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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Blood

“Welcome to the blood drive!”
Thus came the voice of Rebecca, a fair-skinned maiden sitting behind the table at the Gas City, Indiana Annual Blood Drive. And thus came me, Steve, who had never before given blood. I got dragged into this garbage by my wife, Tasha. What a joke.
“Have you given blood before?” Rebecca asked.
“No, I have not,” I responded. I didn’t want to give blood. I loved my blood. It was my own. I wasn’t afraid of needles or anything, but I felt like my blood was the most personal part of me. My wife always found this strange, but then I would, more often than not, slap her.
“Come on honey, it’ll be fine,” Tasha said, struggling to console me. She put her arm around me and looked me in the eye. “Just think honey. Your blood will save one person’s life. Doesn’t that just make you happy?”
I rolled my eyes. Happiness…what IS happiness anyways? I’ll tell you one thing, it is NOT saving the lives of others. That is not happiness. Nobody would ever save me if I was in trouble. Maybe my wife Tasha. Maybe my dog Fred. Johnny Cash said happiness was about being comfortable, and being with friends. I read it on his tombstone. And I happen to agree with that. None of this altruistic mumbo jumbo.
“Humbug!” I grumbled. Yet I desired to appease my wife, who wearied me with her teasing. I don’t know why I ever got married anyway. Marriage…what IS marriage anyways? I’ll you one thing, it is NOT…
“HONEY!” said my wife. I snapped out of my ponderous reverie. “You have to sign your name.”
Thus I signed my name.
The whole process took forever. I had to read a handbook all about how I couldn’t give blood if I’d had sex with anyone in the past week, or if I’d traveled to the nation of Trinidad and Tobago anytime between March and June of 1985, or if I had ever drank my own blood, or if I had ever operated a forklift that was manufactured in Johnsonville, Tennessee before 1968. Of course, I had done all these things, but I didn’t want to let my wife know. She would kill me if she knew that I had gone on a secret trip to Trinidad and Tobago to exchange black market goods with terrorists.
They pricked my finger, which was nothing new, since I had done the same thing many times during my weekly blood-oath ceremonies with my “World of Warcraft” clan. They did a little test on my blood, which ended up being okay for some reason. Then they strapped me down, and the fiasco of draining my essential life-giving fluid began.
“Is it all right if I stick it in this vein?” asked the girl performing the operation, pointing at a particularly attractive vein in my ripped left arm. Wait, was she serious?
“Uh, you can put it wherever you want,” I responded. Wasn’t she an expert?
“All right, let’s go with that,” she said, and stuck the needle in. It didn’t even hurt. I didn’t feel emotion.
After several minutes, she yanked it out, and I was good to go.
“See, that wasn’t so bad,” Tasha said to me later as we exited the Gas City Community Center.
“Let’s get pizza,” I said.
Then we smooched for three hours.
                                                                                             ***
Several weeks later, things took a turn for the worse. My relationship with my wife started going downhill, and she moved out for what she called a “temporary” amount of time.
On one particular day, I sat in my living room, watching an old re-run of MacGyver. As much as my relationship with Tasha had gone sour, I longed for her. I longed for her face, for her nose, her perfect fair skin, for her flowing black hair, for her rugged cowboy boots. These thoughts took up much of my time when I wasn’t working at Jack in the Box, or doing Zumba down at the community center.
I needed to escape. And I knew just the place. The old duck pond. Perhaps the old warehouse. In all actuality, I didn’t care. I just needed an escape. I decided on the old duck pond.
The duck pond was a good distance from my apartment, roughly 25 minutes taking the Old Gary Turnpike out of town. But I had nothing else going on for me.
I took some of my music with me to listen to as well. Good Charlotte, my favorite band, would be accompanying me on this life-changing trip, I decided. How I loved them and their sweet tender melodies, their innocent emo voices always dotting the air with their cries and their pleas and their whineries. How I truly loved them.
It was a lovely fall day, a perfect day for a drive. The air was crisp. Crisp with potato chips that is, as I accidentally spilled them all over my front seat. I swore several times, my most relaxing “cool-down” technique, taught to me by my grandfather.
When I had been driving for about 10 minutes, I came to the intersection of the Old Gary Turnpike and Highway 82. So many memories of this intersection. So many. I stopped, but was so engrossed in my reverie of memories pertaining to this intersection, that I didn’t even check left or right as I proceeded through the intersection.
What happened next was…crazy. A Nissan truck, perhaps an X-Terra, or something of the like, came out of nowhere and slammed into my left side. Whatever truck it was, it was a manly truck, and I imagine there was a gentleman inside, wearing jeans, boots, and a cowboy hat, and he probably had some sort of loyal dog next to him. I imagined all this as the accident happened. Really.
As you can understand, I was also sitting on the left side. As I had never before been in an accident, I couldn’t come up with enough imagery and descriptive creative words to really explain how the accident felt to me. But, surely, oh surely, as the sky is blue, and as John Amaechi is a former NBA superstar, there was a lot of destruction, debris flying everywhere, and my blood splattering all over my car, all in the span of a couple seconds. Oh yeah, and I was knocked unconscious too, which is no surprise, considering all the bones on my left side were instantly broken, and I had deep bloody gashes in several parts of my body. Therefore, I will leave it at that.
I woke up, somewhat, several minutes later, as paramedics and firemen were extracting what was left of my body from my car, now a twisted pile of wreckage. I had never seen anything so twisted, and so pile-like. I couldn’t feel anything, I’m pretty sure I was completely paralyzed. I remember seeing blood everywhere. Everywhere.
They threw me (literally) onto a stretcher, and then threw me again into the back of an ambulance.
“This man needs blood!” one of the EMTs yelled. Everything was happening so fast, it was all so dream-like. I remember them shoving a needle in my arm, and then some sort of blood transfusion was occurring. Gross, I thought. Somebody else’s blood inside me. I felt so dirty.
“Wait a minute!” cried one of the EMTs. Uh oh. Had they screwed something up? I remember her looking me in the eye, and yelling, as though I couldn’t hear. “ARE YOU STEVE MCWIGGINS?!”
I weakly muttered yes, and then suddenly realized who she was. It was my old middle school bus driver, Mrs. Perkins. MRS. PERKINS. Who knew that she was also a paramedic?
“Dear gosh!” she cried, holding the bag of blood in her hands. “This bag has your name on it Steve!”
What in the name of sweet Georgia Brown…? Why would a bag of blood have my name on it?
“STEVE!” she yelled at me again. “THIS IS YOUR BLOOD!”
And then it was total and utter pandemonium. Had I really reluctantly given blood several weeks ago, only to have the favor returned to me? By MY OWN BLOOD?
Somehow, I was saved that day. The experience taught me a lot, namely, I should give blood as often as I can. They had a rule that I couldn’t give blood more than once in a six-week period. Well, I’ll show them who’s boss!
“Sir, you just came in here yesterday!” said Rebecca, the girl at the Blood Center.
“I don’t care! I want to give more blood!” I cried.
“You can’t! Do you even know how dangerous that is?” she asked. “Your blood hasn’t even been replenished yet!”
“I DON’T CARE!” I cried. “I WANT TO GIVE BLOOD!”
And then I kind of had an episode, where I grabbed the table she was sitting at, and I tipped it over.
“ARGGGH!!!” I cried, like a wolf, hunting for its prey, for that is the very sound a hungry wolf makes.
“Sir, you’ve lost your mind!” cried Rebecca, as I ran into the blood-giving area, grabbed a bag of someone’s blood, and threw it on the floor. Blood splattered everywhere. Then I grabbed another bag in the process of being filled with someone’s blood, and threw it at the person’s face. Now they had their own blood…all over the face. Just like I did, on that fateful day of The Accident.
Within minutes, a team of animal control specialists entered the room and attempted to subdue me with over 50 tranquilizer darts. I roared, like the wolf that I was, but soon went down as a net was draped over me, and someone tackled me to the floor, which was covered in blood. All I wanted to do was help, but that wasn’t to be the case today. Today, I was a wolf. A raging wolf, simply trying to look out for the other wolves in my wolf clan, simply wanting to donate my own blood to my wolf brothers, for the sake of the pack. Also, I was banned for life from any sort of Red Cross blood-donating event. Yeah, I kinda “blew that one,” as my old dad would often joke years later around the dinner table.

THE END


Questions for discussion as a loving family unit---
1)     Would the blood being transfused ACTUALLY have the name of its owner right on it? I doubt it. Shut up.
2)     What is symbolically significant about Steve watching an episode of MacGyver during his time of loneliness?
3)     How can we apply Steve’s heroic example to our own lives?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Preserved

Sitting, unmoved, useless
Glass bottles, shrouded in dust
Shrouded in warped time.

Deep within a memory,
Shadows dance on a wall,
But they make no sound.

And nothing can hide them,
only vapour of darkness.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Utah Clean Air Act

The Utah Clean Air Act prohibits smoking in the passenger terminal, except in designated smoking areas. Your cooperation in extinguishing all smoking materials, or going to a designated smoking area, would be greatly appreciated.