Archive for December, 2008

Merry Christmas

Today is as good a day as any. Now is as good a time as now. I formally present:

The Gospel According to Jim, Part I
The Acts of the Annointed

It starts with the Christmas Story. It goes like this:

The punishment for being pregnant and not being married was usually death. Utterly disgraced, the family would often bring the woman to the priest. The priest, in turn, would throw her down a well. Sometimes he’d only throw her head.

Mary was not yet married to Joseph but was heavy with child. Joseph so loved Mary that he ignored the traditional edicts and escaped with Mary to Jerusalem. There she could be safe with his family. And he would marry her.

Mary gave birth to a boy. She named him Yeshua. We call him Jesus.

It goes on from there. If you read it, I’d love to know what you think.

Sometime around Easter I hope to have Part II finished. It is much more difficult than this simple narrative. It is a “sayings Gospel.”

And, if you are uninterested in any of that, this is Christmas Song by Dave Matthews. It is beautiful.

She was his girl; he was her boyfriend
She’d be his wife and make him her husband
A surprise on the way, any day, any day
One healthy little giggling dribbling baby boy
The wise men came, three made their way
To shower him with love
While he lay in the hay …

Father up above, why in all this hatred do you fill
Me up with love …

Father up above, why in all this anger do you fill
Me up with love …

Nan always said, “Christmas is for the kids.”

Nan was right. She was always right.

After the kids unwrap their gifts, give them hugs. Tell them you love them

Merry Christmas.

On All Things Big and Small

From the feedback regarding my essay “Dirge of the Butterfly“, I am compelled to explain and expand upon my relationship with God and Soul and Existence and Spirituality and All Things Unknown and Unknowable.

I am not an atheist.
I am not a deist.

I do not believe in an Unknowable God.
I believe that the True God cannot be known.

I do not have a personal relationship with God.
I believe that God may be that Relationship.

I do not believe that God can break the rules of nature.
I believe that God may be the Rules of Nature.

Sometimes I look back to the religious traditions of my family. I come from a long line of people that believed that Jesus was tortured and punished for the sins of all people that came before him and all the people that came after, that he died as a sacrifice on a cross, that he was resurrected and sits, even now, at the right hand of God. That Jesus, in deed and in fact, is the Son of God.

I believe that Jesus is God’s Son, but only in the way that you are God’s Child and I am God’s Child. I don’t believe that this is very far off from what Jesus taught when he was alive.

I don’t believe that Jesus had to be resurrected to give validation to the things he taught. I believe that what Jesus taught is far more important than the mystery of his death and the myths that have sprung up, like flowers, after it.

Life, I am certain, is a Great Ocean on a dark, starry night. And all that we see and do, touch, taste, smell, and hear are but ripples, waves, and reflections on the water’s surface. I believe there are untold and unknowable mysteries in the depth below the waves and in the space reaching to and through those stars. There is more to life, Constant Reader, then what our senses perceive. Of this, I am certain.

I do not believe in the supernatural. Anything that Is, by very definition, is natural.

To the ancients, lodestones were magical, supernatural things. Now we know them as mundane magnets. The history of science has revealed many lodestones. And there are many more yet to be discovered.

But, like magnetism and gravity and the wave-particle nature of atoms, we feel their vibrations and see their effects every day. Perhaps this is the nature of déjà vu and premonitions and the like. Perhaps this is the Nature and the Essence of God.

One vaguely pretentious and condescending commenter noted that “Intellectual understanding is the booby prize” that I should “Follow my own lasting happiness (to) discover all that matters,” as if following my “happiness” (my daemons, my inner thoughts, the magical nature of me) has not lead me to these conclusions. Dear Constant Reader, it is this exact following that has lead me down this road and not the interminable treatises of a thousand thousand other Seekers.

At some point I realized that the Unknowable Nature of God and the Unknowable Nature of His (again, forgive the pronoun) existence is just that. Unknowable. And it’s okay. I was not given a handbook when I left my mother’s birth canal that said, “Start here and seek the One True God. If you get it right, you don’t have to worry about (insert cultural/religious prize of finding the One True God here) ever again. You win. Hosanna!”

I also realized that I don’t need magic to feel Spiritually filled. All This is magic enough for me. That a single point of everything and nothing, a “singularity,” exploded to form a universe with all its tricks of space, matter, and time is magic enough already. That it all has culminated from that single point of nothing-and-everything to me writing this and you reading it is more magical than I could dare expect or even imagine. That, Constant Reader, is the Essence of God. That is God.

I don’t pretend to have come to any conclusions. And I don’t have one answer. Not one single answer. Because I realize:

Any answers that can be made
Are not the True Answers.

Dirge of the Butterfly

Right Now

A friend of mine thinks that Adam and Eve is a story. That there is no truth to it. My daughter was concerned.

I don’t believe the story either, I told her.

“But it’s in the Bible.”

There are a lot of things in the Bible. No one believes all of them. I don’t think the Adam and Eve story is fact. It has some allegorical truths, but God did not literally form man from dust and woman from Adam’s rib. Humans, I’m certain evolved.

“You think we evolved? From what?”

I don’t think we evolved. I know it. And I don’t know much.

“What did we evolve from?”

Whatever came before us. That’s all I can really say; I’m not smart enough to answer it any other way.

“Do you believe in God?”

I don’t know. I used to try to know. I tried hard. I used to believe, I think. And then, for a while, I didn’t believe.

I’ve thought long and hard about God. Wondering if there is such a thing or not. Reading everything from the Bible and the Baghavad Gita to Dickinson poems and zen koans to physics and math books. Studying, I listened. To everyone.

It’s a frustrating business when you don’t know. When you’re a Seeker.

But then I opted out. I realized that you can’t know if God exists. You just can’t. A lot of people, more learned and devout people, have sought God before me. They have had mixed results. No one has yet pinned God down. Because you can’t pin down God. If there is a God.

One day I realized that I didn’t have to know. There’s no rule that says that I had to pick a God, pick right, and be buried in his church.

So I don’t try to believe anymore.

I do know one thing though. If there is a God, He (forgive the pronoun) doesn’t care whether the Jets win this weekend or not. It doesn’t matter how many of the faithful pray for it.

“If there is a God, why would He allow babies to die?”

I have two thoughts on that. The first gave birth to the second. And the first comes from a Van Halen video.

Do you remember the song, “Right Now”? Do you remember the video they made for it? (Of course, my daughter didn’t.) During the song, images were juxtaposed with text to try to stir the thought process. Pretty cool for a pop song music video.

One string of text stated, “Right now, God is killing mums and dogs because he has to.” Of course, God has to. What choice does he have? It’s the system. And that’s why babies have to die too.

Which, over time, led me to a further refining of the idea: God kills mums and dogs and little babies, not because he has to, but because he doesn’t care.

Follow me in two directions:
Assuming that God exists and that He is eternal (and assuming time means anything), it doesn’t matter if you live for a minute or a hundred years. Both are a blink to someone who lives forever. Do you care if someone blinks in an instant or holds it for a half-second. The time that you’re alive isn’t even that blink.

Assuming that God exists and that He has given us a Soul that comes before and continues on after the body, you don’t die to God. You change form. What difference does it matter how long you’re in any one form?

Do you care that a caterpillar wraps himself into a cocoon and becomes a pupae? Do you care how long it stays in that cocoon before it emerges a butterfly? Do you mourn the passing of the caterpillar? The pupae? The emergence of the butterfly?

Neither does God.

Wife-Beast, Pig-Slut

Within these pages and other places, I often refer to my wife as The Wife-Beast.

To some this sounds insulting. “You’re lucky she doesn’t give you a right cross more often,” a recent commenter remarked. But I tell you now, Wife-Beast is most certainly a term of endearment of the highest order.

Let me back up a little bit:
Grace Kelly, the movie star, is about as pretty a female as God has ever put on this planet. Especially the Grace Kelly of the 1954, Rear Window, variety. Wow.

In 1956, Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier III of Monaco. In doing so Grace Kelly became an honest-ta-goodness princess.

In 1982, she died in a car accident. That same year Howard Stern’s radio show emmigrated from WWDC in Washington to WNBC in New York. I started listening to him.

As commentary to Grace Kelly’s death, his crew wondered what it was like in the Prince and Princess’ bedroom.

“Do you think that Prince Ranier talked dirty to the beautiful Princess Grace? You know, they’re regular people like us. They have to do regular things,” Stern said.

Fred Norris, one of his side-kicks, brought it to life using a French accent (because who-the-hell knows what a Monacoian accent sounds like), he imagined himself as Prince Ranier in the bedroom making pillow talk with Grace Kelly. All I remember is something like (remember, French accent):

“Come to my bed, my beautiful Wife-Beast.
Come make love to me, my little Pig-Slut.”

I found the idea hysterical. The most beautiful woman in the world (or, at least, my world) was someone’s wife and that someone had to have bedroom talk with her. And that bedroom talk might not be as poetic as fairy tales would suppose.

I don’t know when I started calling my wife, My Little Wife-Beast, but when I explained it as an homage to the most beautiful girl in the world, she was never insulted.

Isn’t that right, my little Wife-Beast?

On A Bet

We all have special moments in our lives. Stories in our personal narrative that we reach back to time-and-time again. These stories give us strength and comfort. They are part of our mythology.

This is one of my stories. Stop me if I you heard it before –

It was April 6th or April 7th 1984. I was sitting in my Traction Room surrounded by traction and casting equipment. I was on early break with Tom, an orderly in his mid-fourties. I was 19-years-old and the Traction Orderly at the local hospital.

Through the open door of the Traction Room we could see a four-bedded ward room.

“What do you think of her?” Tom motioned to a young, skinny doe-eyed volunteer making a bed in the room.

“Ah, I could go out with her,” I said, with an air of very false arrogance.

This young lady was WAAAY out of my league. An eleven on my own personal scale of one to ten. An eleven.

“Ha! I bet you five bucks you couldn’t get a date with her,” Tom challenged.

“Five bucks? You’re on.”

“I’ll give you a week.”

And, with a hand shake, the chase was on. Now, mind you, I was totally overwhelmed with the beauty of this girl. An intimidating beauty. If it weren’t for my bet with Tom, I’d never approached her or dared talk to her.

I went into the room and asked if she would like some help making beds. We talked about the news of the day. A space shuttle had gone up.

We made beds. All morning.

I walked her to her car at noon. Got her number. And promised to call.

And call I did. That evening. A dinner date was arranged. I’d won!

Or so I thought. Subsequent calls hit a brick wall. “I’m doing my hair.” “I’m tired.” And so on.

I was rejected once, twice, perhaps three times. All the while, Tom badgered and mocked me as I gave him the blow-by-blow. It was Tom’s arrogance that he’d won that pushed me forward.

Eventually, I wore the young lady out. She relented to going out with me.

We planned on going to a restaurant called “Wall Street” but wound up going to the “Ground Round”.

I’d won my bet. And me and the young woman went to the “Ground Round” countless times since.

Four years later, I married the girl I’d only dare talk to on a bet. We’re still married — over twenty years — with no end in sight.

I love you, Sandi. And I’m looking forward to the next twenty-plus years.

Home Repairs. A Lament.

My house is now 4-years-old. And 104-years-old.

If you are a long-time reader of JimFormation, you may remember that I bought the old family homestead. My grandparent’s house. The house I grew up in.

It’s an old farm house. It was in considerable disrepair. Most people advised me to knock it down and build something new, including my architect and my contractor.

I didn’t do it. Instead we tore the house down to its studs, joists, and rafters (tore out a few of those too). I rebuilt the thing. We didn’t restore it. We didn’t renovate it. We rebuilt it around its old skeleton.

That, as they say, is a different story. And not the story I want to tell now.

The memories of the story I want to tell has been rekindled by a visit to Unky Rich’s house. Unky Rich is my friend since grade school. He just did some renovations in his home. I helped rehang some cabinets. And the memories flooded back.

I lived in my old house on Alabama Avenue for 15 years. It was small, but cozy. My wife still misses it. I did a lot of work in that house. I learned on the fly …

Everything I know about taping and spackling I’ve learned by continually screwing it up. My technique has a lot more to do with sanding than it does with joint compound. In reality, I’ve gotten a lot better at sanding but my drywall finishing techniques have remained roughly the same.

I’ve also learned that it is poor form to forget that you’re standing on top of a three-foot stepladder. And that children love to see an adult have such a memory lapses. Especially prepubescent children. You can get them to laugh so hard that they pee their pants if you bounce high enough.

It also has the unique side effect of making your spouse suddenly disappear. This because she doesn’t want to be caught laughing.

No one ever asked if I injured myself after one fateful memory lapse.

Home renovation has taught me how to curse. Anyone can say “Fuck you” to an overcritical spouse, or “Your mother’s a whore” to the guy in the Corvette who is too concerned about his latte and his cell phone conversation than your particular position in the road. But reaching for a box of nails while balancing a board of sheet rock only to drop the hammer on your foot will teach you to paint the air with the most beautiful combinations of foul language.

Home renovation has taught me that it’s okay to cry. Especially when everything looks just about perfect accept for that one spot. And you go to fix that spot and it creates two identical spots very near to where the first spot was. This goes on until the flood of tears obscures your vision of ALL the spots on the wall. But this is okay as you’re sure that similar tragedies have reduced many a longshoreman and navy SEAL into a pulsating, wet mass.

I’ve learned to lie too. “No, honey, I’m not going to paint the wall this weekend. The wall has to cure for several weeks in order for the paint to adhere properly. We don’t want to be going back in a month to slap on another coat of paint. Let’s do this right.”

Why mention this? Because as I said in the opening, my house is 4-years-old. Nail heads are a-popping through the sheetrock. Trim is scuffed. Walls have assorted dents and dings. Some fixtures need repair. The basement is leaking.

My wife is sick of the colors of the walls.

My four year hiatus is over.

Mother fucker.

Sob.

“You know, honey. I think this may void our homeowner’s insurance. Maybe we talk to our agent or play it safe and not do anything for a year or so.”

Rust Never Sleeps

I originally wrote this essay about 10 years ago. I’ve updated it a little. A friend reminded me about it and thought it would make a good companion piece to yesterday’s post: Deliberate Movement.

It starts early. Maybe you’re forty-five or fifty years old:

  • Your notice your feet are numb –
  • You develop a sore on your foot –
  • It doesn’t heal –
  • They amputate your toe –
  • And then your foot –
  • And then your lower leg –
  • You spent most of your time in a wheelchair because the stump that used to be your leg won’t heal –
  • You can’t wear your prosthesis –
  • You can’t get it up anymore –
  • You can’t empty your bladder –
  • You get frequent urinary tract infections –
  • They stick a tube into your penis from time-to-time –
  • Your fingers buzz –
  • You’ve had surgery after surgery after surgery –
  • You’re mostly blind –
  • Your intestines don’t absorb the food you eat –
  • And, even though you eat, you’re malnourished –
  • You have heart disease –
  • You get tired simply trying to stand–
  • Your kidneys fail –
  • Three days a week for four hours or so, you’re hooked up to a machine that cleans your blood (dialysis) –
  • Your memory fails –
  • You get confused easily –
  • You have a stroke –
  • They cut off your other leg –
  • You don’t recognize your family –
  • You have another stroke –
  • You have a tube in your stomach because you can’t eat or you forget to eat –
  • You forget who you are –
  • You fade away …

Welcome to Type II Diabetes. It happens — A LOT. I see it everyday.

Over and over and over again the sickest people I meet, the people who are wearing out and rotting away at home and in hospitals, are those who have “Adult Onset Diabetes” or “Type II Diabetes.” Ten years ago when I first wrote this little piece, you seldom heard about it. Now it’s everywhere.

I’m willing to bet that more than half the people in your local hospital are there because of complications of diabetes. I’m not kidding.

And I’d give you two-to-one odds that either you or me (or both of us) will one day sit in a hospital bed with complications resulting from diabetes.

It scares me to death. Depresses me sometimes.

And I don’t even think that science has a handle on it. There’s lots of confusion.

It’s my professional opinion (and I’ve been a Registered Nurse for almost two decades) that our bodies simply wear out. The system that processes all those starches and sugars that we eat becomes less and less efficient until, one day, it doesn’t work anymore. The doctor who finally figures it out for you gives you a diagnosis: “You have diabetes.”

Our bodies were not built to break down and break down and break down and break down carbohydrates. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year. We wear out.

Dr. Tamir Katz is not talking specifically about diabetes but, as far as I’m concerned, he has as good a handle on this stuff as anyone.

Give his website a read. Buy his book (the e-book is less than $4). Give yourself a chance.

Deliberate Movement

“I always sleep with my head to the north and my feet pointing south,” my new friend reported when I asked him how he stayed so fit. “It keeps you inline with the earth’s magnetic field.”

Generally I put very little credence in such claims, but you didn’t see this guy. He had a back as straight as an iron rod, flat belly, wide shoulders and narrow hips, and a handshake that grabbed your attention far more confidently than your hand. He also had that certain shine and smile in his eye that whispers, “I know something that you don’t know.”

“Do you mind me asking how old you are?” I asked.

“Not at all. I’m 89-years-old.” You’d have thought he lived a fit 65 years or so. He went on talking about why he was so fit. “Every movement should be purposeful and direct. They should start at your legs and vibrate up. Do you know what I mean?”

I thought I did and said so.

“And breathe. You must breathe,” his eyes burned into mine. “You can live days, even weeks without food. A little while less without water. But you need air. Lots of it. A few times each minute.” He paused to make sure I was paying attention. “Breathe. Not like this,” he panted taking shallow breaths in and out of his mouth. “But like this,” he pulled air deep into his nose and held it for a moment. I hardly saw him exhale. “Your body, your cells need the oxygen.”

Where did you pick this up?

“I bought a yoga book and taught myself.” He described the book a little and talked about the author, some English guy. “Americans don’t know yoga,” he said. “They’re so impatient. Everything has to happen quickly. McYoga. Happy McYoga. If you want to learn yoga, have someone teach you the basics and stick with the basics. You won’t need anyone anymore. Learn as you go. Stick with a good foundation. And don’t go to an American.”

Yoga? How long have you been practicing?

“Oh. I don’t practice it. It just is. It’s like asking me: How long have you practiced walking? You don’t practice, you just walk. To me, yoga is purposeful movement.”

How long have you been purposefully moving?

“I guess I picked up that book in ’45, maybe a little early. I’ve been living like this for 60 years.”

Exercise?

“I walk. I move my body. I don’t have a formal exercise program. When I noticed a little flab around my midsection,” he grabbed his waist, “I started doing leg lifts. Have you ever done them? They’re not as easy as you think. I do a set with my head north and my feet south and then turn around the other way. I always keep in mind that I have to stay in harmony with the earth. It got me back to trim.”

When I asked him what he eats, he went on a big diatribe about the evils of hydrogenated (trans) fats. “The big companies introduced them to bakers in the thirties. It was cheaper and had a longer shelf life than what they were using. Before you know it every baker in the country was using it. The stuff is no good for you. I won’t eat it.”

And then we touched on my personal pet peeve, high fructose corn syrup. “That stuff’s in everything you drink except for water. I drink water…”

Alcohol?

“You get to a point with yoga that your body doesn’t want it, doesn’t need it, doesn’t miss it. I don’t drink alcohol because I don’t want to. No other reason.

“I eat a lot of vegetables. Remember, when you cook them, use very little water and cover the pot. Don’t cook them for too long. Just long enough to make them tender. Flavor with salt, but only kosher salt or sea salt.”

I generally eat my vegetables raw, uncooked, I remarked.

“Even better, if your stomach can tolerate it. Just remember to eat good foods. Try to stay away from the processed stuff. Move your body. Be purposeful and deliberate. Walk. Breathe. Really breathe.”

And with that, he shook my hand one last time. Long and harder than what is usually comfortable. I squeezed too. “Good,” he said. “Now release slowly. Slowly. See, we shared energy. We are brothers.”

He winked and then walked away. Purposeful. Deliberate.

If You See Kay …

I once heard that the word “fuck†comes from a time when Britain was having a population shortage and one king or another wanted to increase the number of serfs under his rule. “Fornicate Under the Command of the King,†he ordered. “F.U.C.K.â€

This, however, is wrong.

I’ve also heard that “fuck†is an acronym for “Forced Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.†A term that was emblazoned onto rapists as punishment.

This also is untrue.

“Fuck†may have come from the German words “ficken†or “fucken†which mean “to punch or penetrate.†It may even be a word twisted from the Latin “futuere†which was slang for intercourse. But I think “fuck†comes from the Scandanavian word “fokken†which means “to breed cattle.â€

Googling the word “fuck†produced 195 million results. I didn’t check them all.

I forgot to check Wikipedia when looking up the origins of the word “fuck.†I hope they agree with me, because the Wikipedia is now the source for all knowledge in the known universe.

While doing research for that little bit I learned that 61% of men in one study or another had sex with a woman they didn’t like. My guess is that most of them were having sex with their wives.

Sperm 1: How much farther to the fallopian tubes?
Sperm 2: A long ways. We’ve only just passed the tonsils.

According to kamasutra-sex.org:

The ancient Hindus believed that life had three purposes: religious piety (dharma), material success (artha), and sexual pleasure (kama). All three were equal, and the erotic was celebrated as the seat of earthly beauty. In the Hindu world the pursuit of sexual pleasure was revered as a sort of religious quest.

For the sake of all that is holy, I’m considering changing religions. Or perhaps I already had and hadn’t noticed.

According to The Kinsey Institute there is a continuum of homosexuality:

  1. Exclusively heterosexual;
  2. Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual;
  3. Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual;
  4. Equally heterosexual and homosexual;
  5. Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual;
  6. Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual;
  7. Exclusively homosexual.

I’ve often wondered about this. I mean, if you’re a guy and you think Brad Pitt is kinda cute, that’s a little gay.

Threesomes are all the rage now, right? I think those guy-guy-girl ones are a little gay too.

And what if you pick up a woman in a bar and are getting orally pleasured by her in the parking lot and you give her the obligatory reach-around and find a package? You just got oral from a guy. That’s gay. (Maybe that’s what the people at the Kinsey Institute describe as “incidentally homosexual.â€)

In the United States the word “fanny†means buttocks and might be used as a euphemism for said buttocks when talking with children. But in the United Kingdom it’s a vulgar word for vagina.

In the previous sentence I almost wrote the term “female vagina.†As if there’s a guy out there who has one. I know that some men are pussies but I can’t imagine a scenario where one is an integral part of his physical being. And if it was, you’d never get him out of the house.

The term “mother-fucker†has Oedipal overtones but is not based on one having intercourse with one’s mother. Instead it is derived from American slave owners raping a slave’s mother.

Hamlet:
Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

Ophelia:
No, my lord.

Hamlet:
I mean, my head upon your lap?

Ophelia:
Ay, my lord.

Hamlet:
Do you think I meant country matters?

Ophelia:
I think nothing, my lord.

Hamlet:
That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs.

That’s Shakespeare using the c-word. Certainly it is. He’s playing with us. He’s playing with words. It’s funny. I think.

I’ve heard some starting to use the phrase “cunty†to describe a person who is slightly south of “bitchy.†Believe it or not, the first person I heard use “cunty” was Martha Stewart’s daughter, Alexis. Of all people, I thought she’d be cunty. She’s not.

Finally I leave you with a joke (I started with one in the title, I’m not sure if you got it). Good luck trying to figure it out:

“I’ve invested in coffee.â€

“That’s funny. I don’t see you in coffee; I see you in tea.â€

Groin & Boob Etiquette

So what is the proper etiquette when sliding in and out of theater or sporting event seats? Do you put your butt into a stranger’s face while passing? Or your, ahem, twig and berries?

I’m thinking that if the person remains sitting, he gets the butt. Standing, we go face-to-face and do the “let me slide by” tango. But I’m not certain. I’m always confused.

Now that I think about it, you can’t go face-to-face if you have a tray full of food. You need to give the person your ass so that you can protect your food and drinks. This is all very confusing and is nothing Dear Abby ever talked about in her column.

Similarly, where’s the best place to hang a name tag? Especially if you’re a woman.

I run in and out of hospitals all day long. Everyone wears name tags. Women are always wearing them over one boob or the other.

All day long I’m wrestling with trying to figure out some woman’s name, position, or title while not seeming like the hospital perv. I know that if I get caught doing the downward glance I’m going to be known as the Cleavage-Talker. I don’t need that.  I think I’d rather be known as the Name-Forgetterer than the Boobie-Watcher.

I work with a guy who wears his name tag on his belt. It’s off to the side. You know, it’s in his basement — but it’s still next to the boiler.

I told him he does it to get women to check out his Johnson. Sometimes says he keeps his name tag at “wheelchair level” so patients in wheelchairs can read it. Other times he tells me he hangs it off his belt so that he doesn’t have to poke holes in his shirts.

I laughed and then stared at his crotch. For an uncomfortable length of time.

Yesterday, I noticed he’s started wearing his name tag in the traditional boob area. I guess I made my point.