As the Year Winds Down

I began this year by falling off of a roof and breaking my back, and I’m glad I did. My new years resolution had been to find something to be grateful for each day, and looking at the world from my downstairs neighbors’ dog poop covered concrete patio, I knew exactly what I was grateful for: life, and the ability to move my fingers and toes. I knew that with that basis, I could make everything else happen. I changed my resolution ever-so-slightly that day: I resolved to approach the rest of 2017 from the perspective that I approached falling off of a roof. The universe has tested me by throwing all sorts of crazy new scenarios at me this year, but somehow as we approach the end of 2017, the beginning of 2018, I find that I’ve been able to keep the core tenants of my roof wisdom intact. 2017 hasn’t been an easy year, nor has it been a comfortable one, but I’ve learned so much. I wouldn’t change any of it.

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Welding Fumes

Satire

English 351

Dr. Herman Asarnow

Neil Kirk

The Supreme Accident Investigative Force (SAIF), the police agency that oversees the worker’s compensation insurance program has been a blessing for John Bone. He had his arm ripped out of its socket by some machinery at the sawmill, his place of employment in 1995. With his pocket knife, he cut the remaining one-inch of skin and muscle tissue. Leaving the oozing red mass behind him, the foreman Dick Cheet-A-Little guided him to the ambulance that took him to Willamette Falls Hospital.

In the ambulance the medic ….. a green moldy ham sandwich, takes his temperature and begins asking him questions. Bones groaned. The ambulance turns a corner and wine bottles floor smashing into the wall. The medic, between sips of red Ripple wine, says he needs a medical history. Where were you born? Your parents name? How long have you been working for the mill? Are you married? Do you have children? Do you have a history of mental illness? “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Bone yells.

After his recovery, Bones is given worker’s compensation benefits for his injuries. His neighbor Frank Sids, who has a face, nose, and stiff hair like a wild boar, exclaims thank God for the monthly pension payments.

Unfortunately not all workers benefit from the insurance program established for injured workers. SAIF’s goal is to deny all claims in order to increase profits.

I am greatly troubled. I would not write; but, I must. Workers are being gravely misrepresented. It is my duty as a citizen. Like my father before me, I must dedicate my life to those who are less fortunate. Even though I lack skills to write formally and professionally, I will attempt to express a few thoughts.

Unlike Mr. Bones, some victims show no outward signs. Their injuries are internal – caused by toxic waste sites and chemical exposure that effects the lungs, kidneys, liver and the BRAIN. Yes the BRAIN! Then the elite of the society says look production workers are all stupid. Of course they are stupid. Their brains have been rotted out by “techtaclicene, metphicene, claciphene, metabiphine and mega mega chiphene.”

Case Study: Max Reed

By Psychologist Curtis Kirkpatrick

Max Reed, a welder, was wearing faded jeans with holes burnt through not just his pants but light appeared through his leg. A piece of iron had burnt clear through his leg the day before. The world seemed to be collapsing around him. He saw one man leaning forward vomiting some purple slime that dripped from his lips and oozed from his nose. It looked like raspberry milkshake that had been combined with slug slime. Dogs scurry to eat the purple slime, lapping it up in seconds. Broken glass, cardboard, and bird shit covered the surroundings. Across a pile of rusted twisted angle irons, lay a tattered Levi coat, like the one Arnold Witzcaugh had worn. An Eagle was pulling something from the middle of the coat. The thing stretched out like spaghetti as the Eaggle attempted to fly. The spaghetti looking stuff kept getting longer. Reed walked a little closer. He saw a hand sticking out from the coat. Witzcaugh’s wedding band was on his finger. Reed recalled the former safety man Frank Clut, saying he was going to get caught for filing a worker’s compensation claim. No one is going to raise my fucking insurance rates Clout had said. Reed looked closer. The face was not recognizable only a scrap of meat remained on the tip of the chin.

Reed begins to feel dizzy. Not from the sight of Witzcaugh but from the heavy metal laced paint fumes he was breathing. Beheath his eyes, dark bags sagged. His cheeks were puffed out like an ever-inflated balloon. His face turned from a brownish tone to white. Other welders continued working. Flesh droops from their cheeks. Pot bellies stick out. Faces are swollen from the breathing of zinc, lead, and epoxy fumes.

Reed falls on the steel. A voice cries out. “Are you alright.” Reed nearly unconscious begins to recall Sam Klum a fellow welder, telling him how zinc and epoxy coated steel would really fuck-up your lungs. Klum, while his cotton clothes he had purchased at the Mart Fall Apart Store were leaping in flames, had told Reed just the week before that two workers at Snitzer Steel spent a week in an Oxygen tent at Emanual Hospital.

“Snitzer fired them boys because they were unable to get to work,” Klum said. “The God Damn son of Bitches were in an oxygen tent. What the fuck the company think they were going to do run straight from the hospital to work?”

It was nothing personal just a business decision, personnel director Plum Krum told the family.

Reed’s lung capacity increased to 50 percent. Two hours later, he managed to walk to his car that was parked one-hundred-yards away. He drove home in his Merc with its smoking 460 engine. The exhaust was leaking. Mice were running out from underneath the car seat, eating crumbs left over from lunch. Lice and crabs were feasting on his eye brows and the hairs around his crotch. Reed lunged forward grabbing his chest as a flaming sensation leapt from his lungs. His balls began to swell up so damn big that he had to spread his legs.

The next day he met with the safety man. The safety man was new, and his name was Harry Blunt. Blunt said, “It’s in your head. One exposure to zinc and epoxy fumes couldn’t possibly cause respiratory problems. You have asthma.”

Reed thinks that if he files a worker’s compensation claim the safety man will fire him. He has heard that the man who was vomiting had been fired after he began coughing blood. The decision to fire him was nothing personal – it was just a business decision. Reed also knew that if he stayed he could die from respiratory arrest. His choice was to die from chemical exposure or lose his job and slowly die of starvation. Harry Blunt held the cards, and Reed knew it. But Reed filed a claim anyway. It was the principle he told himself. I must file before my mind rots-out and I can no longer read – let alone think.

Blunt made an appointment for Reed to see doctor KaRupt

Gracetopher Writes Muchly

And at times I speak my very own private language, uninhibited by the rules that box in those who I met during that one foray into White Collar Society. I hadn’t known the rules, and so worried each day. But why do these rules exist anyway?

Why can’t I say muchly and still be taken seriously? This is the language that I speak. I am not trying to sound cutesy or funny, it’s just how things come out of my mouth. Have you never heard the word muchly before? Well then, gentle reader, I do pity your small existence, devoid of the pleasures that come from playing in language as children play in puddles.

Sorry, did I say children? Because at 24, I’m still always up for a good splash.

Too Many Words

People sometimes have problems hitting page or word count goals on essays, but my problem has consistently been the opposite. I’ve gutted more essays than I can count, taken literal scissors to them to cut them down to size. The essays always come out much stronger, much better written if I begin by ballooning out and end by cutting out all that is irrelevant.

The written word helps me process what is happening in life. The written slows me down, grounds me, and makes the world real. Without writing, my brain flits too quickly and too unpredictably to remember what is real and what isn’t. With writing, my brain continues to flit about so quickly that sometimes I still lose my spot, and another idea is forever lost in space.

Yes, more people would listen to me if I learned to edit before writing a massive essay and chopping it back to a verbal tweet. Yes, more people might read my writing if I kept things short and sweet. As things stand however, my writing as an art form is certainly more developed than it might have been otherwise. So I don’t bemoan my own idiosyncrasies, though I do acknowledge that there are communication strategies I would benefit from in the capitalistic, nearly post-apocalyptic, world outside my door.

Dysphoria

I never wanted to be a woman anyways, it’s just what people told me I was. I didn’t necessarily want to be a man, but I was told I only had the two options, so I thought about it sometimes.

Then I was raped. And suddenly I wished so hard that I had been born with a penis. Everything else about male priviledge I’d watched and wished but simply shrugged my shoulders and continued on, but rape is something very different.

Men are raped too you know. Having a penis does not grant you absolute safety.

I’d always been told that certain things were more dangerous for me because of the fact that I was a woman though. So I wanted to throw out my womanhood altogether. Or at the very least, I wished I was less visibly a woman.

I started wearing tighter bras and looser shirts, bulkier sweatshirts. Fewer skirts, more jeans. I feared my femininity.

I still do.

I am still feminine though. I still present in a way that is coded as feminine in our society. I still think about chopping my breasts off, but now we’re finally back to the original reason: breasts are just really freaking inconvenient man. I’ve said for years, breasts are like curly hair: super attractive on other people, but I hate the work and pain required to have them myself. I didn’t choose this, can I please get rid of it now?

I am not a man, and only trauma ever made me desire to be one in any way. I am not a woman though, and that would be true with or without the trauma. In fact, presenting as female feels almost radical given my nonbinary gender. Of course, it also makes it more difficult to explain my gender to the cis-het crowd.

Of course I couldn’t choose something simple and easy.

You Don’t Know What Rape Is

Sure you may know a dictionary definition. You may know that sex without consent is rape. But it’s so much more damaging than I’ve ever been able to fully describe.

Nothing else has ever robbed me of agency so completely. Nothing else has ever left me so emotionally effected even years later.

Sex and Power

Sex is supposed to be about intimacy, even love. Rape rips this thing that’s supposed to be beautiful from your hands and shits all over it.

Rape is the violent theft of bodily agency. Rape is a mindless act. Rape turns your own body into a weapon of subjugation.

There is a reason why rape is used as a tactic of terror during times of war. There is a reason why there are higher rates of PTSD in rape survivors than in soldiers who have served in combat.

You’ll Never Know

And I hope you never will.

Abandon the Betrayer

When the weapon weilded agaisnt you is your very own body, the only way to hide is to abandon the body that betrayed you. Suicide becomes a very appealing option. Mental escapism, depression, are almost innevitable.

The breasts I’d already disliked, I now hated. The “cuteness” of face and hair and form I’d had mixed feelings about, I now did everything to distance myself from. Why would one ever want to be attractive? Being attractive attracts this kind of attention.

“Too Ugly to Rape”

Maybe I wanted to be ugly then. Why the fuck are these breasts growing even larger???? Can I please cut them the fuck off of my body already.