside down on the 17th.
- Exotic travel will take place in the third week.
- You will meet a distinguished, attractive gentleman.
- Guilty pleasures on the 29th.
The proof that astrology is real, my actual October events as follows:
- Beautiful fall weather in my favorite month, October. Not too hot, not too cold, just right.
- Baby shower, people still having babies.
- Planted a new tree in the backyard.
- Son, great-nephew, and good friend have birthdays.
- Did a shoulder stand in yoga.
- Traveled by train to Toronto, Canada.
- Had a drink with Roger Sterling from Mad Men in Toronto.*
- Used last year’s Christmas gift certificate for a massage. Felt guilty for the selfish, pampering hour.
*Actually Roger drank alone across the bar from us. He drank a beer, not straight whiskey. He wore a baseball hat and jeans, not a suit. He wore a wedding ring, left the bar alone. Maybe it was some guy named John.
The astrological sign Veverican is portrayed by a squirrel standing on its hind legs while holding a black walnut. The zodiac symbol is ℑ. The ruling planet is Vesta which is actually a large asteroid that lies within the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Unlike the Greek gods that rule the other signs, Veverican is represented by the Norse god Loki.
The main drive of a Veverican is solitude. Extremely introverted, this person thrives on alone time where they recharge. Intense social settings make this person overtired. They do not meet social expectations and may have poor social skills.
A hard worker in the workplace, but doesn’t find passion in the work they perform. Others think they are very self-confident, but this is an illusion since this sign usually lacks self-esteem. Appears capable at work but does not feel it.
Despite social issues, are often lucky in love only after suffering poor relationships. Often parents successful children.
If not careful, has a propensity toward nihilism. People born under this sign should refrain from reading anything by Nietzsche. With a Scorpio moon, this person can become depressed. Exercise is the most useful method to ward off possible debilitating depression for this sign. A Veverican dwells in ambiguity and fluctuates between good and evil impulses, much like its god Loki.
People born under this sign should not play poker since they are bad liars. Backgammon is preferable.
They cannot tolerate excessive heat and should avoid summers in tropical climates. Global warming sends them to the polar regions.
Prefers a low-clutter environment. Disorganized living spaces make them nervous and unhappy. Zen and yoga are their friends. Selects minimalism over baroque when given a choice.
If combined with a Leo on the ascendant, traveling too far and too long from home may cause anxiety. Home is their sanctuary. A natural-born loner, will not garner a large crowd at their funeral.