Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cyborg, You Borg, We All Borg

It's almost Halloween, so I have a confession to make:  I'm a cyborg.

That's right.  Part woman, part machine.  Not so much in the sexy and futuristic "Bladerunner" way, but in the "at-least-I-won't-die-in-the-Macy's-parking-lot-clutching-a-coupon" way.  But for fuck's sake, that sale was worth it!

Here's a haiku I wrote about it:

Dumb little defib
wired to my heart always
on you I depend.

One of the uber-cool things about having a defibrillator and being a cyborg-- other than the obvious cosmetic benefit of having a giant scar on my chest-- is that the batteries to the dfib only last 7 or 8 years, necessitating "minor" surgery every so often in which people actually look at and touch your heart. When you're one of the world's pre-eminent naval gazers like me, this means you're forced to deal with your own mortality a little more often than those living the non-cyborg lifestyle.

I had my defib replaced in the summer of 2010, prompting many people to remark on how "brave" I was.  Um, no.  You know how when a celebrity has an illness, everyone writes about his or her "brave battle" against it?  Yeah, not so much.  I was brave in the kind of way where you throw a series of mini fits of rage/panic attacks of the "no wire hangers" sort that would make Joan Crawford proud.  Seriously, in terms of drama it was some of my best work.  William Shatner himself would be shamed by the overreaction.

3 days prior to this surgery, I sent the following email to my sister, and three of my best friends.

Okay, not to be morbid or anything, but I just want to remind you of my death demands, should something go horribly wrong on Monday. I am relying on you!

  1. I have two life insurance policies.  I have a loan against one of them, but I don’t know what that means in terms of payout.  
  2. I think I may also have a life insurance policy through my company.  Don't know how to tell.
  3. I have a 401(k), but I don't really know what that is.
  4. I own some stock. I’m not sure if there is a beneficiary for stock or 401(k)s  because I’m stupid about that stuff.
  5. I do not have a Will.  But damned if I haven't always had a Way.
  6. When I survive this surgery and feel sheepish about sending this email, remind me to get my financial shit together.
  7. "Vegetable" is not a good look for me-- you know how I even hate candid photos.  If I go all brain-dead and drooley, pull the plug.  I am not kidding.  Plug the plug or I will haunt you.
  8. I wish to be cremated. I’d like my ashes taken back to Texas… not sure where I want to be sprinkled, but I’ll stew on that over the weekend. Won’t that be fun??
  9. Mmmmm...stew.
  10. I would prefer a cocktail party to a funeral.   It should be catered.  There should be an open bar and definitely a champagne toast (I'm picturing many). Please no deviled eggs on the buffet and no carnations in the arrangements. You must make sure this is a festive thing—I wish to be celebrated, not mourned.
  11. Celebrate me, dammit!
  12. Please find the absolute best photo of me possible and put it in a frame in lieu of a viewing. I should look thin in this photo, so Photoshop it if necessary. There will be no “viewing” of my dead body. If you let there be a viewing, see #7 above because I will completely haunt your asses.
  13. There are several songs that must be played at my cocktail party:
    1. Good Riddance, by Green Day
    2. I Won’t Back Down, by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    3. I’m Gonna Live Forever, by Billy Joe Shaver
    4. Say, by John Mayer
    5. Amazing Grace
    6. You Make My Dreams Come True, by Hall & Oates
  14. Everyone, and I mean everyone, must 80s dance to #f above.
  15. I understand that Mom and Dad will want a religious service and that’s okay too. Please be sure they use 1 Corinthians 15:55 and Psalm 27:1 (my absolute favorite).
  16. But I want a cocktail party.
  17. If there is an obituary, please make me sound more important and wonderful and happy in death than I was in life. See #10 above.
  18. There are some things in my bedside table that I would prefer Mom and Dad not see. Second drawer. Take care of that.
  19. Don't judge me for #18.
  20. I love you all beyond measure… Time, distance and death will never, ever change that.
Spoiler alert:  I survived the surgery.  It was like a Christmas in July miracle.  The kind of miracle that takes place like 10 times a day in every cardiac unit of every hospital in the world.  Not unlike childbirth...or the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team.

That's the problem with self-indulgent emails written while in a free-form panic:  They stick around to remind you what a poozer you are. 

Sigh, even as a cyborg, I'm still uncool.


  1. Hey Tex - "wired" isn't two syllables...

  2. I always think I should leave "directions" but never follow up. May I use yours?? You captured my sentiments exactly......."DIRECTIONS" WILL BE IN MY JEWELRY BOX. OR go to Full-Bodied Red dated October 29,'ll.
    You know who you are out there.

  3. When will u be booking private readings ? U gotta take this show on the road

  4. I'm a friend of Derek J. This is pretty cool writeup. Here's to wishing someone screws up - 'cause I'd love to see you haunting some people!