Return Of The Scorpion, Reloaded


Have y’all ever been awake in bed, staring at the ceiling about a million different things and in the midst of all your deep thoughts you find yourself wondering what it would look like with mirrors on the ceiling? Funny question, right? Not really. Not for me. As much as I looked forward to the return of The Sting of the Scorpion I found life kicking me in the balls with bigger things to worry about. In the end, at the end of each day, I find myself in bed unable to fall asleep because of suffering from a very busy brain.

I lay there wondering when life became so complicated. I’ll start with me, mine is the easiest to explain I suppose. Somewhere around the first of the year I went to the doctor because I was suffering from pain in my back that home remedies like ibuprofen and ice could no longer relieve. I was unaware of any injury to my back and figured it was age+work+fatigue+ I’m not 20 anymore= my pain. A series of tests, studies, and exams revealed that my L4 and L3 are ruptured along with my L2 on it way to oblivion. However, it not due to injury, it’s due to some degenerative disease I cannot spell or pronounce along with some pretty severe arthritis. In English, a+b+c= a severe deflection in 3 different directions accompanying the continued pressure on many nerves. After many doctors, a couple pain management specialists, and even some injections, the only answer I am given is to have corrective surgery. And at this stage, there isn’t any fundage to take care of that lovely deductable. So, that shits on hold.

My now 21 year old daughter is attempting to have children at a zero success rate. We, her and I, have been to the fertility clinic on more than one occasion and it was discovered she suffers from PCOS accompanied by a super high testosterone level. So, now she is on a “plan” to bring everything into alignment so eventually she can get pregnant. The challenge has been to keep her emotions in check but this has ramped her anxiety up a billion fold.

So, somewhere around early last month my wife and I were enjoying a very relaxing and romantic bubble bath together until I found she had a weird bump near the limph node of her left breast. The bubble bath ended. This started a series of appointments, exams, and consultations. Allot of fucking time had to pass while being in the dark, not knowing that answers we we seeking, and I cannot even imagine what this is doing to my wife on the inside emotionally. But, now we have news, there are masses, however not concerning masses, and all tests will be repeated in November this year.

As y’all can see, the last few months have been a fucking roller coaster from hell and we aren’t getting off just yet I’m afraid. So, I lay in bed next to my wife at night, staring at her sleeping and staring at my bare ceiling wondering what I look like staring into the abyss trying to empty out my mind so I can get some sleep. It’s hard enough having my problems I can’t get corrected and a thousand times harder watching time click by with the ones I love while they wonder about their own personal unknowns. So, have patience with me as I find time, energy, and the right mood to keep coming back, it will happen, but I have to take into account this thing I call my life.

Waiting In A Long Line To Pee


“The woman standing at the back of the plane is about to piss her pants. I know this because five minutes ago she crawled over me and said, “I’m sorry to disturb you Mr. Rowe, but I’m about to piss my pants.” Sadly, the kid across the aisle beat her to it. No doubt about it. The whole plane smells of urine, and it’s not coming from the bathroom. It’s coming from the kid.

We’re on a CRJ700 – a Canadair Regional Jet flying from San Francisco to Kansas City. It’s a three hour flight, but it feels a lot longer. Why? Because the CRJ700 was designed by The Marquis de Sade. There’s only one bathroom on board, and it’s all the way in the back. One bathroom for 74 people. On a three-hour flight that was delayed on the tarmac for 35 minutes.

Seasoned travelers will immediately understand the implications, and behave accordingly. But most of my fellow passengers do not possess the institutional knowledge required to endure three and a half hours on a CRJ700. At the airport, they drink their breakfast beverages like it was any other day, enjoying their lattes and orange juice with impunity. Then they blithely board this long and skinny Tube of Despair with no sense of how a solitary toilet can conspire with a bad floor plan to humble the strongest among us. Once settled, many avail themselves of the beverage service, cruelly offered by a smiling flight attendant who must have surely known what would follow. Poor bastards.

It began with lots of anxious head-turning – the way it always does when people realize they’re on a plane with only one crapper located far behind them. People needing relief look worriedly toward the back of the plane to see if the restroom is occupied. Invariably, it is. So they stay seated, but they keep looking back every five seconds. The effect is interesting. As more heads turn, more people realize their own need is identical to the need of those around them – and getting worse. So a line forms in the aisle. Not good.

Soon, people realize the inevitable – we’re all going to need to urinate before landing – but not necessarily at the precise moment of our own choosing. Thus, the fundamental certainty upon which all continence depends is suddenly compromised, and a series of unusual but pressing questions begin to form in the mind every traveler.

When exactly, does one get up and join the line? Does one wait until one needs to go, or does one wait in a line of ever-changing length? What is the proper protocol? Are those seated closer to the restroom obligated to remain seated if they see someone getting up in front of them? Do women and children deserve some kind of deference? If so, how much?

These questions are important, because standing in line to pee on the CRJ700 is a journey in personal humiliation. The aisles are so narrow it’s impossible to remain upright without invading the personal space of those still seated. (If you zoom in to my seat-mate, now standing in the back, you’ll see that her ass now occupies the space reserved for the face of the man still in 17C. That guy, or whatever’s left of him, is now crammed into the lap of the stranger next to him, who is no doubt trying to jam himself through the window, happy to pay the ultimate price for a little fresh air.) Point is, waiting in line to pee on a CRJ700 is actually worse than pissing your pants, as evidenced by the peaceful countenance of the soggy kid, sleeping across the aisle.

Anyway, the situation really devolved an hour ago, when the line grew to fifteen people. Everyone who hadn’t yet peed was fumbling through a personal calculus involving time, space, bladder capacity, prior liquid intake, arrival time, and basic self-control. Those in line were the most desperate, and no doubt counting the minutes to relief. Alas, they forgot to factor in the big unknown – turbulence. As we flew through some very heavy chop, the Captain demanded everyone take their seats. Desperate people who had been waiting in line – some for a half hour – had no choice but to follow orders. Mutiny was out of the question, as the chop would have made hitting the toilet – even from a seated position – all but impossible.

The agony in the plane was palpable, and when the safety belt sign was finally turned off twenty minutes later, it was like a scene from Pamplona. The stampede toward the stern was immediate and chaotic. Good manners and decorum were forgotten, as once civilized people scratched and clawed their way over the young and helpless, fighting backwards for a few private moments in a defiled outhouse 37,000 feet in the sky.

I have pictures, but out of respect, I’m not going to show you. After yesterday’s post, I’m worried about sharing as much as I already have. I will however, show you the inside of the briefing card, which the flight attendant strongly advised we refer to during the mandatory safety briefing of the CRJ700. In it, you’ll see all sorts of helpful illustrations regarding what to do in the event of an emergency.

Alas – there are no helpful tips for how to politely pee all over yourself and your neighbor.


Funny how there are times that one can actually relate to a Facebook status update, as this was the case yesterday as I browsed my rather uneventful wall. I stumbled across yet another Mike Rowe status update that really hit home. Eventhough I don’t fly nowadays unless, well, I don’t fly but I drive, but back in my Air Force days this little story told here was true more often than not, especially on those long international flights we love to hate so much. The status update and the picture used above have been shared here without permission, I hope Mike Rowe doesn’t mind.

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