Thursday, September 2, 2010

From the Archives. November 2008. Lenny Briscoe, Represent. Step up to the Wu.

Now that I can remote into my office from anywhere in the world, I can fish a few more columns out of the wrecked archives when I have a few minutes and continue the process of loading them here. This was an episode where the TiVo busted and I simultaneously came down with food poisoning. It wasn't pretty.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: November 2008

Lenny Briscoe, Represent. Step Up to the Wu.

"We all know that cash rules everything around us; cash, green, get the money, dollar dollar bill y'all. That's why it's time to enter the 36 chambers and step to the Wu."
—Wu Tang Financial, Chappelle's Show

I woke up on election day with a busted TiVo. As usual, I went to Fast Forward through the bitter, inane, insulting campaign commercials, and…nothing happened. I aimed the remote again. I jabbed the button really HARD for emphasis. Nothing. Impotent! No pause. No rewind. Just live television. In real time. Like. An. Animal. Every box I clicked said, “call your Cable Provider....”

Oh and I did. You betcha I did.

I went to work, and Rodney the Cable Guy called my cell a few hours later. (I don’t like to brag or anything, but....I’ve never waited at home for the recommended 12 hour window. Good ol’ Rodney’s been takin’ care of my box for the last 10 years or so; he knows all my numbers. And henknows I will levitate home to meet him if I have to if it means he can get the cable back before Martha Stewart comes on at two.)

"Protect yo Knight, Bitch." (WuTang Financial)
As he autopsied the box, I knew it was just a matter of time before he admitted the inevitable: it couldn’t be saved. Sure, he’d get me a new one. But the memory—and the memories—would be gone. Could I be sure I would ever retrieve“WuTang Financial” (“protect your knight bitch”) or “white people dancing” from Chappelle? What about my 13 episodes of Yoga Zone (Lime TV isn’t even ON anymore)? Where I will find my Fine Living archives of Dwell Magazine on TV?

Season One of Mad Men? The season 2 finale of 30 Rock? (Yes, I could get the DVDs, but that piece of crap broke a long time ago and I refuse to buy a new one until they swear they won’t invent another thing. I barely resolved VHS or Beta in time for everyone else to fight out Blu-Ray vs HD. You’ll take my 8-tracks when they pry them from my cold dead hands.)

How long would it take me to rebuild?

Rodney installed the new box, and I began the resurrection immediately. I wasn’t picky either. Oprah. The View. Season Passes. Gilmore Girls (at 5, not 11). And of course, the election coverage. Insomniacs know how to hedge desperation. One way or the other, there would always be something on.

Until I got home from work the next day and…there wasn’t. Just another message that said “call your cable operator.”

This time, they sent Doug.
what's left of Cable Guy

Doug’s a good man, but he’s no Rodney.

He didn’t even try to save my election coverage, my paltry episode of Dirty Sexy Money. He went right to the truck; came back with the new box; installed it; and left after showing me only one short-cut feature.

I played with the new buttons for a few minutes and then realized something wasn’t right. Was this box busted too? Was it the tv? Noooo…I was actually dizzy. The room was spinning, and my neck got clammy. Was I taking this harder than I thought?

I had a brief few moments to curse the very existence of Mediterranean food before I was quickly treated to a repeat viewing of the carryout dinner I’d picked up a few hours before. Followed fairly quickly by lunch.

Then breakfast. Then, maybe....was that a candied apple I’d had sometime around Halloween?

In between heaves, I grabbed some pillows, and a comforter, and bedded down on the bathroom floor. (Relax, it’s VERY clean.)

I put on some music and turned it up so the hot sorority girls next door wouldn’t hear me retching and call for an ambulance. Or an Exorcist. Though I kept thinking around 3 am, surely all the Evil had been expelled. I was up at 3 a.m., because even the AMBIEN wouldn’t stay down. The next day dawned with little improvement and I began to cancel things.

Work. The Girls’ Night Dinner Party I’d been planning for weeks.

I couldn’t think clearly, except to admire how lean and taut my stomach muscles were beginning to feel, though I dimly realized that throwing up won’t get you to a six-pack the way say, Pilates, might.

I posted a few facebook entries, a few micro-blogs. I dozed in and out of consciousness. I awoke to the online social circle’s diagnosis that I probably didn’t have food poisoning; it was probably the stomach bug that was going around. (One girl had thrown up four times standing in line to vote. Now THAT is democracy. Though I’m glad she doesn’t live in my precinct.)

When I wasn’t any better the next day, after much agonizing, I asked a friend to drop off supplies. I have a hard time asking anyone to go to the grocery for me. First, the front door to the store is about 100 steps from my front door. That’s just lazy. Second, a grocery list makes me realize how high maintenance I am, and wonder that I have any friends at all. I know that beggars can’t be choosers, but I can’t help myself.

“Wellllll, I need applesauce, but it has to be Mott’s. And it can’t be in a jar, it has to be in those lunchbox size kid packs. I need ginger ale, but it has to be in glass bottles, not plastic. And it can’t be Canada Dry, it has to be Schweppes [though honestly, I think everybody already knows that]. And I need bananas, but....”

Plus, I can’t really stand anyone to be around me when I’m sick, so she basically came in, unpacked enough rations to stock a smallish third world hospital; stored cold spoons in the fridge for me for the Jell-O (don’t ask me why; cold spoons seemed VERY important to me at the time); and skittered right out in a hasty = retreat. I think I said, “go! Save yourself!” before I collapsed in a nap on the kitchen floor, but I don’t remember much beyond making really disgusted faces over the PediaLyte Pops.

When I woke up the next day with a stiff neck (meningitis, I was pretty sure), I gave in and started googling all the medical websites— something I NEVER do, because I’m not ALLOWED to. Whatever I read, I catch.

If I watch an episode of House devoted to a rare form of prostate cancer, I will have every symptom by the end of the show.

But I was beginning to think this wasn’t Normal.

What I discovered was: there is no such thing as the stomach “flu”—if it’s “influenza,” it’s respiratory. WebMD confirmed pretty much what I already knew which is that I’ve never even met anybody who’s had “the Flu.” What everybody gets is a COLD, and they say Flu, because it’s more dramatic.

And then they take antibiotics (which have no effect on ANY viruses), because…they
are stupid. And THAT is why we now have resistant SuperBugs. And that's why we're all goonna die.

What I had was ordinary, garden variety “gastroenteritis.” I wouldn’t die, I’d just bemthirsty, though I should go to the E.R. if I developed “neuro” symptoms, like “dizziness” (who doesn’t get dizzy when they don’t eat for three days?)

I crawled back in bed with a Law & Order marathon (there hadn’t been enough time to amass much else), and figured I should take comfort in attaining my goal weight without bothering to develop an eating disorder.

From what I learned while bedridden, it seems the new TiVo will record TWO shows at the same time while allowing you to WATCH a third. Maybe it’s even time to think about Blu- Ray…Or am I still hallucinating? ■

12 ACE November 13, 2008
Lenny Briscoe, Represent
Reality Truck

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