Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2008

Sometimes you never feel that way again.

It takes a lot to feel good, I think.

To be content with the world around you takes a lot. It seems like it doesn't matter how many people you meet. It's never enough. There aren't enough faces to forget, I guess. Maybe other people are different. It doesn't seem to matter how many things happen.

We were supposed to play music tonight, the way we used to. But not everybody was able to show up. Oh well, I thought. This will still be worth it. The drums were loud. The room seemed to make them even louder, which didn't seem possible. All I could do was stare at my guitar. I tried to strum a chord, but it wasn't music. It was noise. It was noise from the drums and noise from my amplifier. There was no inspiration. No spiritual connection. No emotion. It was a big, uncomfortable room filled with noise. I stepped back. It was the last place I wanted to be at that time. I draped my arms over the guitar as the drums continued to pound away.

It wasn…

Happy turkeys, and such.

I am a picky person. I hate to admit that. I'm picky about the foods I eat. I'm picky about the colors I wear. I'm picky about the holidays I enjoy.

Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday.

I know that there is a deep rooted significance of the holiday, but I can't convince myself that it is anything other than an excuse to eat food. And I do not enjoy eating food. As far as I'm concerned, you spend a lot of money buying food that you in turn spend a lot of time preparing so that you can spend a lot of time eating it before spending a sizable amount of time either watching football or sleeping--or both. It is neither as fun as Halloween nor as endearing as Christmas.

But it is okay.

You get to see family that you otherwise would probably not spend the time to see. It's nice. Family and friends are important, I think. Many of us would not be where we are now if it wasn't for our friends. And family, I guess.


The modern day archer.

I pulled. The gun jumped to life in my hands with a roaring explosion. It sent a jolt up through my arms. I felt the concussion in my chest. The shell shot up in the air and bounced away off the cement, blending into the rest of the casings. A dot appeared on the target. I raised the gun and fired again.

Shooting is not really about machismo, I think. It's meditative. There is a level of comfort you have to achieve with the weapon. It takes focus. I thought about it as I pushed bullets into the magazine. It takes confidence. I loaded the magazine into the pistol. You look past the gun. I armed it. Past the iron sights and through the target. I raised the pistol up. Precision. I took a breath and shifted my weight forward. You let the gun extend your arm.

I pulled the trigger.

My father and my uncle always have the best conversations. They make fun of their age, weight, and skills in regards to pretty much everything. "You want us to put up targets for you gu…

It seems like so long ago.

There are so many ways to answer one question. I've always been interested in seeing what kinds of responses I get from people. Different people. Different answers. One question.

"Why medicine?"

"It's a calling," Martha told me. "It's what I'm supposed to do."
"I don't know." Dr. Harkins said. "Seemed like a good idea."
"Because I like science," Dr. Ravula said. "I guess."
"Why not?" Jonathan said. "It's a good job. It's fun."
"I thought I could make a difference." Jerry said. "I know better now."
"I wanted to be a firefighter," Heather said. "But this is more fun."
"I don't know," Chris said. "Something to do."

"I can't imagine doing anything else." They said.

I don't have any clinicals left. I wish I did. I want to go back to the hospital. I want to go back to the emergency…

I raided the EMS fridge.

"Why medicine?" Jerry echoed. He looked past the screen for a second before he responded. I rolled my chair closer. "I had this illusion--a delusion, really--that people would appreciate what you did. That people would be gracious when you tried to help them out. I didn't think they'd be spitting in your face, cussing you out, and fighting you every chance they got. They're assholes. People are assholes and they expect you to be waiting on them hand and foot. 'Get me water. Get me food. What's taking you so long.' It's like they don't understand that I went to school and got an education--made something out of myself--to come and help them, you know? People are shitty, and that's something I learned real fast here."

"If I had known then what I know now, I would've gotten into something else." He added.

He returned to his computer. "What keeps you coming back to such a thankless job?" I asked.…

So this is what a circ is.

"Why did you become a doctor?" I asked Dr. Harkins. "Because I love doing circumcisions so much." He answered. He shot me a sideways glance before making his first incision. I laughed. The baby struggled against his velcro straps and screamed. "Alright, dude, you hate this; we get it." He said as he tightened the clamp.

Labor and delivery is nothing like the emergency department. It was much slower. The walls were nice and homey. The nurses were like family. Everybody was very nice and approachable. It was very boring.

Every patient was the exact same. Pregnant female. Back pain, abdominal pain, contractions. Oh, you're having a baby soon? I wasn't expecting that! And everyone was very protective of their vaginas. Ma'am, your vagina is about to be ripped open by a miniature human in the most disgusting of human processes coupled with a couple other very disgusting bodily processes, I thought. Any dignity you're trying to…

I am not hungry, actually.

I feel unhealthy. It's not that I am actually unhealthy, it's just a self-perception issue. I've always been worried about being fat. Ever since I was a little kid. I don't know why. Actually it was probably my childhood role models. Role model, I guess.

I looked up to Batman.

Batman was never fat. I did not want to be what Batman wasn't. So I didn't want to be fat. There are no fat heroes in any medium. And if a fat hero saves the day he still loses. He's still fat. And who wants to look up to a fat hero? Nobody, I think.

So I rode my bike around a lot. And hiked. I've managed to stay thin as I've grown up. I have my diet to thank, I think. Not because I have a good diet but because I don't eat sometimes. It is not so bad. You don't have to worry too much about eating unhealthy food if you aren't eating anything. It keeps you thin. Also, a moderate amount of exercise.

I have not gained any weight since my sophomore year…

Nothing up my sleeves.

When I was a little kid I was fascinated with magic. I wanted it to be real. Like everyone else, I suppose. I remember watching David Copperfield and David Blaine dance around stages and walk down city sidewalks performing incredible magic tricks. I desperately wanted to be a great magician.

So I got a magic trick set when I was twelve years old. It was amazing. I was carrying my magician's tools around and bringing the magic. I had a top hat. I had a magic wand. I did ring tricks. I did card tricks.

I pulled rabbits out of my hat.

Then I stopped. I outgrew the tricks, I guess. Somebody told me that magic was a waste of time. I believed them. My fault.

It's not a waste of time. It's fun. People enjoy magic tricks. So now I do magic again.

It's an escape. An escape from what we have to do. From what we have to believe in. From what we choose to believe in. We want to believe in magic. We want it to be real. We're so entertained by it because to us …

This is an x-ray of lungs. Okay.

"I believe that it goes beyond just choosing a career. I believe that it's a calling. It's what I'm meant to do, and I can't imagine doing anything else." The nurse said. She smiled and rolled over to the counter where the paramedics were standing. I flipped open my notepad to a fresh page.

Riding out on the ambulances was fun. Every time you got the tones you'd rush into the ambulance. There was a sense of urgency that went with each call. The radio chatter through the headphones. The sirens in the background. The bouncing truck. Then, after visiting the hospital, you'd sit down on the couch and watch television.

And do nothing for a while.

The emergency department was constant action. I can't even describe it. I can't describe how great it felt to walk down the hall between patients. It was incredible. It was fun. It called out to me. There was no down time. I saw lots of people. I saw lots of patients. I saw lots of differe…

I go to sleep.

Overnight ambulance ride outs. No problem, I thought. I can stay up all night easily. I got off the bus and stepped out into the twilight. I walked down the sidewalk to the station. I was confident in my stride. I was confident in my skills. I was confident. In general.

I looked both ways. Five lanes of road. The garage door opened across the street from me. I felt giddy. They must be expecting me! The ambulance rolled out. I started to cross the street. The sirens turned on and the ambulance drove away. I watched it disappear around the corner and finished crossing the street.

Two hours later they came back. "So you're a student," The paramedic said. "What can you do?" "Uh." I said, considering my answer. I began to list off the things I could do in my head. "Just vitals and BP?" He asked. "I can dance." I blurted out. He looked at me sideways. "Vitals and BP." I said.

We were off to the first c…

There is no plan B.

"Do you want to go eat breakfast?" My dad asked me. I rolled over and looked at the clock. 45 minutes short of 6 hours. "Okay." I said. I made it sound like I'd been awake for a while. A few minutes later we were off.

Breakfast was nice. Old style diners are always the perfect breakfast spots. They're comforting, I think. We sipped our coffee in silence for a while. He turned to me. "So what's your plan?" I thought for a second. I had a plan. "Well," I said. "I'll finish out with my geology degree right now. I'll use one of the summers before I graduate to get paramedic certified. There's a course that runs 10-12 weeks, I think. After graduation I'll go back and take courses that would fill out pre-med requirements. While I'm taking those I'll work as a paramedic. Then I'll take the MCAT and shoot for med school." I sipped my mug.

He looked at me. "You don't have to…

Another exercise in regret.

Overcoming barriers to act. Duty to act. Both of those were lessons we learned in class. "Because we can," the instructor said. "We have to. We have a responsibility to act in situations where our skills can help." It was so easy in theory.

I walked to the FAC to meet with my friends. They all needed to vote except only one of them could vote here. I stood in line with them. We talked for a while as the line shuffled forward slowly. There was a commotion back behind us. We turned around to look.

A girl had collapsed on the floor.

People began to crowd around her and a handful of people stepped forward to help. And I stood there. I stood there and watched. Go over there. Something's wrong. I couldn't make myself walk over there. We stood there and told each other to do something. Nobody did anything. Alert. Patent airway. Breathing? Circulation? C-spine. Don't give her water. I stared as other people moved around and did things. I …

So tired. So tired.

I hate politics. I hate politics as passionately as others seem to love politics. Political opinions and debates tend to bring out the worst in people. Friends mince words and look down on each other and before long they aren't friends anymore.

It's not that great.

I hate being pushed to have a political persuasion. I hate being expected to agree with or disagree with people. I hate being forced into picking sides. I hate the candidates and their policies. I hate the people who criticize the candidates for stupid reasons. Everything about politics is terrible, to me. I refuse to have a political opinion. I won't do it. I won't be dragged into a pseudo-battle where everyone is a hero. I hate everything about it.

Something about roads and cars, I think.

The problem that I've always had as a musician was writing songs. I wanted to make my own songs. Play my own songs and sing my own lyrics. I just never had the time to sit down and do it. It was like songwriting was a terrible chore. I also felt like I never had anything to write a song about. Who am I to be writing songs about life at 19 years old? It seems a bit pretentious.

That's okay.

I am going to force myself to write a song every day in November. It doesn't matter how terrible the songs are. In fact, it's better if they're terrible. I figure that out of the 30 or so songs that I write, at least a couple of them have to be okay. Which is good. Then I'll have a bunch of songs that sort of suck.

But they'll be mine.

A couple of times before I've felt so inspired. I would sit down with the guitar and start playing. Then words would start coming to mind and before long I'd be laying down tracks. The final product would be imperfect at …