CelebriTuesdays: Dreamgirls Edition – Sheryl Lee Ralph & Anika Noni Rose!

It wasn’t a Dream when I saw these Girls! In December, I saw the star of the Broadway version of Dreamgirls – Sheryl Lee Ralph – and today I saw the Dreamgirls star from the movie version – Anika Noni Rose. As lucky as that is, even better was the fact that both pictures came out great!

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Normally, I’d be making a weird face in these pictures because I’m a fool that thinks these wonderful performers are just waiting for me to waltz on up and serenade them. The story would have been a whole lot more interesting had I strutted over purring “It’s more than you. It is more than me. No matter what we are, we are a family…” but my wife has finally got it through my thick skull after all these years that no one (and she really stressed the words as she said it) NO ONE wants to hear me sing. Lesson learned, because when I tried to explain that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, she informed me that my singing is actually mutilation, not imitation. The last time I tried to sing for my wife was New Year’s Eve 2001 when I drunkenly convinced the band that I was actually a lounge singer and would love to serenade the love of my life for the crowd. They somehow believed that nonsense and thought it was really romantic until they saw the sea of about 200 blank stares looking up at me as I mangled the first verse of “If You Say My Eyes are Beautiful.” That’s when they abruptly ripped the microphone out of my hand and said “why don’t you guys dance instead of singing” which elicited thunderous applause from the crowd for some reason. True artists are often misunderstood, but in retrospect – maybe a Whitney Houston love Duet wasn’t the right choice for my vocal range. Either way, my wife has instructed me to never, ever, ever sing in public again so the Dreamgirls were spared my Effie imitations…

 

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When I saw Sheryl Lee Ralph, she was taking pictures of the huge Christmas Tree in the lobby and I felt bad bothering her. She was really trying to get the perfect shot and must have taken ten pictures. Similar to me, the Christmas Tree was overgrown and much too wide to fit in most standard camera frames – so I don’t blame her for trying to get the right angle. . . Since she was so fantastic as Claudette on Ray Donovan, I was dying to ask what Jon Voight is really like and then I wanted to ask her about the anniversary revival of Thoroughly Modern Millie they’re doing, but she was really fixated on getting that shot of the tree. Practice makes perfect because her shots came out great – these are taken from her Instagram:

 

 

She was very cool, kind, and patient with me and also with the Christmas Tree, so I stopped myself from asking to try that fur coat on (I know I don’t need to remind you how good I look in fur)!

 

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When I saw the other Dreamgirl, Anika Noni Rose, she was hobbling around in a walking cast yet still took time to stop and take pictures with everyone. She was such a sweetheart and as a person that’s broken the same ankle two years in a row on the same exact day (both alcohol related), I can tell you how hard it is to get around. For her to stop, chat, and take pictures while she was obviously uncomfortable was seriously awesome and much appreciated!

 

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Anika is a Broadway veteran who snared the Tony Award for Caroline or Change, but was also in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Raisin in the Sun, and the movie version of Dreamgirls with an up-and-comer named Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson. She also made history as Tiana, Disney’s first Black princess, in The Princess and the Frog to the delight of kids everywhere.

 

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I’m on a Dreamgirls roll here and don’t worry, I’ve started walking around with one shoelace untied for when I see Jennifer Hudson and need to get it off quick; J-HUD throwing a shoe!  Hey J-HUD – Forget The Voice and let’s get a date on the calendar to meet up: I’ll bring and share my imodium and you bring and share your Oscar and extra shoes!

 

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My foot surgery was more like General Hustle than General Hospital!

It’s a little known fact that while laid up recuperating on my couch in Sleepy Hollow, I pretty much invented the “binge-watching” movement along with my friend Li (The Chinese food Delivery Guy made famous by my Tony no Here post. I needed surgery because I’d broken my left ankle while playing volleyball and I was extremely worked up because I’d never broken anything before unless you count the record I smashed binge-watching all nine seasons of Dynasty!

 

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Without a doubt, the best show ever made!

 

Keep I mind that this wasn’t binging TV shows like it’s so easy to do nowadays with a million things available on Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or on your phone; this was me having to get every season of the show piecemeal on EBAY. Then when I finally got them (in the mail, mind you, which took forever), I tore through them non-stop like a rabid dog with a bone. I was laid up and laid out but finally they were gonna slice me open and fix me like The Six Million Dollar Man. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and if my life was a movie you’d faintly hear Michael Bolton singing along with me on the couch “When I’m back on my feet again…”

 

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The day of the surgery, I was a bundle of crazy nerves and my normally neurotic self was on hyper-overload. I’d arrived armed with my wife and my sister for emotional comfort, two boxes of Imodium AD for gastric support, and a big black X drawn on my ankle for physical support and to make sure they didn’t cut open on the wrong foot. That may seem like an urban legend, but I wasn’t taking any chances. My surgical prep nurse, Nurse Ratched, took one look and needless to say, she was not amused with my sharpie skills and that was just the start of multiple things we wouldn’t see eye to eye on.

 

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It was an early morning surgery and I hadn’t eaten anything since midnight and was starving. My nervous stomach wasn’t playing nicely with all the butterflies and the painkillers I was on mixed with a splash of my ever-present Imodium AD. As the nurse was filling out the paperwork and asking me questions, she told me to remove my clothes. Obviously I thought this strange as it wasn’t a casting call for the Magic Mike sequel, just a random hospital examination room.

 

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“Um, that’s OK, just the ankle getting done, so not really gonna get naked but thank you for the offer.” I said.

She was not very interested in discussing it. “You need to be completely undressed for surgery.”

“No, actually I don’t. Once again, thanks for the offer, but I’m having surgery on my ankle – why would I need to be naked? You know where the ankles are right? I can see taking off my socks and maybe my pants, but why would I possibly need to take off my underwear? I’m not taking my underwear off! What’s going on here?” I’m not a calm person normally, but this was starting to set me off.

 

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“Listen Sir, if you don’t take your underwear off, we’re going to cut them off of you!”

“Listen lady, if I wake up and you’ve cut my underwear off, I’m cutting yours off next!”

“This is not optional, it’s not sanitary and you need to remove your clothes!”

 

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The peanut gallery, and by that I mean my wife and sister, were not being very supportive or having my back at this point and really just trying not to laugh at the ridiculousness. My wife was like, “just take your contacts out and lay back and relax – you’ll feel better and it’ll be over soon.” It was just like what the masseuse told me before she massaged me and then proceeded to flick my testicle on our Honeymoon. Advice you should never take: “Just take your clothes off and listen.”

 

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I was outnumbered and outgunned here, so I begrudgingly removed my clothes all the while picturing the conversation they’d be having about this up in the operating room over my listless body: “Why wouldn’t he take off his underwear? Is he a never-nude like Tobias? What’s with this big black X on his ankle? Poor little guy, he’s obviously a grower, not a shower.”

 

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Either way, relaxed is not a word one would be using to describe me that day. As they came in to wheel me down the hallway to the butchers in the basement, I was contactless so everything was blurry which actually did make me feel better. They’d already administered the anesthesia, which also helped to make me groggy, and they told me to count down from 100 and off I’d go…My wife and sister were following the gurney down the hall telling me to relax when an orderly sidled up to the guy pushing me: “Hey Scott, are you heading downstairs? Will you drop this sample off at the lab on your way?” and he proceeded to gently place a bag on my stretcher. My wife and sister gasped and looked at each other in shock as I was squinting up a storm and trying to sit up and see if I was hallucinating with that clear plastic bag. “Is that shit? Is there shit in that bag? That looks like shit! Is that Sh…” and with that the anesthesia kicked in and I was knocked out! There was a bag of someone’s shit – someone’s shit – being transported on me like it was nothing! Literally, my nightmare came true and there wasn’t enough Imodium AD in the world to prevent that shit storm from getting me!

 

 

As I was coming to in the recovery room, my wife and sister got Nurse Ratched to tell her I was awake and I started babbling again as if someone had just pressed pause on me when the anesthesia kicked in: “There was shit on me! There was shit on me! I saw it – it was shit! There was shit on me!” My wife was saying I was crazy and trying to tell me that I must have been mistaken to reassure me and calm me down, but one look at my sister’s face told me it was definitely shit! The nurse thought I was having a reaction to the anesthesia and was concerned until my wife told her what my incoherent babbling was about. Needless to say, it was a shitty operation!

 

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Only me right? I mean, who does that happen to? I go in for what was supposed to be routine surgery and they turned me into a fecal drug mule! I can’t help but feel like this wouldn’t have happened on ERGrey’s Anatomy maybe – but definitely not on ER…Where’s Julianna Margulies when you need her?

 

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Tony No Here?

The first time I broke my ankle; I had surgery and was laid up for a few weeks. Normally, when one is incapacitated, their wife comes to the rescue and plays Florence Nightingale. It involves a lot of spoiling and a little sympathy, but not this time. Apparently, when you’re clumsy and constantly getting hurt in alcohol-related injuries, it gets old real fast.

Forget the crutches, I was a sore sight to begin with!

 

After the surgery, I couldn’t walk at all and was laid up. My wife went back to work and little old me was kinda stranded. I am a yenta that talks non-stop 24/7 and now here I was without anyone at all. Even poor Smokey, the super Shih-Tzu, had enough and was avoiding me. I tried calling my wife at work, but she was busy. I tried calling my people at work, but they were too busy for me as well. I started ordering stuff online just so the UPS guy would come and I could have someone to talk to…

I put myself on liquid restriction to keep from having to go to the bathroom and I was starting to get dehydrated. I was so thirsty, but wouldn’t drink anything because I didn’t want to keep getting up and down to pee. When it came to eating, my wife left me a few snacks on the coffee table. I figured I would call the local pizza place for lunch and since I couldn’t move off the couch, I had my wife leave the front door slightly ajar for the delivery guy when she left for work.

My Fancy Footwear for a while…

I called the pizza place and lo and behold, they didn’t open during the week until 3 PM. Here I am starving and no pizza…I called all around town and the only other option was to order Chinese food – which I don’t eat. Since I don’t eat chopped cats, I ordered white rice, steamed vegetables, and steamed chicken with no sauce on it. No sauce whatsoever. Plain, Plain, Plain and everything in separate containers. I actually can’t eat Chinese food at a restaurant because when I order stuff plain and steamed with no sauce without fail they always say “Oh, you try lose weight” or “Oh, you on diet?” I always have to be like “No, I don’t eat spices or cats, so I need plain white rice and no sauce whatsoever!” which usually gets them to laugh in my face again – always a crowd-pleaser, I am.

So I called the Chinese place which was open and willing to deliver, but once I ordered my white rice, steamed chicken and steamed vegetables – my order didn’t meet the fifteen dollar minimum required for delivery. I said “OK, send double white rice – you can never have enough white rice” but that still didn’t do it. Come on, how cheap is Chinese food – I mean, what does a guy have to do here? “For God’s sake – just charge me the delivery fee anyway or buy lunch for the driver or do whatever you want, but please deliver the food – I’m stranded here and I’m starving.” He laughed at me and then relented to which I was all grin on my chin.

Everything’s nice when you have White Rice!

 

A little time goes by, and the delivery guy starts knock knock knockin on heaven’s door. I yelled from my perch “Come in” and he nudged open the door. Once he saw me looking like a poor sap sprawled out with my foot up on pillows, he gasped “What happen you foot?” Oh snap, not only did I get a lunch delivery, but I also got someone to talk to! What started there with those four little words can only be described as a beautiful and pure friendship built equally on desperation for white rice and any sort of human contact whatsoever.

Needless to say about thirty minutes goes by with me and my new friend talking up a storm. He got me silverware and napkins from the kitchen, and was the best listener ever. We agreed that since I would be laid up for a couple of weeks at least and had no other lunch options…that he would bring the usual every day and since I couldn’t meet the delivery minimum – he would bring lunch for himself as well. Everybody wins.

He would bring the food, walk Smokey, and then throw the garbage in the dumpster whenever he had to leave for another delivery. Thank god not that many people were getting lunch orders, because I was in heaven. We talked about my study abroad, my dog Smokey’s adventures, his family and extensively about how competitive the Chinese food industry was. I’m not even kidding – it’s hard out here for a Chinese pimp! Did you know that there are more Chinese food places than fast food places in the United States? Those bitches get cutthroat!

 

The best part of my recovery was that right before surgery, I’d received a shipment from Ebay of the absolute best thing in the world: I’d gotten all nine seasons of Dynasty (Need I remind you that it’s the best show ever?) I was immediately drawn back in and obsessed once again. Guess who else was sucked right in with watching Alexis and her exploits? My new friend Lee. He left for a delivery one day and he just couldn’t believe what Sammy Jo was up to. “Just you wait until season six with the Moldavian Massacre” I promised as he closed the door behind him…It was the perfect friendship.

I didn’t want to rush my recovery  because I was living high on the hog, but I was able to get up and around on my crutches so the doctor cleared me to go back to work. I was sad to see my new friendship lapsing, but we’d still be ordering from that same place and we’d still see each other…

A week or two later, my wife and I ordered Chinese food and I was in the shower when it arrived. She opened the door (to my delivery friend) and he started to walk in with the food like usual. She was caught off-guard and shut the door over so it was open only a bit. He was obviously shocked and offended by this brazed act of rudeness, but she had no idea why he was trying to come in. He poked his head through the crack in the door like Jack Nicholson in The Shining and said “Tony no here??? You want me walk Smokey?” I’m not sure if she was more shocked at me or him, but she was flabbergasted, She paid him, put the food down, and then yanked open the bathroom door as I was coming out of the shower. “What’s going on with you and the Chinese delivery guy? He just tried to come in the house.”

“You didn’t let him in? What’s wrong with you?” At that point I realized that I probably should have told her about my daytime company before now but I somehow knew she wouldn’t approve…

“What’s wrong with me? He tried to come in the house!”

“He’s been in this house more than your mother has.”

“Why was he in the house and when did he walk Smokey?”

“Honey, how was the dog gonna get walked, I can’t take him. It never occurred to you that while I was bedridden there weren’t piles of shit mounting up around the house? He’s my friend; he hangs out with me when he brings our lunch…”

“What are you talking about? He eats here too? Now I can’t even order from there anymore…”

“Honey, what are you talking about? He’s gonna think we’re mad at him now if we don’t order from there anymore…”

“There’s something really wrong with you …”

The lesson I learned is not to tell my wife when I make new friend and have them over during the day, but to make sure that I am not in the
shower when they’re coming back over again…To my delivery friend I say “We’ll always have season five of Dynasty my friend…They can’t take that away from us…”

We’ll always have Season Five my friend…

I hobbled on and off those crutches and in and out of that boot for close to two years when I broke the ankle again, but we’ll save that for another time…

Hypochondriac or just a High Maniac?

 

I have been a hypochondriac for as long as I can remember and that behavior never changed as I have gotten older. True story: When I was born, I actually burst out of the womb in a tiny yellow rain slicker and I immediately started questioning whether the birthmark on my right arm wasn’t actually a malignant melanoma? In grade school I wasn’t allowed in the nurse’s office because I would read the symptom posters on the walls and get convinced I had diabetes or whatever poster was up at the time. High School was worse because I had been gifted with a medical dictionary on my birthday, so my maladies weren’t just limited to the common diseases anymore. When I was in college, it was only a matter of time before I wasn’t allowed in the Health Services Office – but not for the usual reasons…This time it was different. 

In college, I refused to take classes on Mondays or Fridays so that I could have a more flexible schedule and so all of my classes were on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I didn’t really need a flexible schedule for a job or really any specific reason other than laziness, but it was the principle of the matter. During my second sophomore year, my 11:3o class on Tuesdays and Thursdays was Geography of something. Throughout the first two months, I only made it there on time twice which I thought was a pretty good start. The professor was from Africa with a very thick accent and she would constantly hold me after class to tell me that in her country they take education very seriously and would think it was disrespectful to show up late. I would say it was not going to happen again, and then continue with my pattern. She didn’t seem to be a big fan of mine and one day she actually attacked me in front of the whole class about the lateness. Granted, I was waltzing into the room over forty-five minutes after the class had started, so she might have had a point; what can I say, when I’m late – I’m late. My theory was that as long as you showed up before the class was over you weren’t really late, right? She apparently didn’t feel the same way.

In her super thick accent she started yelling at me “What are you doing? You cannot keep doing this!” At first, I didn’t realize she was talking to me and then when I did, I tried to ignore her and pretend as if she wasn’t, but that’s really hard to do when twenty other people are smirking and hanging on her every word. Also, she was yelling at me and no one else was talking so it was really awkward…”You think you’re mad – How do you think my 10 o’ clock teacher feels– I never make it to that one…” Before she could even respond to my sarcastic stupidity, I muttered “I’m sorry, it couldn’t be helped” I figured that would be the end of it and tried to take my seat when she came marching over to me. “This is disruptive and you come late to every single class – Why do you bother showing up at all?”

At this point, a normal person would have thrown themselves to the wolves, admitted they were wrong and apologized – but not me. Very softly I muttered “Listen, I’m really sorry – it couldn’t be helped because I’m sick. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it before because you’re from Africa and all, but I have a little something called Mono and that’s really serious. I feel lucky that I can make it out of bed and get here at all.” In my mind, I was celebrating how quickly that I had thought of that and how smart I was, figuring that she would apologize and see the error in her ways.  Of course, I was delusional and should have realized that she, and everyone else in the class for that matter, could see right through me and tell that I was lying. That’s when she really let me have it and for a second I felt like her strong accent fell right to the wayside so she could yell at me in perfectly clear English.

“Are you kidding me? I’ve been teaching for a long time and do you really think that you’re the first person to try and tell me that they have Mono? Of course I know what Mono is, I’m not an idiot – where’s your Doctor’s note?”

Once again, a normal person would have admitted defeat and let it go at that, but not me. “How dare you! What kind of a person do you think I am? I am so insulted, who would make that kind of thing up? I’m a sick person (ironically, this was the only true statement that I had made all morning) Do you think I’m crazy? Go to Health Services and ask them in there! How dare you question me?” Now as a side note, I was as positive as one of Maury‘s paternity tests that I didn’t have Mono and that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me except for laziness, but if I didn’t at least get defensive she would have immediately known that I was lying.

Sure as can be, she was disgusted with me and dropped it and I got the stink eye from half the class. The other half could have cared less about the scene I was making. The girl who sat next to me was just staring with that look of disgust that usually takes people getting to know me for a few months before it develops and I looked at her and then rubbed my stomach to motion to her that I was sick. She rolled her eyes to motion to me that I was an idiot. 

I got the hell out of there after class and ran down to the Health Services Office. I had actually never been down there before because they don’t prescribe anything besides aspirin and I had learned to self-medicate with my prescription for any malady: Imodium AD and beer.  (It worked every time and if it didn’t work I’d add a joint to the mix and be at 100% in no time.) Actually, that’s still my go-to remedy and you know what? It still works. Your stomach hurts? You take Imodium and you’re OK. You have a headache? Take Imodium, you’re OK. You break your ankle? Yep, you guessed it. Works like a charm.

I didn’t have faith in any of the people working in that Health Services office, but I needed to make sure that if my professor ever did check up on my stupid Mono story, there would be a record of me going there. I went in and really milked it for all I was worth. I was leaning on the counter, moaning, and generally trying to look as sick as I could (that was the only time my naturally albino-pale complexion has been a positive thing in my life) so they would think I had Mono.

The numbskull there had me lie down on the cot and tell her my symptoms so of course I laid it on really thick:

ME: I feel like it’s just too much. I have no energy to go to class and it’s just every day…It’s Mono, I just know it

HER: Are you taking any medications? Drugs? Alcohol?

ME: Not me. No way that I would ever do that. I’m here to study and I just wish that I could get out of bed and make it to class. Can you give me something? I just know it’s Mono

HER: We can’t be sure what’s going on until we run some blood and urine samples, but it’s probably not Mono…

ME: (interrupting) Of course it’s Mono. I know my body.

HER: OK, let’s run the blood and urine and see what’s going on and you can come back in a day or two for the results. It’s too soon to say what it could be or if there’s anything wrong with you at all.

ME: Oh, I know there’s something wrong with me (The only other true statement I uttered that day!)

After the urine sample, she tried to take blood and I got light-headed and had to lie down to recover while she got me a cookie and soda. That was the only real symptom I had the whole time I was in that office and it had nothing to do with Mono – it was because I am a major pussy and I pass out from needles! I left there feeling mighty victorious and went home to celebrate how smart I was.

I went back a couple of days later and as I was waiting for her to go over the results with me, I was laying it on thick again and had her go and fetch me some water just to make it look good. I knew that there was a better chance of her telling me that I was going to be Valedictorian than there was of her telling me that I had Mono, but I had to make it look real. She came in with her associate, shut the door, and pulled their chairs right next to where I was laying on the cot. They didn’t say anything and looked at each other and then finally:

HER: “It’s not Mono…” before she could get any further, I grabbed my chest and said “Oh my God, its Hepatitis isn’t it?” knowing full well that there was no way it was.

HER: “Why would you think you have Hepatitis? Have you been in contact with someone who has it?”

ME: “You never know…”

HER: We know what’s going on here and you know that you don’t have Mono. I think you’re a very depressed person and it’s very serious. We’ve seen it before and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

ME: (Hysterical laughing) Whoa sister, I’m not depressed. I may not have Mono, but I’m not depressed.

HER: Really, then how do you explain the tiredness, achiness, not going to class, the excessive sleeping, we ran your blood and urine remember? Your triglyceride count was through the roof which means you are drinking so excessively that it’s triple the count of what it should be. And the imaginary symptoms and thinking you have major illnesses is another sign. How do you explain the drugs in your system? This is depression, plain and simple. I know it when I see it.

ME: OK, seriously…I knew that I didn’t have Mono and joking around about Hepatitis is not funny.  I get that, but here’s what happened: I always come late and so I lied to my Geography Professor and told her that I had Mono so I needed a record of me coming here to be treated for it in case she checked because she didn’t believe me. I didn’t think she even knew what Mono was; she’s from Africa for God’s sake. There’s nothing wrong with me – I’m just lazy. I realize just how stupid this sounds as I hear myself say it out loud, but it’s really true.

HER: Really? Do you think we believe that? That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. What kind of person would do something like that? You’re depressed and you need to talk to someone. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I already called your father and…

ME: WHAT!!!! YOU DID WHAT??? ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? My father is a lunatic and that is the last thing you should have done. What about my privacy? I’m not fucking depressed, I’m pissed off. You’re nuts lady – I’m outta here!!!

Of course she called my father and he is a fucking crazy person to put it mildly: I have already expressed my wishes that he never be near me in a medical crisis and that is especially true when it is a fake medical crisis that I have just made up!!! This is how the call went after she asked for him and introduced herself:

HER: Sir, I’m calling about your son. I think he’s depressed. He came to the Health Services Office pretending to have Mono and we…

HIM: Lady, we’re all depressed, what do you want from me? The Mets are on – and then he hung up on her! Yep, that’s my Father! Good thing I wasn’t on a ledge somewhere…

I tried to go on my merry way and forget any of this had happened, but then I got a call from the Dean’s secretary a few days later to come to her office immediately. I had run-ins with the Dean on numerous occasions and had accidentally told her daughter that I thought she (the Dean, not her daughter) was a Fat Fuck just a few days earlier so I wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted from me.  (I didn’t realize it was her mother until I said “What is that Fat Fuck doing here?” and she said “What Fat Fuck?” And I said “What Fat Fuck? The Dean, who else” and she said “That Fat Fuck happens to be my mother!” and I said “That Fat Fuck is your mother?” and she said “Yes” and I repeated “That Fat Fuck is your mother?” which just made it worse. I don’t know why I thought she would be kidding, but I didn’t believe her. Needless to say, she did not think any part of it was funny. Also, it was in front of about ten people in the lounge, so she really didn’t think it was funny but it wasn’t like I could take it back at that point.
Needless to say, I had to explain the whole situation to the Dean because the hookers from the Health Services Office had gone running to her after my father hung up on her. Those bitches actually tried to block me from being able to register for classes until I went and saw a counselor so she wanted to talk to me and hear my side of the story. Talk about eating humble pie – thank God she knew I was an idiot. She knew that I was telling her the truth and she did threaten to make me go to the counselor out of spite, but did chuckle a little bit at the situation and said “Only you, anyone else and I would never have believed that kind of stupidity…and then we both laughed.

I ended up sweet talking that little African princess and she passed me but it was close. I had to lay on my charm and actually had to show up on time a few times…The lesson we learn here: The problem with health care is not the idiots faking illnesses to get out of something, but the crazy bitches that need to learn how to keep their traps shut!!!

As a postscript to this, a few months later they thought my aunt had Tuberculosis (seriously this time) and I needed a TB test immediately. Obviously I couldn’t go back into that Health Services Office after faking Mono and Hepatitis and tell those nitwits that I needed a TB test so I had to go to the local hospital for it. If you’re thinking of writing in the comments below about the boy who cried wolf – don’t! No one like a smart ass!

Like I’ve heard so many times before “Wow, That’s a long one!”

“Are you ready?…” I could hear her as she stomped into the building and headed up the front staircase to our second floor apartment like Godzilla rolling through Tokyo. “Why is this door locked?…Let me in!…I know you’re in there…Can you hear me?…Come on,  we need to leave – Oh my God – are you still sleeping? Get up; we’re going to be late! Don’t do this to me. Open this door right now!!…Do I need to kick it in again!!! Don’t piss me off…”

That’s exactly how I was rudely woken up by my friend Weezie screaming and kicking at the front door of my apartment. Both of my roommates went to Albany for the weekend so there was no one else to let her in. I tried my best to ignore her, but she was relentless. “Get up, its 4:45 and you know it starts at 5 O’ Clock!” she implored.

I slowly peeled off my Navy Blue Tempur blinders and tried to steady myself. (Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me – those blinders are so comfortable and so soft that it’s actually as if you took your head and shoved it right up a sheep’s ass – seriously, they’re that soft!) As I tried to get my bearings, I knew that I should be in my own bedroom and should be sleeping in my own bed, but nothing seemed familiar at all. It felt like I had been turned upside down and was looking straight into a hall of mirrors. I knew that I should just lie back down and ignore her, but the truth is that she really would have kicked that door in again if I didn’t get up. Ignoring her would only lead to an assault!

“I’m coming” I groaned as I slowly lifted myself out of bed “Stop screaming before I smack you again.”

“Try it Bitch, and you’ll see what happens” she growled through the door.

I don’t think I can accurately describe my friend Weezie. She’s the type of person who feels that it’s more important to scream every word as opposed to speaking like a normal human being. I thought I had gotten used to it after five years, but when you’re hung over and the equilibrium is far from steady, being anywhere near Weezie is never the right choice. She was one of the toughest players on the girls Rugby team, but she was freaking hysterical and one minute with her would have you laughing your ass off. She’s a lot of fun and one of my closest friends, but that girl is legitimately crazy. When she says she’ll kick in a door – she means it.

As I opened the door, her glance told me that she wasn’t amused. There she was: one arm strategically placed on the left hip of her sparkly black formal dress and on her face a look of disgust that I can’t even begin to describe. She was ready to go out for her big night and here I was screwing that up. For some unknown reason, I had thought it was a good idea to stay out the night before until 7 AM and then sleep the day away. This would normally be her routine as well on a Saturday, but offer up free booze and she’d scale a wall for it.

Her Formal for the Girl’s Rugby Team started in less than fifteen minutes and she was not amused that I had just opened the door in grey Calvin Klein boxer briefs and a ripped T-shirt – obviously not dressed and ready to go unless by the word Formal they meant that trailer park chic was the dress code. I didn’t even want to go because I was hung over and felt like crap, but the prospect of a top-shelf open bar for five hours really enticed me. My girlfriend didn’t mind me going with Weezie and most of our friends were going, and did I mention that it was open bar so, I thought, why not.

Weezie pushed past me and went straight for a Coors Light as she started playing with my dog. When I say that, I don’t mean to beat around the bush and try to sneak in a sexual innuendo – I mean that she was actually playing with my dog, Smokey. I tried to sit on the couch and make small talk by saying that she looked nice and that I would like a beer too, but it did no good. She gave me a look and then offered me ten minutes before it was going to start getting physical, so I got moving. Once again, when I say that I don’t mean to beat around the bush and try to sneak in a sexual innuendo – I mean that she would literally smack the shit out of me! I tried to pull myself together because I knew she wasn’t above using a slap or an elbow to the gut to motivate. She said she’d walk Smokey, to speed things along, and I asked if she would make me a sandwich since I was starving.  

“Are you kidding me? Did you just ask me to make you a sandwich?”

“You make it like I asked you to clean the toilet – it’ll keep you busy while I get ready. Come on, I’m starving.”

“You can eat when we get there – We’re gonna be late.” 

“Weezie, when you’re worth it they’ll wait.” Picture her unamused.

About fifteen minutes later, I was ready. Anyone who knows anything about me knows I was under duress to be ready in fifteen minutes. I locked the front door behind us as we headed down the steps. (This is important – I normally never carried keys or bothered to lock the door but my roommates made me swear to do it before they left for the weekend because of people coming in and taking stuff. It was a safe town and they didn’t think twice about anyone stealing the TV or DVD Player – the crime they were talking about was beer theft. Lisa used to sneak in (sometimes through the keyhole and sometimes through the front window – she is a small girl) and take the beer. She’d then blame Weezie who my roommates would scream at and accuse of lying when she tried to deny it. I knew it was Lisa but didn’t care because it was hysterical how crazy Unibrow would get. Unibrow was one of my roommates and we called him that because he was from New Jersey. I’m kidding, we called him that because he had the bushiest strip of felt impersonating two eyebrows that I have ever seen on a man’s forehead. It was as if Bert on Sesame Street had a baby with Peter Gallagher.    

As we were leaving the front porch I said “Weezie, will you put my keys in your bag? My pants are tight and I don’t want to have two distracting bulges.” She put my keys in her bag and cracked a smile so I could tell that she was loosening up a bit.

“I’m really hungry – what are they having for dinner?” I gently asked.
“Hooka, I told you they’re not having dinner – it’s passed food” She rudely responded back with.
“What? Who doesn’t serve dinner? It’s five hours long.”

“It was cheaper this way so the planning committee thought people would eat first to keep costs down”

When she said cost-effective, she really meant it. Their idea of offering something to nosh on was nachos, potato chips, and pretzels. I thought they might be putting the real food out later since this must obviously be a joke, so I started drinking to fill my stomach with something. I was going through my vodka phase and just took a tiny bit of orange juice to gently color the vodka a bit. Little did I know what a dangerous game that would be to play on an empty stomach…
“Weezie, when are they putting out the other food?”

“They have nachos right there – eat those.”

“Are you kidding me? I don’t eat with my hands remember…”

“You and that OCD bullshit again…”

“They don’t have any silverware or napkins either, how am I supposed to eat anything here?”

By seven, I was drinking heavily and dancing violently. I apparently thought it was my job when Michael Jackson’s Beat It came on, to get in the center of the dance floor screaming the words and busting out a few karate kicks. I looked good, but I’m clumsy normally so a kickin’ beat and all that alcohol did nothing to stop me from bumping into almost everyone on the dance floor.

That’s actually the last thing I remember of the Formal. I don’t have any recollection of the events for the rest of the night following that dance. My recollection is that I had a lot of rhythm and looked really hot, but some pictures have surfaced that drastically contradict that idea.

I have heard many stories of my activities from those missing hours, but since I can only hope that they are exaggerated, I refuse to accept them as fact. What I do recall is being surprised that a December night with so much snow could feel so hot. I was sweating like rice pudding left out in the sun all day.

The next thing I remember is walking down Main Street towards my apartment. It was just about five AM on the Savings Bank digital clock. I had absolutely no idea where I had been since the bars closed at two or where Weezie was. I also had no idea where my shirt and tie were for that matter as I was now only wearing my white undershirt. For some reason it also wasn’t as warm as it had been earlier. Did I mention that it was December in Upstate NY?  

When I got to my building, I tried to open the front door but it was locked and I didn’t have the key – Weezie did. Right about then having two distracting bulges didn’t seem like such a big deal after all.  

That’s when I remembered about the back fire escape that led into my bedroom. I had never actually used the fire escape before, mostly because I’m terrified of heights and partly because the slumlord that rented it to us actually said never to use the fire escape. It wasn’t really attached to the house and actually banged into the house on windy days. (The building was being torn down after the Spring Semester and was actually condemned). There was also a lip in the doorway leading into my bedroom from the fire escape about five inches high where a plate had been laid down, leaving an opening under the door so snow came into the room. It didn’t just come into my room, it accumulated. The gap was so big I was always afraid Smokey would crawl out through it.

As I mounted that frozen monstrosity that they were calling a fire escape, I somehow knew in the back of my mind that this wasn’t such a good idea but there was no other way for me to get in. It was snowing lightly, my hands were frozen, and as I forged ahead, I just couldn’t look down. As I got to the top of the ladder, I tried to steady myself and climb onto the landing but it was very slippery. Just as I thought I was on steady footing and stepped towards the door, I slipped on a patch of ice and fell off the back of the fire escape toward the snow-covered ground two stories below. Everything went black.

I have no idea how long I was out for, but there I was in the snow looking up at the fire escape and my first thought was that this was exactly the reason why the slumlord had told me never to go on that fire escape.

My second thought was that my head was pounding and something was wrong with my left shoulder. Every part of my body was fighting to let me know who was in the most pain. I think the back of my head won out, but then came the worst pain of all: I realized that I was still locked out.

Believe it or not, that second climb up the fire escape was a lot easier than the first. In addition to being drunk, now I was dizzy and in horrendous pain, but I made it up there. Slowly, I found my footing on the landing. I held onto the railing very tightly as I opened the door and rushed into the room.

Remember that lip on the door I told you about? Yep, it got me. I tripped on the lip of the door and fell forward with no time to react. I closed my eyes as the desk got closer to my face because I just couldn’t do anything else. The corner of my desk ripped through my forehead like a knife through cheese and I forgot all about the pain in my shoulder or the back of my head. Blood was gushing everywhere and Smokey was going nuts.

I couldn’t get myself off the floor partly because the pain was too intense and partly because of all the blood that was now in my eyes. I tried but I just couldn’t lift myself and Smokey’s barking and jumping around like a lunatic were not helping the situation. It was barely light outside, and I had to squint to see anything at all. I knew I should call my girlfriend because I needed to go to the hospital, but the phone was all the way through the bedroom, through the long hallway past the bathroom and then in the corner of the living room. I dragged myself through the house leaving blood everywhere as I crept to the phone and finally dialed her number.  

“You’re not gonna believe this, I’m bleeding. I fell off the fire escape, and..”

(Cutting me off) “Oh my God Is Smokey OK?”
“I’m fucking bleeding, he’s jumping all over me, HE’S FINE – I’m not OK!”

“Are you drunk?”

“Of course I’m drunk, what would I be doing on that fire escape if I was sober? It’s not even attached to the house! I need help over here. I can’t get off the floor”

“Go to bed and call me tomorrow – you’re so dramatic” and she hung up.

I think that’s the exact moment I knew that I would marry that girl.

I got Weezie’s answering machine next (she told me later that she was in bed hysterical laughing listening to me leave the message because all she could understand was me slurring “Hooka…Hooka…it’s not right…I fell off the fire escape…you have my keys…”

I finally got a friend to come over and take me to the hospital and a few hours later I was back in my bed with torn ligaments and a slight concussion after a good “talking to” from the doctor in the Emergency Room about drinking. I was so out of it that I was agreeing to his points and nodding to everything he said and didn’t realize that he was talking about me. I stupidly thought he was just making small talk about the way people drink when they’re in college.

I had just fallen asleep when I woke up to Weezie hysterical laughing as she stood above me dangling my keys. I tried to explain what happened, but she just kept laughing. She thought it was poetic justice for me leaving her alone at the Formal last night.

When my girlfriend came over, she couldn’t believe how seriously I was hurt. She thought I was just drunk and rambling on when I called her. I immediately forgave her because I was in love with her. I also immediately forgave her because no one else would take care of me and clean up my apartment and I was starving. I was heavily medicated that day but still made it out to the bars two nights later.

I wish I could say that night was a wakeup call for me and that I never got that drunk again, but that would be a lie. I had to leave school early and get an incomplete in all my classes and I looked like Mikhail Gorbachev with that big gash that went from my hairline to the top of my nose. I made scars trendy way before Harry Potter did but it didn’t go away for over two months and I had trouble with my left shoulder for much longer than that. I was in a sling and it was impossible to do anything for myself. I wish I could also say that was the last time that I got hurt while I was drunk (see broken ankle number one, broken ankle number two, St. Patrick’s Day 2009 when I fell face first into a brick wall and looked like Rhianna, etc.) As the saying goes: if you fall off the horse, you get right back on and I‘m pretty sure that applies to fire escapes too.