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Jewish World Review
The yellow badge of cowardice
The IV in the back of my hand was uncomfortable. What sadist
thought of sticking a needle there? It’s hard to imagine a part of
my corpulent body that has less meat than the back of my hand, or a
part of my body that moves more than my hand.
But that wasn’t the worst part of this hospital visit. The worst
part was the instructions not to eat or drink anything after 6 a.m.
the morning of the test. Since, like most people, I don’t get up in
the middle of the night to carboload, what that really means is
don’t eat anything after 8 p.m. the night before.
By the time of the scheduled 10:30 a.m. test, I was hungry.
Ten-thirty came and went with no test.
I understand that on a discomfort level of one to 10, one being a
pampered purse dog and 10 being a starving Sudanese refugee who has
just walked 200 miles across a barren desert with everything he
owns on his back, I was somewhere around a 0.00001. Did I mention
that I wasn’t even allowed a morning cup of coffee?
Around noon, there started to be some activity in my wing of the
hospital. It seems it was lunchtime. Around 3, my team started
asking the usual questions.
“Do you know why you’re here?”
“Yes. To lose half my body weight.”
“And what is your date of birth?”
“You’re the 10th person to ask me that.”
“And what did you tell them?”
The staff was just as cranky I was, but they were used to the
routine. It’s not the surprise to them that it was to me that
people who were sicker than me would be moved to the head of the
line. “I was here first” doesn’t really hold up well against, “We
can probably reattach that.”
Still, I am starving, and Sue is tapping her foot. She wasn’t
planning to spend the whole day here, either. But I wouldn’t be
able to drive for a day after this test, and she was my ride.
“At least you have the pleasure of my company,” I said. She gave me
the fish eye and left. She came back with a toasted bagel and a
steaming cup of coffee and slowly ate them just out of my reach.
That’s all right. She has a test for something next week, and I
have a memory like a — oh, what do you call those things?
Finally, there was some action. There was a flurry of form signing.
Most of the forms were in the nature of “the doctor explained that
there are slight risks to this, as with any procedure, and that his
insurance company wants you to sign this form in case you take him
to court.” Who can read all that stuff? Just sign by the X.
The doctor also explained that I had a better chance of getting hit
by a meteor on my way to the parking lot than being hurt by this
test. That was very reassuring. Until he asked me which leg he was
removing. What a kidder. I told him I was just here to donate
I think it was around then that I realized they had given me
something to relax my nerves. I had a strange dream in which my 12
hands were grabbing things from a buffet table, but no matter how
much food I put on my plate, it all slipped off. I wonder what that
Twenty minutes later I was back in my room, the test over, as
unrelaxed as ever. “They’ll let you go in an hour, as soon as you
can keep down some Jell-O and walk steady,” said the nurse. I had
missed breakfast and lunch. The day was shot, over and gone.
I’d been walking steady for 10 minutes when they brought in the
smallest portion of Jell-O I had ever seen. And it was cubed for
easy eating. They wondered if I could keep it down. Keep it down?
They had to stop me from eating the spoon and the plastic cup it
It turns out I don’t have whatever they were testing for. “But if
you’d ever like to volunteer for another study ...”
“What? I volunteered for that?”
“Yes, I have the signed form right here.”
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Jim Mullen is the author of "It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life" and "Baby's First Tattoo."
Any way you slice it
Home sweet homeschooling
Don't Head for the Borders
Golf and death go hand in hand
Tune in, turn off, unplug
The radar curtain
Is Steve Jobs clouding my privacy?
The gift of garbage
Johnny Intern, Ph.D.
Twenty-foot fences make good neighbors
You must remember this…
TV experts and real news
Hey caller, where's the fire?
My sad cushy life
Pacemaker, don't you mess around with me
Big Brother is skinny
Flight of the snowbirds
This HDTV needs child support
Dear Future: Where's the dome?
Not so elementary, my dear Watson
A vacation revolution
Your call is very unimportant to us
Life: There's no app for that
Bam! Practical kitchen magic
Ban Huck Finn in schools --- even the sanitized version!
$38,000 for traffic and weather updates
2011 Predictions: Nostradamus was a hack
2010: A year of annoying junk
Why do bad things happen to stupid people?
Moving on from movie theaters
Money never sleeps, but it does pass out
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Stalking your college kid won't change a thing
Putting my life in Jeopardy
Mo' government, mo' problems
Dressed for excess
The mysteries of Jersey
You are a toilet, where am I?
Don't we all cheat at the game of life?
What happens when I forget where Google is?
Don't let the doorman hit you on the way out
Purple (hair) Daze
Let me hear your body talk
Working from work
Babies deserve clean restrooms, too
3-year-old bear-killers are a thing of the past
Money-making ideas on the fly
Collecting and hoarding
Chain of fools
Please come pick up your acting awards, ESPN commentators, you've earned them
You've been superpoked by the U.S. gov't
e-Readin', e-Writin' and e-Rithmatic
A pose by any other name
Warning: Column contains 2010 spoilers
He loves only gold, only gold
Think about direction, wonder why …
Flushing your money down a diamond-studded toilet
More like wack Friday
The good, the ad and the ugly
The desert of the real
Let books be large and in charge
I was insulting people way before the Internet
GPS drill sergeant: Left, right, left!
Butterfly in the sky, you make winds go twice as high
Music to my ears it's not
You don't light up my life
Fair or not: Country living is far from Little House
A parable for the ages
Top 100 Cable news stories of the century
A developing story
Thinking outside the lunch box
What's good for the goose is good for the scanner
Newspapers will survive, but network TV?
A really big show of generation gaps
When pigs flu
The reports of our decline have been greatly exaggerated
Mergers and admonitions
Invest in gold: little, yellow, different
Stuck in Folsom Penthouse
Setting loose the creative juice
It's all in the numbers
You're damaging your brain with practical skills
The real rat pack
The unspeakable luxury of the Park-O-Matic
© 2009, NEA