Right before Christmas, I learned that a swim buddy who had gone to the doctor for stomach pain had been diagnosed with stage four gastric cancer.
In case you’re not familiar with stage four, it means ‘get your affairs in order, and soon’.
It was the last thing anyone expected – we knew he’d not been feeling well, but to go from “I need an antacid” to “They tell me I’m going to die and they can’t help me”, well, that’s… difficult.
We all want life to be fair. Good things should happen to good people, right?
People who love everyone and bring nothing but joy to the lives of others deserve all the best – like winning the powerball and dating vapid supermodels while relaxing in their obscenely awesome mansions.
Good people don’t deserve to be blindsided by the news that’s they’re going to die, painfully, really soon.
And when they do die, it hurts like hell.
You think it’s easier if you have time to prepare, but it’s not.
I can give you advance warning that I’m going to hit you in the head with a brick, and you can brace all you like, but you’re still getting hit in the head with a brick.
In the midst of all this, a co-worker headed home to the San Fernando Valley after working a day at Fox.
Since said co-worker had a newborn baby at home, he opted to ride his motorcycle so he could get home faster and spend more time with his son.
As he crossed over the Sepulveda Pass, two cars collided.
I’ve heard two stories.
One was a car swerving out of control, the other was flying debris.
Either story results in him dying on the scene.
The local news kept showing pictures of his downed motorcycle while trying to placate the irritated commuters who just wanted to get home.
Perhaps to their newborn sons.
The memorial services for both men were the same weekend. One on Saturday, one on Sunday. Both were lovely, thoughtful attempts to celebrate a life.
But both services had the feeling that something, somewhere, was just not fucking fair, and someone, somewhere, needed to fucking do something about it.
FYI, given a choice, I’d choose the hit to the head with no warning.
The knowledge that it’s coming just makes it worse.
But thank your deity of choice that all the shitty stuff happened in January.
You know, get it all over with right away.
A week ago, one of my teeth started to ache.
Said tooth has always been… difficult, ever since getting a shitty National Health filling while living in a certain un-named place.
Said shitty filling broke right after college and became an even larger shitty filling which never stopped giving me problems, but I’d go to the dentist, she’d say my bite was ‘off’, and grind until said bite was back on.
Then, Saturday, I had a nice hot cup of coffee and it felt like someone hit me in the side of the head with a very hot nail-studded brick.
All weekend I figured it was my bite, again.
Then, Monday, when I saw the dentist, I got The Look.
You know, the look you get when someone is about to tell you something that is exactly the opposite of what you wanted to hear.
“This isn’t a bite thing any longer, and I can’t fix it. The tooth is making you sick. I’m going to refer you to an oral surgeon”.
Then, the dreaded words: Root canal.
I’d never had a root canal, but I’d heard horror stories.
I must have paled or pissed myself or screamed or something, because she felt the need to pass me a tissue and assure me that the oral surgeons were ‘very good’ and I’d feel better right away.
I assumed I’d go for a consult – but when they finally saw me 90 minutes late (speaking of the brick and the warning, think about 90 minutes sitting in the waiting room of an oral surgeon reading the pamphlets about everything that can go wrong with various teeth), I was ushered into a room where a nice lady tried to chat about the weather while laying out instruments which would have given the Spanish Inquisition a massive boner. Or something.
So I had part (one – two is next week) of a root canal, which, honestly, wasn’t as bad as I had imagined.
Now my biggest problem is craft service and the lack of soft food.
Let’s all hope that’s it for the year.
Please, let this be it for the year.