As promised, I deliver the “SQUIGGY REPORT”…complete with every possible politically incorrect statement and thought I could have!
As most of you know, I was surprised like a kid at Christmas to hear David Lander, AKA, “SQUIGGY” from the TV sitcom, “Laverne and Shirley”, was in town this past week…OK, honestly? More surprised like a Jewish kid at Christmas. Let’s face it…the Squiggster is just not someone I’d actually pay to see, even though I did catch a few episodes of his TV show back in the 70’s…or was it the 80’s? I have MS…I can’t remember!
But, contrary to my usual stance of PICKETING anything sponsored by the Mega Mafia Pharma Companies, I decided to put aside my innate apathy and take one for the MS Team…Squiggy has MS, after all…it was the least I could do to support my fellow club member. AND, my EX neurologist was also giving a lecture at the gathering…since our neurological divorce had settled amicably, I felt it was appropriate to go and support her as well.
Because I have MS, I am prone to periods of complete “tarded” response…at least that’s MY excuse! I showed up for Squiggy’s talk on Wednesday, only to discover it was scheduled for Thursday evening…yes, the day and date WAS right there on the brochure that I posted last week via picture on BrainCheese…you’d think the LEAST you peeps could do would have been to point that tiny error in my orientation out to me! But no…as is typical, I had to discover the New World on my own.
So I repeated my Squiggy trek from Seattle Center (where I was tossing trolls in a workshop for three days…or in “professional terms”, learning new hands on management of aggressive behavior techniques) to the local Sheraton Hotel on Thursday…I could NOT be stopped from my destiny to see Squiggy and a simple “brain fart” on the date would NOT steal my joy…I was on a Squiggy mission. I became determined to capture Squiggy’s autograph to show as my trophy of accomplishment.
I arrived nearly 45 minutes early because I had nowhere else to go downtown before 6:30PM and no real means of reliable and timely transportation because I had taken the bus into town for my workshop. I decided to find my way to the presentation room inside the hotel and perhaps gorge myself on the FREE drug company hors d oeuvres…I was rather shocked to see the room, with approximately 40ish tables, already filling up with fellow Msers…scooters and canes were everywhere!
I staked my claim on a completely empty table WAY in the back of the room and several yards from any of the other audience…multiple yards from the podium where Squiggy would most likely be delivering his address. I pondered the idea that maybe I should have shoved a pair of binoculars in my bag before leaving home at the crack of dawn…Squiggy was going to appear like a small dot in the distance from where I was seated. But entrenched in my antisocial ways, I could not force myself to move any closer to the stage…I was content with my table next to the food and the exit…and I wouldn’t be expected to converse with anyone because NO ONE was even near my table!
The room continued to fill as scooters, walkers, and canes carrying my fellow Msers launched their way into the room…people continued to move up front and avoid my table. It’s really no wonder, though…I was dressed in sweats, looking like I might have just come from a gym (because sweats on a fat lady are NEVER stylish!) with my hair all askew, and probably reeking of left over testosterone wiped on me by my cohorts at my nearly all male workshop…I wasn’t looking all that “social”.
Finally, and much to my initial chagrin, a young and sweet female asked if she could sit at my table…I could tell she was nervous about being there and she was attending alone, so I decided to fork over a piece of my territory and invited her to join me. She also was walking without an assistive aid and appeared quite “normal” in her physical shell…she looked like me, except she was cute, thin, had a full cap of hair, and was dressed appropriately for a public outing.
Even though I’m antisocial, I would not consider myself “rude” (crude perhaps, but not rude), so I closed my training manual and began to converse with my new neighbor. Oddly, we had both been diagnosed in the same month, same diagnoses (but two year’s difference), same symptoms, and she was currently dating (I mean seeing as a doctor) my EX neurologist…we became fast buddies…and she even laughed at my jokes…who could ask for a better neighbor? The evening was starting to look up.
At some point before the Squiggster arrived at the podium, Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named snuck up behind me and bellowed, “Ma’ am. Can I see some ID please?”
Without missing a beat or turning in recognition, I calmly stated to my new neighbor, “And this woman pretends to be my neurologist”. Dr. SWWNBN sulked away…I had won that round of banter. Apparently, even Dr. SWWNBN was going to be part of a guest physician panel to answer questions following my EX neuro’s talk…I began immediately to write my most complicated and annoying question I could think up…it turned into a three part trick question about TYSABRI. I felt satisfied. Moohahaha!
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed two scooters carrying middle aged women pointing in the direction of my remote table…I held my breath until I heard the faint whirl of their electric engines winding toward the open expanse of my new neighbor’s right side. The scooters were going to join us as were their occupants…my territory was quickly being claimed by these MS gold diggers.
I watched quietly as my new neighbors attempted to dismount their rides and try to gain stable access in the dining chairs provided at the table…it looked to be a tedious, yet precarious movement on their behalf, so I asked if I could offer any assistance. Both new neighbors kindly, but firmly told me “no”, and I was left to suffer through nearly five minutes of agony in anticipation they might fall…eventually and much to my care-taker relief, they safely climbed into their chairs.
But no sooner had they dismounted their steeds, they discovered the “buffet” hors d oeuvres were miles from the table where we were seated. Well actually, the buffet tables were less than 20 or 30 feet away, but I’m sure the distance may have seemed like miles from our table. I again asked if I could be of assistance and bring plates back to them…again, they both firmly declined my offer.
Another five or ten minutes of questionable gymnastics ensued and, with an audible sigh of relief from my lips, my newest of neighbors were off and wheeling again in their scooters to the buffet tables…it was becoming a traffic jam of wheels and thin, metal poles…I was beginning to feel guilty I didn’t HAVE to use something to assist me in my grazing efforts at the buffet tables! My first neighbor to the table also was wearing a look like she had just discovered she was the only woman in a boy’s locker room…we weren’t gimped enough for THIS gathering.
My scooter neighbors eventually returned to the table unscathed by the freeway congestion of ambulatory aids surrounding the buffet areas and AGAIN painstakingly transferred themselves to the dining chairs…this process was now becoming like a newly discovered auto accident to me…the kind you probably shouldn’t slow down to look at, but you gawk anyway, then look away in fear or discomfort.
Just when my friends finally got re-established in their seats, they discovered they did not have beverages. I sprang from my chair, nearly knocking myself backwards, and insisted they allow me to retrieve this portion of their meal in the name of “needing to stretch my legs”…they conceded to my blatant outcry and allowed me to assist…still somehow, I felt pangs of guilt to be able to walk so unencumbered and carry things in BOTH of my hands backto the table…I was beginning to skulk a bit around the room.
Light on my feet compared to my neighbors, I returned with their beverages and sat down determined to make new friends…they obliged my conversation. After brief name introductions and basic chit-chat, the elder of my new friends asked me, “So do you have MS?”
Something transformed in me in a matter of a nanosecond. I could NOT believe I was being asked this question. Surely it was “obvious” I had MS?!? How dare she question my disability/diagnosis/disease/handicap/gimp status/card carrying MS club membership?!? So without allowing my brain to censor my speech, I blurted out, “Yes, but obviously not as bad as you do!”
I heard a small and miniscule piece of dandruff scalp drop on the table below me as I threw my head back…it landed and echoed like a bomb had just been detonated…it was louder than a pin drop. Our eyes locked on one another as targets drew into range.
Then, without warning, we both busted out in raucous laughter at the total hilarity of our statements…in a split second of “knowing”, we bonded and later exchanged phone numbers. I no longer felt self-conscious about my “hidden” disease and I no longer felt guilt-driven and compelled to care-take my new friends…my new friends even engaged in whispered heckling when Dr. SWWNBN stumbled over my question and had to consult one of the pharmacy representatives to respond…all was right in my world once again!
Oh, I almost forgot! Squiggy. Squiggy has MS…Squiggy was funny and his talk was lighthearted, yet appropriately sarcastic at points. Squiggy struggles to remain ambulatory. Squiggy promised autographs later, but became too tired to remain and left before the program was over…I wasn’t upset with Squiggy’s fatigue…I didn’t really need Squiggy’s autograph. I got what I wanted and needed out of the evening…all really WAS and IS right in my world…