“You’re Sick!”

March 23, 2016 at 6:17 am (My Soreballs Vacation, The Easy Chair)

"See How Big My Hands Are?"

“See How Big My Hands Are?”

Yes I am. But not in the twisted, obscenity-laced way you’re used to.

I spent a couple days home in bed, just resting and waiting for the fever to break. It’s been a long while since I’ve had so much uninterrupted quiet time. I caught up on some TV, smoked four or five joints, and took about twenty naps as a result. I woke up in a sweat about an hour ago, and no longer feel like warmed-over death.

What did I watch? I’d been having a library copy of Ray, the Ray Charles biography flick, under the Blu-Ray player for the last six months. I started it at 4 AM during a restless period, and was living life as a junkie musician for the next few hours. My flu-like symptoms added reality to the heroin withdrawal scenes, and I swear, during that one scene when they played “Every Night I Sing The Blues” and a shot of brown liquor was being poured? I could taste the Evan Williams, and feel the smoky, sultry beat in the depths of my bones. A flashback to my blues-obsessed drinking days of the early ’90s. The raw depression of the period came rushing back.

After an upbeat few hours of spring training, including the Tampa Bay-Cuban Nationals game attended by President Obama, I remembered something else I’d been meaning to catch up on:

The People vs OJ Simpson.

I was as obsessed as everyone else with the OJ trial. I watched in the mornings before work on the now-defunct CourtTV. It went down smooth with a couple forties of Olde English 800, my Breakfast of Champions back then. I’d get sped up and drink myself down during the course of a work shift. I did this for a couple years, and the “OJ era” was arguably my darkest time. Occupants of the apartments across from my workplace were mostly black and poor, and their insights toward the trial of the century shaped (positively) my attitude toward my brothers and sisters of a different color. I couldn’t empathize, but I could begin to understand.

Then there’s my own not-so-well-known connection to the OJ Simpson case. Did I do it?

So I’ve been living in the past for a couple days. I needed a bit of space. Waking with, if not a spring in my step, at least the lack of an elephant standing on my soul, telling me to do better. I texted Grinder, “I can work today. I might not be full-speed, but I think I can stand there awake for ten hours.”

My phone rang a bit ago, as I prepared for work. It was Grinder. “You didn’t sound good last night, so we moved things around. You get better, and we will see you soon.”

I can live with that. Paid sick time has been a new thing for me. I’ve always had the Republican Health Plan. (“Don’t Get Sick!”) Without paid time off, I would be sitting on a milk crate, nose running like a faucet, praying for the clock to tick faster so I can make the house payment. This way I will still have ten hours paid sick leave from last year, after today, plus a full year’s worth for this year. Use it or lose it. I will only have one more four-hour shift this week, so I am on vacation, albeit a poor, low-impact vacation.

Use the time wisely, my son.

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