Preamble: I went to the walk-in clinic for poor people and was told I needed an appointment when the website says no appointments, only walk-ins accepted. Check. State-sponsored healthcare exchange offered by ousted governor Corbett puts me in 60-day loop, not allowed to request status of application. All other clinics in county have been forced to close. Federal “Obamacare” exchange subservient to protocols of state-sponsored system created by legislative assembly is hamstrung. I need medicine for crap and I can’t get it. I can only give crap. How is it that “I give a crap/shit” became an affirmative instead of a pejorative?

So anxious to have a positive change in my life I can’t sleep at night…dreaming of cats I lost.

So, the short-short story.

The Short-Shorts Nightmare

I’m looking at my legs. I can’t use lotions or creams for the outbreaks. For a while I could use coconut oil, but that backfired. I can’t use medicine because I don’t have any more. I had a tube of weird, greasy ointment I’d been carrying for the past four years. It..expired a long time ago. I imagine that’s bad. I heard that Chinese medicine treats psoriasis and eczema as a fungal growth, whereas Western medicine doesn’t give a shit = steroids because sell steroids. All I know is, if I get sun, if I can go outside in the sun, it goes away. When winter returns, I’m a goner. this shit radiates out from my torso and covers me up. I have burning, itching crap growing on my everywhere. When I lived in Georgia, not much of a problem, and in Florida I didn’t even know I had it. Up here, I have this for eight months of the year.

002 This is a pretty good sample. Now superimpose this on back, ass, lower belly, upper arms and scalp. Satan. It either burns or itches, is bright raw red or faded, like in the picture and itches. I’m itchy right now. If I scratch it, it bleeds. Party. I used to get it pretty bad on my face, and much worse everywhere else, but I cut out a lot of processed foods and sugars. That helps immensely. So, running outside helps, I discovered, especially in the winter. If I have a tan, even on my lower legs and arms and neck and so on, it helps in areas I don’t get sun. When I get desperate, I lay  naked in a sunbeam in my dining room for an hour. that helps immensely. Lying around naked happens rarely. I don’t want to freak out my kids. I have to wait for them to go to market or something.

Running faster raises my core temp and allows me to run with less clothes on. If I run at a 7 min/mile pace I can  go shirtless down to 22F/ -4C or so, but I’m a little too fat and weak to run that pace now, but I’m improving. People don’t understand that, once you get “warmed up”, the cold doesn’t matter anymore. I’m in Tripoli, the Bahamas at 7 min/ miles. At 6:30min/mile, I’m back in Costa Rica. I’ve seen people run half marathons in January here with ice beards, igloo hats, frozen patches of sweat spread and crackling up through patches on backs laden with jackets and sweatshirts. When you run with next to nothing, it just vaporizes off of you.

So, when I asked my wife last year to get me a pair of running shorts on “the short side” last year, she bought me a pair of these:

 and I was like, okay, thanks a hundred. She would dare me to wear them, and I would wear them.

On a few occasions guys screamed at me angry words at me, a few times gals giggled and catcalled and hollered sexytime weirdness at me. Keep in mind I live in the middle of nowhere, and I have no social life and I don’t really like country music or redneck culture. So, I stepped into the octagon and went a few rounds with my dignity every time I wore these to get sun on my legs, to kill these horrible patches of diseased flesh. I was poisoned on Crete about twenty years ago and the insecticide that did me dirty would, doctors assured me, cause nerve damage of an unknown nature because the brand was outlawed and not tested properly. it would get worse over time. I’ve read it causes Parkinson’s.  I was spraying olive groves with a leaky poison-filled backpack sprayer for eight hours. I was assured the poison leaking on me and keeping me cool in the hot sun was “okay, just go wash it off”. Two days later, 2nd degree burns everywhere, toxic shock, mental fog. Hospitalized a month, effectively, with little or no care. Skin sloughed off. I didn’t sleep for four days before my first trip to a hospital. I didn’t have a command of the language and I was terrified. I healed. I didn’t think I’d ever have kids, but I did.

After my lymph nodes expelled the poison –  about eight months later from lesions in my groin and armpits –  other skin ailments began to arise. If it’s in my family history, I have it. I have it all. I’m a skin funk cruise ship, destination unknown. Hives, eczema, psoriasis, I’m the captain.

So, I was running in events and in these little, meth-starved villages wearing ridiculous short-shorts to get healthy. I y shorts. would meet some people here in this little ghost town a few months later after buying these blue nothings. See, one day, a a couple of women in a passing car noticed me running and, after noticing my forward progress, one remarked to the other,  “Boy I’d like to butter them biscuits.” That was something of a joke for those two. They shared the incident at work. Because I would jog by the pizza shop where they worked, every day, the employees got so used to seeing me they gave me a nickname. It wasn’t “runner guy” or “Gump” or anything typical. They called me “BMB”, short for “Butter-em-biscuits”. When I was hired, wearing pants, glasses, big nerd glasses, they failed to recognize me right away.

I didn’t know any of this. I get hired by shop to deliver pizza. I keep the running stories under my hat, but one day I tell them I run marathons. We chat a bit. One of the cook’s sister is a runner, albeit a 1-mile runner, around the block. I’d seen her. I tell them I run from town to town, everywhere, trails, whatever.  In a minute they start to wonder, they start to realize, hey, this guy looks like…

“Butter -Em-Biscuits!” The manager’s teen-age kid has no filter. He’s saying it and people are telling him to shut up. I’m clueless, feeling sorry for him. He’s disabled, unable to control his outbursts, I think. He’s got ADHD and he keeps blurting it out in a crazy singsong voice in response to any question he’s asked. How much is this pizza? Butter-em-biscuit. Where are the boxes of mushrooms? Probably in the Butter-em-butter-em-biscuits. People hang out at the pizzeria. Former employees, relatives of staff, a big happy family. people are laughing, snickering. Clueless, I’m jutrying to get paid,punching in and out. I’m getting ready to go back to school, try my hand at something else.

“Yeah, that’s probably me.” I was being pounded with questions a few nights ago, different employees asking if I ever used to run this road or that road, in this town or that town. I’m answering in the affirmative to the questions. I tell them about marathon running, how it inspires me and keeps me relatively sane. They’re confirming what they’d suspected.

When a co-worker got stabbed one night, I got sort of freaked out. Others didn’t believe her, but then, the next day, she brought pictures of her lacerated buttocks. Disgusting and terrifying wounds. Some of the staff claimed she did it to herself, but who stabs themselves in the ass cheek with a beer bottle? Nobody, that’s who.

I guessed she might have tripped and fell down some stairs or got into a fight with someone she couldn’t finger because of shady deals going down. SW Pennsylvania is crawling with hillbilly junkies and miscreants. Better not to ask, but curiosity got the best of me and I had to ask her how it came to pass that someone stabbed her in the ass with a bottle. Kiki said she was breaking up a fight between a local, colorful tweaker character and the manager’s kid, who was blurting out “Butter-Em-Biscuits” like a carnival barker while the tweaker was trying to discretely glean information from Kiki about a possible drug source without letting the kid know what was up, but he got mad, and was going to stab the dopey kid when Kiki flew at him and fought him off, told the kid to run, and, in her attempt to escape, fell victim to the attack despite being a former basketball player. She wasn’t fast enough to outrun the tweaker and he stabbed her instead of him for “fucking with him.”

He stabbed her because the teen-ager was blurting out the nickname people have given me for running in short-shorts. He stabbed her because a woman wanted to butter my biscuits, which, as far as I know, is now considered a good fat. And all these years I switched to margarine, I was actually hurting myself. Who woulda thunk it? And the woman whose passion overfloweth had been inspired by me running in short-shorts.

Bread and circus. When the Sumerians began to grind oats and bake bread, civilization took a major step forward. Bread is what separates us from the beasts. Bread calms the masses. They gnaw, they hunger, they are driven by need and passion to consume, In America, a mental health “consumer” is someone or something that actively chooses mental health treatment services. In other words, if you buy it, you’re okay. Choose the bread made flesh, let the emptiness within be filled. You’re McHappy. McThanks.

To regulate these passions, I recommend running, most assuredly remedy to many woes. Just wear enough pants.

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I didn’t run. I tried to go to a clinic but couldn’t see a doctor, then let my car’s navigation system direct me to a place that sells hats, but it was closed. That was second fiddle to a Renaissance festival that my car’s navigation system directed me to.

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This is where you get rebirthed in spirit. And eat meat and watch battles. Funny hats. Clowns. Goo goo!
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Plenty o’ parking at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival. I was early…by about three months. If it was a real Renaissance, it wouldn’t be closed. Ever.

So, having failed to rebirth my baby child in spirit and myself likewise hollowed under fleece, I tried to fit my head into a new crown, to no avail. Banjos’ Hats was no more, and in its place, Genesis II Hair Salon, where Jesus goes full perm.

I returned home and napped  with the baby, awoke, cross-trained with some hardcore baby wrestling, went to work, made 0+awful money, returned home, stretched and did some nothing. My left knee was tightening up. I did push-ups and planks, bicycles and did some deep tissue pressure pointing. I find a sore knot of muscle and jam a finger into it to deflate and unlock it. Works. It’s not science.

I’ll run tonight after work. I didn’t run last night because someone robbed the local Wal-Mart at 8:30 am and fled using a road that passes two blocks from my house. They are still loose. They are stupid. They are armed. They might want to unbutter my biscuits. Gotta keep moving, somehow, some way.