Wednesday, January 30, 2013


After moving out of Arlington and before house sitting my aunt and uncle’s home in upper northwest D.C., I stayed at my parents’ house in Manassas. One-way commute times like 2:25 made me question whether it was worth three months of free rent. I had to decline social invitations because of exhaustion and transportation availability, thus breaking my “Accept All Social Invitations Because You Never Know What You'll Miss” life rule. On gym days, I arrived at the house 13.5 hours after leaving for work, only to wake up 10 hours later.

When I finally moved to D.C. I realized I was far from most of my friends. “Oy, not really close to the metro, either,” Mimosa added. I’ll just have to make new friends, I thought, so I joined email blasts for several young professional Jewish groups. Mimosa helped me fix my OkCupid inadequacies and I dropped major dough to join JDate. My mom had offered to pay for this service many months ago and if not for free rent and turning 29 years old, I would have accepted. I joined a “social sports” table shuffleboard league that I’m probably far too old to be in, though thankfully still far too young to play with Floridians.

My body fat containment system failed, so I stopped my weekly Cheat Meals and now reserve them for special occasions. But my aunt and uncle have an overwhelming quantity of junk food and my willpower was crushed on my first day there. One Cheat Meal was fine, but I can’t make it common, so I’m learning to moderate and abstain in the presence of unending treats. If that doesn’t work then behavioral shock therapy is next.

My favorite aspect of house sitting is the “resources.” When I told my parents that, my mom said, “What do you mean ‘resources’?”

“He means ‘free stuff’,” my brother, JD, correctly confirmed.

Though free rent is awesome, I’ll always require shelter. But my house has many luxuries that I otherwise wouldn’t pay for or have available: every DirecTV channel, a lifetime supply of books, a housekeeper, access to a luxury car that should quadruple my dating success to three dates, a different room for every home activity I can think of, beautiful art and all-around really nice stuff, and food, like gourmet chocolate, nuts and crackers, processed snacks and beverages, and soups. And did I mention chocolate?

I am far too young and simple to be living like a king, but I’ll take it for the next three months. Below is a spoof I made of my kingdom. Enjoy. And make sure to come over and eat my chocolate.

Leia Mais…

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Dance

“Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads–at least that’s where I imagine it–there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in a while, let fresh air in, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live for ever in your own private library.” – Kafka on the Shore

During the three weeks between my Arlington and D.C. residences, I commute “home” from Union Station to my parents’ house in Manassas by way of train, bus and car. The trip should take 1:25, and I’ve done it in 1:10, but the past three of four one-way commutes have been 1:50, 1:50 and 2:00.

reading on an Amazon Kindle Touch in the moonlight
I exit the red line at Metro Center and walk west four blocks to the bus stop. When it arrives 10 minutes late, I take a window seat towards the front, reach into the back compartment of my backpack and grab the book-shaped, weighted, hard object. I open the brown cover imprinted with “Kindle,” flip the LED light at the top and read Kafka on the Shore from my last bookmark. I love this book, with its sexual charge and subconscious tunnels and teenage boy that reminds me a bit of me. This 35-minute ride to my car which is at the commuter lot is forced on me, but my choice on how I’m about to spend it makes my face grow wide.

Lately I’ve been feeling increased pain in my hip so I press the button to recline in this soft chair. This more supine position is refreshing for my arthritic hip joint.

Minutes into the ride, the bus halts. The driver is in loud discussion with a man outside the door. The bus driver says the man drove his car into the bus; the man says the bus hit his car. We will wait here for some time. I immerse further into Haruki Murakami's fictional world. I would be content sitting here for the rest of the night.

There is bickering, movement, and a mass exit. This bus is not allowed to leave so we transfer to a different bus. There are no available seats. I stow my backpack above and, holding the Kindle Touch with one arm and the back handle of an adjacent seat with the other, continue reading.

This driver’s foot is heavy. We jerk and lunge. The normally flowing High Occupancy Vehicle lanes are creeping. I see red halos through any window I peer through.

My left foot is planted for balance, but most of my weight is through my right leg. I wish to minimize the force through my left hip: for short-term pain, long-term health, this game to see if I can, this delicate dance of my feet, because I will never ask for a seat, would not accept one if offered, do not need one because I will master this rhythm.

I sway my center of gravity directly above my right hip at peak speeds, and stretch out when accelerating—I will need time for my abductors and adductors to react to changes in speed. I envision blood pumping through all the chambers of my leg like the flame dancing above a menorah. Like the Shamash candle that lights the others, my right hip decides the flicker of the left.

My tense right arm loses feeling so I move it to the high grip, where my backpack sits. Then I switch hands, and shift my body’s direction for leverage since internal rotators are stronger than external ones.

The bus ride ends and I convince the driver to drop me at a side lot where my car is, since all spots including the disabled ones were taken this morning in the large lot. He obliges because he understands that this 35-mile door-to-door commute will take 2:25.

My left hip in no more pain now than before and my right leg exhausted, I win.

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Who Would Win in a Fight Against Josh Sundquist and Me?

Author's note: The character described in this multi-part story is my creation and should not be interpreted as the actual public figure. Although most of the events are fictional, the helpful and motivating aspects of his character are real, and for that I am grateful to have received his guidance.

Read this first: Who Would Win in a Fight between Josh Sundquist and Me?

I followed Josh Sundquist to a bar near his residence in Clarendon. Though unsure if my south Arlington status would be accepted there, I desired his wisdom on life and love. I was diagnosed with Ewing’s during the age of invincibility, leading to the highest probability of survival. But Sundquist was diagnosed at the beginning of his genital phase. The probability of survival was lowest then, but if the boy killed the cancer, then the hormonal surge would elicit certain brain cell receptors to unlock in the shape of seahorses, which the Old Testament refers to as God’s Brain.

Full of vodka and questions, I sat down with my former opponent. “I’m grateful for your time, but why bother with a cheater like me?”

“I understand how the red of desire can become a black shadow that disrupts one’s moral compass. It happened to me years ago when I couldn't afford Vidal Sassoon's perfect hairspray. We just have to grow from our mistakes.”

My eyes twinkled from his forgiveness. I will never cheat again unless it is in Grand Theft Auto.

I asked Sundquist about love, as I’d been frustrated by my single-digit message return rate on OkCupid and being not quite good enough for the ladyfriends I grew fond of. I need a competitive advantage there so I will not reveal his secrets to you, but just know that his seahorse-shaped receptors will serve me well.

The reason I cheated against Sundquist in our fight was that I was jealous of his crutches. I am blessed that my cancer did not require limb amputation like his did, so I do not envy that he requires crutches. But he seems so accepting of them.

Since finishing physical therapy after my cancer surgery, I was able to walk short distances—like under a mile—pain-free, except for a few temporary occasions. That is mind-boggling when looking at my CT scan. Even my surgeon was amazed. He used to photograph me stretching and record me walking to show his students. Few things evoked more pride than being my famous surgeon’s star patient.

Months ago I began feeling pain when walking. Like previous incidents of hip pain, I figured it would go away. It has not, and I no longer believe it will.

“I don’t think about my missing leg that much,” Sundquist said. “I walk several miles a day to my girlfriend’s house using the crutches, and dance. So long as I can do those two things, I’m cool.”

A lightbulb went off in my head, as if my own brain cell receptors unlocked (though not the sexual prowess ones). I never used to consider a walking tool so long as I could walk freely. This made me normal; not disabled; better than non-walkers. That unethical mindset was necessary for my Superman Complex.

But I also limited my movement to maintain my ability to walk for as long as possible. Everyone’s body breaks down no matter if he’s an athlete, cancer survivor with a dead and basically free-floating hip joint, or plebeian. In that sense I considered my self-imposed limitation normal.

But it stymied me. I would sometimes decline activities that required more than three miles of walking. I would not consider trips to walk-heavy destinations like Europe. This didn't bother me—much like the limitations caused by my milk allergy, I blindly accepted my walking restriction.

Walk Easy folding forearm crutches to relieve pain
Sundquist shared his crutching videos with me, which opened up a new world. I knew Europe was on a map, but now I can see it. I decided to voluntarily use crutches for occasions of my choosing, such as the mile between my house and the metro, or venturing around new cities. I can’t wait to use the Walk Easy folding forearm crutches that I ordered.

With vodka, a new perspective and an abrupt lifestyle change on the horizon, seahorse receptors flowed through me and I evoked a lightbulb in Sundquist’s head. “If we combine my left leg and your left hip, we can create a whole superperson.” I chose my words carefully before continuing, honing in on my thought. I envisioned our limb pieces locking together, creating God’s Appendage.

I didn’t need to say another word because Sundquist sensed my thought. I looked deep into his eyes and we both smiled. It was our duty; we had no choice even if we wanted one.

We can only be one!” he shouted. “We will fight all willing opponents, cheaters or not!”

“Yes!” I said. “To spread our collective wisdom for the betterment of humanity, right?”

“Nah…let’s just get more Facebook Likes.”

Sundquist (the mostly fictional one I created here and not the real one…at least probably not) and I are officially accepting tag-team opponent requests. Do you have a celebrity tag-team suggestion? Comment on this blog, Twitter or Facebook to enter your team for consideration in our epic tag-team match.

…to be continued, if somebody actually suggests viable opponents, and I actually feel like writing a fictional story about our fight, or if we actually fight said opponents.

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bennington Post

I attend November cancer conference → eat lunch with Canadian Drake → speak at the conference the next day → Canadian Drake likes my speech → I go home and do shit → eat turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, apple pie—basically a whole pie, not a slice → do more shit → Canadian Drake reaches out to me and says, I loved your speech! → I reach back and say, Thanks so much! → Canadian Drake tells me she’s writing two stories for The Huffington Post → I say, No way that’s awesome, how can I write for The Huffington Post!? → Canadian Drake gives me her point of contact at the Post, a nice fella I met at the cancer conference → I contact nice fella → he really is nice → I write a story → send it to Hamburgers and PingPongGirl for review → revise my story based on their review → send along to nice fella → tell Canadian Drake, Your Post stories rocked, now it’s my turn! → Happy Holidays! → I’m chilling at work doing shit when my mobile’s email notification pings me → nice fella likes my story and it is ready to go, but asks if I could use one of his titles instead of mine → I say, Absolutely, I like your second title suggestion! → Story posts → I rejoice → I’m a Huffington Post contributor →You read story here

blogging on The Huffington Post as a contributor

Leia Mais…