Distant family doctor

“Unfortunately, due to family and personal reasons, I must close my clinic at the end of August 2018. I will be moving my medical practice to Abitibi, specifically the emergency room in the hospital at Rouyn-Noranda. … I will remain responsible for your medical dossier in the coming years.”

– Letter from my family doctor

Dear Doctor,

How are you? I am fine. At least I think I am. Really, I can’t know for sure since you, my family doctor, are now 800 km away. Let’s just ignore the phantom tingling and assume I am fine.

It has been two years since my last checkup with you. Actually, that was my only checkup with you. I was on a waiting list for a family doctor for about seven years before that. About halfway through that waiting period, someone from the Health Department called to check my status. My wife took the call and made the mistake of reporting that I had no health problems. That put me back on the list for another four years.

But finally I got you, and we did have a good checkup, didn’t we? I really thought we hit it off, and not just because you palpated my liver in a way I only dreamed possible.

I did not make an appointment last year because I know the Quebec healthcare system actively discourages people from seeing a doctor unless they are actually sick. Preventive medicine in Quebec means as much as possible being prevented from seeing a doctor.

Nonetheless, I think it’s important for a man my age to be have regular checkups, if only to repeatedly hear the phrase “for a man your age.”

But, again, you’re 800 km away and I have neither vacation days nor bus fare. Instead, let’s try to do this remotely.

My weight is unchanged, although this is a guess since I have no means of weighing myself and the grocer doesn’t like it when I climb on the produce scale. I would describe my weight as somewhere between “normal” and “cadaverous.” Please see the enclosed selfie. How do I look to you? Please note that the green hue is merely my choice of filter.

For my blood pressure, I measured it on one of those automatic machines at the pharmacy. I was a little nervous because there was a geriatric in a mauve velour tracksuit hovering around orthopedic insoles and giving me the stink eye. It was hard to concentrate but I wrote it down: my results were 120 over $6.99.

I anticipated that you would want a blood test to check my sugar levels, cholesterol, etc. Obviously, I don’t have the equipment to draw blood. Instead, you’ll find enclosed a soiled Band-Aid from when I cut myself opening a tin of corned beef. The Band-Aid should provide you the sample you need, and the corned beef should settle any questions about cholesterol.

I will now describe a mole I am concerned about: it’s like someone took a raisin, sliced it in half, rolled it in fine sand, baked it at 375°F for 20 minutes, turning once, and then hot-glued it to my back. You’re probably wondering whether the mole has changed. Well, sure, it says it’s changed but can you ever really trust a mole? After all, I’ve been burned before. For moles.

Oh, why not talk about that phantom tingling! It starts in my upper arms, then migrates down to my forearms, eventually becoming a numbness in my hands until finally I can’t feel mu fpogerth qe uelle buaaoiuaer009elvcao8el…

And then it just goes away.

Speaking of fingers, I guess I can’t put this off any longer. It’s time for the, you know, “the test.” Unfortunately, you’re there, 800 km away, and here I am, leaning over an ironing board with my pants down. It isn’t easy to find someone to do this. It’s not like I can ask for volunteers in an office-wide email. Again. And I can’t ask my wife, certainly not without buying her dinner first. So I’m in a bit of a tight spot.

No, literally, I’m in a bit of a tight spot. So here are the results of my self-exam: yes, I did take a deep breath and, yes, I did feel a little pressure. I have no idea how my prostate is, but the good news is that I’m still very flexible for a man my age.

This concludes my checkup. Please enter all this data into my file, Doctor, and let me know if you have any concerns, questions or travel tips for the Abitibi region. In the meantime, I will continue to exercise regularly and eat well. As they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

I must have eaten a lot of apples…

Sincerely, your patient

Ross

 

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Posted in Canada and/or Quebec, It Really Did Happen! | Tagged , , , , | 24 Comments

It’s hard to move forward when your knee is jerking

Just over a week ago, Deb and I booked accommodations for our New York City trip in August. We did extensive research (“Which listing comes up first in Airbnb?”) and put down our deposit.

A few days later, U.S. President Donald Trump called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a weenie-boy, and suddenly Canadians were livid – livid like someone had butted into their collective Timmie’s drive-thru.

“Boycott! Boycott! Don’t visit the U.S.!” Canadians cried in stern and firmly forwarded Facebook posts.

“Well, crap,” I thought.

In truth, I had been questioning the wisdom of spending time, let alone money, in the United States, especially given that its current raison-d’être seems to be to make the rest of the world go, “Bu- but you- how- wha- really?”

But other than being inarticulate with dismay, Canada has never really been angry with the USA, just very, very disappointed. Yes, the U.S. has been threatening to disrupt Canadian trade by imposing stiff tariffs, but tariffs are boring. The very word is a snore. You can’t get excited about tariffs, even stiff ones. Now, if trade disputes meant that every Canadian had to bake two pies for every American, we would be up in flour-covered arms. But tariffs, steel, wood, even stiff wood? Yawn.

Trade disputes aren’t going to ruin us. The only thing trade disputes have ever ruined is The Phantom Menace. Sure, Trump might be using international trade as a pretense to withdraw from NATO, allowing Russia to run roughshod over Eastern Europe, but we’ll cross that doomsday bridge when we come to it.

Given this, I figured there was no reason things couldn’t be business as usual, or, in my case, over-priced tourist traps at a terrible exchange rate as usual.

But then, as they say, things got personal.

Ever since the Cheap Shot Heard Round the World, Canadians have been taking the insult very hard on Trudeau’s behalf. They’ve shown an astounding level of attachment to their PM, even though, unlike in the U.S., virtually zero Canadians voted Justin Trudeau into the position of prime minister. Realistically, our emotional investment in the PM should be slightly higher than attachment to a professional Canadian sports team rostered by mostly American player but considerably lower than our embrace of universal but not very efficient health care.

Our response to this slight is in fact very Canadian. As easygoing as we supposedly are, we are surprisingly thin-skinned. And like the rest of the world, we will happily muster outrage. We will take umbrage. We will take all the umbrage until there is no umbrage left in the umbrage bowl.

My initial reaction was also to feel affronted. But then I realized that it really doesn’t matter. In fact, taking this slight to heart is exactly part of the problem.

First of all, it’s a relatively mild diss from the preternaturally boorish President. This glue-eating, last-picked baby-man is a word vomiter. His words mean nothing. And, really, Trudeau can handle it. I mean, he doesn’t have much to be insecure about, am I right, ladies? I find it more insulting that Trump insists on referring to him as “Justin.”

Secondly, by letting our reactions be ruled by anger and impulse, Canadians are no better than Trump and the base and divisive instincts that elected him to office.

Boycotting the United States and U.S. products isn’t the answer, because the only people such actions will hurt are Americans. We love Americans! We love American stuff. We love American places. We love American pie (really, who are we to assume to make pies for you!).

So instead of sitting back smugly and feeling morally superior (Ontario provincial election notwithstanding), we should instead be flooding into the U.S. Let’s show them that it’s about the people, not the politics. We’ll leave it to our government to do the job of not getting walked over. Us, we’ll just walk, namely in welcoming U.S. parks and services. Let’s travel to the United States, be ambassadors, shoulders to cry on, a calming voice that says, “Your president is a jerk but it’s all going to be okay.”

Me, I’ll be a Canadian in New York, letting car after car merge into my lane, smiling politely at the woman who said my butt looks good in those pants (true story), speaking in French just for kicks, being a real Canadian dork.

And I’m not just saying that because I can’t get my deposit back.

Posted in Canada and/or Quebec | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Me, trying to sell tires at the end of my driveway

tires.jpgI am alert. From my porch, I sense you lurking at the end of my driveway, where lie 10 used tires, propped just so in their sets of four and, oddly, two. But these are not just tires; they are tires on rims, so their presence has, unlike me, substance.

Yes, I can sense you there considering the bargain, not to mention the cardboard sign, torn from the water-heater box propped by the garage, upon which I have crudely written “$50 PER RIM (negotiable).” Note how “negotiable” is in smaller print, because that’s marketing psychology. That’s also why I’m ignoring you, and not solely because the thought of haggling with you makes me secretly wish you’d go away.

But I am aware of you, just as I am aware that perhaps I should not have waited until the final hours of the town’s garage-sale weekend to put these tires out in an attempt to attract the trickle of looky-loos driving slowly up the street and parking in odd, traffic-blocking angles. But here you are, the far-from-early bird, gazing at rubber on rims.

You have volleyed the first salvo. Or salvoed the first volley, I don’t know, I’m not good at sports. Will I take $50 for the four? Fifty, you say? Fifty for four? Your opening bid is so ludicrous it prompts me to my feet. See how I saunter towards you, as though the last thing I actually need is to sell these 10 tires (on rims) that have been cluttering my garage for an indefinite period of time.

It’s $50 per rim, I say, pointing to the cardboard sign that I have jammed inside the hub of one of the propped tires, even though I know in my heart no one is going to pay $50 per rim. But $50 for four? Is that a joke, some whimsy to ingratiate yourself, some manly banter, some rim-related repartee? No, you clearly mean $50 for four used tires (on rims).

But look at these four you are considering, good sir. These are not just any wheels but mag wheels. Do not ask me why they are called “mag” wheels. I believe it is short for “magnificent” or perhaps derived from the expression “Ma God, those rims are sick!” The young people say “sick,” but that’s as much etymological wisdom as I am willing to impart.

I want at least $100 for the set, I counter, immediately plummeting to my bottom line, that’s how generous I am, though I leave no room for manoeuvering. I will even throw in these two odd mag wheels sitting here, because I am such a good neighbour and I am really sick of storing them but (not “sick” in the young people sense). You suggest that these two are only good for scrap. Your scrap is my clutter, I think. Better you than me.

Now you are referring to your religious heritage and an offensive cultural stereotype regarding cheapness, which is a crass negotiating tactic and also ineffective because, as I point out, I’m Scottish.

The nuts, you ask, where are the nuts? Nuts are expensive. I don’t know no nuts. I try to make a joke: “No nuts? Aww, nuts!” But you’re not buying it. Well, maybe you will for $60, you say. No, I can’t do $60, I respond.

You ask what I’ll do if I don’t sell them. I can’t just leave them in the street. They’ll be stolen. (Even if they’re nut-less scrap?) Yes, I will put them back in the garage. Yes, I do look weak, as you indelicately point out, but the funny thing about tires is they roll. Also: thank you for pointing out I am weak. Thanks for calling me nut-less scrap. We’re back at $100.

But the thought unsettles me. Ten tires on rims to return to the garage. Ten tires to take back out to the street another day, preferably not a late Sunday afternoon. Do I really want the bother? Should I take your final offer of $70, give you the lot, including the four winter tires on rust-pocked rims but still with semi-decent tread? Wouldn’t it be nice just to be rid of them?

No. Dude called me weak.

All right then, you shrug. All right then, I shrug. And we part.

I will retire the tires to the garage from whence they came, but there are two good hours of sunlight left. I return to my porch.

A car drives slowly past the 10 used tires, propped just so at the end of my driveway. I am alert…

Posted in Reading? Ugh! | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

The Last Tattoo: An Oral History

Maybe not

“I was planning on getting a tattoo my freshman year. I was primed for it: a rainbow with birds flying over and the word ‘blessed’ in script lettering and inside the ‘B’ the face of a tiny Baby Jesus. But then I come home at Thanksgiving and find out my mom went and got a tattoo. My mom! She’s, like, 47! Stupid star on her stupid wrist. That’s what ruined tattoos for me, just like she ruined Facebook and twerking.

– Delaney R., 21, junior

“When the biker gangs stopped getting tattoos, that’s when you really got the sense that tattoos had jumped the shark — that and everyone getting tattoos of people actually jumping sharks.”

– Orville R., 26, part-time drummer

“One day I saw this 13-year-old with a tattoo at the back of her neck. I mean, she can’t even see it on herself, so what’s the point? And all I could think of was a parent had to have allowed that, like maybe even took her to get it done. And I was filled with this rage, like when I’m at the mall and I see parents at the earring kiosk puncturing their screaming toddler’s ears. But worse than that? An entire generation with ‘One Direction 4EVR’ across their backs. Or whatever the kids are listening to these days. PrettyMuch? Never heard of them.”

– Rob L., 36, sports memorabilia trader

“For me, I knew it was over when Jared Kushner tattooed ‘YOLO’ on his ankle.”

– Shannon A., 24, unemployed

People just ran out of ideas. The whole point of a tattoo is to express your individuality, but there was nothing fresh anymore. All the flowers had been taken, every astrological sign, every piece of hardware and cartoon character, infinity symbols to infinity. Even the texts had proven unsatisfying. I mean, no one actually was being the change they wanted to see in the world, you know?

– Delores S., 28, retired tattooist

“There was a real tattoo fatigue. Like it was an obligation. Like getting a tattoo was the same as giving blood or renewing your insurance. Clients would come in, and you knew right away their heart wasn’t in it. They’d spend, like, an hour flipping through the design books, and finally they’d say, ‘You know what? Just, whatever.’ I started doling out Chinese script like it was 2004, and when I was done, I’d ask, ‘Don’t you even want to know what it says?’ ‘Nah,’ they’d say, and they’d be gone. By the end, I was just tattooing signs from the windows of Chinese groceries like ‘Discount Lamb Chops’ or ‘No Spitting.’

– Gary E., 32, former tattoo shop manager

“There were also market-driven forces in play. Everyone who was ever possibly going to get a tattoo had got their tattoo. It was only a matter of time. And the true tattoo enthusiasts at this point had 80% coverage, and that’s about maximum coverage, unless you shave your head, and not everyone can pull that off.”

– Melissa M., 51, sociologist

“People used to warn you that tattoos were permanent. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it. But if you chose wisely, thoughtfully, what could go wrong, right? Well, a few years ago, a friend of mine got the face of Morgan Freeman tattooed on her shoulder. Now there’s a cautionary tale.”

– Joan R., 31, accountant

“It’s something else to blame on us Millennials, I suppose. Like, you know, do I really want to commit?”

– Doug H., 26, temp

“Business just tailed off. The hipster dude market dried up when they realized they could achieve the same effect with man buns and kombucha. As for the women, well, a shop like mine can only rely on drunken bachelorette parties for so long.”

– Steve O., 43, tattoo parlour owner

“The last tattoo I ever did, this guy walked in off the street, rolled up his shirtsleeve and asked me to ink gravel.”

– Gary E., 32, former tattoo shop manager

“And then that was it: no more tattoos. It was over. There was sadness, sure, but in a way, there was a lot of relief.”

– Amy B., 25, aspiring actress

“Culturally, it was always a foregone conclusion that tattooing as a trend was, ironically, not permanent. But there will always be new trends. I hear that voluntary amputation is going to be huge.”

– Melissa M., 51, sociologist

Posted in Never Happened | Tagged , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Hell is sober people

Having consumed my entire life’s quota of alcohol during the first half of my adult life, I no longer drink at all. Recently, though, I had to attend a work-related reception and dinner in Montreal, and though I did not drink, I couldn’t help imagining how different the evening would have been had I done so. Here, then, is the recap of my experience in Reality vs Alternate Alcohol Universe (AAU).

Reality: Outside the city, on the bus with colleagues who are enjoying an en-route cocktail or two, I send a Snapchat to my wife: my sad face and the caption, “Stuck in traffic and sober.”
AAU: Outside the city, on the bus enjoying an en-route cocktail or two or three, I send a Snapchat to my wife: my grinning face and the caption, “Stuck in traffic, but cheers!”

Reality: We arrive to find the bar area crowded and loud, rendered almost painful by my tinnitus. I make straight for the bar to pour myself a glass of water from a series of bottles sitting there.
AAU: We arrive to find the bar area crowded and loud, and I add to it by greeting co-workers like they are fondly remembered classmates at a high school reunion. I make for the bar to submit the first instalment of the considerable investment I plan to make in alcohol that evening.

Reality: I find a far corner and stand there, nervously sipping my water. I return to the bar for a second glass and discover that some of the bottles contain carbonated water. I predict correctly that this will be the highlight of my night.
AAU: I find a corner and stand there, nervously sipping my drink. I return to the bar for a second one, after which I find a group of people to stand near, nervously sipping my drink. Because I can’t entirely hear what’s being said, I contribute to the ambient noise by laughing loudly in the appropriate places. Also: a third one.

Reality: With some relief, I see that they are no circulating hors d’œuvres. I devote myself to making solid eye contact with the servers.
AAU: I enter a lively discussion about Lebron James, even though we cut our cable in the fall and I haven’t seen a single NBA game this season. I suddenly have strong convictions about Lebron James.

Reality: By now I have checked my phone several times for emails, texts and Scrabble.
AAU: Group selfie!

Reality: I duck into the bathroom for a breather. Also: all that bubbly water.
AAU: I duck into the bathroom for a third time; all that beer.

Reality: Dinner is served. It’s assigned seating. I take my seat.
AAU: Dinner is served. It’s assigned seating. I surreptitiously switch seat tags to sit with someone I know. It’s not surreptitious at all but everyone is too polite to object.

Reality: I’m seated next to a very nice man whom I know a little and whose daughters I also know a little. We chat politely about our children while we wait for the first course.
AAU: I switch to red wine.

Reality: I realize with horror that we have run out of children to talk about and suddenly understand that this is the sole reason some people have such large families.
AAU: I enter into a loud discussion with the person seated across from me on how we are blessed to be living in what is clearly the golden age of beer. The topic somehow touches on Millennials, the decline of shopping malls and Lebron James.

Reality: I embark on deep introspection regarding my fish entrée – peering into my sole, as it were.
AAU: I embark on a quest to obtain by any means possible a second bottle of wine.

Reality: I listen politely to some speeches.
AAU: I point out to my tablemates in barely concealed whispers that the dollop of chocolate mousse on the dessert plate looks exactly like the smiling poop emoji.

Reality: After the meal, I find an empty chair in the reception area and wait for the return bus ride home.
AAU: Sorry; things get a little blurry at this point.

Reality: On the bus, I isolate myself with earbuds and my book to tune out the boisterous reveling in the back of the bus.
AAU: I’m in the back of the bus, singing a bawdy version of “I’m Too Sexy for My Shirt” that is not nearly as hilarious as I think it is.

Reality: I wake up in the morning with regret that I couldn’t be more sociable without the crutch of alcohol.
AAU: Regret.

Posted in It Could Happen... | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

How to make a fake ear and put on a play, not necessarily in that order

1. Audition for a play called Fuddy Meers, the story of a woman who loses all her memories when she goes to sleep and who one morning is taken away by a limping man claiming to be her brother.

2. Land the role of The Limping Man. Congratulations! The Limping Man also lisps, is blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. The ear in question is scarred and clumpy.

3. Acquire one (1) pot of modeling putty and one (1) bottle of liquid latex (light flesh).

4. Wait for the other cast members to be rounded up like a gang coming together for one last heist.

5. Meet the 16-year-old girl who will play a 17-year-old boy. Because it’s 2018!

6. Remove a chunk of modeling putty and soften slightly by kneading it. Do not microwave!

7. Discover that the play has a lot – a lot! – of bad language, including one word in particular that you can’t bring yourself to say. Because it’s 2018. Negotiate which words will stand and which ones go too far.

8. Worry that your audience is going to have far different standards vis-à-vis words that go too far.

9. Flatten modeling putty into a rough C shape. Place the putty inside the shell of your ear.

10. While holding putty in place with one hand, use Q-tip to apply a coat of latex to the seam between putty and skin.

11. Dry latex with hair dryer.

12. Realize your hair dryer is nowhere handy. Get hair dryer. Repeat steps 10 and 11 until putty stays in place.

13. Begin rehearsals.

14. Lose two actors to serious family crises.

15. Cancel the show.

16. Add smaller pieces of putty around edges of ear and earlobe. Latex into place.

17. INTERVENTION: The producer declares you can’t cancel the show because the script has been paid for, publicity has been issued, it’s the new theatre company’s first production and reputations are on the line. He agrees to step into one of the roles. The stage manager agrees to take on the other role. To give these latecomers some breathing room, the first weekend of the show is canceled and four shows instead of three are scheduled for the second weekend.
18. Pull hair out of wet latex before it dries.

19. What?

20. PULL HAIR OUT OF WET LATEX BEFORE IT DRIES!

21. Oh.

22. Make sure that putty does not block actual ear hole.

23. Carry on with rehearsing, blocking, limping, lisping.

24. Do not worry that the latex and putty look all scarred and clumpy because, remember, your ear is supposed to look all scarred and clumpy.

25. Worry instead that, two weeks before opening, the 16-year-old girl (playing the 17-year-old boy) has suffered a ruptured appendix while in Germany on her school trip.

26. Apply smaller pieces of putty to skin around neck and jaw area to accentuate scarring effect. Add latex. Do not latex eyeball.

27. Note also that the 16-year-old’s mother is the former stage manager, now in the cast, and of course beside herself with worry.

28. Carry on. With your makeup, that is, until desired effect is achieved.

29. Pinch and shape latex/putty combo to create texture.

30. Repeat makeup procedure prior to every rehearsal/performance.

31. Find a 50-something man who can learn lines quickly to play the 17-year-old boy, rationalizing that the play is all about disorientation anyway, so, yeah, get it…?

32. Carry on. With rehearsals that is.

33. Practice taking off the ski mask in Scene 1 to make sure you don’t accidently rip off fake ear and inadvertently suggest to audience that the limping, lisping man also has leprosy.

34. Discover that, from the audience, your ear doesn’t look quite ghastly enough. Add red makeup to latex/putty to accentuate ghastliness.

35. Carry on performing even when fellow actor bursts out laughing when you remove the ski mask and she sees how ghastly your ear is.

36. Open your show.

37. Be happy that 16-year-old former castmate is well enough to attend opening night.

38. Discover that audiences will support local theatre, no matter how unusual the play or how difficult the process, which they’ll have no clue about anyway, if all goes well.

39. Discover that people will laugh at bad words that go too far.

40. Pick latex out of your hair for the next two weeks.

More pics here: https://www.facebook.com/newportdispatch/posts/867850286750012

Posted in Reading? Ugh! | 19 Comments

What I wore to the Met Gala

“The Met Gala is fashion’s biggest night and this year’s theme was ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.’… Rihanna wore a papal crown and cape designed by Margiela. Katy Perry wore 6-foot angel wings.” – CNN.com, May 7, 2018

Having been raised Protestant in a very Catholic town, it was difficult for me to decide what to wear to the Met Gala, whose theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The only thing I remember those Catholics imagining was, “Hey, let’s get that skinny Protestant kid.” But maybe that was more in keeping with next year’s theme: “Fashion and the Protestant Persecution Complex.”

Thankfully, just like the other famous, beautiful guests, I didn’t have to think at all. That’s what we have designers for. And so I called up my second-favourite designer, Poncello Ribisquik. (My favourite designer, Corsagie, went into hiding in January after he was accused of sexually harassing several bolts of fabric, although if you ask me the #mesew movement has gone too far.)

“Poncello,” I chirped (I was in a chirping mood), “Ponchy, baby, I need you to whip up something ornate but spiritual, humble but gaudy, tasteful but hinting at stigmatic bleeding. Can you do that for me, you wonderful polyamorous needle-bobbin you! You diaphanous feather duster!”

I heard Poncello pause on the phone. Then he took a deep breath, cleared his throat and said, “Who is this?”

Once we got that straightened out and I demonstrated my ability to procure payment in unmarked bills, we began brainstorming.

“I see webbing, I see gauze,” he blue-skied. “I see metal, I see jade.”

“I see London, I see France,” I spitballed.

“I see purple papal pants!” he postulated.

We work so well together, he and I, and unlike Corsagie, in my experience Poncello has always been nothing but respectful to linen.

“I want it to be classical in its beauty yet almost too painful to look at due to its great sadness and the tragic weight of regret,” I weighed in.

“Like Melania Trump!” Poncello conjectured.

“Eureka!” I blurted.

(An aside: how, you must be wondering, moving your lips as you think in that adorable but ultimately unflattering way of yours – how did I procure an invitation to the most exclusive celebrity fashion event of the year? And why am I so fond of the word “procure”? It’s quite simple, really: this year’s gala was co-hosted by Amal Clooney, I’m the only person who can properly shave George Clooney’s back, and voila!)

I won’t go into detail about the hours of planning and child labour that went into my outfit. And it’s best left unsaid the environmental impact, not to mention the decimating illnesses introduced into indigenous populations. Such is the price of art, religion and getting your photo in The Times.

Instead, I’ll let the results speak for themselves – except for the right kneepad, which speaks in the voice of Ian McKellen reciting the Book of Leviticus. But as Moses said to the kid collecting shells during the parting of the Red Sea, that’s not important right now.

The final product was reminiscent of the famous tunic St. Polycarp wore in AD 124 during the final episode of “Smyrna’s Got Talent,” except instead of sackcloth it was made entirely of reflective tape, gold leaf and silver-plated juice boxes. Over this, I wore a flowing garment encrusted with jewels. Was it a robe? Was it a gown? Was it agape? Yes it was, momentarily, which was embarrassing for both me and that poor woman at the bus stop.

My shins were encased entirely in ostrich feathers, because nothing says “Catholic imagination” quite like ostrich feathers.

In my arms, I carried a baby, representing the infant Jesus, and that baby carried an even smaller baby, representing an even tinier infant Jesus. Poncello wanted the smaller baby to hold a smaller baby still, but I told him I didn’t want to look ridiculous. Poncello flew into a rage. What that rage was doing there, I have no idea.

Halo? Do you even have to ask?

But the highlight was the eight animatronic cherubs attached to long, flexible poles strapped to my back so that they hovered above me singing an angelic version of “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”

I was truly fabulous, a showstopper. But when I got to the Met, I saw that Ariana Grande was wearing the exact outfit. Horrors! So I scurried back to my hotel, put on sweatpants and watched “American Pickers” for six straight hours. My sweatpants were also encrusted.

Posted in Never Happened | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments