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Psychedelic Spelunking!

2002-10-26 - 7:02 p.m.

So here I am. It's Saturday and it's a raining like a mother. And it has been - all day. Raining that is. Like a mother. Actually - I just checked, and it's not raining anymore. But it was. Oh man, was it! Yeah.

So I'm a little lightheaded. But that's ok. Well, actually, I'm a lot lightheaded, but that's still ok. I'm back in Dover and everything is a-ok. And by a-ok I mean BOOORRRIIING. Yeah. You know what's gross? I can still make out a faint outline of the stamp tattoo Miss Bedford subjected me to last weekend. And it's not because me not shower. It's just really powerful ink me guesses. I don't know why I just suddenly turned into Solomon Grundy. Man, I can't concentrate on writing this. It's taken me 2 hours to write this much? Is this two hours of genius or what? I think so. Sadly, I'm not on any medication right now, so I can't use that as an excuse. Although maybe my body is reacting to NOT having those chalky little pills swimming around in my system. So I sit here, having finished off a small bag of Bugles (not once putting them on my fingertips) and I find myself needing to talk about my trip to the Oral Surgeon. That's what everyone is so breathlessly waiting to hear about right? Well, exhale baby because here it comes.

So I woke up, with crossbow overhead ["Good continuity!" - R. Dawson], in Meredith on Tuesday morning. Despite not really wanting to go have surgery, I was more than ready to leave Meredith. Meredith doesn't like me and I don't like Meredith. I froze my ass off during the night and then I seared the flesh off my right hand due to "testing" the astronomically hot water in the shower before I got in. Let's hear it for testing though, as it could have been much, much worse than a temporary 1 hour dullness in my right hand. I played Remain In Light on the way to my appointment in a futile attempt to make me more at ease. One added bonus to that though was that when "Once in a Lifetime" came on, my dad says, "Oh, I've always liked this song!" which makes me all happy, until he crushes me by saying "Who sings it again?" When I finished crying he then says, "I *did* like the 'Burning Down the House' video too!" So I don't get my dad at all. He comes out with things that pleasantly surprise me and emotionally cripple me all at the same time. How unintentionally clever of him!

After an unexpected surprise in the form of Margie and Rudy in the waiting room at Ricciardiello's office, I was ushered into one of the operating dealies and told to recline in one of the chair dealies. I was too long for the chair. Stupid chair. So the nurse comes in and I remember her talking to me for what seems like 15 minutes about how her son goes to the University of Hawaii and he doesn't like it and that the Hawaiians call the non-natives "Harlies". I don't get it either, but it doesn't sound nice. So I apologize to her in advance that I may swear a bit while I'm "put under but not quite totally under since Dr. R. doesn't believe in putting people totally under". And she says not to worry about, and that "it's not like [I'm] getting sodium penthalozagenol" (or something like that) and we both laugh and laugh and I have absolutely no idea what she is talking about. So then the doctor comes in and he is even smaller than I remembered and he spoke even softer than I remembered, but he still said my first name as many times as I remembered - 117 times. (For those of you who've gone to Dr. R, you will smirk at this little recollection, for those of you who've not, you're probably thinking, "Get on with the motherfucking story!", or "Is this the funny part?", or "Ohhhh! Radishes!") So he asks me if I've ever had an I.V. before. And I say no and then he whips out this needle the size of a plantain and injects it into my arm at the elbow-joint. (Did I just make "elbow-joint" up?) And since I'm a big fucking baby when it comes to needles (unlike Ben "I give blood twice a day" Walden) I thought that it took for-fucking-ever, when it probably took about 7 seconds. So then they put this patch over the I.V. tube and tape the patch to my arm. And then they start pumpin' in the ol' valium. And they tell me that it'll take about 10 seconds to take effect. And I tell them "I don't know - I'm not really feeling anyth . . ." and my head fills with extra thick molassess and tongue suddenly weighs 30 pounds. And then, and this is very fuzzy, I remember these heads on either side of me with little mouth masky things on and they were plying my mouth open. And I remember the nurse sticking what I thought at the time were pencil grips into the right side of my mouth in an effort to keep my maw jacked open so they could better spelunk. But right before she put said $1.95 pencil grips in my mouth, the last thing I remember saying before they started hacking and slicing was "Wait!" and they waited. And I asked them if something was wrong with the ceiling. And they, after probably having to go through this everyday, say "No Zach, nothing is wrong with the ceiling." And then I say, "But, are you sure . . . it's . . . can't you see? Just tell me why . . . why is the ceiling *breathing*?" Presently, I blush. But at the time I was like a kid in a multi-colored acid trip candy store. At this point, my guess is they upped my dosage as to stop me from sharing more of my drug-addled queries.

[ZACH'S EYE VIEW: On the left you'll see Dr. Ricciardiello peering in on my chompers and you can see Nursey McGripper assisting on the right side of the picture. Cascading diagonally across the picture you can see (1) breathing ceiling and if you look *very* closely, in the center of the ceiling you can see a small vortex. That is God.]

Yeah, so what felt like about 45 seconds after they started, they were done. But according to them, and my watch, it was actually more like 45 minutes. As I came to, I saw that there was just me and the nurse left in the room. I started muttering to try to get her attention as things began to come into focus. I realized that my glasses were back on, and knowing that I took them off before the procedure, I was curious how they got back on. The nurse admitted that it was she that placed them back on my noggin. I thought I was free of the valium's influence and that I was once again clear-headed. Oh no dear reader - read on. So then I ask the nurse if I can tell her a secret. She says, nervously, "O.k." I ask her if she sees the tools over on the counter. She admits that yes, she sees them. And then . . . (I can't believe I'm admitting this) . . . I tell her, "I can move that stuff you know." "Uh huh . . . you can?" she confusingly asks. "Yup, and *not* with my hands," I pause for effect "but with my HEAD!" "Oh . . . ok." she says and leaves the room. Another nurse comes in and removes my I.V. patch. I look at the mark it made on my arm - a long rectangular shape is impressed on my skin with two circles at the top of the shape. Looking at it, I ask Nurse #2 if she likes me new pocket. She just stares at me. I motion towards my arm like I'm "putting stuff in it" and say, "See? It's my new pocket. For my arm. I can put stuff in it!" She leaves. Dr. R comes in and asks me how I feel. I tell him fine. He tells me that I won't feel that way in an hour or two. He goes on to tell me that during the surgery, I apparently said, at the introduction of the novacaine needles, "Not cool. Not cool. I did not sign up for needles - *wicked* not cool." Ahem, yes. I get a gold star for my day at the Oral Surgeon's no? But wait, it does get slightly better. My dad comes in finally and asks me how I feel. I tell him fine. I must have said this in a slightly slurred way, because he laughs. Which inexplicably pisses me off. So my first thought is that the nurse told him my secret. So I ask him if he knows about what I told the nurse about the tools on the counter. He says no, so I tell him what I told her. So my dad, being my dad, says, "Well, let's see it. I don't want to hear about it, I want to *see* it." At first I look at him blankly and then I narrow my eyes and lower my voice. "DAD," I say with clenched teeth. "I could do it THEN, not NOW!" "Oh." he says. "Let's go."

Apparently, at this point, while my Dad was driving me to Tilton to my Mom's, I made a bunch of phone calls on my cell phone. And I don't really remember any of them. But I really did make them, as was evidenced Wednesday when I got all these voicemails that pretty much consisted of, "What the fuck were you talking about yesterday anyway?"

Ok, I had to keep this huge wad of cotton gauze in my mouth after the surgery in order to soak up the blood. And I had to change it every hour. It sucked. It hurt to take out, and it hurt to shove a new wad in there. And I couldn't really open my mouth wide enough to enunciate much, so I talked mostly with my eyes and hands that first day. Brad and Nanny both came over after the surgery to see how I was doing. My mother finally got home and then they all sat around me jibber-jabbering about this that and the other thing. And then Brad and I made Nanny cry. But don't worry about that, I made her cry the next day too. Sigh. Brad and I don't realize our own strength I guess. Brad and I stayed up to watch Real World, which, like the first six episodes, kinda sucked. I mean, it had "ski-dancing" and all, but still - one can't hang an entire episode on ski-dancing. So that night I went to bed in a particularly hazy haze of percocet. So I have the gauze rammed into my cheek when I go to bed, and like it had been doing all day - it was soaking up all the bloody blood in my mouth. Gross huh? Well, it gets much, much grosser. So I fall asleep and sometime in the middle of the night, my body decided it didn't want the gauze in my mouth anymore. And I remember it coming out of my mouth but I also remember feeling as if I had no control over my actions at the time and I sort of watched myself spit the bloody lump into my hand and place it on the night stand. So there I lay, no slightly coming to and wondering why the fuck I just took my blood stopper out. And all the extra gauze was downstairs in the kitchen. So I'm pissed that not only is my mouth slowly filling up with blood, but I just spit out the only thing that would stop it. And there was no way in hell I was gonna redeposit Bloody McLumpsalot into my mouth - 'cause that's just . . . icky. (We're talking about someone who thinks it's gross to take subsequent sips of milk from the glass in the same place he already took a sip). So I start rifleing around the night stand in the dark looking for anything to put in my mouth to stop the bleeding. I find a Mad magazine, but that wasn't gonna do it. And then, miracles of miracles, I find some kleenex. I take several, fold them up and shove them ever so gingerly in my left chek cavity. As I fall asleep I realize that I put waaay too many in my mouth and it is forcing my mouth to stay too far open to be comfortable while I sleep. But I am too far into slumberland and I think "fuck it" and fall asleep. And then I wake up in the morning. I wake up to my mother whirling into my room at 7 and devirshing the curtains open. "Look! Look what happened over night! You'll never believe it!" I wake up scared shitless. Mostly because I think I've time traveled back to 1995 and that my mother's breaking to me that it's a snow day. Which means that I won't have to drag my ass out of bed to make it to 1st period in order to hear Crockford drone on and on about J. Alfred Prufrock and The Road to Wigan Pier. Instead, I'll be able to stay home, enjoy the snow day, and maybe even go skiing. But probably not, since Ben probably woke up at 5am to drive to Canon. So I'll just end up going back to bed and calling Rick and Monique and seeing what they're doing on the snow day. And I'll stay on the phone with them while we watch Jerry Springer on our respective tv's and chortle with glee over the exploits of Potato and Patches. But I won't do any of those things. Since I didn't time travel. It's 2002. I'm in Tilton, not Laconia. But one things for sure - it snowed out. Quite a bit too. But not enough for a snow day. And one other thing's for sure. My mouth is fucking killing me. I excavate the cornocopia of Kleenex out of my mouth and realize there is a very funny/nauseating taste in my mouth. I stick my figer in and fish around as gently as possible, starting to think I'm gonna vomit. I pull my finger out and it's gooey and pink. Too thick and not red enough for blood and not yellow and crunchy enough for earwigs. Any guesses? I should make this a mystery and those that can figure it out win a prize! Like a mix CD or something. But I can't, since I already told some people what happened. It's an idea for the future though. Ok, so it was the kleenex. During the night I hadn't just shoved in any old tissues in my mouth - oh no - but Aloe-fortified kleenex. Yeah, so fuck me. I had a blood and Aloe cocktail stewing about in my mouth all night and they had little gooey pink babies for me as a surprise when I awoke. Yeah, so fuck me. I wanted to rinse my mouth out for like 8 hours. But I couldn't because it hurt so much and could reopen the clot I had worked all day yesterday to build. So I just put more gauze back there and hoped that Aloe was as good for your bones and teeth as calcium is. [Ben: "Um, well, ACTUALLY, Calcium really isn't all tha . . ." Zach: "Shut up."]

The next few days consisted of me cooped up in Tilton and wearing tissue boxes for shoes, staying in my pajamas, growing out my fingernails, and demanding that people get in to the Spruce Moose. Yeah, so just being all-around miserly and staying on the computer and IM-ing everyone back in the "real world". Well, the non-Bunim-Murray Real World. I apologize to Kelly, Kate, and Andrea for my harassment. And I double apologize to Professor Lenz's star pupil, as I pulled an especially cruel trick on her. But an especially clever trick at that. My diet mainly consisted of tapioca, organic applesauce (so fucking gross) and coconut ice-cream. The ice-cream was by FAR my favorite, which is why it was gone in almost one sitting. The brother's Slopp (Brad and Conner) were my saving grace in it all though as they would come over and entertain me during the afternoon and evenings. And they even brought me KFC mashed potatos and a McDonald's coffee shake. Mmmmmmm. It was so so so fucking good. And it was the first time in probably 5 years, if not longer, that I'd had KFC. Though I don't know if it officially counts if you don't actually have any chicken.

[Side note: Ben went home last night and told me to shut the light off on the fish tank when I went to bed last night. I've never shut the light off on the fish tank before and I quivered at all my new responsibilities. So when it came time for me to shut the light off I realized that I had no idea how to do it. So I unplugged the tank and went to bed. It shut the light off. I figured I was safe. So a couple of minutes ago, Ben had a quadruple heart attack and started crying blood and shouted something about "Oh my God, why did you unplug that plug? You stopped the pump! The pump! Oh my God! My fish! Blah, blah, blah . . ." I don't know, I was busy typing about KFC so I kinda stopped listening. But the fish are alive, pretty much, so that's all that matters. Wah, wah, wah.]

[[Side side note: Oh man. So APPARENTLY, while I was typing that last paragraph about how I got into trouble with Ben I got in trouble AGAIN. Something about hiding the last three cable bills {ACCIDENTALLY HIDDEN I MIGHT ADD} and how the new cable bill is over $200.00, and he can't believe I did this - again - blah, blah, blah, I don't know, I was busy typing about zombie fish so I kinda stopped listening.]]

Did I mention I couldn't shave because of all the swelling? I didn't shave from Monday until today. I was very very wooley. Very. It was quite gross. And the only people that saw it at it's worst were B & C-Slopp, my mother and Ben. And, much to Brett and Monique's chagrin, no photos were taken. Weird Beard Jr. shall live in infamy!

Jack Johnson finally got to rest his weary bones since I have not only one new CD, but THREE! Yes three! So they let Jack rest on the sidelines a bit while they are in heavy rotation. The new Ben Folds Live , The Magnetic Fields' "The Charm of the Highway Strip", and Beck's new one, "Sea Change". All slower discs, especially Beck, but all highly recommended!

I'm drinking a whiskey and coke. Which is weird. Since I'm not the biggest whiskey fan in the world. And what's weirder is that I could have picked rum instead and went with the whiskey. What did Ricciardiello do to me?!?! If I start extolling the virtues of Veronica's Closet and Suddenly Susan then you will all know that I secretly got a lobotomy and all I can ask is that you carry on my work for me as I slowly become a feeble (moreseo) comatose (moreso) vegetable (moreso). And by "work" of course, I mean venomous hatred of mediocre television. Except The Chimp Channel. Coty, Fred and I will always have a special place in our collective hearts for "poo-poo in the pee-pee" and "When Kittens Attack".

[THAT much hotter than Kirstie Alley and Brooke Shields!]

Ok, I'm exhausted, and there's a Ben Folds special on tv that I'm off to watch - how serendipitous!

It's been real,

Z: The Last Man

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