Monday, November 22, 2010

Tiger and Me

Often I am at warehouses where fork lift operators must load goods into my truck.
I can always tell the new ones.
Those that have been at it awhile zip, fly, scoop and push as if the machine had veins and nerves in sync with the operator.
The new ones bang, bump, drop, jerk and mostly just look pathetic as everyone within thirty feet run for cover.
There's really nothing to it, you can't really hurt anything. it's just the difference between fear and confidence.
All mental.
I've seen truck drivers that could weave through traffic like a nurse shark in a coral reef. Damn near pretty.
But one day they screw up. They take out the old lady's fender on the brown Buick and everything changes.
Their eyes change, they shake just a bit when things get sticky. They get out and look when backing cuz they're just not sure. Sometimes they never make it back.
It can happen to anyone; baseball players, politicians, teachers, bankers after one too many bad loans.
Even Tiger Woods.
Something happens and the magic's all gone.
Where they could once do no wrong, they now can do no right.
And it's all mental. All fear and confidence.
I never took out that bumper and I never could hit a golf ball straight anyway.
But I understand.
And the harder you try to recover the magic, the farther away it drifts.
Sometimes, the only choice left is to lay it down and walk away.

I could use some magic
I remember the coral reef
When I almost admired my own shadow
in never missing a turn
but sometimes
when it's gone
it's gone
Tiger may never break Jack's record
and my shadow
settles still to the sand

The Physical

I drive a truck for a living, though often it seems it drives me.
Federal regulations require, among many other things, that I take a physical examination every two years to prove my fitness for lumbering and careening down Uncle Sam's roads.
it's quite rigorous, this physical
wink wink
Anyway, I had been putting it off as I've been sicker than old man Johnson's mule when it crashed the fence and ate through Mrs. Peterson's flower garden.
But getting better with time wasn't working, so I decided to take my chances.
I spent Thursday night in South Carolina arguing with a state trooper as to whether I should be driving down the freeway flinging blown tire all over the highway.
Considering his was one of the cars I managed to maim with my indiscriminate rubber bombs, he won easily.
I was given a written warning and ordered not to move until the tire was fixed.
Four hours later, it was.
Friday, I drove six hundred miles, coughing, hacking and wheezing the entire way.
Friday night, I wheeled my piece of shit into the clinic.
I had nothing left. Just death lookin for a grave.
What kind of clinic stays open til five am anyway?
How bad did you do in medical school to be feeling trucker's balls at three am?
A dude comes out, looks like seth rogen's mangy brother. Torn up jeans, an old t-shirt, and tats where skin might once have been.
I wondered, is he the doctor?
he made me pee in a cup
pretended to take my pulse, though I'm sure he was several inches off and I didn't have one anyway.
pumped up my arm, and gazed out the window, and said my blood pressure was fine.
then the eye test. Shit. I had nothin, and he knew it.
"Number five?"
"um, the right?"
"You sure?"
"uh, the left?"
"Getting closer"
"the top??"
"Bingo! You see just fine."
"Have a seat," he says. "The Doctor will be right with you."
Whew! they have real doctors!
A twenty-somethin blond comes strollin in. If it was midnight at Logan's Roadhouse I'd probably hit on her.
"You look really sick!" she begins
"I am" I agree
My knowing seems to satisfy her.
"How's your hearing?"
"Um, seems ok"
"Good. Fine" she makes a note.
"Can you hold your hands above your head?" She asks.
"uh, sure."
"Good!" She seems pleased and makes another note.
"Can you turn your head?" She continues.
"Yeah, think so."
So Far so good.
She has me stand. Presses my sides and has me breathe deep as I break into convulsive coughing.
"I think you have pneumonia." She quickly asserts.
"You're all cruddy and gunky over here. You really need to see a doctor."
"But I thought you were a doctor?" I ask
She smiles. "I am."
"Then why don't you scribble me some antibiotics so I can get rid of this gunky crud?" I suggest.
She smiles again. "Oh, I can't do that. If you had an allergic reaction you could sue me."
I counter. "Well, Yeah, but if you  sign me as healthy tonight, and I die tomorrow, you're gonna look pretty silly"
She doesn't answer. We both know she'll pass me. The company I drive for doesn't pay her to yank their drivers from the road. They pay her to sign my card. Breathing and warm will do.
"Take down your pants."
"Further. Those too."
Strange, why didn't she just ask me if my balls were fine, like she did the rest of me?
poke  pinch prod  squeeze
more coughing
"Well, you don't seem to have a hernia. You pass."
I wish I had been able to get a hard on and knock out her front tooth but i was just too damn sick and tired and this wasn't Logan's Roadhouse.
Her name was Angel. Dr. Angel
And if I live through the week, I'm good for another two years.