Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Book slap

Scott informs me that one does not usually experience the Herxheimer reaction until about 48 hours after commencing antibiotic. But my elbow aches are undeniable, and not something ALS has brought me before. As I recall from when I was experimenting with penicillin, merely taking high doses of antibiotic makes me feel bad. I feel kind of wired, and as though every cell in my body has been attacked in a small way. No, this isn't the Herx yet, just ... blech!

I was a smart kid, and a skinny, short, wimpy dweeb. My friends and I in junior high school used to suffer the ignominy of having our books and binders slapped out of our grips from behind. This was in the days before backpacks, when you carried your plastic ring binder and books pressed against your leg.

The tough kids, the normals, who hated class, books, and bookworms, would wait till we passed, and then surprise us by slapping our books so hard that we would drop them.

We hardly discussed it among ourselves, other than perhaps two sentences of wry comment. And we appear to have all hit on the same response tactic as if of one mind.

When the books were spilled, we would pick them up in one quick scoop without interrupting our conversation, and walk on, as if nothing had happened. I think the most I ever said was "Oh, my books fell."

The idea was to teach the bullies that, if we were worms, then they were worms to the worms.

There was this other gang of guys that would come around and grab the lunch money out of kids' pockets. When they came for us one day, I was so stubborn and selfish that I twisted up my pocket around the boy's hand, and refused to let him have my money. He could have beaten me up I suppose. But that was another thing altogether, and I would have responded with lots of ducking, running, yelling, and kicking.

My friends must have told our teachers or their parents, because at dinner that night my mother treated me like a hero. She was so full of praise and awe. I thought she was full of it. There was nothing heroic in my contempt for the bullies. They annoyed me, just like my mom's praise annoyed me. I was an irritable kid.

Perhaps there is some karmic logic that governed that, not long after posting this account of the thugs of my youth, I found a graffito tag on the street side of our plastic yard waste bin. We'd left it out in the front yard for several days because we'd anticipated using it there. So on our block, we may be the only ones with a bin out. I've lived in graffiti-and-drugs neighborhoods before, but this is not a graffiti-and-drugs neighborhood.

I took a picture of the tag. It was done in one of those pens that pipsqueaks carry in their pockets for this purpose. I went at it with a green scrubbie, and it took a lot of scrubbing, but it would come off. I decided to leave the bin in the same place at the curb, which I suppose is pretty much along the lines of our reaction to the book slappers. The message to the thug is: You don't matter enough to get a reaction from me.

I imagined their glee at being able to tag it again once I'd cleaned it all off. So after I'd scrubbed about 80 percent of it off, I decided to leave some of the lines and swirls. The idea is that if they want to tag it again, they confront a polluted canvas.

What do you think? And do you know of any cleaners that are good at getting these pen marks off of plastic?

P.S. -- Thanks to all of you who sent me such nice, supportive emails yesterday!

I had my flu shot today, too.
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