Wednesday, October 28, 2009


"You take pants off," she said.

Now at my age I'm not particularly used to getting these kinds of requests from women. Had I really heard what I thought I'd heard? Surely there must be some mistake. I figured I'd better be certain before I made a complete ass of myself.

"Do what?" I asked her. (Smooth, huh? I've always been smooth like that with the ladies).

"You take pants off now."

There it was. She was so sure, so certain. So demanding. And that voice. Her indistinguishable yet exotic accent was driving me crazy. What else could I do? I took my pants off and lay back in anticipation.

She dribbled glop onto my right leg, then pressed and pushed the Doppler from my groin to my ankle, looking for evidence of clots that might find their way into my lungs and make me stop breathing again. See, I had stopped breathing a couple of days earlier--right before the Michigan, Notre Dame football game--and she and the other medical types were trying to figure out why. Why I stopped breathing, that is. Not why I did it right before the game. Nobody with half the sense of a goat's armpit would stop breathing before the Michigan, Notre Dame game if he could help it.

A couple of days later, after all the poking, prodding, sticking, blood sucking and so forth by Doppler Lady and twenty or so of her closest friends, they delivered their verdict. "You're an idiot," they said. "You've been smoking two packs a day since you were a teenager. Did you think you were invulnerable?"

Of course I thought I was invulnerable. Apparently I was wrong. So, what with the hospital peeps glaring at me, my daughters guilting me up and my girlfriend throwing away my lighter, I had no choice but to give up smoking.

It's been six weeks now since I've had a cigarette. Hold off on your congratulations, though. Congratulations are for ex-smokers. I consider myself a non-practicing smoker. It's a subtle difference, I suppose, but it's a difference. The thing is, I'd smoke if I could--like if I had a terminal illness or if the death comet was on its way to Earth. That's why I'm rooting for the apocalypse. The sooner the better. I don't think I can wait until 2012.