Friday, November 19, 2010

I See Naked People/My Eyes Are Burning

Other than politics and celebrities, the evening news is mostly about the recession. Everyone is talking about saving money, or ways to cut back on spending money, or ways to earn more money. As most of you know, I am a genius, and this next idea is going to prove it. Let’s all cut way, way back; all the way back to Adam and Eve. Let’s become nudists!

We have all had to give up things for this economic down-turn. We have had to give up going out to eat, getting new cars, cell phones, cable TV; some of us have even had to give up our homes. I say let’s give up our clothes too! What we all really crave is living in a simpler time, well, now is the chance!

Now, I know what you are thinking, “This is so crazy, it just might work!” Think of all the money it would save if we didn’t have to buy clothes anymore. We would save a fortune in socks and underwear alone! Sometimes the big problems have the simplest solutions, and I can’t think of a simpler solution than everyone just getting naked. So c’mon people, America actually needs the shirt off of your back . . . for reals.

Every movement needs a slogan, so I have been brainstorming and here is what I have so far. How about: “Don’t be loathed, get unclothed!” Or how about: “The economy has flipped, let’s all get stripped!” Or maybe: “C’mon Dude, just get nude!” And lastly: “Get more sun, expose your buns!” Ok, these are just to get us going, once things really take off (pun totally intended), I am sure I can come up with something a little more catchy.

Seriously America, what else have we got to lose? We are running out of things to get rid of in these tough economic times. With most of our money, possessions and our dignity already gone, we have nothing else to lose but our clothes. In case you are still unsure of the nudist movement, I have taken the liberty of making a pros and cons list, so that the decision to go au natural will be obvious.

Easier to go through screening at the airport, no need for an x-ray and we wouldn’t have to waste time taking off our shoes.

No more sweat shops (take that Kathy Lee Gifford).

I was always told when I give a speech to “imagine everyone in the audience naked” so that I will be less nervous, now, there would be no reason to imagine.

There would now be no reason to “moon” anyone.

Some federal money might finally be allocated for finding a cure for some of the world’s most horrible diseases like: cankles, cellulite, varicose veins, stretch marks, and saddle bags.

People could shave messages and designs into their back hair.

My sisters would stop borrowing my clothes without asking.

Magazines would stop air-brushing cover models because, really, what would be the point?

A woman might finally be elected president!

Snuggies would finally go out of business.

No more surprises on blind dates, what you see is what you get!

Getting a new summer wardrobe would mean buying earrings and/or a new sweatband.

Wicker and leather furniture would finally be eradicated from the Earth!

Everyone could take turns being “streakers” at sporting events.

No more laundry!

Two words: “snow angels.”

It would be hard to find workers for the deli-counter (Hello! There is a meat slicer back there).

Parent-teacher conferences would be even more uncomfortable.

It would cause malnutrition in those around me.

Law enforcement/police officers—where does the badge go?

I have too much money invested in Spanx and control-top pantyhose to just let that dream die.

Campfires and stray sparks would be a health hazard.

There would no longer a reason to go to Vegas.

Letting people sit on my furniture would be problematic.

I cannot afford that much plastic surgery.

Back Fat/Front Fat.

I would have to shave my legs at least once a month, maybe more often.

Where would I put my change?

The words diarrhea and incontinence would take on a whole new meaning.

I spent, like, ten bucks on one of those clips for my cell phone and I would never get to use it.

Hazard pay, and workers compensation, would go up for welders, loggers, sheet metal workers, and anyone who has to cook bacon.

Accidentally seeing “plumber’s crack” would be the least of my worries.

I would never be able to give anyone a ride in my car . . . ever.


I started spreading the “naked truth” as I like to call it, and my sister, who is anti-everything, had this to say about my idea, “Yeah, but wouldn’t everyone see you naked?”

“Yes,” I told her. “Did you not listen to the entire propaganda, I mean, idea?”

“Yes, I heard you. But I think there is a flaw in your ‘plan.’”

I assured her, “No, way, this baby is air-tight.”

“Oh, yeah? Well, it isn’t like everyone we know is a super-model. All those people that shop at Wal-Mart would now be seen in ‘all their glory.’ Also, have you met my mechanic, Flirty-Bertie? The guy with one brown eye and one blue eye, and both eyes look in opposite directions? Well, people like that would be ‘in flagrante.’ All. The. Time. How would I ever get away from him then? Besides, he is the only person on the planet who thinks of me as a goddess, why ruin the illusion? I am sorry, but I am keeping my clothes on.”

“Well with my new plan maybe your husband would think you were a goddess.”

“There is no way I am going to let my husband see me naked!”

“But I am trying to save America! You know, the ‘land of the free, home of the brave?’”

“No one should be that ‘free’ and no one that is sane is that ‘brave.’”

“I bet John F. Kennedy had the same reaction from his family when he tried to change things too.”

“And, he was assassinated.”

“Yes, he was probably taken-out by his own sister on the grassy knoll wearing his favorite cashmere sweater (without asking) and scuffing up his new leather boots!”

“I said I was sorry! But I am still not going buff!”

“Fine, we all wear clothes! But stop borrowing mine! Are you happy now?"

I am sorry America, another great idea nixed by lobbyists. Well, if we have to buy clothes anyway, I guess we can charge them. Who has the president's Visa? Mastercard? Anyone? I wonder if they can just add it to my national debt tab? I'm coming Macy's!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Be Still, My Beating Heart

I had been having chest pains for four days. I thought it was odd, but I had just gotten some new brassieres so I just made the assumption they were too tight. I wore my old undergarments for a few days but I still had chest pains. As I was clutching my sternum one day a friend said, “Maybe you are having a heart-attack.” My response to that was, “Naaaah.” But inside, I was freaking out, so I went home and took some aspirin.

My insurance company sends me a self-care book every year, to keep me, I mean assist me, from making superfluous visits to the doctor. It has little charts in it to help me in making a self-diagnosis. For example, if I have a rash, the first box of the diagram asks if it is red and itchy? If the answer is no, it asks more questions. If the answer is yes the diagram always recommends ‘go to the doctor.’ I grabbed my book and looked up ‘chest pains’ in the index. Instead of a diagram the page said, “dial 911, or seek immediate medical attention.”

The pain got worse. I went on to read the information about a heart-attack and had to lie down. I read the other things that might cause chest pains, everything from indigestion to a blood clot in a lung. I was sure death was imminent, but just in case, I took more aspirin.

I didn’t tell my husband because I didn’t want to stress him out. I debated about following the advice in my book, but decided on a little more research instead. Hello internet old friend. Every website I came to about chest pains was like a flashing warning, GO TO THE DOCTOR, it seemed to scream. The pains continued.

My husband didn’t know what was going on. He wanted to go out to a nice dinner, I thought it would ruin the mood to mention that I may, or may not, be dying and was in excruciating pain. Besides, if I was going to die anyway, I might as well have some salmon first.

Dinner was lovely, other than me clutching my chest in between bites, it was without flaw. The next day, still more pains. By then my malady had been going on for about four days. I had taken enough aspirin at that point, had I gotten a paper cut, I would have bled to death in two minutes. I had such bad pains that I had to wear, yes wear, a heating pad strapped to my chest. My husband finally noticed something was amiss.

“Are you having chest pains?”

“What gave it away?”

“I think I should take you to the emergency room.”

“Nah, that place is a rip-off. You know they charge an arm and a leg. No pun intended.”

“I am worried about you.”

“I promise I will go to the doctor tomorrow.”

That night as I lay in bed, my chest pains continued to get worse. I started to think, that maybe, I was really ill, that the chest pain thing was really serious. So, I did what all really guilty people do at death’s door, I started to pray. I prayed for my kids and my husband, and for all the people I love, and I prayed for forgiveness. I was crying a little bit. I thought: “This is it, this is how it is all gonna end. One minute you are living and the next you are preparing for your own demise. Cut down in the prime of life. Woe is me! Good-bye cruel world!”

In the middle of my dramatic monologue (I was whispering it to myself—I didn’t want to wake my husband) my youngest son started to cry.

“Mommy, I had a nightmare. Can I come snuggle with you?” he said.

So my littlest boy crawled into bed, snuggled up next to me, with his arm across my neck. Something about that sweet gesture, his innocence, his gentleness or maybe the fact that his arm was directly over my larynx and completely cutting off my air-supply, whatever it was, I fell right to sleep.

The next morning, I sent my husband off to work, took the kids to school and went directly to the doctor’s office. There is something about saying that you are having chest pains that gets those nurses moving, I had absolutely no waiting. The nurse took my blood pressure, my heart rate, and temperature, then she wanted to weigh me. All I could think is what malicious irony that in my last moments of life I have to get on a scale. It is the first thing they do when you come into the world and now the last thing they do on your way out?

Well, dying or not, I have a policy that I must remove as many items as possible to get the number on the scale to a more manageable one. First I set down my purse and took off my shoes, then my sweater, then my earrings. I removed my necklace and rings, and socks. The nurse started tapping her pen when I removed my belt and hair clip and the lint from my pocket. I would have removed my makeup but she said something about getting paid by the hour so I just went ahead and got on the scale.

By the time the doctor came in, I was almost hyperventilating.

“Have you had any nausea?”

“Not until I ate about two bottles of aspirin to keep from having a heart attack. Technically though, it might count as one since both bottles had expired in 2007.”

“Have you had any indigestion?”

“Not until I started reading about angina, arterial fibrillation, blood clots and imminent death.”

“Do you smoke?”

“No. But do you think it is too late to start? I could really use a smoke right now.”

“Do you have a family history of heart disease?”

“No, we are cancer people.”

The doctor hooked me up to an EKG, took blood and x-rays, pressed on my ribs and chest, listened to my heart with a stethoscope and poked and prodded. Finally, she said, “The good news is, you are not having a heart attack. However, your heart is in a state of tachycardia.”

I about keeled over. Note to medical personnel—do not use big words that a lay person would not understand. I am the moron your mother warned you about.

“I have a disease called tachycardia?!!”

“No, it just means your heart is beating rapidly. In fact it is beating at 138 beats per minute. The average person has a resting heart rate of about half that. I definitely would not recommend coffee for you.”

“So I am not dying?!”

“No. Your chest pains are due to stress. I am going to put you on some medication and you need to make some lifestyle changes.”

I stopped listening when she said I wasn’t dying. But I did go on to make some major lifestyle changes to protect myself from another heart scare.

To prevent a heart attack:
1.) I buy my aspirin at Costco.
2.) I have two clothes-irons spliced together making a homemade defibrillator.
3.) I eat a heart healthy diet except for special occasions, PMS, the weekends, when I am with friends and family, and daily between the hours of nine a.m. and three p.m.
4.) I don’t smoke or sniff the clothes or belongings of those who do smoke.
5.) I drink plenty of water (do melting ice cubes in a glass of Chardonnay count?).
6.) When I get stressed I calmly take a deep breath, sit down, relax and have another slice of cheesecake.

And I always, always, always remember to take my medication . . . so hopefully my husband will never have to come home and find my lifeless body with two irons burned into my chest next to a four-foot bottle of aspirin.