We were driving home from dinner one night last year, and I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack. Not one of those “OMG I was having a heart attack because of a cute outfit someone had on”. A “heart attack” heart attack. I knew it definitely wasn’t a panic attack, because ohhhh man, do I know exactly what those fuckers feel like. This felt like someone had hit me in the sternum with a sledgehammer and was holding it there for safe-keeping.
As we were driving, I silently contemplated at what point I should ask Bobby to turn around and take me to the emergency room. I started thinking about all the trite, facing-your-mortality stuff, and reflected back on my life. A lone tear started to form in the corner of my eye. My god, I wished I had spent more time watching television. I looked to the moon, its pearly glow all glowing it up and stuff, as the theme from Three’s Company played through my mind.
Down at our rendezvous.
Three’s company, too.
You’re probably thinking I was an idiot for not just asking him to take me to the emergency room to get checked out “just in case”, but I grew up poor with no insurance and unless you think you are literally, actually, dying and have blood spurting uncontrollably out of your ribcage, you do not go to the emergency room under any circumstances. Even now that I have insurance, good insurance, that seed is still firmly planted.
I have gone to bed with a broken foot before because I have been so thoroughly trained to not go to the emergency room. When I was hit by a car when I was 15 and broke half my body, I refused to let anyone call an ambulance and just had my idiot friends load me into their backseat and take me home to my mother instead (who then sped me to the emergency room) because you simply do not go to the emergency room.
Bobby and I got home from dinner and I laid down, and the feeling eventually subsided after a couple of hours. Man, what was all that about?
Oh, what was that all about? I’ll tell you exactly what that was about. I had eaten raw green pepper at dinner. Old person rookie mistake! I might as well have just chugged gun powder, or maybe a handful of thumb-tacks. Raw green pepper. Why not just crack my chest open and let toddlers play mini-golf inside my stomach lining?
One of the loud, fun things that happens as you age, is you start developing an ever-growing list of things you can no longer eat. I remember when I was a kid and my grandmother would take us to a restaurant and she would have a huge list of things she couldn’t eat because they didn’t “agree” with her, and I had absolutely no idea what the hell that meant. I thought she was maybe just super picky, or had too much Jesus in her life to make room for onions. I’ll tell you this much, though, you’ll know exactly what that shit means by the time you hit 40.
The first time you drink a glass of orange juice and then take a nap and wake up with your thorax in flames is usually a pretty good indicator that you’ve “arrived”.
Eat two slices of French bread and wait for the “So when is your baby due?” questions to start rolling in, followed by people patting your distended belly and saying, “You’re pretty old to be pregnant, huh? What’s the name of your fertility specialist?”.
Drink a lot of cheap vodka and tell me how that works out for you and your shredded colon the next day. You will wish you had never been born an alcoholic.
(Green peppers have a special kind of double-fold torturous effect due to two things called Solanine and Flavin. I will not go further into that, because who gives a shit.)
So anyway, I can’t eat green peppers anymore because they don’t “agree” with me. I also can’t drink well liquor anymore. Cheap beer – nope. I also can’t sleep on my left side or I will wake up clutching my chest in the middle of the night. Orange juice – out. Tumbleweed onions – maybe. Also, bread is public enemy #1 – for any number of reasons, though.
To be fair, I also can’t pull off all the midriff-shirts I buy at Forever 21, but I’ve given up on caring about that in favor of living under the delusion that I can still totally pull it off, but we’ll talk more about that later in the week.