I am keeping it together. Really, I am. I am taking care of my wife, I am taking care of my kids, my lawn is green and neatly mown.
But — and this was a surprise to me — I evidently have a little bit of anger, too. Anger that isn’t choosy about its target.
First, though, let’s talk about what I’ve learned about Susan.
When the doctor came over to our house yesterday, he took one look at Susan and said he’d bet money her collarbone was broken.
Later that day, after the portable X-Ray had been here — a kind of cool machine, really, mounted on its own hand truck, the camera arm pivots out and locks with a single spring-loaded pin — the doctor was shown right. Susan’s collarbone was weakened from the inside by cancer metastases; just lifting her arm while she rolled over was enough to finish the job.
The doctor says he’ll call back today and we’ll start talking about options.
After which I got Susan doped up on morphine, then went to my desk, ostensibly to get some work done.
half an hour later, I IM’d my boss and told him I needed to take the rest of the day off work. I was useless.
So I went on a mountain bike ride. Which I thought would help, but wound up realizing — as I started the return descent down Hog Hollow toward home — that I couldn’t remember any details whatsoever of the ride.
Then — on the wide jeep road descent — I passed a couple with their dogs, walking in the other direction. I nodded as I went by.
And then one of their dogs bit me. Right calf.
I stopped, mostly out of surprise. It hadn’t hurt much. I looked at my calf. Slobber, but no blood.
But still, someone’s dog had bitten me! While the owner was right there.
Standing astride my frame, I pivoted around and looked at the man. He met my gaze, and did not say a word.
“Did your dog just bite me?” I asked, rhetorically, and frankly boggled that he wasn’t apologizing to me and disciplining his dog.
“Yeah,” he replied. No apology in his voice.
He said nothing. Just kept looking at me.
“Just ‘yeah?’” I said.
I swung my leg over and started walking to him. I did not have a plan for what I would do once I got there. All I had wanted was an apology. But instead I was getting this casual arrogance. I was not going to tolerate it.
The woman he was with — wife, I’m guessing — intercepted me and gave me the apology I wanted, checking my calf to see if I had been hurt. I hadn’t, not really.
I turned back to my bike and went on my way.
And that’s when I told myself, “Something is wrong with me.” I’m not the guy who gets angry, certainly not over a dog nip — probably a playful one — that didn’t even break the skin. I’m the guy who would have turned around and yelled at the guy that he needed to get his dog’s teeth sharpened, because they’re clearly ineffectual.
Or at least, that’s the guy I want to be, and usually am. Right now, though, I’m the angry guy other people quietly say to each other “What is his problem?” about.
It’s short-term. I will cool down.
But I can’t help but wonder in what ways this is permanently changing me.
Fight Cancer, Meet Famous People, Go to Fancy Big Budget Movie Premiere
My interaction with famous people is limited to the fact that people keep telling me I look like Stanley Tucci.
Separated at birth? You decide.
My sister Jodi over at Pistols and Popcorn, on the other hand, knows famous people. And her friend Michelle Williams recently finished a film called “Shutter Island,” directed by Martin Scorsese. The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and Max Von Sydow. And me!
Except for the “and me!” part.
Anyway, Michelle’s giving Jodi a couple passes to the to the Red Carpet Premier of “Shutter Island“, to take place in New York, in September/October of 2009. And Jodi’s going to use those passes to raise money to fight cancer. The winner — you, I hope — will get to hang out with Michelle, and probably other people. I’d say more about what your night will be like, but it’s simply too unimaginably fabulous for me to comprehend.
I could not be prouder of Jodi for putting this together. I’m trying, but I just can’t.
Go over to Jodi’s blog to learn the details, and enter. Oh, and promise me that you will wear a “Team Fatty” jersey to the premiere.
I understand everyone will be wearing one.