Monday, March 26, 2018

Looking For A Test Student For Guitar

I've taught guitar before. I can honestly say that it was neither a pleasurable nor enriching experience. I am again.


Good question. The answer is pretty simple. For me, its about sharing the joy of making music. People often ask how I started playing, how long I've been playing, etc. My former guitar teacher, Kevin, showed up at a gig the other night. It got me thinking. I CAN teach...provided I can teach the way that I learned.

How NOT to play guitar.

No discredit to Kevin. He tried to teach me the way that countless others were taught. It was already too late for me. I had been teaching myself for about 6 months at that point. While he did teach me many valuable things (forcing me to use a pick, various ways to tune, the rudiments of finger-picking, and harmonics all come to mind) the whole 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" crap just didn't move me. It's not what I was listening to or what I was feeling. After a few months, the lessons ended but we've stayed close friends for decades. This friendship is based on a mutual love of the guitar.

So, back to other people. People will say things like "Man! I wish I could play like that!" After I ask myself why they would ever want to play this sloppily, I tell them that they probably can. They just haven't done it yet.

That's really the first step. Deciding you really want to. Once you get that idea in your head, it becomes an addiction, of sorts. You're not going to be great at first. Hell, in all honesty, you'll suck at first. It will be difficult. It will physically hurt at working out at a gym, no pain no gain.

So, I'm looking for a student. Here's what I need from the student:

  • A true desire to actually play guitar. Not just a dreamer. Someone that wants to learn more than "just a few chords". (I can teach that person too...but for now, I want a serious student)
  • A level of dedication. I'll need to set up a weekly lesson for no less than 6 weeks. Cancel once and we're done. (within reason)
  • No piece of shit guitars. No. You don't need a $2000 Martin (I don't even have one of those!) but you will need something decent to learn on. A decent student guitar can be had relatively inexpensively. Beware the salesman. He/She will try to sell you any piece of shit just to make a sale. If ya want, I'll go with you and show you what to look for. The right First Guitar is one you may never want to ever let go of. But...if you get the right one, you'll never lose money on it. (the only reason I don't still have MY first is because it was stolen)
  • You must LOVE music. All types of music. Keep that mind open!

That's pretty much it. I like to have a person actually playing  a song the first day. Will the student play it well? Probably not at first...but they'll have the tools. Practical application, if you will. If the student puts in the time (and never call it 'practice'...that's too much like work!) and allows themselves to ENJOY it, they'll get pretty darned good pretty darned fast!

So, if you or someone you know REALLY wants to take that leap, get ahold of me. Let's make some noise!!!!!!

One last thing: Before you look for excuse why you CAN'T, take a look at this guy. He was one of the greatest guitarists EVER. He really only had use of 2 fingers and a thumb. If he could do it, YOU can.


Sunday, January 14, 2018


Just had a kitchen accident. It's OK...the cats weren't hurt. Neither am I. However, a treasured family heirloom is gone gone gone.

OK..."heirloom" might be a stretch. It was one of my grandmother's old mixing bowls. Your grandmother might have had one. Hell, you might have one. These things were sturdy and built to last! And...they have roosters on them. You know the ones.

I can only imagine the thousands of meals that were prepared in this thing. I've never known life without this mixing bowl. I've eaten countless servings of popcorn from it. And now it's gone.

I was making dinner. I had the front burner on, searing a roast. I thought I'd turned it off...but I'd only turned it down. Roast was in the oven, and I was doing dishes. As I needed sink room, I had set the bowl on the stovetop. As I was getting ready to reach for the bowl....KA-BLAMMMM!!!!!!

It just shattered. Freaked me the hell out. The cats came in to see what was going on...but were more interested in the smell of the roast.

While "heartbroken" is too strong a word, I will really miss that bowl. Lots of memories. I guess it's time to hit the thrift stores...bound to be one around somewhere.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Bar Fly

She was a beauty back in her day. She's still a sweet young thing in her mind but her varicose veins tell another story. You can practically hear the bone crumbling when she swivels her hips as she makes her way to your seat at the bar. Calls you "hon" or "sugar" as she tries to con you into buying her a drink. She hasn't willingly paid for one in 30 years. She'll tell you this could be your lucky night, provided you're blind or just plain desperate. 

She tells herself, in a voice you're not supposed to hear, that she's going to get her life together...tomorrow. One last night on the town...the same night in the same town in the same bars she's been haunting for a generation. She's a ghost who doesn't realize she's dead. 

She probably can't remember what color her hair used to be. Somewhere, under the layers of drug store dye, its just white. Her skin looks like a bad paint job on an old oak tree. Her voice, gravelly from a few Pall Malls too many, travels on breath that gives away her diet of cheap gin and fried food. Her clothes may have been in style once but even then, they were cheap knock offs. 

She used to be the girl of somebody's dreams. Those dreams ended when she made an name for herself. "Easy". She wasn't too worried. Someone better would come along and save her. She's still waiting...but closing time is ticking ever closer.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

When Homer Saved The Day

I was just telling this story to a friend of mine (it's what us older guys do...we tell old stories) and he thought it was pretty damned funny. I've always thought it is...especially as I lived it.


When I was in college, back in the 80s, I had a friend named Ernie. He had cerebral palsy and was in a wheelchair. He also had, by choice, a colostomy bag...which we referred to as "Homer". You'll find out why in just a bit.

I'll admit, I thought that choosing to get a colostomy bag was a pretty radical idea. Being the kinda guy I am, I asked him about this choice. His answer was pretty simple and to the point. "I was really tired of shitting myself and having to wait for someone else to help me get cleaned up." 

It really made sense! This was a young guy, in his mid 20s, with a dual degree in psych and criminology. He was bright! He lived on his own and handled his own affairs. There where, however, certain things he couldn't do. Like stand. Or walk. Or dress himself. Due to the cerebral palsy, he only had use of his left arm. While pretty much able to do a lot of things with it, like driving for instance, getting himself completely dressed, in/out of his chair, bed, the shower, etc. were not in his skill set. Not for lack of trying. There were a few times that I got calls in the middle of the night to help him get back in bed or into his chair. Or to help with "Homer". Sometimes, I'd just need to help him get into the apartment building...because he'd gone out, got drunk, and well...we've all been there.

"Homer" was a blessing in many way but also a curse. It meant no more sitting in his own shit for hours on end but it did require occasional assistance in emptying it, changing it, and maintaining the stoma. (For those that really want to know what that is, look HERE) He had a few people that helped but like the old saying goes, good help is hard to find.

As the semester was ending and I was looking for a way to keep from being homeless, Ernie made a suggestion: Why don't I become his "assistant" and help with all of the aforementioned. The state would pay me (and pay decently, I might add). The state would also pay me to go on vacation with him! In fact, he had a trip to Florida planned. A few phone calls and I was added along. It also meant he could get me to do the driving, thus making it easier to find a rental car.

We lived in the same building, on different floors, so this was a no-brainer. Of course I'd take the job! We were friends and hung out a lot anyway, so why not? While not thrilled about his early hours, I figured the man has to work so the least I can do is help him get ready.

Most of the routine was pretty simple. Get him out of bed, to the bathroom, help him shower, get him dressed, and he was on his way. I was pretty much 'on call' throughout the day, should an emergency arise. "Homer" wasn't too difficult, aside from the smell. Opening that thing up was like diving into a New Jersey sewer line. Pretty gagtastic. One of those smells that days later, out of nowhere, will appear in your nose. Imagine the smell of shit...but without the benefit of finishing it's way through the digestive tract, which in case you didn't know - actually filters a good bit of the stank out! The toughest part for me was maintaining the stoma but after a couple of weeks, it became pretty routine as well.

If we were going out someplace, to a bar or something, we'd take "Emergency Homer Packs" with us. These were one of my inventions. We kept them in a backpack on the back of his wheelchair. Each one consisted of paper towels, baby wipes, and rubber gloves, packed in a quart size zip lock freezer bag. Once I'd empty "Homer" into the freezer bag, I'd just close it up and throw it away. I'm sure it really freaked out the occasional janitor. It's not every day one comes across a bag of shit in the garbage.


Like I said, we were going on vacation to Florida. While not my favorite place in the world, a free holiday at the beach is a free holiday at the beach! And I was getting paid to be there! The trip was not without a few misadventures.

One day at EPCOT Center, we discovered that Ernie's stomach didn't handle Japanese food well. "Homer" was filling up and filling up fast! We had to get to a bathroom pronto! Only problem, the number of handicapped-accessible bathrooms were limited. Luckily, I got a map of all of them, and tilted Ernie's chair on it's back wheels and we raced to the nearest one. Heading straight for the handicap stall, I already had the Emergency Homer Pack out and as we opened the door, what do we see but some asshole middle-aged white guy in white pants taking a piss in the stall. I had Ernie's pants down enough to have "Homer" out and the look on this guy's face was sheer terror! I yelled for him to get out and he knew if he didn't, "Homer" was about to empty all over those white pants. Or worse...a "Homer-splosion"...which is exactly what you think it might be. Those colostomy bags are pretty tough...but they're plastic. They can only hold so much. (Note* Don't be a dick. Don't use the handicapped stall unless you really are handicapped. You don't want to run the risk of a face-to-face Homer encounter)


Like I said, Ernie was, in almost all ways, a typical 20 something. He liked to go out, he liked to get his drink on, and he really, I mean REALLY liked strip joints. As he wasn't the luckiest with the ladies, this was where he got the most attention from the ladies. Sure, he dated on occasion (and dated a few beauties too!), long story short, it never lasted. You had to feel bad for the guy. So, while not a fan of strip joints, I'd take him to one when he wanted to go and hang out with him like at any other bar.

One night in Florida, we were doing the tour of the OBT (Orange Blossom Trail) which, at the time, was well-known for it's large number of strip joints, dirty book stores, adult theaters, etc. Ernie was, in short, loving it. I, for the most part, felt completely creeped out.

We ended up at The Doll House, which was later mentioned in a Motley Crue video. As strip joints go, this place bordered on classy. Credit where due, the ladies there were really stunning. As we were having our first drink, Ernie offered up a bet. He wagered that he would have the best looking woman in the place hanging on him in 10 minutes. If he did, I bought drinks all night. If not, drinks on him.

Sounded like a pretty easy win for me, so I took the bet. If you know me, you know I'm not a gambling man. A "cheap bastard" would probably be a better description. I underestimated Ernie. He could be as conniving as any card shark.

Right after taking his bet, Ernie put on what I call "the gimp look". The sumbitch was milking it for all it was worth. He couldn't have looked more pathetic if he'd been holding a dead puppy!

His planned worked brilliantly. Almost too brilliantly. It didn't take 10 minutes. Hell, it didn't even take 5 minutes. In 2-3 minutes, all of the best looking strippers in the joint were all over him. "Poor little angel"...they were saying things like that. His smug mug just smiled at me as he said "Jack & Coke...and keep em coming my good man!" I would've been furious at being had if it weren't for the sheer brilliance of it...and how obviously happy he was. The night wasn't a total loss for me either. I got to talking with one of the dancers, I think her given name was Donna, and we hit it off. She had a great old powder blue 65 Mustang convertible. We hung out in the car a while, had a smoke and got to know each other a bit. But alas, I had to make sure Ernie was OK.

I went back in and some Marines had Ernie out of his chair, in their arms, on his back, while he tipped the dancers with bills in his teeth. He was living it up BIG TIME! Making friends everywhere he went...that was Ernie. You should've seen him in Vegas! (but that's another story)

Eventually, we had to get back to the hotel. I really should not have been driving. I'd had a few too many (Note* Never drink and drive!). I made the usual fool decision, thinking it was only 20 minutes or so to our hotel...I could make it.

I was pretty much a lead foot at the time. Apparently, I was also weaving a bit.


Next thing I know, I see police lights come on behind me, and I hear the siren. FUCK! I figured I could handle a night in jail but Ernie? Man, that would be a disaster. At the very least, there'd be a Homer-splosion which would probably result in some other drunken asshole getting violent in the cells. But then I thought, HOMER! It was a quick idea but it had to work. It was our only chance. I just had to hope the cop wasn't too bright and had never seen a colostomy bag before.

I told Ernie to get "Homer" out, and to just sit there, look pathetic, and don't say anything. Maybe moan a bit like he's in pain.

I pulled over and rolled the window down. As the cop was asking where we were going, etc., I said "Officer please! If I don't get my friend back to our hotel room ASAP and take care of THIS (point to "Homer") he could die!" The cop shined his flashlight and a look of terror came over his face. "Homer" was pretty full at the time...mostly gas but still impressively disgusting looking. The cop asked what hotel we were staying at and gave us a full-speed police escort there!

Had that been all, it would still be a great story but gets better. As we pull into the hotel parking lot, by the time I'm getting out of the car, the cop already has Ernie out and in his arms, waiting for me to get his wheelchair. The cop then opened the main door of the hotel and opened our hotel room door for us! I hurriedly wheeled Ernie into the bathroom, opened the gas valve on "Homer" (again, as gross as you're thinking), waited a minute then walked back out into the room. Officer Helpful was waiting with a look of great concern on his face.

"Is he OK? Does he need an ambulance??? What IS that thing????" he asked. I assured him Ernie would be OK and thanked him again and again for his brave, compassionate assistance. I even went so far as to ask for his name and badge number so I could call his captain in the morning and recommend him for a medal! He became Officer Humble at this point, saying things like "All in the line of duty, sir. Just doing my job." He acted like he did this all the time. After he left, I grabbed a beer out of the room fridge. As I opened it, I heard Ernie yell from the bathroom, "Hey! Are you just gonna leave me in here all night or what??????" Oops!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgivus! (Again!)

I wrote this over a decade ago. It's still just a bit of silliness...but some folks like it and some look forward to it. I hope it can bring you a smile. We need more of those these days.


Thanksgivus: that's what she called it. The 'she' in question would be a very short, loud, middle aged black woman with retardation who I supervised for years. Her name is Omega...fitting because she truly is THE END!

Omega didn't exactly have a speech problem but I think her hearing wasn't 100% on the mark, as certain words would get slurred together such as "Thanksgivus". Another fave was her version of Social Security, which often sounded more like "sociable secretary" (of which I've known a few).

Thanksgivus (which is what I now prefer to call the US holiday Thanksgiving) is the last Thursday of November (this is for my overseas friends who may not be fully knowledgeable of the subject). It is the holiday where we Americans give Thanks to God for giving us BIG tasty birds, punkin pie & cranberry sauce...all courtesy of a tribe that we soon took great pains to wipe out. In short, when those Pilgrims (essentially English religious nuts) 1st landed at Plymouth Rock, they didn't have a CLUE what they were doing or what they were in for!

After that 1st winter (what do you mean "No Central Heating"???), most of the Pilgrims had died off. A few hearty ones remained (probably by eating the others...but that story seems to have vanished in the annals of history) and it was looking bleak for them, as they didn't know SQUAT about farming North American soil. Luckily, the Indians (bite me, I will NOT be PC) took pity on them, showed them what to do and the Pilgrims survived. They did sooo well, in fact, they had a big feast and invited the Indians. When the Indians showed up, they realized that white folks are either really bad at planning feasts or are just stingy, so they sent some braves to go kill a half dozen or so deer....gotta make sure ya don't leave the table unless yer ready to burst....STILL an American Thanksgivus tradition. NOWHERE on the menu was green bean casserole....PLEASE make note of that! (the Americans reading this will get the humor)

Finally, sometime in the 19th century, after decades of confusion as to what this "New England" holiday was and when it was supposed to be observed, some mad woman wrote everyone in the colonies suggesting the last Thursday in November...just in time to mark the start of Xmas shopping season!

Now, contrary to what some of my English colleagues have been lead to believe, Thanksgivus is NOT the American Xmas. Trust me, NO ONE on this planet overdoes Xmas like the Americans! Here it is, the Sunday BEFORE Thanksgivus and I'm looking out my front door at my neighbor's Xmas lights! 1 month 5 days before we celebrate the Man's b-day (even though we have the date wrong)...1 month 5 days of looking at those damned lights! Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays as much if not more than most people...but I like things to be done for the right reasons...not just to be the 1st, best or brashest.

For the holidays, I wish you all peace, happiness and a full belly. May your homes be filled with laughter (and not just the canned version coming from your TV). May your pockets never be empty, maybe your fridge always be full (with at least 1 6pack of decent case I should stop by lol) and may your troubles be few & far between.

In fact, I don't just wish you these things for the holidays...I wish them for you all EVERYDAY.

I'm having a few friends over (as usual) this year for Thanksgivus. It might not be the fanciest dinner but I hope to guarantee all a good meal, a full belly and someplace to sit and digest and enjoy some good company after (and long as they stay OUTTA MY WAY in the kitchen.).

We will revel in the death of a turkey. We shall take delight in the taters, which will be mashed. The rolls will hopefully not be slightly burned on the bottoms...but if they are, that's what butter, gravy & butter knives are for! The veggies will be plentiful and not overcooked. The pie will be chocolate cream...NOT PUNKIN! (my tradition...not yours, OK? ) And yes Virginia...there will most likely be cranberries of some sort...JUST NO DAMNED GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE...PLEASE!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Old Woman In The Shoe

"There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread;
And whipped them all soundly and put them to bed."

You probably remember the old Mother Goose tale about the old gal in the shoe. Reading it now, its really rather disturbing. This is a tale of a woman at her wit's end...or that's how that Goose person wanted you to believe.

Let's think about this: How old was she? 40s? 50s? She probably couldn't have been older, assuming that these kids are hers. And why did she keep having so damned many kids? Why didn't she keep her legs shut? JUST SAY NO! Where was the father in this story? There are many unanswered questions.

I will put forth a possibility: The Old Woman in the Shoe was a prostitute. A Shoe-dweller of ill repute! At the time, birth control was not an option and abortions were often a death sentence. That she kept having the kids tells us a few things. She was either very stupid, or didn't care to spend the money on a back alley procedure. Her actions show some level of maternal instinct and a sense of self-preservation. She lacked, however, the ability to think ahead. Her actions were based on present needs and indicate no thought whatsoever to future outcome. This led to a shoe full of children, each needing food, clothing, love and attention.

One can only guess where the broth came from. A local soup kitchen perhaps? A handout from a benefactor of better means? The most disturbing aspect of this tale is the violence toward the children.

She "whipped them all soundly and put them to bed". Did she use an actual whip? Perhaps as part of her prostitutial duties, she enacted the role of a dominatrix. Whether the whip is literal or figurative, the violence is well indicated. Here are a brood of children, most likely her own, who are acting out due to malnutrition and abject hunger. One can surmise that there are other health issues, not mentioned, involved with their behavior. We're talking about a woman, of limited financial means, who beats her poor, starving, unhealthy children until they're unconscious. Perhaps she needs them quiet so she can go about her business of selling herself. One can only guess.

Let us now discuss the elephant in the room...the shoe. A shoe of such a size that would permit multiple humans to dwell in it, would be costly. Where would one even find such an object? It doesn't seem well-suited for a residence. A cave would be better!

Was there no local orphanage? No local church? Was the local government so uncaring that this woman, of questionable mental health, and her brood of sickly, starving, children (with behavioral issues) simply fell through the cracks? Were the local citizens also so uncaring? One would think that a woman with many children, living in a shoe, would be pretty common local knowledge. That she and her family were so treated is a testament to the cruelty of humans throughout the ages.

There are other possibilities. Perhaps, as an elderly spinster, she had gone mad and kidnapped various children to claim as her own. This is not an uncommon practice, however, the sheer number of children is alarming. At feeding time, especially, reality crept in. Did she eventually turn herself in and the authorities returned the children to their respective families? Were any of them offered counseling after?

Where was the father?

I probably just ruined this story for you. Didn't I?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Minty Fresh: The Heart Attack Story

(You can hear this HERE on my audiobook, Story Time With Memphis Mike)

Having a heart attack is highly overrated. I don't recommend it for anyone. Worst of all, it wasn't anything like you see in movies. I was expecting the whole Fred Sanford moment, clutching at my chest and calling out "I'm coming home, Lord a-mighty I'm coming home!" No such luck.

The day started pretty awful. I had been out late the night before to see a friend's band, in from California. I had been working 60-70 hour weeks and truly pushing myself to the limit.

I woke up late and seriously, I felt like shit. A gal I had been dating had a really bad cold/bug, and she kept whining that it felt like she had a brick in her chest. I figured this is all it was, and I was mentally making plans to make her life hell for passing this malady on to me.

I only had one client to see that day, but had scheduled a long day with him, so I was really dreading going in. I knew I should just stay home and get some rest, but being self-employed, that was rarely an option. I tried to call to let my client's family know I was running behind, but no answer. I was hoping to luck out and they had cancelled...but that's not how it turned out.

I made it to my client's house, and he was there with his grandfather, who spoke little English. Oh joy. I knew I wasn't going to get much data from grandpa, so I went about my usual day of checking to see if he'd taken his psych meds, and try to sense his mood. Luckily, he was in fine spirits, so it shouldn't be too tough of a day.

As the day wore on, I just felt worse and worse. I tried repeatedly to contact my client's parents to see if one of them could come home, so I could leave...but no luck. I just dragged myself through the day, hoping for a quick and painless death. Be careful what you wish for.

My client's dad finally showed up around 5pm, and I updated him on his son's condition for the day. The dad tried to get me to stick around a while, but as I just felt like total crap, I simply left.

I was home in minutes, and still feeling like death warmed over, I thought a soak in the tub might help. Every part of my body ached. I was exhausted too. There are few things in this world as miserable as feeling sick AND tired, so I dried off and dragged myself to bed.

No sooner had I laid down, when my teeth began to ache like nothing I had ever felt, and I broke out in a cold sweat. I knew, instinctively, that I was having a heart attack. Alone. This couldn't be good.

I ran downstairs, gulped a handful of aspirin, made one of my lesser brilliant ideas...and drove myself to the emergency room. (Note to the reader: DON'T DO THIS! Call an ambulance!) To make sure I didn't croak en route, I made myself chain smoke the whole way. This may sound crazy...but there was a method to my madness. This made me cough and choke a lot...thus keeping my heart in rhythm. Again, NOT a brilliant move...but I took the gamble and it worked...for me. I'm lucky I didn't die in the car.

En route to the hospital, I phoned my dad. As usual, he was busy but I told him, "Shut the fuck up and listen! I'm having a heart attack and I'm on the way to St. Margaret's Hospital." I then hung up on him, as I was doing about 80mph, chain smoking, AND having a heart attack. I didn't need to push my luck by trying to talk on the phone as well.

The ER would have been laughable had it not been for my condition. I made my way to the desk, and told the lady, before she could finish asking what I wanted, that I was "Having a goddamned heart attack". She jumped up, yelled for a nurse, and hurriedly wheeled a wheelchair under me, just as I was starting to collapse. This was the last good thing that happened at St. Margaret's.

She then wheeled me over to triage...and right into a wall. My body fell forward and my head hit the wall and all I could think was, "I'm going to die with my head against a wall"...not exactly classy, nor the way I've often pictured the end to be. If I have to go, onstage would be nice. Under a beautiful super model would also work. Slumped against a wall, in a wheelchair...not so much.

Before the nurses out there yell at me, let me say how much I love and appreciate nurses. It's a tough job. That said, the triage nurse was a fucking useless moron. The info that she needed could have been obtained just as easily while wheeling my dying carcass in through the big doors to where the doctors hide, as in her little triage room. If a person is having a heart attack, DO NOT ask them to get out of the chair and walk in. She did. She checked my blood pressure, and to her amazement, it was something like 300 over 200. I suggested, calmly, that this just might have something to do with ME HAVING A FUCKING HEART ATTACK, and how I thought that NOW would be a good time to wheel me through the aforementioned big doors to wherever the doctors were hiding.

Luckily, she agreed.

Back into the rickety, community wheelchair I went, and BANG, right into the big swinging doors. It never occurred to her to push the button to open them. This was the point when I started laughing out loud at the absurdity of it all.

Next up were two ER nurses that I will simply call Dumb & Dumber. How these two obviously misplaced rocket scientists managed NOT to kill me, is beyond my comprehension. I could feel my life ebbing away with each weaker and weaker half-assed beat of my dying heart. I just kept laughing because it was like something out of a bad comedy.

Nurse Dumb, again, tried to take my blood pressure. I suggested she look at the chart. Her associate, Nurse Dumber, tried to stick a needle in me, and due to my elevated blood pressure, blood shot out everywhere. Nurse Dumber then decided it was in every one's best interest to stop what he was doing, and grab some paper towel to clean it up. Finally, a doctor stuck his head in the door and suggested that it might be best to leave the mess to housekeeping and tend to the patient. I suggested to Dr. Nose-in-the-door, that just maybe, since he had graduated from medical school, he might want to join our little party and actually attempt to save my life.

He seemed to take umbrage at my feeble request, and suggested that Nurse Dumb give me some nitroglycerin.

We've all seen movies or TV where a person with a heart condition pops a little pill under their tongue, whilst apparently dying, and VOILA! They're OK again. Guess works! But....

Nurse Dumb tells me to open my mouth and she sprays nitro under my tongue. No tiny was a spray! And not just any sirree! It was like a blast of the greatest breath freshener ever made! Nurse Dumb asked how I felt and seriously, all I could say was, "MINTY FRESH!!!!!!! My mouth has never felt so fresh before! Give me more!!!!!!"  She laughed and asked if I was still having chest pain. I noted that, surprisingly, I was not. I did, however feel completely exhausted. Nurse Dumber had seemed to disappear...presumably to go find someone from housekeeping to clean my blood off of the walls, floor, and everything else.

Next, I and the gurney I was on, were wheeled into a hallway (apparently this is where the real medical magic happens) wait. It was decided that I needed to be transferred to a better hospital; one equipped with real doctors, nurses, a cardiac lab, and machines that beep and go PING!

I can only guess that the ambulance driver was moonlighting from his regular job as a taxi driver. He drove like one. And, amazingly, took me the longest route possible to the next hospital. I actually had the gall to ask him, "Where the hell are you taking me? I'm supposed to be going to Presby!"

"That's where I'm taking you", was his reply. He seemed a bit taken aback by me, an obviously delusional sick person, questioning his Pittsburgh navigational skills.

For those who don't know Pittsburgh, this trip started at St. Margaret's Hospital, which is just north of the city. The fastest route to Presby would be to take Rt 28 south, go across the 40th St. Bridge, up 40th, left on Liberty, right on to the Bloomfield Bridge, left onto Bigelow, then up behind Soldier's and Sailor's Hall to the rear ER entrance. At a high rate of speed, this should take an ambulance driver, maybe, 7 minutes. Remember....heart attack patient in the back. Time is of the essence. Mr. Ambulance Driver opted to take the longer, less scenic route, of driving all the way down Rt 28, and catching the 579 bypass and on to the Parkway and then into Oakland, where Presby is. Had it been 4am and there was a guarantee of NO TRAFFIC, I could almost see his logic. But, as it was evening, and rush hour was still in effect, the Parkway would be, and was, a nightmare. Stop. Start. Speed up. Slow down. Change lanes. Almost 20 minutes it took. I kept messing with the driver, telling him that if I died because his dumb ass took the long route, I would come back and haunt him. He seemed to take this seriously. Perhaps he was already being haunted by a previous patient, who'd died in his ambulance, from his arrogant navigational methodology.

Finally at Presby, I was whisked to the cardiac lab. There, I was greeted with a phrase that I have loathed for decades. "Hey! Aren't you Dr. Metzger's son????", asked one of the nurses. Again, I just broke out laughing at the absurdity of it all. I told her that yes, I am, and could she please finish saving my life and then we could play 20 questions after. I then made a mistake that I paid for for months to come.

One of the nurses needed to shave me. Down there. You know what I mean. My naughty bits. Still reeling from laughter at just how bizarre this whole experience had been so far, my smart ass side answered for me. I asked if she could leave a 'landing strip' some gals get when they get a bikini wax. Much to my horror, she agreed and that's just what she did. I was shaved bald as a baby's butt...except for a strip of hair. For months, it was like an itchy mohawk growing down there! My OCD side was going nuts! I was having to trim things on a weekly basis to keep them even. But guessed it, it all got weirder.

This was when I met the man who seriously saved my life and has kept me alive for the past 7 years, my little Chinese doctor with the porn star name. Not only is he an excellent cardiologist (even dad thinks so, and he should know!) but he has a good sense of humor and an amazing bedside manner. He explained everything he was doing, step by step, the WHYs and HOWs, and I will never forget, as he shot the dye into me, telling me, "OK, you're going to feel a hot flash, and then it will feel like you've pissed yourself...don't worry, you're not...just DON'T MOVE!"

Damn if he wasn't right! That was EXACTLY what it felt like. And just that fast, it went away. Seriously weird.

I dozed off for a bit as they put the stent in. I figured, if they needed me, they'd wake me up.

Next thing I know, I'm being wheeled to my room, by a very nice nurse/surg tech who I'll call 'Milton' (name changed to protect his identity). Milton was a very nice, apparently homosexual man. He seemed genuinely concerned with my well-being too. We had a pleasant little chat while he wheeled me, and when he got me to my room, asked if it would be possible to see each other socially when I got out of hospital. Sweet Land O Goshen, dude was hitting on me! Apparently, the sight of me naked, and with a landing strip to boot, was more than his libido could handle! He must be what some folks call a 'chubby chaser'. Let's be honest, I'm short, heavy, and somewhat hairy. Supermodel material I ain't!

I told Milton that I was flattered, but didn't date men...but as he'd just helped save my life, I couldn't flat out say NO. I asked if it would be OK if I thought about it for a few days. Besides, I could have another heart attack and snuff it before I ever left the hospital. Milton told me he hoped that wouldn't happen, and told me he would check on me from time to time. Dammit if he didn't! He stopped by every day, and even brought me flowers and home-made cookies! Finally, my friend Linda came to visit and when Milton asked who she was, I lied and said she was my girlfriend. (Sorry Linda!) Broke poor Milton's heart.

The night's weirdness wasn't over yet! There was the matter of all of the blood thinners I was on, and the fact that my little Chinese doctor with the porn star name couldn't get my bleeding to stop. (This bleeding was in my groin, where he slid the tube up into my ticker...I don't care to be more graphic) Apparently, the doc had tried using surgical cement to close the incision, but with all of the blood thinners I was on, it was taking my blood a while to clot.

A young intern was sent in to 'handle' this. In all honesty, I felt bad for him. His job, for the next hour or so, was to hold the incision in my groin shut....with his hand. guessed it. Smart ass time again! Oh I tortured that boy!

Intern: "Hi Mr. Metzger, I'm Dr. So & So. I need to hold this incision closed to try to stop your bleeding until your blood starts to clot on it's own"

Me: "Hi doc! Fancy meeting you here! So, I guess we're gonna be stuck like this for a while, huh?"

Intern: "Yes sir. Until your blood starts to clot on it's own."

Me: "Well then, I guess we should get to know each other, you know, especially since you have your hand on my dick."

Intern: "Um, it's not on your penis sir"

Me: "Well, close enough. I don't usually have strange men's hands in my crotch. I'm not saying you're strange...but you know what I mean..."

The intern looked really uncomfortable.

Me: "You have warm hands. Thank God for that!"

The intern was trying to ignore me now.

Me: "That's a very nice cologne you're wearing. I bet it drives the nurses wild. Don't be alarmed if I start getting an erection..."

I seriously thought the kid was going to vomit right about then.

Me: "So, do you often have your hands in another man's crotch or is this a first for you too?"

Intern: "Mr. Metzger, I'm just trying to stop the bleeding."

Me: "And I thank you for that! Uh oh...did I just feel a twitch down there?"

Intern: "Mr. Metzger, you just had a massive heart attack. I think you should be getting some rest instead of talking so much."

Me: "I guess a blow job is out of the question then...."

Intern: "Mr. Metzger, please stop talking."

He ignored me after that. Some people just have no sense of humor. Maybe he should've asked Milton to hold the incision closed. I bet HE wouldn't have minded!