Monday, May 14, 2012


Seriously. That's what they call this stuff. You can buy it on Amazon for $20 — or you can have a stroke and an occupational therapist will bring it to you. Your choice. Me, I prefer the former.

It comes color-coded; the green stuff is medium strength and feels like stiff Silly Putty. I had some of the yellow stuff — it wasn't quite this hard to work — but Leigh snagged it, and that seems like a well-deserved reward for having to spend time with me in the hospital.

I spent a couple hours today flexing the putty in my left hand, rebuilding my grip. Only every now and then did I want to take that fist and slam it into the wall. I wondered if I could do it hard enough to bust a knuckle, break a bone. I'll try not to try.

This has not been the greatest of days.

Rocking the quad cane was fine — I'm faster on it than I was on Sunday, and I managed to gimp more than a quarter-mile before going back inside to escape the heat. For the briefest moment I flashed back to the hot sun from last Saturday and the memory made me queasy. But I was buoyed by thinking about friends' suggestions on how to deck out the cane. Larry thought a bicycle bell and tassel would rock. I'm partial to purple spray paint. Spank mentioned an upskirt cam. In jest, of course. That Spank is such a kidder.

In the end it won't matter. I don't plan on the quad being a part of my life for long. That would be admitting that I'll need it, and I'll be damned if that's going to become my truth. Bravado, even false bravado, can do wonders for the angry ego.

It's not been a great day because I've spent too much time experiencing the limitations of this human body. At one point I was reaching into a cabinet to pull out the world's best egg pan and I felt myself start to go off-balance. For a moment I saw myself at a distance — a one-legged stork, about to teeter onto the floor — and I started to cry because fuck, really? I'm so goddamned lame I can't even grab a pan to make eggs? And I'm crying about it?

"Quit being such a pussy," I said out loud. The cat thought that was his cue to ask for food and started to mill about my legs, waiting for me to open the fridge and announce that T is for Tuna, and Tuna is for Tiger. He's lucky I needed the cane to stay upright.

Before going outside I spent five minutes lacing up a pair of Chucks — and hey, that was better than the 15 minutes it took to accomplish the same task last week, but again: really? Go ahead, time it out. Take five minutes to tie your shoelaces and see if you don't want to punch out a wall. Spending 300 seconds on such a simple task is about as much fun as looking up recipes and tattoo designs on Pinterest. And I'm wasting way too much time doing that shit already (though the tat ideas are for inspiration, because I'm getting some bad-ass ink before summer is done).

Time. I don't have time to waste. If the stroke has taught me anything (besides, you know, the obvious noise about healthy living and blah blah blah), it's this: I have to quit acting like there's plenty of time. There isn't. I don't plan on checking out for another 40 or 50 years, but I don't get to make the reservations.

My short-term goal: I want to go bowling. I have to get my ass in gear (and in shape) so I can do it, and soon. So I'm busting ass to make it happen.

For the body — walked and listened to music: Andreas Kleerup and Lykke Li's "Until We Bleed." Madonna's MDNA. Washed dishes to exercise my hands. Pushed my leg against the wall to build back the strength while working that putty.

For the head muscle: meditated. Allowed myself a half-hour to read some Gabriel Garcia Márquez (because when you're feeling shitty about the way short-term life can turn and bite you in the ass, reading about Florentino and his 51 years of lovesickness kinda puts things in perspective. That dude had it bad).

Then I fed the cat and cursed the inner darkness and threw the quad cane across the room. Sighed. Limped over and picked it back up. Maybe this is all a waste of time.

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