Cloister Commentary, Day 309: Jazzy Indoctrination

What was occurrin’? Not much–but that’s ok.

We awakened early to hit the grocery ahead of the crowd (6ish). Indeed, it was a graveyard, though Nicole witnessed a customer haranguing a poor shelf stocker because he didn’t know where the new city trash bags. If I’d been there, I’d-a harangued her because she didn’t know where the new city trash bag contactless pick-up was. Undoubtedly, that would have inconvenienced the harridan.

One of the first student teachers I hosted was Tasha Terrell. Besides being smart and professional, she had a dry, quiet sense of humor (I was dealing with a case of labyrinthitis at the time, which she dubbed “David Bowie’s disease”–I still laugh every time I think about it). Tasha and her husband Ryan have two crumbsnatchers that they desire to be acculturated, and to that end she asked me to send her a list of jazz songs with which she could start their indoctrination. I heard/read that as “construct a streaming playlist,” so I put together a “Tiny Terrell” Jazz to 1960 compilation for them. I hadn’t been commissioned in awhile so I was like a pig in slop. Sample it for yourself; you may consider Louis Jordan a ringer, but “Beans and Cornbread” is a must for wee ones. Ornette Coleman? Really? Hey, I like to embed a few challenges–though “Lonely Woman” is sheerly beautiful.

For dinner, Nicole continued to perfectly perfect her chana masala recipe. We’re trying to cut down on the salt, but the other spices she blended in made that seem easy. After, we had tea, homemade oatmeal cherry cookies, and Cobra Kai Season 3 (again). I have to support the work of my other brother William Zabka!

Streaming for Strivers:

Gabriel go home.

Cloister Commentary, Day 308: Slow News Day–And Why NOT?

You know it was a slow news day when my highlight was driving to Cosmo Park (maybe three miles round-trip) and picking up my 2021 official city trash and recycling bags via drive-through contactless pickup. Hey–it was stimulating to actually see an incredibly efficient delivery system! I also dropped by the mulch site with some dead (tree) limbs and cranked up MF DOOM-alias Viktor Vaughn’s Vaudeville Villain 2 in the truck. Beats and rhymes: very phat.

(6) Venomous Villain – Viktor Vaughn (full album) – YouTube

My afternoon could be summed up as enjoying feeling no side effects of my procedure from the day before (don’t worry: I’m not going to describe it all) and just reading and listening to music with no immediate goals.

It was nice to see Nicole get home in one piece from a nerve-wracking first week of in-person teaching. We have been holding our connubial breath (not quite literally). The day was completed by a Cobra Kai mini-binge.

Streaming for Strivers:

My second-favorite Hank next to the senior Williams.

Cloister Commentary, Day 307: Mengele Clippers

I have been preoccupied over the last few days with the prostate biopsy I underwent yesterday. I’d had a cardiology appointment the day before that the biopsy actually overshadowed. I have some advice for those of you who may have one in the future:

1) Don’t read up on the possible after-effects. I realize this may be difficult if you’re trying to decide to assent to one–I was pretty much ordered–but they mess with one’s imagination, wake you up in the middle of the night, and make you paranoid. Besides, after the procedure they will tell you about these effects in detail anyway. They are rare, you take meds before during, and after to prevent them, and the ones I experienced were dwarfed by my imaginings.

2) You will be told about a device that is used to collect a sample of your prostate. What you will not be told is that this device, when in use, sounds like something invented by Josef Mengele (I am not kidding). As it is used on you, you may be skeptical that you will emerge with a prostate at all. Its snap is worse than its bite, however. It smarts, but doesn’t last that long.

3) I didn’t read the instructions on the required Fleets Enema until it was time to use it. Absence of specific pronouns in the directions plus concerns about my flexibility caused me to consider, with great trepidation, whether I would need to employ Nicole. I am happy to say that, though I am only slightly less stiff than Mike Pence, I managed. And if I could, you can. If I couldn’t have? I am fortunate enough to be loved enough.

4) One of my biggest concerns was having my agéd butt stared at, not just by a doctor but also the inevitable nurse. Don’t ask me why I was worried the urologist’s assistant would be a woman (I do not assume one would be)! However, I should have been more worried about a different part of my anatomy. She indeed was a woman, and, to my instant horror, she first asked me to take off my shoes and socks. I had not treated myself to my annual toenail clip, and when she saw my naked feet, I swear I saw her freeze. Nicole had reassured me prior to the procedure when I told her I was worried about farting, “Phil, they’ve seen everything, believe me!” Maybe not quite everything.

5) You will be numbed up, but “just to take the edge off,” the assistant corrected me; I was hoping to go under, but no dice. It is not like getting a crown or a filling; you are much less numb. Still, you are asked to have a ride to and from the procedure. In spite of my being completely unaltered as I walked out of the clinic, the echo of the Mengele Clippers was ringing so loudly in my ears that, when I walked out to Nicole’s car and tried to open the door, I heard the locks click. “This isn’t your car,” the horrified woman’s bulging eyes yelled to me. Oops. Nicole had not yet arrived. I awkwardly waved, bowed in apology, and crawfished hurriedly back to the clinic doors. Words of wisdom: stay focused when you’re in the parking lot!

The events of the day, even William Zabka‘s brilliance in Cobra Kai (Nicole calls him “The Lost Overeem Brother), paled in comparison to my trip to the urologist. But as I told my friend Rex, I basically Samantha-blinked and it was over–it hurts more than a colonoscopy (which does not hurt at all), but lasts a fifth the duration. Bottoms up!

Streaming for Strivers:

Message from the cosmos: “Send more Gil Scott Heron!”