There’s no place like Oz

Let me just begin by saying how much I enjoy a good adventure; not some slapstick story about how the walk of shame was particularly cold this morning, but more a barium-swallowing, emergency procedure, smack-the-coffee-stains-right-off-your-teeth kind of day.

I live for the moments when I’m whisked out of Kansas and plopped straight into some technicolor land to defeat whatever sorceress or warlock (who usually comes in one of two flavors: premium, with the breadth of the shoulders migrating down to the midsection, or fat-free, complete with chunks of ribcage sticking out of skin) is making the locals fearful.

This week, the adversary happened to be this wily harpy who delighted in pumping my appendix so full that it resembled a really complex balloon animal, like a snake or a worm. I suppose she wasn’t satisfied with mere creatures and decided to take the path of a kindergardener, blowing up the organ until it popped.

My coworkers had been dropping like kamikaze flies earlier in the week, so I naturally assumed it was some mild virus, allowing the sadistic clown work in secret.

Luckily, this was just the beginning of the tale, and my scarecrow uncle amassed enough data to grab me from class and rush me to the E.R. I sat as they prodded and tested and eventually concluded that my party organ needed excavated. Also, I realize that this post is taking a turn for Suessical, but bear with me. Like archaeologists, my surgeons made some incisions, and meticulously rid me of my condition.

Needless to say, after copious amounts of sorbet and jello, I’m on my way to a full recovery.

This week I wanted to include an older piece about adventures in health, I hope you enjoy:


Im sure you’ve heard, the Wicked Witch of the West
had a breast reduction. Not a
cosmetic correction, more for
chest protection.
See, she found
a genetic obstruction the size of a munchkin
in her mammory. “we wish to welcome you to…
well, not memory lane,
this ain’t no children’s story.”
It was supposed to be a routine mammogram,
cancer-free. And all this after the Dorothy
affair. So now Ms. Witch is thinking,
“Isn’t life unfair?”
She was finally beginning to rebuild her reputation
and reclaim her throne,
but now she sits in her golden
Oz chair while the flying monkeys have left her.
Frail, alone, she thinks, “epic fail,”
while sipping her chemotherapy cocktail,

Meanwhile, over the river and
through the woods,
the big bad wolf is engaged in a
test of a different sort.
His good looks gone gray,
he found out the hard way that
“just for men” won’t keep the doctor at bay.
What he wouldn’t do for a little red in his mane,
but these days, he’s registered,
and all the neighbors know
what kind of offender he is.
So he finds himself in the doctor’s office,
where his flesh crawls as a colonoscopy follows
the maze of his insides.
Some time ago, just for sport,
he would eat everything, from straw to sheep;
Surprisingly his eyes were bigger than his stomach.
“I’m afraid it’s bad news,” the physician sighs.
Apparently a diet of pies, pigs, sticks, bricks
and little red riding hood causes polyps.

And now Anansi has arthritis;
diagnosed by a doctor who thought
a life of lies and trickery
made his bones brittle.
With legs like long threads of silky web,
Anansi now travels by walker and is
constantly bothered by he animals he’s stolen blind,

and who all have really bad aim

But his fate is better than Johnny Appleseed,
who got cyanide poisoning in ’99,
Or poor Hercules,
to whom the years have not been kind.
With a case of morbid obesity,
his medical chart looks like a
grocery list lined with choices
chosen from the candy aisle.
Chronic diabetes along with
half a ton of co-morbidities assures
he will spend the rest of his life in
an assisted living home.
The once great hero of Rome
is now on Atkins,
spending his days bed-resting from
eating too many Cheetos.

But with TV shows on the rise,
the fairy tales of old aren’t told anymore.
They grow old,
contracting chronic conditions
they face extinction in hospital beds.
With bedpans,
and catheters.
And grandkids making a ruckus next door.
But who visits the poor folk heroes?
Jack is tired, and sick of Chamber music.
Since his old harp can’t learn new grooves, he
buys an IPod to blast T-Pain off ITunes.
And while Hansel and Gretel
get by on a low-carb diet,
Rumpulstiltskin spins straw to pass the time.
In senile outbursts he cries,
“i was once famous, they used to shout my name!”
And the nurse just looks at him,
“sure they did hun, now take your pain meds.”

Our generation is famous for the stories we’ve woven.
We’ve owned an incredible
treasure trove of folk histories,
a tapestry that reclaims the safety of childhood,
that keeps at bay the moment I’m afraid of:
when a teacher will mention how
people used to believe in fairy tales,
the students will laugh and
wait for the teacher to tell them what to believe today.

2 thoughts on “There’s no place like Oz

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