As published on The Huffington Post
The first message arrived midday on a Sunday, picking up the latest in the long paper and electronic trail that chronicles our family's health.
Mom, Jan. 4, 12:49 p.m.: Yesterday morning Dad woke up very sick. He has a terrible cough.
Mom, Jan. 5, 2:52 p.m.: Dad has the flu.
Mom, Jan. 6, 3:40 p.m.: Doc said Dad has to get down fluid. He spit up water twice. If he can't, I have to take him to an urgent care clinic. Don't come home! This is highly contagious.
Dad, Jan. 7, 2:15 p.m.: I will be visiting the doctor again today. I had a very bad night last night and I am very weak. You must stay away from the house.
When I was 4 years old, my dad lived on red meat and his total cholesterol reached 300. His doctor began him on Lipitor -- a cholesterol-reducing medication -- and told him he must change his lifestyle through diet and exercise or else he'd have a heart attack.
When my dad played music with his band on Saturday nights, my mom would take my older brother, JD, and me to Pizza Hut. This was our only chance to eat pizza. My dad quit eating most everything besides poultry and broccoli. My dad hasn't eaten steak in 27 years.
Mom, Jan. 7, 4:40 p.m.: Dad lost 6 lbs from not eating. He keeps wanting to go to the hospital. Yesterday the doc told him he didn't need it.
Me, Jan. 7, 5:00 p.m.: Holy crap. I've never seen him want to be admitted to a hospital before.
Dad, Jan. 7, 6:11 p.m.: The doctor has added a strong antibiotic to calm the cough. I hope that it works. She was confident that it would work. I also had a chest X-ray to determine if I had pneumonia.
Dad, Jan. 8, 9:02 a.m.: The X-ray led to a pneumonia diagnosis.
JD, Jan. 8, 9:12 a.m.: Man this is scary. Anything we can do? Keep reading, here.
Friday, January 23, 2015
As published on The Huffington Post
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
My dad has been at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center since Friday, January 9, 2015, with the flu and pneumonia. Many of his wonderful family, coworkers and friends have been reaching out to us to wish him a complete and speedy recovery. I decided to collect these messages in one place so please post a comment here for my dad if you wish (by clicking the "comment" link below). You are not required to include a Sly reference in your comment, but it can't hurt. If you and my dad share mutual friends then please share this with them.
I will not update this blog like a CaringBridge. There is nothing wrong with CaringBridge but since I pretend that all my blog posts are of high quality, I'll forgo quantity updates. I also do not know if my dad would appreciate public updates. We are thrilled that so many people care about my dad and want updates, but we can't keep up with the number of inquiries. For groups (for example, his coworkers and his Sylvester Stallone fan club members [joke, I think]): please designate one point of contact to obtain updates from me, my brother or my mom.
-the Rubenstein family
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Apparently my 2014 was too boring for Facebook to create my 2014 Year in Review. Or I didn’t really post anything, leaving Facebook nothing to work with. Regardless, I missed out on something horrific and I hate missing out. So I created my own Year in Review.
*which means, like, a bunch of times
You ate soooooo many stroopwafels in Amsterdam that you finally caved and bought new rock climbing pants. You later returned to online dating for one whole day—specifically the app JSwipe, which has the motto “Finding someone to take home for Matzo Ball soup is finally as fun as it should be!”. As it turns out, girls ignore you for reasons beyond your pants popping.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
As published on The Huffington Post
Justin Bieber and I have much in common. Besides age, wealth, status, success and possibly gender, our only other differences are that he sings horrific music, has stupider tattoos, and doesn't have United States citizenship.
This is the partially true story proving why that must change.
Mr. Bieber, a Canadian citizen, likely entered the United States as a business visitor to perform for Usher. Usher loved Mr. Bieber, signed him, and they produced three number one albums by the time Mr. Bieber turned 18 years old. Mr. Bieber now has 12 times as many Twitter followers as the pope, or what he calls "Beliebers," and an estimated net worth of $200 million.
Mr. Bieber obtained an O-1 nonimmigrant visa in order to temporarily remain in the United States. To qualify for an O-1 visa he just had to demonstrate distinction: a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered. Lucky for him, Randy Jackson was his adjudicator.
I pitied Mr. Bieber as he matured into a young man. We shared a desire for fame and girls, but his art caught fire and mine didn't, and he became surrounded by unhealthy means and influence. Mr. Bieber succumbed just as I succumb to the office candy bowl because it is there and free and crushes my otherwise superhuman willpower. Keep reading, here.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
In 2013 it was written, and in 2014 it was sealed.
The German term “doppelgänger,” dating back to 1851, was used in fiction and folklore and meant a spirit that looks like a living person. Often, the look-alike signified bad luck, illness or even death. Doppelgänger is now in the top 20% of terms searched on Merriam-Webster.com and we view it positively, simply meaning someone who looks like someone else but who is not related to that person.
The first time I recall hearing "doppelgänger" was last fall, and I immediately began searching for mine. Though everyone needs and ultimately has one, the catch is that you cannot actively find your own doppelgänger because, according to ruBENstein folklore, that signifies horrific luck, the plague, and eternal suffering. Your doppelgänger must come to you spontaneously or be presented to you by someone else.
My coworker presented me my doppelgänger just a few days after I learned what the term meant last year, and last week JT validated my doppelgänger when he texted me out of the blue, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Brian Hoyer?”
I was playing some good g-damn football.
Later that week while watching me play on Thursday Night Football, I took a bathroom break and felt a sting in my knee. I suspected the worst: fake Ben Rubenstein tore his ACL. His season ended right there. I would get the chance to play again in 2014.
The Browns drafted Heisman Trophy-winner Johnny Manziel, also known as Johnny Football. Manziel and I competed to be named the starting quarterback during preseason. Is it selfish to root for myself when doing so hurts another upstanding citizen? I beat out Johnny Football for the Browns’ starting quarterback job earlier this year. I beat Manziel, I beat Manziel!!! But I have played poorly and I am the backup in today’s game.
Ah well, you can always have a backup doppelgänger when your previous one starts to suck.
My Brazilian friend showed me my new starting doppelgänger.
Most of the results after I search for Brazilian Paulo Gustavo are in Portuguese, but I did see the word “humorista” several times. So if I can’t play football anymore then I guess I’ll be a comic, and apparently really popular on Instagram.
Johnny Football rules. Go Browns.
Have an open mind regarding your doppelgänger. Unless your doppelgänger is the new Renée Zellweger, in which case find an immediate backup who just vaguely looks like you.