Posts Tagged ‘Short’

The Cure for What Ailed Me Pt. 1

May 8, 2017

I have danced around this story for quite some time especially in April. I searched my archives to see if I have told this story and I could not find it. Of course, I do not have time to comb through over 500 posts to make myself completely sure. I am not going to stress about it. I want to tell this story right because it is such an important part of my life. So welcome to the tale of that time I got life-changing surgery.

I have always been a short guy. When I was a little kid, my pediatrician constantly talked about how I was at the lowest end of the growth chart. I was the shortest kid in my class and I was something approaching underweight. I was a happy boy but I was also kind of a frail boy. This is very disconcerting for a kid who grew up reading comics and watching Power Rangers. The power of friendship and kindness in your heart only got you so far. Eventually, I would have to punch something. More importantly, I was reminded at every turn that I was not as big or athletic as the other kids. I was the only male who sat on the floor for class pictures. I started to look up at my peers instead of looking over at them. I remember feeling really uptight about that. Every time people called me short, it was an insult instead of something I just could not change.

Screw you, Randy Newman.

Later, things got even worse than just being of a small and slight stature. At some point, I realized that I was always the last one at the dinner table every night. Let me explain. My family ate dinner together almost every night and we talked about our day and any other cool topics we could think of. We all ate and talked but, whether I was talking or not, everybody was done with their meal before me. I ate so slowly. Eventually, my folks had to release my brothers from the dinner table because everybody had things to do before bed. I would still be eating. I would focus on eating to try to beat everybody else to no avail. I could not point to anything specifically but I just could not manage to eat fast enough for the family to all finish together. Before you ask, it was also not because I am a picky eater. I ate pretty much everything happily.

Eating by myself. Alone. Independently.

It got worse. I noticed that I was getting winded a lot easier at recess. This is horrible news for kids because they are supposed to have nearly boundless energy until they pass out like their batteries suddenly lost charge. I was not the most athletic kid (and probably the worst Little Leaguer ever) but I did like to run around with my friends pretending to be a superhero. I have fond memories of pretending to be on the X-Men Blue Team while not using a basketball court as it was originally intended. However, I was breathing hard more and more. I was having difficulty catching my breath and even talking could be a chore sometimes. This is when doctors really started to get involved. They really do not appreciate when kids stop breathing correctly.

I usually wanted to be Cyclops. Less running.

For the longest time, they thought I had asthma. I had never really shown signs of it early in life but suddenly at age ten, they thought I had somehow developed it. That may be possible but (Spoiler Alert) that was not the case. When I went off to sleepaway summer camp (for dyslexics, another great story), I had to bring my inhaler with me. After breakfast and after dinner I had to get in line in front of a table with the other weaker members of the pack. When it was my turn, I had to breathe in chemicals that stung my throat and lungs from a little plastic bag. It is probably a hundred percent the reason I never tried marijuana. It felt like crap and it never helped but everybody, including me, felt more confident about my condition while doing it. Eventually, they realized it was not asthma. At that point, they thought it might be Cistic Fibrosis.

This was my anti-drug…. nevermind.

Yes, Cystic Fibrosis, that disease that the March of Dimes was always raising money for everywhere I looked at that age. Of course, my parents did not tell me this tidbit. Cystic Fibrosis sounds really scary and the medical description sounds even worse. The disease causes a build up of mucus in the lungs that blocks airways and makes it difficult or sometimes impossible to breathe. It also causes a mucus build up in the digestive system which makes that process hard to do as well. It seemed like a likely contender for what was wrong with me. I had problems in both those areas and everybody was probably pretty proud of themselves for coming up with that answer. Of course, nobody was happy about the diagnosis because it meant a lifetime of health complications and being stalked by death for at least the rest of my childhood. But was it the answer? We will find out next time in part two.

Support your local March of Dimes.

Sashi the Brave

November 7, 2015

Sashi wiggled her dagger in the lock uselessly. Her sister was the thief, not her. Sashi was born for the freewheeling life of an acrobat. Lately she had found it necessary to add sellsword to her resume as well. Truthfully, her sword figthing wasn’t up to the level of her tumbling. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much call for tumbling these days. Well, not as much as there was need for a decent swordhand. The world was troubled and you either learned to run or you learned to fight.

Her sister, Kariah, had learned to run pretty quickly which was why Sashi was stuck tring to pick the lock on the chest. Her sister had been way better at larceny. The chest had the General’s plans in it which the government apparently couldn’t ask nicely for. However, they could pay handsomely for the plans which was coincidentally the right price to hire the Leva Troupe for this sort of mercenary work. It would have helped if the locks were more cooperative though.

As it was, the distraction provided by Abelli and Rista would cease being so distracting pretty soon. At that point, the guards would return and the game would be over. The lock was never going to surrender to such clumsy approaches though.

It was at this moment that Caban’s axe came down hard on the chest. With a grunt, Caban pulled his axe from the wood and something cracked near the lock and the thing popped open. Sashi shot him a look that was equal parts frustration and gratitude. He responded with a trademark sheepdog grin.

“Getting bored. It is open. Grab papers?” He asked.

Caban’s native language was not Etlyan. From what the rest of the troupe could tell, his native language was hitting things which made him the perfect strong man. He had come from Ceylar which explained the thick accent and why he spoke only broken Etlyan. He was a broad-shouldered man with a strong jaw and a prominent brow. He looked big and scary but he was kind to those who were kind to me and especially delighted in putting smiles on children’s faces.

Sashi grabbed the papers and tucked them into a leather bag and cinched the bag to the small of her back. She arranged her cloak over the pouch and ran for the door. She could feel Caban close behind her like a sprinting grizzly bear. She looked over her shoulder and locked eyes with Rista for a moment. A split-second later and Rista and Abelli vanished in a cloud of smoke. Their distraction was gone and they had to get out now or risk a life in chains in the capital.

They reached the wall and Caban braced himself against the wall and bent down and offered his hands. Sashi stepped into his hands and Caban tossed her up and over the wall. She smiled brightly as she felt that familiar thrill as she tumbled through the air. She somersaulted and landed carefully in a crouch at the base of the wall. She looked up and saw Caban’s massive hands suddenly appear at the top of the wall and then he vaulted over the wall with a massive grunt. She cleared the area as he landed with a massive thud.

“Come on, rendezvous on the King’s street.” She yelled as they navigated the alleyways. She knew they all wanted this job done as soon as possible. The money was good but the risks and complications could be huge getting involved with the military and the government. Maybe this job was a mistake but they all trusted Leva to take the jobs they could handle.

They rounded the corner and Sashi stopped short.

“Why stop?” Caban asked.

“Our contact is supposed to be here.” Sashi said, drawing both of her swords. It never hurt to be prepared.

“Your contact? And just who would that be?” A tall, spindly man said as he pushed open a shop’s back door and stepped into the alley. He wore all black and he was carrying a long, silvery chain that looked strangely menacing.

“Why is that your business?” Sashi asked, holding her swords between her body and the creepy man in black.

“Well, we must have spooked your contact and we would very much like to know who it was. In the meantime, we would also like the papers from your satchel.”

“Hell no. That would be a breach of contract. Come on, we’re getting out of here.” Sashi said, walking toward the busy street just a few yards away. Caban fell into step behind her.

“I don’t think so.” The man said. He opened his coat and fingers of smoke trailed from underneath. The smoke turned into seven armored soldiers, armored in flat black armor. The soldiers soundlessly drew swords as they blocked the path. “Hand over the papers.”

It was eight on two and neither Sashi nor Caban had any armor on. Suddenly an arrow whistled through the air and found a gap in the armor of the soldier right in front of Sashi. It slumped to the ground with an arrow in its neck. There was a stunned silence and then more whistling arrows found their mark. Then, from the other direction, knives flew through the air and more soldiers slumped to the ground. Sashi drove a sword through the last one. Somewhere during the action, the man in black had slipped away.

Abelli and Riva hopped down from the north wall. “You keep getting into trouble.” Riva said, slipping her bow over her shoulder.

“And you keep getting me out.” Sashi said with a grin. “I have no idea what’s going on.”

“She alerted us to the danger and we got here as soon as we could.” Abelli said.

“She who?” Sashi asked, sheathing her swords.

“How about your sister?” A familiar voice asked from up high. A shadow dropped from a window and when it landed, she took down her hood. It was Kariah, the prodigal sister.

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