Happy Extraction Day!

43 years ago I was minding my own business, quietly soaking up digested nutrients and kicking away at my mother’s bladder, when I sensed something was amiss. It was late at night, sometime after 11, a theme that would follow me throughout my life.

I don’t remember things too clearly, but if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that I was a bit shocked at the whole ordeal. I was in a warm and comfy room that would be rented out three more times to my siblings. But it was mine for now and someone was pulling me out of it? Insanity. So unfair. Leave me alone, I probably thought.

But whoever that doctor at Einstein Medical Center was back on October 11, 1974 around 11ish, he didn’t leave me alone. All of a sudden I was sliding south in an experience I would later relive in horror while on the Jumpin’ Jack Splash waterslide at Dorney Park’s Wild Water Kingdom. And then I was out. I didn’t have a name, a beard, a driver’s license. After a spank, I was screaming. I was covered in goo and maybe vernix, who the hell knows? My mother was probably too thrilled to be rid of the parasitic being who had spent 9 months and 13 days kicking her spleen and giving her weird hunger cravings and hemorrhoids. My dad was probably thinking something like: “Wait, I have to pay for this thing to go to college?”

I don’t know exactly what I was thinking at that time, but I would imagine it was something similar to when I went out the door during skydiving: “Holy shit. What have I gotten myself into?”

For many years, my job was to nap, lie around, and eat. My toilet was wherever I wanted it to be and it was someone else’s job to clean me up afterwards. No matter how many times a day I went! I occasionally had to deal with adults and I had to do it without the assistance of coffee, Xanax, or whiskey. I learned to share, I learned to care, I learned not to judge a book by its cover, and I learned to build a longer table and not a higher fence. You know, essentially. For the most part, life was grand.

But then, of course, things changed. I had to become responsible and wear pants. Pooping in front of people was no longer as charming as it once had been. Soon my friends and neighbors had oral linguistic skills and sometimes they were complete assholes. Things like name calling, judgment, and meanness became apparent. There were all of a sudden phobias and psychoses, I was afraid of things like spiders and the dark. At times I got paranoid and at others I got upset. I learned that sometimes hell was other people and sometimes hell was me. Man, sometimes I wanted to go back where things were safe and I was protected by amniotic fluid and eating through my umbilical cord.

I won’t lie, there are times I have the thought I probably had after Doctor Invasive pulled me out of the womb: Holy shit, what have I gotten myself into? It’s usually when times are bad or I am overwhelmed by how crazy the world is. It comes when I have a run in with a mean spirited bitter person or I see how bad people can be to each other.

Fortunately, one of the other lessons I learned way back when was to look at the bright side, to be optimistic. So when the world pushes me to be a pessimist, I try very hard to push back with some optimism. No doubt optimism can be seen as naive, oblivious, or childish. And there are times I agree with that. But I do know that optimism is in deficit and that’s a shame, because for me it’s worked well for fortyish years and I hope it works for fortyish more. And for those times that it doesn’t work there’s always coffee, Xanax, and whiskey.

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