• Subaru WRX R.I.P.
• Canada & Misc.
• Dan’s Graduation
• Off-Road Rental Car
• eXtreme Ice Kayaking
New updates: • Archive 201
• Archive 01
• Archive 02
• Archive 03
• Archive 04
• Archive 05
• Archive 06
• Archive 07
• Archive 08
• Archive 09
edit: justliven.com April 20, 2005 – Wednesday
______________ “Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.” – Erma BombeckActors and actresses are strangers, and I’d like to keep it that way. I had a wonderful break from “entertainment” being shoved down my throat, and it’s the way I’d like to keep my life. I don’t watch television. The shows that I had even thought to make me think are not interesting. I had been a South Park fan. I have downloaded some episodes, and they are, and will continue to, lay dormant on my hard drive. My health club has four televisions in front of the cardio equipment. I see the faces of stars that were emerging months ago, and I couldn’t care less about them. I’m not concerned with Hollywood, and I think I’m a better person for it. I don’t like movies. I can follow them just fine, but there are other things I would rather do. I know that I’m going to piss some people off, but- I look at those hypnotized by a television, and I see a community that is dead inside. Knowing that I had been gazing at the same screen for hours makes me feel horrible. I don’t want to come off as preachy, but you should take a good look at yourself the next time you’re watching a sitcom. I have a great time reading a book or listening to music. I’m only interested in activities that are involving. I like going to the gym, I like writing, I like eating, and I like playing with my dog. Those are some of the things I live for. teh funney
Marquis is King: you know what’s weird?
Marquis is King: for some reason, ive constantly got some desire to go into the armed forces…
Jeffrey Marquis: seriously?
Jeffrey Marquis: they shave your fucking head, man
Marquis is King: hahaha
Marquis is King: hahahahahaha
Marquis is King: that was unexpected
Jeffrey Marquis: ahhhh, glad i could make you smile Something to look back onScroll down slowly. I’ve written all of it. Double that, knowing I’ve archived previous entries. Archive 201 if you don’t believe me. It’s nice to write, and it’s nice to have this to look back on. I finally have something, rather many things to write about. I had never had a purpose for this site, hence ‘just chilling.’ I had only written about events, like returning from a vacation. Which I’m doing now, but not exactly. There hadn’t been a great deal going on in my life. As I said, I asked “What was I like before the accident?” thinking that something I had overlooked would pop into my head. And I would hear, “You were going to school, but not exactly sure what you wanted. You were having a wonderful time with Allyson. You were going out with friends, mostly Derek and Steve, a lot.” Frankly, that’s boring. I had a good time doing all of that don’t get me wrong. But, I have a large, meaningful experience to look back on. It was very eventful. I know I’d get more of a reaction telling someone that I ripped out a catheter than talking about when I was camping and dropped a rock on my toe. Writing about this is going to be valuable to me in years to come. I’ll have this to look back on, and chuckle at my kick-in-the-pants wit. That and I enjoy writing. Scroll down again if you don’t believe me. Where is he?!?Some online inhabitants had wondered why I was not online, like I normally would be. ‘Internet friends.’ How creepy can you get? And knew something was wrong. Conspiracy theories arose. Thus
April 19, 2005 – Tuesday
______________ I need this.I wouldn’t want to go through a life where I could sum things up in a basic progression of graduating, getting a good job, meeting a wife, buying a house, having a boy, having a girl and retiring. I’m sure that in reading that, some people popped into your head. But, what could be said about things like “having a near-death experience”, “camping in Yellowstone for the summer” and “starting a company”? Life shouldn’t be predictable. And that’s why I’m very-slightly pleased that this occurred. I was in need of a “near-life” experience. I feel very alive, maybe for the first time. Having gone through over twenty years of living with monotony, I needed this. Something I will always have to look back on. And I have a few permanent reminders. I’m not regretting this, because I’m not upset about it. I’m not as athletic as my potential did allow, but that’s not something I care about. I’m still as sharp as a tack, and being dull would certainly get to me. The Surreal and Hollow LifeI remember a friend’s younger brother had the buddy icon that flashed – The Cars, The Girls, The Money, The Life. It’s struck me as childish in the past, but I’m now seeing it as a matter of being concerned with the wrong things in life. It’s ridiculous, and I can’t respect that. Where I am now, I look down on that way of living. Before this, I had been the same way. Passionate about Ferrari, and looking forward to buying imported clothes on Newbury St. It’s moronic that we play into their hands. Senseless. I’m thinking along the lines of what I had heard all my life. Brand names do not matter. They’re nice, and I’d prefer having what other people admire, but I’m not seeing it as crucial, like I once did. I’d like to look good, and I try, but now, I’m dealing with recovering myself. New shoes are nice, but I’ll have this body forever. That puts clothes, jewelry and shoes into a valid perspective. 2005 gets on my nervesWe’re well into the year of two-thousand-five. And it’s new to me. I don’t remember New Year’s, only this time it’s not because of glug, glug, glug. Christmas is also a blur. I wasn’t exactly lucid. There’s that word I use a lot. I was a little too foggy, until basically later in the month. I remember when I heard 2005, I thought I had been in the hospital for a very, very long time. Like waking up in another year. I can’t compare it to anything real. It just showed up. Of course, I can see that it’s logically time for it, but it’s different when you’re expecting it. This is going to be nagging me until December 31st. Car enthusiastMy interest in automobiles is obviously not where it once was. And it will never be that way again. I had thought that your car should say something about you, and maybe it does to a point, but presenting your car as a piece of whom you are is fucking stupid. I look at all of the hours I had wasted in shining that car. And for what? The fact that it’s trashed hasn’t once made me think, “Oh darn. I sure did love it.” I’m sorry to say, but I haven’t even thought about the money that much. I had insurance. I had written, “A car is a means of freedom, but you should love the freedom, not the car.” Someone commented that it was well said, and it’s what I’m seeing as truth. I’m sure that someone rich enough to have any car he or she wants is feeling the same way that I am about vehicles. I have noticed a few cars on the road that I hadn’t seen before, like the Dodge Magnum, Scion tC, and the new Mustang. I like them only because they look nice. Terrific styling makes them stand out. In years to come, when I am driving again, I won’t really care what kind of car it is. The Scion would be nice, but a car is a means of freedom, but you should love the freedom, not the car, as I’ve said. Perhaps I was fast and furious, whereas now I’m at-my-own-pace and content. If anyone ever makes fun of me regarding what I drive, I’ll shrug. It doesn’t matter to me. Maybe I’m a minimalist, but my car sitting in the parking lot will never concern me. I gag when seeing what I had once envied. I have nothing to hideNothing. Everything I kept secret is known. My life is out in the open. And it’s freeing. My parents tossed out drug paraphernalia, pornography and went through all of my junk. Keeping things hidden is taxing. Knowing that I was flashing people and showing off my peeny-weeny makes me grin. It’s one less thing that I have to worry about keeping hidden. I’m not expecting you to know what I’m talking about, but it’s a factor in stress. Those little things add up. I have said that I now feel ‘new,’ and this must be a contributing factor. I get the feeling that keeping things secret is something I’ll never do again. I know that men who have cheated on their wives, and kept that secret must be dying inside. Do me a favor and try living in the open. I’m changing my mind, again. Marriage is not for me.I had some radical perspective change, and it’s mostly sound, but I have stated in the past that I will not get married. Then I reconsidered, and now I’m taking that back. Back and forth. I cannot and will not commit to a woman. I don’t have anything against them, so ease up ladies! I can’t envision myself being wed. If that happens, a slew of off-topic subjects are introduced, predominantly children. I fear kids. I hope that my life will never get boring to the point where I can justify having a child to liven things up. Things are jumpin’ right now, after a near-death experience, so I’m hoping that when I’m forty I won’t be dead inside. My apologies to anyone offended, but I don’t understand parenthood, yet. Yet. I’m sure that one day I’ll have a woman trying to convince me. Until then, I’ll be focused on myself. Something needs to change, eventually, because I don’t care about money or kids. I’ll have to choose if I’d rather have toys or a baby. I let myself goMy physique is under scrutiny. I’ve lost a lot of weight, and that’s both good and bad. It’s good because I’m not a fat, unmotivated couch potato, like I had been. And it’s bad because I might lose a fight, not that I would expect one. I look at pictures of myself in the past, especially months nearing November, and see a pudgy me. I don’t want that to happen again. I’m not overcompensating, but I’m sure that some will think so. I remember seeing pictures of a guy in a wheelchair with huge, huge arms, and thinking, “Yeah, but he’s a cripple that’s overcompensating.” I’m only trying to get in respectable shape, which should help with my recovery. Swimming laps has a full body benefit, and I’ve been doing that. I’m not taking any creatine, prohormones, or diet pills. I’m only using protein powder and vitamins. I can’t complain. I’m seeing that I had been a yuppie that bought all of the hype. Misc – I amI’m a slow eater. While you’re clearin’ that plate and requesting seconds, I’ll be finishing my salad. I eat painfully slow. By choice. Realize that I didn’t have anything to eat for the duration of my stomach tube. Until I tore it out, that is. After that, I had things I can only describe as odd. I remember a cheeseburger, but cut into one inch squares. There was usually a side of mush. Hospital food. I’m a slow eater, and I don’t want that to change.I’m religious, and I’m not sure how it started. I’d like to think that it all started when I hit a telephone pole at over fifty miles an hour. Lately, I’ve been feeling more spiritual and religious. I’d also like to think that God spared me on the condition that I don’t do anything ‘bad.’ I was prayed over by a few great people involved with the church. I appreciate that. I attribute my feeling of being more at peace, starting a new life and feeling more at one with the universe to the higher one. I like to think that I brushed up against death.I’m seeing that my time on Earth is really, very limited. I’m twenty-three and I’ve only had a near-death experience. I haven’t graduated from college, yet. I don’t have any other major experiences to speak of. I lost my virginity. I graduated from high school. I’ve been in love. I was a Boy Scout. That’s all that I can think of. At this point, a trip to the hospital is taking the cake as my biggest achievement. I’m determined to overtake that. I’ve had “This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time” running through my head. After this experience, I’m still not sure what I want. I do want to get back into the condition that I was in, but that’s not ‘deep.’ That’s a given and it’s common sense. And I really want to come away from this with something actual and within my capabilities. April 18, 2005 – Monday
______________ At least…I stated that I have the sentiment of ‘At least…’ and I’m seeing how that is a wonderful thing to have for the rest of my life. We all could say “At least my arm didn’t get cut off.” But that could go for anyone, anywhere. What I have are a few reminders, or, scars. At least they aren’t something that will be noticed when I’m in public. Or just plain horrible to look at. Getting hired or married will be great, if not only for the reason – I did it. And getting fired or divorced, I will still know that I’ve accomplished something that I’m lucky to have experienced. Even if it didn’t last, I was successful. R.E.M. sleepDuring part of my stay, I thought I was dreaming. I really did, and I was carefree about the way I treated everything. Just like it didn’t matter. I literally woke up in the hospital, and in a large haze. There was a progression in being drugged up and fresh out of a coma, to being alert. I acted just like normal, but waiting to ‘wake up.’ Frankly, a part of me is still waiting. I behaved like normal and did the usual things. I thought that something would jar me out of it. This was the closest thing to prison that I can imagine. I had food, a bed, clothes and visitors. Not many frills. That culture shock drove me insane. In addition to thinking I was never leaving, the dream thought proves that I was ‘cabin sick,’ or temporarily insane. these are the beautiful days of my lifeListen, now, you’re going to die, Raymond K. K. K. Hessel, tonight. You might die in one second or in one hour, you decide. So lie to me… Fill in the blank. What does Raymond Hessel want to be when he grows up?
A vet, you said, you want to be a vet, a veterinarian.
That means school. You have to go to school for that.
It means too much school, you said.
You could be in school working your ass off, or you could be dead. You choose…
So, I said, go back to school. If you wake up tomorrow morning, you find a way to get back to school.
Raymond K. K. Hessel, your dinner is going to taste better than any meal you’ve eaten, and tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of your entire life.That has been floating around my head since I came across it. Everything in my life has been brighter, since my near-death experience. I’m not taking much of anything for granted. Even living, as basic as it is, has a fresh, ‘new’ feel to it. Raymond had been held at gunpoint, and will know that he is lucky to be alive. I’m fortunate to be able to write this. The first 48-72 hours told if I was going to be a vegetable. Knowing that I was close to death is going to make my life sweeter. I could have ended up in a care facility, speaking gibberish and not thinking rationally. Forever, I’ll be able to say, “At least…” in any situation. And mean it. That’s a powerful thing to have.Raymond K. K. Hessel, your dinner is going to taste better than any meal you’ve eaten, and tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of your entire life. It matters!I’ve been thinking about what matters to me. Everything matters much more than it had, and I think I’m seeing life from a new angle. This is gonna’ get really damn sappy, so buckle up. Look at a Hallmark card. All those things, like a boy on a swing set with a girl, a grandmother baking cookies, or school being cancelled and playing in the snow. I’m seeing all of this in a new light. Family, friends and relatives matter to me the most. I look back at a holiday and see the people closest to me. It doesn’t matter at all what I had gotten for Christmas, but looking at the pictures taken are important to me. So, people matter and I’m not seeing anything else. I remember things as big as getting a new car, but that doesn’t matter to me. The time I took friends for their first ride does matter. I forgot – food matters. Maybe I’m hungry. And that opens this up to many other things, like sex and playing favorite sport. I’ll cut it there, because nothing matters more than people. You can’t play catch with yourself. Fashionable, yet functionalThey call this a ‘johnny.’ I’m not sure why, but it’s a hospital gown. And I wore too many of these. I’m not remembering the earlier days, but I was pulling it up often, very often. Flashing people. I wasn’t exactly lucid, so my at-heart, nudist and exhibitionist intentions were unveiled. In most of what I am remembering, I was wearing sweatpants. They’re easy. I’m wearing jeans and a dress shirt while typing this, so don’t think that I’ve lost my aesthetic fashion sense. Wearing a johnny is not ‘fabulous.’ Sweats? That’s hot. new schoolI thought I was in school, but I was actually in a hospital. I had ‘classes’ that helped with getting me back into life. I did everything from working on memory, improving my speech and even cooking. All of this led me to believe that I was in some type of school. I can’t explain it, but that’s what I had thought. School is important to me. Money is very, very nice. I’m not going to lie. With that, I can’t say that I’m a minimalist. I want to live comfortably. So, I’ll be going back to school. Not that I considered it to be an option. I’ll be going back with a jarred memory. I’ll be taking one class to see how I do. A brain injury takes one year to recover, and I’ve seen much improvement already. I’m hopeful. And I’m working on a networking certification, slowly, but enthusiastically. Online classes are intriguing me, as if I’m not in front of this monitor enough. I think it’s a task I’ll be able to tackle. April 17, 2005 – Sunday
______________ Snobbish and self-righteousI wondered – I like Maserati’s, but if I’d prefer one over an Aston Martin, what does that say about me as a person? I’m seeing that translated into – Help! I’m bored, and in need of a near-life experience. I’d been concerned with the petty and the trite status-symbols of the world. I am reading When Bad Things Happen to Good People, and this spiritual stuff is what I had been missing out on. I’m taking pleasure in keeping myself away from television. I had been immersed in entertainment. Awaiting a new South Park or good movie. I now consider that behavior to be dead inside. I’m expecting this to happen again one day, when this new light fades out of my life. I’m not as likely to judge peopleI had been used of insulting people, usually in the back of my head. Judging people. I don’t see that happening anymore. There are some things that are unusual about me, and I am okay with that. I won’t be looking for flaws and picking someone apart with no benefit, in the back of my mind. Currently, my voice isn’t up to par. On of my vocal cords was paralyzed. I didn’t know that anyone could recover from paralysis. Anyone that I’m interacting with for the first time will surely judge me and wonder what happened to my voice. Maybe they’ll look to see what else is wrong with me, and perhaps it’s my turn to be fired upon. I believe that we don’t like to make mistakes, and will justify an accident of any nature. Telling ourselves that we wanted what we got. With that said, read on.I didn’t think I could crash. And I drove faster than the recommended speed limit on back roads, thinking that I was nearly invincible. I didn’t want to crash, but I knew it would throw my life off enough from where it was. To my surprise, it’s a good thing. I wasn’t happy. Drinking kept me ‘sane.’ There was no central reason for it, but I’m seeing that I wasn’t living for anything definite. It was deeper than what I was majoring in. It’s like I didn’t know exactly what I wanted. Now, I’m living to improve myself and getting what I can out of life. I made out well with that near-death thing. I attached an email that I had sent to Allyson because I called her at three o’clock in the morning. Drinking? Yes. And what annoyed me the most was that I couldn’t see any reason for being down. I had the fast car, the hot babe, I was doing well in school and family life was great. Again, I felt like I wasn’t exactly living for anything. I had a great woman by my side. I had a car that many people envied. I was from a caring family not having money problems. I took all of that for granted. For the first time in my life, I could see that money wasn’t everything. Not as much as I do now, but the feeling was there. The girl, the car and the money didn’t cheer me up. They were just nice things. I can’t say that I was taking them for granted because they were only outshined by the feeling of not knowing where I was headed, and not even knowing what I wanted out of life. Now, I know, and it’s not a Ferrari packed with money. I step outside, take in a breath of fresh air and know that I’m lucky to be here. I smile. Retreat++This has been what retreats are supposed to be. Once a year, at Saint John’s, we had a retreat for a full day. We were supposed to examine where we are and what we want. But, we goofed off. Boys will be boys. My hospital stay, and all the time I had with nothing to do, let me take an extremely close look at what I want, and most importantly what’s important to me. The evaluated importance was accurate because I didn’t have any distractions. I’m sure you think you know what’s truly important to you, and it’s not something you even have to reflect upon. But, it’s not something you would really know until things were almost taken away from you. What I had considered important is not. I haven’t thought twice about the car. But, I have thought about how the car is affecting people I know.
I was able to take a completely honest look at myself. After many years, that observation was invaluable. I would picture myself drinking a beer, thinking about the girl that left me, and flippin’ through channels. Basically, I think I would have grown up to be a failure. It sucks, but I couldn’t see that then. I feel improved with what I’ve learned. First off, I can’t drink, but even if there was no problem, I wouldn’t. It’s something I plan on giving up myself, in that I should have no temptation. I’m not out at the bar with the guys yet, but I know deep down that it’s not for me.
If you aren’t following my vacation or retreat comparison, take into consideration that I had thought about myself all of that time in the hospital bed. Television wasn’t, and isn’t, interesting. I was thinking about myself so much. The setting was unfamiliar, and the people were new. It reminds me of a retreat at Saint John’s where you aren’t in the school itself. All of my thought, revolving around myself, was future-oriented in the things I want to change. I know what to continue doing and what to drop. With that in mind, can you see where I get off saying that this may be the best thing to ever happen to me? From an email dated Sept. 23I wanted to talk to you about something important.
I feel I’m drinking (lol party holla) too much lately. I envy your steadfast study routines and diligent work efforts, but I feel like I’m drinking too much, and I haven’t been able to stop.
I know you’re taking school, work, life, relationships and everything inbetween in one huge bundle. Yet, you’re dedicated to your classes, which are contributing to your future.
I’m telling you for the first time now that I have a drinking problem.If I can’t get this under control please leave me, as it will be the only way I’ll regret my choices.Babe, I love you. I admire your commitment to education and I have to stop “partying” with alcohol, like you. I’m getting too old for this ;-)I know you hung up on me because it’s damn late and I’m sure you were tired. This is not a call for help, but a call for support. I want to live on my own! I want to graduate, move out and see what’s out there.
Keep in touch,
J =/ April 16, 2005 – Saturday
______________ I know how a prisoner feelsIf things went awry, I could be imprisoned right now. I’m not kidding myself. And I now know what a prisoner feels like. Or, someone lost at sea. Trapped, basically. I was stuck there, not that it’s a bad place to be held captive. I went a little crazy. I thought that I was never going to leave. I knew I was going to be ‘released’ on February 10th, but I didn’t think that it really mattered. In retrospect, it sounds irrational, but I hadn’t seen the outside world in months. It does get to you. Even though I felt imprisoned, I was behaving as usual. I’m not sure what that says about my personality. I was in my own little world, being the second floor of Fairlawn Rehabilitation. I didn’t have anything to complain about, so I took each day as it was. I remember mid-January I was talking to people on the phone, but not really, actually caring about what I was hearing because it didn’t affect me, in most cases. I had always wondered why there aren’t more suicides in prison. I now know. The comforting monotony really gets to you. It might suck, but at least you know it’s going to suck in the same way tomorrow, and the day after that. Unpredictability drives us crazy, but in a worse type of ‘crazy.’ I remember not knowing if school would be cancelled, or something that trivial and similar. Going to school would be acceptable and not going would be advantageous. But, not knowing if you had to or not is what drove you crazy that night. Botox beauty queenI’ll be getting a treatment with Botox. I’m not sure what it’s generally used for, but I think it reduces wrinkles. Nevermind, it does. My leg was shot up earlier today with something-caine. Either lidocaine or novocaine. It made my leg numb for over ten hours, as it was meant to. And I was walking better, so it worked. The next step is getting a Botox injection. That stuff lasts for a month or so. I hope the bikini waxing will also be infrequent. And on the subject of beauty, I was getting a haircut earlier today. It’s striking me as extremely self-conscious to have bleached my hair and considered to be a ‘new’ person. I look as fine as ever, but it isn’t as crucial to me as it once was. Now it’s only semi-important. I’m not caring what strangers’ opinions of me are, and that’s a first. But, and there’s always a ‘but’, I’m caring about my weight, skin, and teeth. Being that I want the braces off. So, I’m not going to look like trash. I know that looks are important. They still are to me. Finding a girl as beautiful as Allyson is would be a tough job. That’s right, ‘would be.’ I’m not scopin’ for babes. Not being mobile, not having a job, having braces are three good reasons to avoid me. But, they’re very, very temporary. Thank God. April 15, 2005 – Friday
______________ SorryI’m sorry. It’s not often that a hospital patient is sorry for having injured himself, but with my long, long stay and knowing how much you have worried about me, I am sorry to put you through that. I know I can’t make it up to you, but I can try. First, I’d like to apologize to myself, and we can get all this mushy bullshit out of the way. I’m sorry that I set me back, for the time being. I’m sorry that I’ve affected my memory and voice. I’m not sorry that I’m seeing life differently. I’m not sorry that I’m seeing what’s really important. I’m not sorry that I’ve changed things in my lifestyle.Derek and Steve, I’m sorry. I wish we could have been hanging out, and not making you worry. Dana, I’m sorry. I would have wanted to continue talking about politics, going to Pub99 and chatting about significant others. Wes, I’m sorry. I wish we could have hung out in the basement, talked, and other activities. My family, I’m sorry. I wanted things to go smoothly. This is a major bump in the road, but I’m here, and still the same as you remember me, only improved. Allyson, I’m sorry. And you know that. <3 The Great Depression, or not.I felt sad last night and into today. And that’s a first, which is good. I’m not missing the car, hanging out at the mall, having a job, or the ability to drive. I’m not sad about my inability to pass through a metal detector without someone noticing, the fact that getting back to school is a progression, or having double vision. Being alive makes that insignificant. That, and while hospitalized I started taking Effexor. It’s an anti-depressant, but you knew that. So, what am I sad about? I must be sad about something. I’m sad because I can’t do the same things with friends that I had. I’m sad because I’ve caused this accident in an unprofessional way. I’m devastated that I’m not with Allyson. I’m distraught because I’ve disrupted my family. But, I think that it’s all evening out, perhaps, even in my favor. I have said that I’m glad that this happened and I stand by that. If the Effexor is responsible for all of the giggles and smiles, you should check it out. But, I’m confident that nearly dying, then getting back into life is liable. The Simple Life? No.The simple things in life are what are really important, but I don’t want that to bite me in the ass one day. I won’t be the guy who’s not taking his job seriously only because he isn’t as concerned with money. I know it is very important, and it will be once I’ve recovered. It’s essential and the reason I’ve been taking classes. I’m not kidding myself. And it’s vital for a family. Let me segue into that I had been apprehensive about getting married and maybe starting a family. I’m still not sure about those annoying little kids (‘brats’), but having a woman to spend my life with is more and more appealing. My uncle is moving into a nicer house with his family. And I can see myself doing the same thing one day, if I’m lucky. In that respect, I am different after this. Maybe I’ve grown up. Don’t take it for granted!This is a good thing because I can’t take anything for granted. Merely typing this means something to me. I saw this guy today. He was in a wheelchair. He had a pipe the size of a straw attached to some head gear. There was a keyboard in front of him and he had to type (with his head) what he wanted to say. Stephen Hawking-esque. Here’s a man imprisoned by his own body. Seeing people in that condition makes me regret all of the times I’ve felt bad for myself, and that’s only two or three. I’m sure that even you have felt sorry for me many times. Stop. Even the country I’ve always lived in cannot be taken for granted. Ambulances, hospitals, disability. People are more caring. And I’m not taking that for granted. Braces will be the end of me if women don’t kill me firstMy two main concerns are my braces and women. First off, they don’t mix well. Both of them are concerning me. The braces will be on for up to a year. It’s only a matter of time, but I could eliminate them altogether with some pliers. Women will be in the picture until the day I die. They’re a problem that cannot (and should not) be solved with pliers. In fact, they’re part of the reason I have the braces. I have braces, a weak voice and no license. Any takers? Didn’t think so, but all of that is going to clear up. I’m not expecting anything until I recover. Maybe I’m kidding myself, but I’m hoping to rekindle something that I once had. In my condition, I’m not exactly flirting. I do still have my looks, and that says a lot. I’ve seen some atrocities in the hospital. It’s too bad. April 14, 2005 – Thursday
______________ I’m overly concerned with looking funnyI walk funny and I speak funny, now. I’m worried about my appearance in years to come, not right now, as I’m still recovering. My walking and talking are returning, and hopefully to where they normally were. I remember seeing a janitor at the hospital whose leg flailed as he walked. I was only ‘toe touch’ when I noticed him. And I was worried that I’ll have a funny quirk like that. I know that any oddity will not be that prominent, but any difference that I notice will bother me. I’ve heard that people noticed I was using my left leg as more of a peg, than a limb. I see a little truth to that, but how active is a leg supposed to be? I might be a ways from running, but there’s no reason that I won’t one day. Walking is important, but it’s not directly communicating, whereas talking is. When my voice fully returns and my braces are taken off, I’m worried that my speech won’t be up to snuff. “Will you m-m-m-m-marry me?” That’s what I fear. Mount SnowI fear the day I run out of things to write about. I’ve covered the hospital in detail, and my therapies, so I’ve asked people if there’s anything they’d like to hear about. And here’s one, about a vacation to Mount Snow. I don’t remember anything special about the trip there, but I know Allyson slept over and we took a separate car. The place we stayed at was available because my mom knew the owner from school. We all arrived fine, and went out to dinner that first night. The next morning, we went skiing and snowboarding. Vernon Hill comes to mind, but I’m not sure about that. Knowing that Allyson didn’t like winter sports, it meant a lot to me that she only came to be with me. I remember some fajitas one night, and watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with Allyson, because she had to for an assignment. I remember that we were all in the hot tub for a long time each night. I remember going to the store with Dan to pick up gin and tonic. I remember a fantastic, yet distant, view of the mountain. I remember sleeping on a foldout bed. I remember working on a jigsaw puzzle with Dan and completing it. I guess it doesn’t matter what the picture was of. Dan stared at it with unrivaled intensity. I remember there being toast at breakfast. I enjoyed that trip very much. Notice the actual snowboarding isn’t memorable. Numb3rsI can’t remember what I had for breakfast, but I’ll remember numbers, damn it. I remember seeing a commercial for the then-upcoming show Numb3rs, about a kid who is ‘good’ with numbers. Haven’t seen the show, but I remember that commercial was bouncing around in my brain. So, I couldn’t navigate the halls because of the memory problem, but I’ll take a swing at numbers. With this intention, I did remember quite a few phone numbers. And that’s all. I should have tried to memorize pi. I still know it up to 3.141591. But, that’s something I had known before the accident, all of which is remembered. Those private high school and college classes haven’t gone to waste. Individual, personal commentary over a public mediumDana – I want to congratulate you on being the ‘thinker’ of the group. You had always been immersed in a book, commenting on a movie or involved in a conversation. You’re opinionated in that you don’t sway. I can remember you saying, “No… No, just no, Jeff. It’s like this…” And I respect that straightforward approach.Derek – You know how to have fun, safely. I don’t see your party ending. I remember back in high school, I would always look forward to hanging out with you. You had the cool mom, and knew how to cook, not to mention the cute girls. You know that everyone wanted to be friends with you, and that says a lot.Wes – You’re laid back all of the time and you make it look good. You always busted your ass at work, but were never greedy with the money. You’re on the right track! If I need advice, I’ll give you a call. Do not worry about school. I think you’ll surprise me with your success one day. Keep caring about Granny. Oh, and I think your Lauren is really hot. You’ve done well.Brian – Be proud that you’re involved with the Armed Forces. I’m sure it should be as valuable as what I’ve learned with my experience. You were always rational in that you were great for advice. Professional. I think you will have a better view of life when you return, and put that to good use. The world would be a better place if everyone could know someone like you.Steve – First off, it means a lot that you invited me out that day. You’re younger, and enjoy that, because some of us are beginning to feel old. I believe that you know exactly what you want, and I never had until now. You give me the impression that you don’t really care what people think, and that’s vital. I’m impressed that you are younger, and that hasn’t made you flinch.Justin – I will refer to you as brother, because you aren’t little anymore. Someone joked today about “the good brother.” But, we know it’s true. You’re going through school with no snags, and that says a lot. Just ask me. You send the image of not caring about money as much as the average person. That’s a big deal. You’re onto something. You’ve acted very independent, and I hope that will continue. Cousin Dan – I remember seeing you so much when we were young, and even though I lost, I enjoyed playing sports with you. You’re partly the reason I went to Saint John’s. Now you’re a college grad, working with funds. I don’t think you’d like my thoughts on money, but I hope you do well. And you have done very well with Jackie. You strike me as doing very well on your own and out of the house. I’m sure John is the reason for that.Alexis – You’ve always been so calm and comforting. I can’t picture you throwing a fit, and I hope to never see it! I was going to say that you’ve come a long way, but you haven’t. You have always been at a great level. Cool and logical. Especially for a girl, wink. I don’t see your attitude ever changing, and that’s a wonderful thing to have.Jim – I want to thank you for your sound advice. Judging from that and your attitude about life, I’m not worried about you. Try to take this as more than a cliché, but you do know how to have a good time. Make sure you let me know of any good books you’re reading. Because I respect your opinion.Allyson – I’m saving the best for last, again. I appreciate that you’ve always been caring, even when I gave you a hard time. Knowing that you’ve dealt with my hospital stay, and having the intention to stay with me is overwhelming. I find myself thinking about you very often. Very often. I’m wishing the best for you, even though most guys would hope I think, “Allyson… fuck her.” As I’ve said, of you from time to time, and in between. I like that. April 13, 2005 – Wednesday
______________ Minimalist for nowI’m a minimalist. And loving it. I’m seeing my minimalism melting away, and I’ll miss it. Right now I’m drinking Perrier. Far from essential. I’m not making an effort to only have the things that are essential. And that’s a step away from minimalist. It’s not a bad thing. I hope you would be worried if I were only drinking water and eating bread. My diet is a little complex, but with good reason. Of course I’ll have thirty to forty grams of whey protein following a workout. Hah, I’m back to my old ways. I will miss my simplicity when I’m yelling at a waiter because my soup is too hot. We all know one person that must complain, whatever the circumstances are, and it’s striking me that these people are only making things in their life more complex. I never saw it that way before, but I wasn’t always a minimalist. Traumatic Brain Injury… and you!I’m lucky to be who I am. I’m the same person I’ve always been. Some people who get a bump on the head end up as being a different person as far as the way they act. Total personality change. I may have temporarily been an exhibitionist, but I’m the same person that I always have been. Actually, I’m not. In retrospect, I have been much more kind, appreciative of life and jovial. And not nearly as bored. Any negative change would be related to a sport or something related to television. There’s nothing else I see, or has been mentioned. I have asked many people if they notice anything different about me. You don’t emerge from a near-life experience the way you entered. My mother (“mommy”) is reading a book about a man that sustained a head injury and isn’t interested in the same things he was interested in before. I am noticing some of this, but only advancements. Read what I have to say about the entertainment industry. Having no urge to sit in front of a television is a step in the right direction. I can follow it just fine, but there’s probably something better that I could be doing. Some of the personality differences I’ve heard of are just plain bizarre. If I were swearing a lot, a really fuckin’ lot, in basic conversation there would be a problem. It happens. And I love being myself, like never before! The entertainment industry is boring. How ironic!I’m not concerned with Hollywood. I don’t watch television and movies do not interest me. I’m seeing how dead inside I was. I remember watching two or three sitcoms each weeknight. Knowing that you might be thinking “So?” makes me sigh. I am continuing to use the computer a lot. I can justify this because I’m writing, and I’ll be in front of a monitor a lot where I’m headed. Even South Park, a show which I had an undying love for, isn’t significant. I was in front of the television earlier and turned it off once I realized what I was doing. So, it’s also based on principle, not just boredom. I had seen a movie with some friends, and it couldn’t have been any more boring. I would get more entertainment from actually doing something. A snowball fight, going out to eat, driving around or anything involving. I have been reading a lot. I have a few books going as of late. I’m going through Survivor, by Chuck Palahniuk, Marabou Stork Nightmare, by Irvine Welsh, and When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Some Guy. Those, and a book about TCP/IP, networking protocols. I’ll be going for my certification if I can get the hang of it, and I’m expecting to. Thanks Andy! I’m not going to criticize any movies or television shows, because it really isn’t worth my time. If you wanna’ read that, then go to another website. April 12, 2005 – Tuesday
______________ ConsumerismListen, now, you’re going to die, Raymond K. K. K. Hessel, tonight. You might die in one second or in one hour, you decide. So lie to me… Fill in the blank. What does Raymond Hessel want to be when he grows up?
A vet, you said, you want to be a vet, a veterinarian.
That means school. You have to go to school for that.
It means too much school, you said.
You could be in school working your ass off, or you could be dead. You choose…
So, I said, go back to school. If you wake up tomorrow morning, you find a way to get back to school.
Raymond K. K. Hessel, your dinner is going to taste better than any meal you’ve eaten, and tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of your entire life.That was taken from the book, Fight Club. Highly underrated and not done justice by the movie. And I’m wondering if the author had a near-death experience. I stole “near-life” from him. That quote is summarizing how I have been feeling since my accident. Days really do feel much brighter than they ever have. Even comparing Christmas mornings to this new outlook don’t do it justice. I feel like my life is on another level. I’m not expecting you to believe me. Why? I could be kidding myself. I can’t shape your opinion. I can’t explain this to any justice. Why? I could be mentally damaged. I’ll let you decide. I’m wondering if having almost died is responsible, being somewhat religious. I do feel more in touch with nature, people, pets and all that bullshit. I am feeling completely out of touch with luxurious items, money and things that I had paid so much attention to. I’m now thinking that I had wasted so much time with things like Ferrari. I’m not out to impress people as much as I had. Yes, I still see showering and cleaning as a necessity! It’s only that I won’t care if my clothes don’t match when I go to the mall. I know that it’s not important when seeing strangers. In this respect, you can see how I’m much freer. I believed in painstaking preparation in getting ready when going in public. It’s not the fact that I’m now single. I’m not exactly scopin’ for babes. Merely knowing that I’m alive and well is enough for me to respect that last line. Read it.And I’ll leave you with another quote from the book“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”Actually, let me just say that I had been the utmost consumer. I had two bank accounts, a credit card, and a debit card. Now, I don’t carry a wallet. I’m seeing truth to working for what we don’t need. But, medical insurance comes in handy. I’m typing this on a computer ($) and hosting this on a dot-com ($), so don’t think that I’m lazy or anti-money. But, I am seeing that people are too selective in where they shop. I used to be the same way. I am still going to look good though. Only, I won’t care if it came from Armani or the Gap. As long as it looks good. “If I could wake up in a different place, at a different time, could I wake up as a different person?” – C. PalahniukI was in a coma. It’s a weird thing to hear. Believe me, it’s a weird thing to say. Yes, I was in a coma. There’s nothing I can remember about it, but I’m sure that my imagination was having a great time. Every now and then, I get a tiny bit or piece of what seems to be a from a dream. But, it seems like more, a lot more. As far as the most recent events to November 2nd, I can’t remember voting that day. I know that I did, but I’m not recalling where I voted. And I don’t remember the actual crash. I’m hearing that being able to remember that is basically impossible. I did wake up in a different place at a different time. I’m wondering what about me is different as a person. Someone close to me was surprised that I wasn’t acting the same as I always had. I don’t believe it. I know that I am the same, but the fact that our friendship has changed says a lot. There is nothing about me that would make you wish that I was my old self. And I’m not expecting you to wish that you had someone to play hoops with. I don’t feel different. But, I know that I am more sensitive and caring to human pressures. I’ll be donating more time and money to charities and similar services, because I do feel that I share a bond with any human. That says a lot for almost being dead. Thankfully, my sense of humor is, if anything, more sensitive. Aside from that, I can’t think of any non-physical differences. Bon voyage. Goodbye females!Brace yourself. I had braces installed today. I’ve had a slice of pizza, which was manageable, and some noodles. This is the time that I really need the stomach tube. They actually feel good though. There’s a pleasure-pain connection, and they’re comforting like a hard stretch before a walk. It’s not normal to feel a sensation over all of your teeth. The dentist visit had no snags. The last time I was in that office, I had a walker. I’m movin’ up in the world, but now with braces I’m taking a break. Another peculiarity in this situation is that the dentist expanded his prediction from six to eight months to ten months to a year. Basically, I’m gonna’ have ‘em longer. I could request having these taken off tomorrow, but I’m I’ll stick it out. I’m tough, heh. Another reason that I shouldn’t be bitching is that these suckers cost me twelve hundred dollars. Nothing to complain about, yet. CosmopolitanI’m seeing how people are overly concerned with personal belongings and cosmetic perfection. And I’ll be going along with it (eh, why not), but if everyone wasn’t motivated to achieve Vogue-excellence, my life would go on. Maybe I’m a hypocrite because I’m wondering how my necessary change in diet will affect my abdominals. I’m not a hunter-gatherer, but my life is going to benefit from my newfound simplistic outlook. We all know that many things in life are completely unnecessary, but we aren’t willing to give up Bed, Bath & Beyond items. #pimp
<Phen0m> I’m 31337The following is a work of creative fiction:With all of my computer exploitation, I deserved to lose a car. I remember back when I first got interested in the phone system. I downloaded a copy of The Anarchist’s Cookbook, which has as much technical information as it does about explosives. Thankfully, I already had a computer, and I wasn’t allowed to play with fire. I picked up a lot about the telephone system, because it was easy to exploit and there are pay phones everywhere.
I remember when I purchased a tone dialer at Radio Shack, because I had a 6.5536 Mhz crystal coming in the mail. Between these two, and with a little soldering, payphones will think that you’ve dropped in some change. That was fun, but I can make calls in the comfort of my own home. That’s when I began eyeing my computer.
Hackers are ‘at home’ on the internet. So, many websites, forums and IRC rooms exist. There’s an assortment of ‘zines, digital publications, available about hacking. I couldn’t stop reading those, and built the foundation of my computer science brain. 2600 entered the picture when a Barnes & Noble arrived in Auburn. The 2600 writers were much more professional, and mainly older, than what I had seen on the ‘net. I spent a lot of time reading about UNIX. It’s what many servers run. And most hacking is geared towards UNIX. A free version of it is called linux, and I managed to install it to learn. Then I felt like I truly was a hacker, and with my scanning of broad IP ranges overnight, I soon was. I remember I hit a service provider for teachers. Then I could log in to many, many accounts for free and scan the internet for more vulnerable computers. Once I gathered a few and made some friends, I began enjoying teleconferences. It’s a meeting with many callers all able to speak and listen, and even make phone calls. I heard some quite interesting pranks. Those would go on for hours. I got into some NASA computers and felt like a god. Hi, my name is Phen0m, and you bet your ass I’m phenomenal. The L0pht, a Boston based group, was always envied. Here’s a group of aged, rich guys that rent out a warehouse to work on code. From there, I became part of a group, DPP, (Digital Phreak P1mps) in 1997. And that died out slowly. I picked up with college, and here I am today. April 11, 2005 – Monday
______________ Explaining the vacation connectionMy parents had read my comparison of the hospital stay to a vacation, and proceeded to think I was nuts. But, I’m not. And I still think that it was a great vacation, maybe the best that I’ll ever have. I’m not taking it back and I’d like to explain. And I’d like to talk about it because I’m wondering if any vacation will ever top it. All of my needs were taken care of. Someone else made the food. I slept well, both overnight and during nap-time. I didn’t even wipe my own ass during part of my stay. Anyways, I was in a different environment. Not necessarily better, but just totally different. I got to know the nursing staff, who are very nice people, and I got to see the people I had known in daily life every so often, but not enough to make me feel at home. I was asking about the outside world, but not exposed to it. It was mostly the disconnection from normal daily life, and all of the typical events that we overlook that made this seem vacation-like. I didn’t go to work. I wasn’t getting paid, but money didn’t matter. Improving my physical and mental conditions were things I could handle with ease. If I were late to a function, someone would come and get me. I was taken care of. And this wasn’t a bad thing. I’m able enough to take care of myself. I had a television, but I wasn’t interested. I’ve seen people on vacations, sitting in their hotels and watching a sitcom. It makes me want to scream. Even if you had watched a show tonight is not something I understand. I wasn’t dearly concerning myself with the outside world. I lost touch. And no one was going to call up and tell me about so-and-so’s huge party that everyone went to, out of kindness. I appreciate that. I was on a schedule, and getting enough sleep. I had time to read, and write. My parents came by as much as they could. Thank you. I needed it. And I was often asking, “What am I missing? What’s going on out there?” and I’d only hear things that I could read in the news. So, I lost touch with friends. And maybe that’s not such a horrible thing. I will eventually, and I got a taste of it. But, the vacation association is there, until I go on a real vacation. I’ll be in Florida soon, and I know what it will be like, but I can’t compare Fairlawn to a destination like Bermuda. It’s not exactly the same. A hospital stay after a near-life experience transcends ‘vacation.’ I can’t live this downI can’t. And I’m fine with that. Anyone I meet won’t know what I’ve gone through, first hand. Dana and Larissa are going to be off somewhere, together. Derek will be finishing school. Brian will have been in battle. I’m not sure about Wes. Steve will be working and I don’t know what else. Allyson will have fallen in love again. Justin will be in Boston. And I will have to make new friends, almost ‘replacements.’ That should be beneficial in that I can’t live this down with you guys. I’ll always be Jeff…who has come a long way, or Jeff…who was in that accident a while back. The fact that I’m not mobile has changed enough as I see it. And maybe we are nearing the point at which we go our separate ways. Branch out. College is (or is close to being) done with. We’ll be spread out eventually. As I see it, this is the beginning of the end. We’ve had a good time, but you’ve gotta’ close things eventually. We’re not in high school anymore. Getting away from that, I’m anticipating seeing how anyone who meets me will react to knowing that I’m lucky to be alive. I see females being compassionate, but not having full, total respect for me. I see guys with simply a ‘whoa’ reaction and thinking that I must be sad about the car.And to any friend reading this- Sorry to remind you, but we all know what’s coming and don’t talk about it. This has been a wake-up call. Life will go on, but we should try to keep in touch over the years to come. We aren’t going to stay this young. Marriages and careers are around the corner. Sorry to bring this up, but someone had to. Best of luck!Regards,
Jeffrey MiscellaneousRetreat squaredI remember we had a retreat on day of the year. We didn’t have class. We spent all of the day taking a look at out lives, and what we want from life. This experience has been infinitely more valuable than a retreat. I’m able to look at what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve ignored. Without a hint of justification. I feel like a different person in that I’m not using excuses or “yeah, but’s.” I’m thankful to have this now, and not at my deathbed. It will make the remainder of my life much more valuable.
No, I’m not madI don’t have any reason to be mad at anyone but myself. And I’m thankful for that. No one is mad at me, and I can sigh with relief. You bet your ass that I’d be pissed off until that day I die if I got this banged up and you were driving. Even if you were dead. Which brings us to my roommate Kenny. He was a passenger in his friend’s car. Something happened and they crashed. The driver died. And I’m sure that Kenny wants to teach him a lesson, but can’t. I won’t have to go through life wondering what someone else was thinking, or why someone else made an awful mistake. That would make me bitter for the rest of my life. But, I’m the only one to blame. And I won’t be eternally sorry for anything. Being sorry for all the lives that I’ve interrupted are plenty. I have no reason to be mad, and I’m rational in trying not to find one.
Jeff: The HousewifeI don’t have a real job, so I need to earn my stay in this house. I’m not bringing in any money and I’ve caused a lot of trouble. That means doing housework, which is the least I could do. I’ve started to help with raking. It’s so nice to get fresh air. I didn’t get any at all for three months. That’s a long time to be kept inside. Mainly, I do dishes. Nothing glamorous there. But, it’s my pleasure to help out with what I can.
Not complainingI believe that I won’t be complaining much at all. First, I’m a man. Second, I have no right to complain about something trivial, like doing dishes. I’m lucky to be here and functional. So, I can’t complain. Even things I would have disliked won’t be for a ‘first second time.’ If I get sunburn, the feeling will be refreshing in that I don’t remember exactly what they’re like. I know they suck. I remember that much. Call me crazy, but I won’t mind sunburn, only because I know that it will feel unfamiliar. That, and I can really use a tan.
Takin’ it all offApparently, I’m an exhibitionist. This is a surprise to me because I’ve never had any tendency to disrobe prior to this. Yet, in the hospital I was pulling up my gown very often. Flashing people. I can’t remember any of it, but I’m sure you can. Maybe when I’m a decrepit, old man, I’ll be at the nude beach. Thankfully, I have no tendency to expose myself. I can’t get over the fact that I was often flashing people. I must have wanted to get a reaction and that worked best. Lord. FoodKnowing that I have a small memory problem, would you feel differently about paying for my dinner? I know that I would have figured ‘why?’ because he won’t even remember it. But, my memory doesn’t suffer that badly right now. Food isn’t something anyone should fully, completely remember once they’ve swallowed. I like eating in a nice restaurant. I know what I like and dislike. I only had that stomach tube in for a little while. That eliminated the taste of what I was ‘eating.’ My sense of taste is the same, or slightly improved. So, I like all the same foods. I’m getting worried about becoming fat again. Yeah, I was a little pudgy. But, I have been eating a fair amount.
From the heart to the trigga, you’ll always be myI’m wondering how much further I can take this seemingly ‘new’ life. Things I had never done because I was too timid. Nothing is feeling exactly the same as it was. I’m walking around with a cloud over me that follows. Don’t feel bad for me. I feel excellent and fresh. I’m wondering if Allyson leaving me is good for me. Completely starting anew. Friends are starting to branch apart, as it’s that time in life. And this really does feel like a different life. I don’t know how to explain it, but being away from home and daily life with friends for so long has made it not alien, but foreign. It’s refreshing. I can’t complain about my life. Everything I had taken for granted in its regularity is once again ‘new.’ Like getting home from a vacation. Everything is probably a little brighter, only because you were unfamiliar with it. April 10, 2005 – Sunday
______________ I needed thisI had the fast car, the hot girlfriend and I was in school, to sum up my life approaching November. But, something wasn’t right. Life didn’t feel as good as it really should have. I was questioning my future. I didn’t seem to be going where I wanted it. I should have been happy and I knew that I should have been, but I was not. Perhaps, I’ve convinced myself that I wanted this, given the “… I meant to do that”-reaction that some people have when they drop something by accident. We don’t like to admit that we slipped up. But, I believe that I was in need of a life-changing experience. I’m getting too personal for a public forum, but I have no shame. I felt like I should have been truly happy with all that I had going for me. I felt that if I was in my prime, had what I wanted, and couldn’t be happy, then fuck it. So, I became an alcoholic. Or, that’s what I’ve been hearing. I know that I’m not an alcoholic, but given that this result thanks to drinking, I’ll play along. If it makes you happy. It’s the least I could do. I simply have no temptation to drink for a very, very long time. It will be nice to order a club soda for once. Skip ahead several months later. I’m kicking myself in the ass for not seeing all that I had going for me. A beautiful and interesting girl, a fast and nice car, and college classes I was able to handle. But, I didn’t see it then. I needed some perspective, and I got it. I’m sure that you’re wondering why I didn’t see a therapist or get some help. Simply, it wouldn’t have helped. A near-death experience reigns supreme in the world of self-improvement. You can see where I get off saying, “I needed this.” So, I’m starting from a clean slate. No car. No girlfriend. Not in school. But, all of that can be trailed by “…yet.” No car, yet. No girlfriend, yet. Not in school, yet. And it feels damn good to know that. I have reset my life and it’s freeing. I’m starting all over again.
A monologue from Trainspotting comes to mind —
So why did I do it? I could offer a million answers – all false. The truth is that I’m a bad person. But, that’s gonna change – I’m going to change. This is the last of that sort of thing. Now I’m cleaning up and I’m moving on, going straight and choosing life. I’m looking forward to it already. I’m gonna be just like you. The job, the family, the fucking big television. The washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electric tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisure wear, luggage, three piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption clearing gutters, getting by, looking ahead, the day you die. A morbid and acceptable fascination with deathI’m not sure, yet positive that I was visited the most my first week at the hospital. I know that when anyone hears someone was hospitalized, they check their schedule for tomorrow. Coincidentally, I don’t remember any of when I had the most visitors. I know that my parents appreciated it, and thank you for comforting them. But, I can’t remember any of it. It must have been nice to see your face and hear your voice. By the logic of “I can’t remember it, so it never really happened” I can’t be truly be glad and have something to look back on if I learn that you came to visit me at first. I know basically everyone did, and I remember some of it, but it’s making me wonder why people habitually come to the hospital after a couple days of discovering. Its not just concern. People, maybe not you, but, some people want to see a person at their worst. Not you, but some people want to see a person fresh out of their accident. I’m opinionated in this matter. I’m not expecting you to understand. Thank you for being kind enough for having visited me. I was a sad sight from what I’ve heard. And I’d like to hear just how friggin’ pathetic I looked. It’s making me feel good about where I am now.one -X-two People don’t wake up all of a sudden. That’s fiction you would only see in a movie.“It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.” That’s a quote from Fight Club, the book that the movie is based upon. And it’s so damn true that I can’t get over it. Chuck Palahnuik must have gotten that sentiment from someone who was close to death. I have done a couple things I never thought I would have done. I was always a little too timid because I was unsure of the consequence. “It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.” It makes complete sense in that you would have nothing else to lose if you’ve lost everything. But, I didn’t lose everything, and I don’t feel like I could do any-thing. But, then, if you have lost almost anything, you can do almost anything. That’s fitting in my case. It’s freeing in that I can be honest. I’m not hiding anything. My parents tore apart my room in search of anything I can’t have when I returned from the hospital. I have nothing to hide. I’m missing drug paraphernalia, ephedrine, pro-hormones and pornography. Anything I was hiding is in the know. And I’m fine with that. Having nothing to hide is liberating. I know my parents had suspected that I had some things under wraps, but I won’t be hiding anything in the future. First off, I’m twenty-three. Second, I’ve lost everything and dot-dot-dot everything, you know. Don’t think that I was considering doing drugs, drinking booze and taking sketchy pills again, because I’m not. The party is over. Case closed. I’ve noticed that I feel much freer. Ask me a personal question if you really want an honest answer. No lies are coming out of my mouth. And it feels good. I’d recommend it to you, but I’m sure that you either don’t have the balls or didn’t have a near-death experience. I’ll stop right there because I feel a little agitated. It’s only after you’ve lost almost everything that you’re free to do almost anything. And it’s a wonderful way to live your life. I’m comparing this to the awesome arcade game that you were playing at Chuck E. Cheese years ago. God had a spare quarter when my game was over. And from here on out, life is feeling as surreal as it actually should be. You’re a fool if you’re taking everything too seriously. I know that many of you believe that he who dies with the most toys wins, but there’s more to winning the game than that. Maybe a close call is one of them. Red in the faceEmbarrassment is a thing of the past. Everything about me is out in the open. The people I live with know everything about me. You have probably seen me naked. I have nothing to hide. And it feels damn good. I can live in the open. This is another benefit that I’m hoping and expecting to have for life. I expect that people who are fortunate enough to have profited from a dehumanizing experience to know what I’m talking about. Paris Hilton should take comfort in knowing that we have seen video of what we had all known occurred. Knowing how far I have succeeded, where can I get off being embarrassed about not winning a game of basketball? Even to a girl. Right now your XX chromosome ass will step all over me. You should see my attempt at running. It’s more like a gallop. And when I’m able to run with pride, which alone will be satisfying. I may not have won the race, but I could have been in a wheelchair (or even the equivalent of hospital) for the duration of my life. The fact that I’m now walking without a cane is ‘cool’ to me. With that logic, my entire life is going to be better. I had always insisted that I wouldn’t get married, partly because I was throwing Allyson off and partly because I wasn’t treasuring companionship. That has now changed, maybe. And you knowing what I have been through will not laugh at me if I trip. That’s not a good thing because I don’t want your pity. It’s a funny thing to say, and I can see why, but I want to be treated regular. This won’t be a problem with the friends I haven’t met yet. So, maybe years from now I’ll be wishing that people wouldn’t treat me like dirt. And maybe I’ll beg for pity, but right now it just doesn’t feel right.
April 9, 2005 – Saturday
______________ A real man knows when to say he’s sorryI can’t say sorry enough. I ruined your day on November 2nd or soon after. I apologize, and I’ll try to make it up to you. I’m sure that you feel funny knowing that I’m the one apologizing, when I’m the one that spent months in the hospital, and it feels funny for me too. The only thing is that I really don’t feel that this is a bad thing. Worse could happen. I’m sure you think that I’m BS’ing or fooling myself, but I see my life having a much better run because of this. I have health and car insurance. My surgery went well. And I’m feeling excellent. So, please do not worry about me. I inconvenienced everyone in my life, and my mom to the point where she quit her job. Sorry. So, I’m the one that should be sorry about anything. You shouldn’t be sorry for me. It should be the other way around. And no one knows if this was definitively a bad thing. I may have grown up to be an alcoholic wife-beater with a horrible job, only living for failure after failure. I’m trying to keep that in mind. And you can see where I’m getting off wondering if this is the best thing to ever happen to me. I’m sorry for all of the time that you had spent in the hospital seeing me. It’s not nearly the ideal conditions for visiting someone. I have one friend who is actually afraid of hospitals, and there are absolutely no hard feelings about not seeing me. I’m only mad at my condition that I’m not remembering all of the time that you had come to visit and wish me luck. I’m sorry. Do something with your lifeI’ve learned some of the things that I have always heard, but dismissed. I’m seeing them as obvious truth now. One of them is that television is a waste of time. I can’t remember the last time I turned on my television. It just sits there. It’s just a waste of my time. I could read or write something at least. Those are somewhat involving. I can’t say anything about staring at a screen, because that’s what I’m doing right now. At least its making me think. I hope that I will never again become interested in television. I’m hoping to recover, but not to the point to where I’m dead inside. And knowing that a lot of you watch sitcoms is making me have a negative connotation between you and television. I’m not sure why, but television no longer interests me. I can follow it just fine. I understand that Phoebe is a little out there, but I don’t see any humor in it. I know that I have fully, fully recovered when I find myself giggling at Bernie Mac. I don’t want that to happen. I’m not necessarily saying that you should go outside, but just do something that will help your future. Call a friend and keep in touch. That’s something I’ve slacked off with. I don’t feel as comfortable as I had with my voice as it is now. Goodbye American Idol! I’m hoping that this will make me take my future into deeply serious consideration. I fear that my chances with women are downgraded, so having cash to give will be appreciated. And I know that from simply $1 bills. I’ll be working my ass off to keep what I learn fresh. I had thought about switching to the major of Management Information Science. And I like that its more real-world geared than programming-heavy computer science. I’m expecting college to be more difficult with the memory issue, but online classes would be a nice start. I don’t expect to receive an e-mail telling me to put my book away and answer the following questions. At least I know that I’ve wasted a lot of time. Not just in the hospital, but in the past. And with my feelings about wasting time now, I should make up for that many, many times over. It’s almost like this hasn’t even happenedI’m waiting for the day that I’ll be treated exactly as I remember. Everyone seems to be getting a kick out of hugging me, and admittedly feeling warm inside because I was able to navigate their driveway and conquer the front steps. To me, it was simply getting inside, not climbing Everest. And when I’m greeted, it seems to be a miracle that I’m able to stand and speak. I have seen a share of crying. It puzzles me. I feel the same and act the same. And on some thin, thin level I act as though nothing is different and I don’t see any need for sympathy. It’s like it never happened. I remember a quote from some movie, “I can’t remember, so it never really happened.” Remembering the actual moments of impact are impossible. Apparently, the brain puts this memory in RAM, which gets wiped when I hit, never making it to the hard disk. That’s an accurate comparison. Because I’m not remembering, there is a broad feeling that I’m really okay. And it’s only when I’m walking or trying to remember what I listened to last night that I will admit to myself there is something wrong. I have seen pictures of the ruined car. I know that I’m going to court. But, unless I remember it I can’t be 100% sure. I’m about .000000001% short, but that speck matters to me. Your opinion of meI get the feeling that some of you believe I’ll be saying, “Ruh roh, I pooped em pants.” if you take me out to the mall. I promise you that I’m the same as you remember; only I walk kinda funny in some way that you can’t quite put your finger on. That and my memory isn’t all that great. But, as long as we’re not playing football or becoming entrapped in a labyrinth, I’ll be okay. I noticed someone who will remain nameless giving me the I’m-sorry-for-you face. And I would have done the same thing if one of my friends was in the hospital for such a long time. It’s totally uncalled for. I’m not feeling ‘down’ or ‘blue.’ I’m just me, and there’s really nothing to be sorry for. I have the feeling that I won’t be made fun of for quite some time. Anyone that I meet will be thinking about how I was in the hospital for such a long time and the friends I have now will feel low poking fun at me. Only my father and Allyson have picked up on the fact that being made fun of is something I can laugh about too, and miss. Given my current condition, you don’t have to be Chris Rock to think of something witty to say. I know that someday I’ll be wishing that guys at the office wouldn’t, but with my ass out of a hospital bed, you can feel free to rip on my cannot-drive, no-license-havin’, car-totalin’ ass. April 8, 2005 – Friday
______________ I’m a better person, but I’m not perfectIn the hospital, I called one of the staff a racial slur. This was early on and I was not lucid, so I can’t be held responsible for my actions. Upon hearing this, my parents probably said, “That’s Jeff for ya.” With my increased empathy and compassion to other’s imperfect situations, I am surprised to see that I’m still somewhat prejudiced. It doesn’t make me a bad person. I wouldn’t take any extra pride in winning a game against a black man. I don’t wanna’ be ‘whitey,’ keeping all the brothers down. Unity. And in my condition, maybe I should learn a thing or two. Physically, I’m in no shape to front with any nig-nogs. So, this could be a change for the better. Equality is a beautiful thing. Pleasant hangoverThis is one hangover I will always remember. I can’t forget the ones in high school at Tim Hays’ house, but this one has the opposite feeling of what I had related to a hangover. Instead of squishing myself back and forth and wishing for complete darkness and silence, I feel rejuvenated and what I’ve been calling enlightened. It has some familiar hangover symptoms. “I exposed my self to who?!?” Just kidding. My joints are tight, I’m thinner and a little banged up. Evidence suggests that I had too much of a good time last night. I’ve been taking vitamins and drinking water, but I will miss this one as it recedes.
Blend in, or not.I’m starting to become normal. I don’t use a walker. I don’t use a cane. I am speaking louder. And I’m wondering if becoming average is really a good thing. There’s something to be said for standing out. People buy bright, gaudy clothes in an effort to separate themselves from what’s normal. Being in a wheelchair or using a cane is taking this to the next level. I had briefly used a cane, and noticed people were paying much closer attention to me. They were wondering what was wrong. But, any little problem, like dropping something, would have been noticed. And I know that most people feel generous in giving a disabled person some help. It’s nice to believe that you committed a good deed that day. I’m sure that you will feel better about ‘donating’ a service to someone in a wheelchair, compared with helping that other guy. Only, I don’t want your help. If I ever see someone with a handicap struggling with something, I’ll ask if they want some help, with an if-not-fine attitude. I know that I would rather continue fiddling with something than have someone come up and insist they help. It’s like you are a charity to them. I was seeing life from a new angle when I was fresh out of the hospital. PowerThis experience has been empowering. Knowing that I’m lucky to be alive is something I can forever think of. It’s very real. I’m guessing that I wouldn’t be lucid if I was going faster that day, or I would not be here if I didn’t have a side airbag. Bye-bye in the box. A dirt nap. And if I’m a janitor with an ugly wife after I’m done with school (talk about unlikely), I’ll be able to know that at least I’m alive, holding a job and married. Call me a failure if you want, but I’m victorious in living. I can’t get over how much that will possibly mean to me one day. I’ve mentioned what I will think if I’m getting fired- at least I could make money, but use your imagination. Also, I’m the type of person to look at the bright side. I look at my life, and I’m pleased. Mindset, the best partI’m extremely pleased with how my view of things in life has improved. What I used to consider significant is now dull. What I used to fear is now peaceful. It’s like what I’m seeing is better across the board. I really don’t care if I’m watching a movie on a 20-inch television or projector. It doesn’t matter to me, but it certainly did. Call me simple and laugh, but I see what’s important and my life is better as a result of it. This much of a change is good for me. I understand that you might only use the latest Japanese technology and that’s great if it makes you happy. I remember I used to be a top of the line snob. I’m not judging anyone! I come off as ignorant and not truly passionate about cars because I’ll simply say, “It’s nice”, but you don’t know what I know about vehicles. And I take pleasure in seeing what I had once been obsessive about for what it really is. Part of this mindset is that I’ve taken a step back and I’m seeing things that had been usual for a ‘first second’ time. It’s invaluable. And again, I’m not making any judgments! A lot of things are the same. Like professional soccer. It is what it is. It’s not something I feel different about. I don’t even feel anything about it, and never have. Cars are what have surprised me the most. I used to flip through an assortment of magazines- Car&Driver, Road&Track, Sport Compact Car, and even the DuPont Registry. I can’t emphasize enough, I’m seeing things that are more basic and taken for granted as very important. A first date, cooking with Mom, fishing with my Dad and other things I had always seen as only sorta’ important, but are now the thing that truly matter. I should check out “Tuesdays with Morrie” again, because I think I’m on the same wavelength as him. Anyways, I’m no longer in awe of the man driving the Lamborghini. I don’t feel the need to show off, and maybe I won’t get the hottest babe, but perhaps I’d overlook that now. They say that looks fade with time, and from where I now stand, I’m not seeing them quite as crucial. They’re very, very nice, but they aren’t everything. I fear that this fresh way of thinking will wear off with time. If you haven’t noticed, I’m writing a fair amount, and sharing some of it with you. This is a step ahead in my life, and I’m happy to make it public. I know that I have been thought of a lot with this happening, and it’s important for you to know that I am exceptionally okay. I’m wondering if I have ever been so well. You can beat me in a race. And you can drive, simply drive. But, are you feeling exceptionally okay? You might be, and I hope so. But, do not worry about me. I’ll be okay. With this approach to life, I should do fine. I keep wondering if this event was a good thing. I know that you’re thinking that I’m crazy for trying to put a positive spin about totaling an excellent car and landing myself in the hospital for over three months, but I promise you that I really am seeing many, many benefits. And I’m a better person for it. I know that some day I’ll be asking myself why this had to happen. Maybe when a child first asks me what the scars I have are from, but I know that I will live a full life because of this approach to living. I am alive, but that isn’t nearly all that matters. A lot more is matters to me than it previously had. Knowing that, do you think I’m simple? This way of thinking is having me tear everything apart, giving me a lot to think about. I don’t watch television. I don’t play video games. I write what I am thinking, because I know it will be important one day. kthxbyeThis has made me a better person. You have already gathered that I’m not nearly as concerned with money. And I’m more ethical. I was changing into some workout clothes at my gym today and my gold chain, a gift from my Aunt Donna (thank you!), fell on the floor. Thankfully, it weighs enough, meaning that it’s loaded with gold, to alarm me. I had thought that if I came in to get changed and saw the same thing, I would only try to find the owner, with no temptation to hold onto it. I know that some of you would have kept it and felt only a little guilt. It’s making me wonder how close I was to death, because I have no evil temptation inside. I should be mad at Allyson for leaving me while I was hospitalized, but I find myself wishing her the best. Designing a webpage for my church is the least I could do. And it’s my pleasure to help out. Yes, it looks good on my resume, but it’s a pleasure to give something back. I’m very appreciative of the hospital staff, and all that they’ve done for me. The people in my life have all been wonderful, and when I needed it most. Maybe I slacked off with thank you cards though. Await yours. In conclusion, thank you. April 7, 2005 – Thursday
______________ The real world is hard enough without another obstacle to deal withLife is tough. We all know that, but I feel that I have a better idea than you. Maybe not, and that’s what I’m hoping. Frankly, I don’t think this is going to set me back much. Maybe this is beneficial, in that I am more motivated. I’ve already got an Associates Degree, and I’m set on Bachelors. I’m studying for a computer certification in networking. And I’m not so concerned with money (because I don’t have to be right now) and I’m feeling great.
I’m confident that I could lead my life feeling well without any more school, but I’m going to challenge myself. That and I want the friggin’ Bachelor’s. I’m going back to school eventually. I’ll be taking classes in… soon. Maybe starting in September. What’s killing me is that I’ll be a major, major inconvenience with parents because I won’t be driving. Not until the next semester. I’m not sure what to make of that. The certifications will be valuable. Right now, I’m studying for a networking test. I’m getting my hands dirty with protocols and what happens with data communication. I have said that I’m not as concerned with money, but succeeding in college isn’t an option for me.
I truly believe that I am going to get more out of life now. Life isn’t just being alive. It’s what I am thankful, and lucky to have. I’m lucky to be living, so there’s a wonderful place to re-start. And it feels like I have completely (re)started a new beginning. I know what’s important. All of my commitments were wiped, and I’m starting from a clean slate. I think that’s important because I know what I need to do without needing to justify anything. No “yeah, but’s.” I’m probably going to bust my ass with the memory issue. And college. Frankly, I don’t care if I’m going to have to study harder. This is going to shape the rest of my life. And I wasn’t all that successful with classes before this. I’m not kidding myself that school isn’t going to be easy. It will be much harder. And finishing classes with fine grades is going to prepare me for the business world. I can’t change what happened, but if I could, I would not.Maybe having crashed and being severely injured will work in my favor over the course of my lifetime. I didn’t have any motivation, aside from money, and I was taking a lot for granted. I was going through life without a good, realistic idea of what’s important. I was drooling over Ferrari, and that would lead me to a life of disappointment. This gives me the sense of direction that I need. Anything I accomplish is going to feel much better than it ever would have. With anything I fail, I can say, “At least I was able enough to try.” And I can say that in a real, truthful way. Doctors didn’t know if I would be capable of leaving a hospital environment. And that is extremely powerful to know and have. Knowing that you were close to a vegetable state is more than enough. Physically, I could be better off, but this has given me a taste of what disabled people go through. That taste is making me gag, because spending a lifetime in that condition is horrible. But, given the circumstances, I could be in much worse shape. I put a lot of stress on others, and that’s all I’m mad about. I wish that I wasn’t imposing. I’m very, very alive.
I feel that I’m lucky. And my stay at the hospital will forever be my favorite ‘vacation.’ It was a vacation in every sense of the word. I took a giant step back from ordinary life to concentrate on myself. The staff was always smiling and the food was good. I think of it as an elongated retreat. An upcoming vacation in Florida will pale in comparison to the hospital.
Only, being inside for a long period of time makes you miss fresh air dearly. If you’re exposed to what is considered comfortable for long enough, it becomes nearly uncomfortable. The cold air on the other side of the wall became desirable. I’m now much more likely to be comfortable in most situations, because I have been exposed to extremes.“your dinner is going to taste better than any meal you’ve eaten, and tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of your entire life.” – from Fight Club, after a man is let go from gunpointThe truth behind this quote has been central to the fact that I’m optimistic and feeling that my future would have, otherwise, been disappointing. I needed this. Beggining to scrape bottom… part oneI have been prayed over. I’ve been blessed with luck by a priest (or minister?). This was arranged by friends, and you know who you are. And thank you. Knowing that I have been prayed over is a very nice gesture, but I feel weird saying that. I know that some of you said a prayer for me, and it feels weird saying that too. Knowing that prayers have been directed towards you is the ultimate motion of concern for your own wellbeing. Its weird knowing that a bunch of people were doing the greatest of what they think can get you well. It’s out of my hands, but I’ll show my devotion to Him. And I’m not sure how to feel about that. Thanks, I guess. But, I feel that a simple thank you isn’t enough.Rehab is going well. I have PT (physical training), OT (occupational therapy) and SP (speech therapy). This is held at Fairlawn, where I meet with the ‘trainers’ who lead me in recovery. PT is like a workout with someone guiding you. Your own personal trainer! Oh wow. I’m starting to walk outside, and with a therapist coming along. I’m also using their weights and gym equipment. OT and SP are generally a mix of memory exercises, because my short-term is not up to snuff. I’m reading Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris to use as an example in testing my memory. I get quizzed in what happened in each chapter. Sometimes I’ll try a note taking or another memory routine. I’m not learning anything, in the traditional sense. But, I’m applying techniques to use in keeping track of things. The memory is coming back well on it’s own, but these will help in the meantime. And what I learn will be used again, only when I’m old.And because I’m always writing something geared towards things with Allyson, I have to admit that she was right. She was right and I was wrong. This never would have worked. Me, being without a car for a year, and her, being in school, it just would have exploded. So, taking that into consideration, I really can’t be devastated. It’s illogical. But, I’ll always have her in the back of my head. I have some permanent reminders. And I’m hoping to see her as I once did, one day, I hope.They say, “Live for the moment.” And this is much more meaningful with a memory problem. Think about the movie Memento, and think about what you would do if you weren’t going to remember what you had done. Would you stab homeless people or something bizarre? I’m just trying to get through life and working on having the memory fully return. Who cares what you have done if you can’t remember it?I’m not truly handicapped. I’m able to walk. I can talk and see. I believe that if you cannot perform daily activities as other people, then and only then, are you handicapped. I can use an escalator in a shopping mall, whereas anyone in a wheelchair cannot. This must be a horrible way to live. I’m lucky.I run as well as Mohammed Ali speaks. Sorry, that was low. I have more of a gallop at moment. It’s gradually improving, with an emphasis on gradually. So, even if you’re tremendously obese or weak, you can beat me in a race. Yes, I’ve done some cross-country, so I know how to, but somehow it’s not easy. Now, I have to try and talk my way out of a fight. No longer, I can run away.Speaking is important. I doubt that Stephen Hawking bags many babes. I know his pain. Oh, I’ll write something about that soon. Speaking is essentially communicating, but not like this. And it’s a way of relating. No one wants to be talking to someone with stroke-induced drool. Hi, I’m Jeffrey. I’m able to speak fine, only my voice is hoarse for some reason. Maybe having tubes down my throat for so long is responsible. That and one of my vocal cords was paralyzed. I didn’t know that is recoverable from. When I was first able to speak, it was only at a whisper. And I’m feeling good about my volume now, knowing that. But most of all, I’m glad that I won’t be slurring. That’s something I would have associated with a head injury. So, I’ll sound like a normal person over the phone, even though I’m really a sexy, sexy man.I may have been a snob. Actually, I was. Since I’m not seeing money as important as I once did, I’ve lost all of my snobbishness. I believe that I wrote something about my disinterest in Perrier, something I had drank in the past because of its fancy, moneyed stature. I had purchased a bottle out of interest. And it was really good. Call me a sparkling water junkie, but that and a bottle of Gerodsteiner had me seeing stars. The only difference is that I don’t feel above anyone drinking or eating something expensive.Goodbye singing career! I would miss you if we were acquainted. This will ensure that I’ll never be a lead singer. Between you and me, I was hoping to be the male Britney Spears. With a voice as painful as mine, I’ll be kissing goodbye to more than singing careers until I recover. That means my dream of becoming a telemarketer is in shambles. I’m vocalizing to get me on the right track. That means saying “ahhh…hhh” repeatedly. It does work. I used to be whisper quiet.This is giving me something that I needed to look back on in my life. It’s the monumental experience that we all should have in life. Both of my parents had one of their parents pass on. And that sets a lot of things back to where they started. I’m in control of my own life, and I’m not dying. So, I’ll have this experience for years to come. I’ll be able to say “At least…” in a very real way. I think that’s valuable, in knowing that you could have died, become crippled, or brain dead. If I get divorced (God forbid) I’ll be able to be glad in that I was at least able to lead a ‘normal’ life. It will make the lows higher and the highs higher. Ugh, I feel disgusted knowing that I thought of something so cliché. Something you’d (or actually me) read in a Get Well Soon card. I’m saying that brushing up against death is going to make the rest of my life much sweeter. Don’t be sorry, instead think of me as lucky. In knowing that, you can see why I’m not miserable.I’m getting fat. I can’t remember the last time I ran. And I’m eating a lot. My weight dropped from a slightly chubby 185 to 150. I’m back at 164 now. You can see why I’m a little concerned with how much I’m weighing. My legs have shrunk up from the mighty trees they once were. All of my muscle was depleted. I couldn’t believe it. It was beyond words. I let myself go, and maybe I’ve begun doing that again. I’ve got a gut. It’s small, but it’s there. So, I’ve been hitting up the gym with intensity and using a step machine at the house. Dieting I was never good at, so I’m just ignoring it. Swimming at the gym is a blessing as far as the free movement. Only, it’s not the greatest exercise. But maybe I’m wrong, as I’ve heard that it works all of the small muscles that help with stability. You know me, and I’m not too stable, in a couple senses of the word.I’m not sure what I’m looking for. I don’t even know what it is. And I doubt it’s even there. But, a tiny piece of me doubts that I was in a car crash. Its oh-so-so-so small, but its there. A much smaller piece of me is expecting someone to come up to me one day and show me a video of what really happened. I’m thinking that this happens a lot with people who have lost memory, but I can’t confirm it. I’ve heard that actually remembering the crash itself is impossible, with that whole brain thing. I can imagine that I was going over Derek’s house, didn’t see anyone home, and went home quickly. There’s nothing to remember about that to make it stick out. And I wouldn’t want to remember spinning out of control. That feeling of my fate being in God’s hands. Watch out for that tree!I saw the movie One Hour Photo and one thing that’s sticking out to me is that if we judged people’s lives only from the pictures they took, we would think that they lived perfectly happy and bright lives. No one takes pictures of themselves when they are down. It’s not a natural thing to do. No one wants to remember the time they felt like dying. Memory is an enemy in the times of feeling bad. Smile!