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My recent brain issue has caused me a lot of trouble communicating. As this is not only my favorite thing to do — communicate I mean, I write, I talk (a lot), I read — this has been troubling. Along with the memory problems, nothing has scared me more than waking up unable to talk or write.
I feel like one of the patients on that show, Mystery Diagnosis. People on that show have baffling symptoms that force them to go to multiple doctors before, sometime decades after the first symptom appeared, they are cured. Usually really bad symptoms are prefaced with “Nothing could have prepared them for what happened next…” My life has felt a lot like that lately. First, it was seizures, then the realization they had been happening longer than I had thought and may be the cause of other problems (memory, speaking, writing), then I started having massive headaches that started in the morning (when I was asleep) and gradually faded during the day, then it was visual problems (only my left eye but it can be nearly impossible to see out of it when it is bad) … Every day was starting to make me worry about what troubling new thing would happen next.
I don’t know if it is a symptom of whatever is going wrong in my brain or the stress of this all but nothing could have prepared me for what happened the other day. (You don’t know this because you cannot see me but I mean that in a little tongue in cheek kind of way, that’s what people in comedy call a ‘call back.’)
My cat — Little Cheddar Jameson — is a stressed out feline. He gets very upset with the mirrors or other reflective surfaces in my apartment and has taken to waking me up between three and six in the morning fighting with one in my bedroom. I have taken to responding by yelling at him. The other day was no different only when I yelled at him to stop I yelled, “Tu es de la merde! Tais-toi! Je doit dormir!” This didn’t seem odd until I went to fall back asleep and all of my thoughts were in French and I could not think of any English words. Not a single one.
Now, one of my next thoughts was that I really need to work on my French vocabulary because it has been a while and mine is pretty limited right now. I resolved to practice it more. And I will.
Eventually, I fell back asleep and when I woke up, things were back to normal but that was very, very strange. So now, if you run into me on the street and I am either very quiet or speak only in French, you know why.
Sung to the tune of “Cecilia”
Oh, Fred Wilpon, you’re breaking my heart, you’re shaking my confidence daily.
Oh, Fred Wilpon, I’m down on my knees, I’m begging don’t trade RA Dickey
Watching a game in the afternoon with Fred Wilpon At Citifield
I get up to get a beer
When get back to Fred Someone’s taken my seat
Oh, Fred Wilpon, you’re breaking my heart, you’re shaking my confidence daily. Oh, Fred Wilpon, I’m down on my knees, I’m begging don’t trade David Wright.
If you know me or read me regularly, you know what crazy Met fan I am (yes, I am aware of how redundant that looks). Like most, long-suffering Met fans, I hate Fred Wilpon. I don’t care what the fine people on Morning Joe think about how wonderful a person he is. I think he sucks and I doubt I will have a happy summer until he dies or sells the team and I am not sure which I hope happens.
Recently, pitcher RA Dickey was nominated for a Cy Young Award (if you do not know what that is, Google it). It seemed unlikely that the Mets would want to trade such a valuable player but after losing so much money to Bernie Madoff and then losing more to the victims’ fund ($162 million to be exact and is it a coincidence that there are 162 games in a season? I SO doubt it) but that’s exactly what they started talking about doing. And today, I read they are also looking into trading third baseman David Wright? WTF? http://risingapple.com/2012/11/13/thoughts-on-latest-david-wright-r-a-dickey-rumors/
My experience with the Mets goes something like this. Someone from the Met front office will
appear on television to explain why some super popular player has been traded. For some reason my brain is fixated on John Olerud and Dave Cone but the list is too long too put here. Well, they give some really rational reason why this player had to be let go — Olerud and his wife “want to go home.” Cone “wants too much money.” Fair enough. I get it. I don’t like it but it makes sense.
Next up on TV. That player who disputes the Met front office person’s story. Olerud said he and his wife “really enjoy living in NYC.” Cone said, “I’d play for free to play in New York.” What? Did you even talk to the player?
Last year’s heartbreak for me was Jose Reyes (I know he was underwhelming in Miami) — I have had ONE baseball jersey in my life and it’s his. He said he left because “the Mets didn’t seem to want me.” Maybe the front office didn’t want you but the fans did.
Not that Fred Wilpon gives a rat’s ass about us.
I am getting back on stage!
This week, I will be all about NYC. The biggest show will be at the Eastville Comedy Club in New York City on Wednesday, October 24 at 8:30 pm. The tickets are free but reservations are required. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let me know if you can make it so I can get a sense of how many people I have coming.
If you are in Washington, DC, I will put my upcoming schedule up as soon as it is ready.
Hope to see you out somewhere!
The recent shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black teen armed with nothing but candy and iced tea, has got us talking about a lot of things; the “stand your ground laws,” the danger of wearing hoodies and even the fact that we need to talk about race relations in 2012 America. That’s not to say we are really talking about race relations in 2012 America, we are talking about how we should be. There’s a big difference.
Personally, I think David Brooks had it right on Meet the Press this week. We need to talk about race for sure but we need to broaden that a bit. We need to talk about how we all view each other. More to the point, how we view people who we perceive as being different from us. That feels like a really obvious statement but sometimes we miss the things that are the most simple.
I am going to talk about some things that may or may not seem related.
One of my passions is stopping and preventing genocide. I also have intractable insomnia. The extra free time the latter gave me the chance recently to reread the book Machete Season; the killers of Rwanda speak. If you are unfamiliar with it, it is a series of interviews with some of the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. Now, I will set aside for a moment my complete horror at the fact that they seem to sleep like babies whereas I can go weeks without sleep (yes, people who butchered their neighbors and friends with machetes sleep better than me). The main thing that sets genocides in motion is the ability to look at people of a perceived different culture as bad.
Closer to home the things that come mind for me are the shooting of Amadou Diallo, a man shot 41 times because when the police asked for his ID he went to get it out of his pocket. I was living in New York City when that happened and I am not going to lie, that made me fear the police Rudy Guiliani may have become “America’s mayor” on 9/11 but when I lived in his NYC, police brutality had gone up by a whopping 30 percent and his administration’s response was basically “shit happens.” Ok, he didn’t say that exactly. After one instance where the police burst down the wrong door (because they wrote the address down wrong), his response was that if you want less crime, you have to expect this sort of thing. There was no apology for scaring the crap out of an innocent family.
These attitudes trickle down. Maybe Ronald Reagan had a point, there is such a thing as trickle down bigotry.
The Trayvon Martin case could not have a clearer racial overtone than the killing of Matthew Sheppard was homophobic. But our prejudices extend beyond that — we judge others based on their religion, culture, weight, gender — anything we can use to classify someone as different. This sets the stage for violence on the micro and macro level and it needs to stop (I know you knew that).
Brooks mentioned a great project. It’s called the Implicit Project. They have several tests on there where you can measure your attitudes towards people based on a number of criteria. It takes a few minutes and is well worth your time. I did a few. I will post my results if you post yours. Go here to complete them.