Various readers write:
I’m concerned about your head injury. I’m not normally the kind of person who freaks out over this shit, but you really need to see a doctor. You could die or be retarded, etc.
As always, thank you for your sweet concern. But it’s nothing. It hurts like a bitch, but I’m only cognitively impaired insofar as I’m distracted by pain. It’s just a knot on the head. It’s on the right side right on top of my occipital lobe so if there were brain damage it would be evident in my eyesight. Left side. Because of the optic chiasm– the nerves that read from your eyes cross over in an X and run to the back of your head, for some reason. Meaning your left eye transmits to the back right side of your head. See? I remember all that shit from class, that was almost 20 years ago. No brain damaged person can say shit like “optic chiasm.” I bet it’s even called that because it’s shaped like the Greek letter “chi.” See? I remember the Greek alphabet.
I didn’t remember whether I’d brushed my teeth this morning though. I had to deduce that I hadn’t, like Sherlock Holmes. I didn’t remember listening to a Patrice O’Neal youtube video after taking a shit. Which I would have done. Gotta listen to some Patrice whilst brushing your teeth. I was still thinking about the agony of work and the emptiness of human life in the shower, since I had been reading poems by Charles Bukowski on the toilet. If I had brushed my teeth I would have listened to a couple minutes of Patrice and would have been thinking about women, how the best women in my life are “generals.” How lucky I am to have MacArthur and fucking Eisenhower in my corner– this is what I’m usually thinking as I dry out the crack of my ass. I wasn’t thinking those things so I must have forgotten to brush my teeth.
Fine. I’ll take it. I chew Nicorette® constantly so my breath is always fresh and if my incisors turn yellow I can always throw a little Plus White® in. Smear it in that weird rubbery mouthguard that gets melted by the bleach halfway through the life of the Plus White® tube, so it has the consistency of a dead nightcrawler and you’re trying to form it back into the shape of your mouth and stiffen it up by running cold water over it because you’re too cheap to go buy another kit for six bucks. Fine. I don’t mind this. If you’re gonna take a chuink out of my brain take away the lowest bits and not the highest bits. Make it so I forget to wipe my ass once in a while, don’t make me forget Proust.
I could go to the doctor but any time I’ve ever been to the doctor for anything they just tell me what I already know: it’s nothing. Get an STD test, a stern billboard tells you. And then you go and they ask you about your sexual history, and you think you’re the John Rambo of pussy recollecting it. Did you have multiple partners? Oh yeah. How many? I uh, I don’t know. Any rough idea? No, not really. A bunch. Did you use condoms every time? No. Any anal sex? Yeah, a little. How often did you not use condoms? Pretty much, I pretty much never used condoms. Oh yeah, I’m a bad, bad boy… also, can I get a secret high five, medical professional? LOOK HOW MUCH I GET LAID! SMELL MY FINGER, DR. LILY F. NGUYEN!
Yeah, just girls.
And their eyebrows kind of sink and they look at the floor, almost as though they were disappointed. They tell you to come back in a week but you can hear in their voice it’s gonna be nothing. And it always is. There’s the weird sense, in both you and the health professional, of an anticlimax. You can sense that she wanted to tell you: look, just stay home next time. Stop cluttering up my office with this bullshit.
And the free HIV test at the gay charity thrift store, forget it. Impressing that guy with how much pussy you get is like impressing a guy who’s been in Russian prison with your college fight story.
Same with the flu, same with your “irregular” mole, same with everything. The flu just goes away, but if it hangs on for a week everyone tells you you better go see a doctor. And the doctor sells you a repackaged free sample of “Zpac” as a placebo to get you the fuck out of his face. He knows that the flu is a viral infection and the anti-bacterial Zpac does nothing. But he had so many malingerers demand some totem of treatment that he just caved and gives them all bullshit to shut them up. And I bet every dermatologist just wants to scream to every hypochondriac white person: “hey dipshit, all moles are ‘irregular.’ None of them is shaped like an equilateral triangle. Use sunblock. Now get the fuck out of my office.”
If I go to the doctor for this shit they’ll look at my perfectly proportional pupils, ask me to move my tongue around, ask me if I’m seeing any weird shit out of my left eye. Then they’ll tell me to ice it and not hit my head again. I’ll have to butt in with but I forgot to brush my teeth as they rush out to see their 10,000 other patients and they’ll say: call for another appointment if it happens ten more times.
Still. I get being scared about it. Now every time I have some mental tic that is exactly like the million others I had before the head injury, I think: what if there’s a blood clot in my brain? What if some brain scab was jarred loose and working its way to some big artery and I drop on the sidewalk and wake up having to blow myself around in a wheelchair and have some poor Guatemalan lady wipe my ass? I better get a CT scan for this shit. An MRI. Whatever other Star Trek shit they have now.
Here’s a million dollar idea. You set up a franchise. Get a bunch of shit doctors who didn’t get into domestic med schools and so got certified in Haiti. Set them up in storefronts on streets where people under 50 live. Twenty bucks for a fifteen minute visit, and his job is basically to tell you that it’s nothing. You sign a paper absolving him of all liability and then show him your head knot or your mole and he looks at it and says “oh yeah, it’s nothing. It’ll go away.” Obviously if it isn’t nothing he tells you, but 99.999 per cent of the time all maladies are nothing. If it’s an obvious bacterial infection he can give you penicillin. In the .0001 per cent of cases, he’ll say “yeah, you better go to a real doctor.”
This is basically what a general practitioner is anyway. A guy who tells you either “it’s nothing” or “you better see a specialist.” Let’s take away the insurance and the fifty dollar tongue depressor and the office staff and the files and all the other hassle and expense and just make it: twenty bucks to tell you it’s nothing.
Because if you don’t have that, it’s: wait in line for six hours and pay a grand out of your deductible to get in an MRI that’s gonna suck the childhood BB you forgot about out of your calf at three thousand miles per hour. Or don’t do that, and just torture yourself with horror stories on the internet about how insidious brain damage crept up on a guy just like you who fell over drunk and now he’s fucking My Left Foot because he didn’t see a doctor. It comes down to the hassle versus the fear. I have a very small fear that I have incurred insidious brain damage. But there is a very huge hassle to find out it’s not true. You weigh those things on a balance. It’s about twenty bucks and fifteen minutes worth of fear. It’s about six hours and a grand worth of hassle.
But why even go down that road, it’s fucking nothing. Don’t worry. I’m resting and taking care of myself and so far I show no real signs of cognitive impairmeasdfghjkl