Some things are so important, you have to make time to do them. Like paying your electric bill, taking your child to the dentist, seeing the doctor about that irregular heartbeat, you know, shit like that. Or writing a blog post. Like this particular blog post. Nope, it won’t change the world. It ain’t gonna make you rethink your entire existence. It certainly won’t be remembered beyond today, but I still wanted to do it.
In reading Breezy Books this morning, one of my favorite blogs, I was inspired by blog author Maddie Cochere as she declared today as National Talk About Your Book Day. Of course I don’t have a book, so we aren’t even going to go there, sorry. (Maddie has written four books. Oh the envy I have)
What Maddie did though, was piggy-back her Faux Holiday onto a real one. As dubious and unnecessary as it may be, friends and followers, it is National Punch Day. Woo Hoo! The long wait is over! This is where the creepy little guy comes down the chimbley to give you a sock in the nose as you sleep.
That’s right. Today is the day the world stops to honor that go-go juice of marginal nutrient value, fruit punch. The bane of mothers the world over. Fruit punch- merely a High Fructose Corn Syrup delivery system laced with preservatives, dyes, flavorings and acronyms for liquid death. Forgive me for throwing a wet blanket of doubt over this beloved and refreshing drink. Some brands may contain actual juice. I’ll check on that. Oh hell, no I won’t. Just keep reading already.
Why am I writing in honor of National Punch Day, you ask? Well, because I have a fruit punch story. Doesn’t everyone have a fruit punch story if they would just take the time to look deep within their soul? I’m not talking about a “When I was a kid, I had a fruit punch mustache all the time. Er dee der.” kind of story.
If you can’t do better than that, maybe you don’t deserve to celebrate the revered and time-honored tradition of National Punch Day, so just go find a lamer, less demanding Holiday you can attach yourself to. Yeah, that’s right, go on. Get going. Buh-bye.
Now that we have separated the wheat from the chaff, let’s move on to the good part. Squeeeee!! You lucky bastards!
I was a sick kid. Not the kind of kid that pulled wings off of stuff or set animals on fire. Not that kind of sick. The kind of sick where you miss a ton of school, seem to be on one medicine or another all the time, know all the doctors on a first name basis, have your own personal vaporizer. Nyquil addict by the age of nine kind of sick.
Conventional 1970’s medical wisdom demanded that I have my tonsils removed. At a thoroughly modern hospital type facility no less! I was 12 by this time, enjoying all the fear, doubt and pre-teen angst that comes with 7th grade.
I vividly remember as my dropped me off at school the day before the surgery in his red, wood-paneled Country Squire Station Wagon, he said, “So, what would you like for your last meal?” Thanks Dad. Yuk it up,Pop. You’re a laff riot!
As I descended the steps, I feared I would never come back to this place. I had elaborate fantasies of a school assembly to honor me -a promising, pre-pubescent, prodigy- a life cut short by the scalpel of an unscrupulous surgeon with shaky hands. 700 snot nosed and teary eyed adolescents would crowd into the gymnasium wearing their clogs and bell bottoms to mourn my passing. Dozens of Farrah coiffed heads solemnly bowed in a moment of silence before Friday morning’s regularly scheduled Pep Rally!!! Go Bearcats! –You don’t really think they could disrupt a school day for an untimely death do you? Of course not, it would have to be tacked on to a previously ordained event.
For my so-called “last meal”, I chose to eat at the Cattleman’s Mining Company. Kearney Nebraska’s fanciest and probably most expensive restaurant at the time. I’m sure I ordered a steak, and most of it probably went home in what they used to call a “doggie bag”-(gross!) It was your leftover steak, smushed into tin foil shaped into a swan or some such crap. I do remember having cinnamon ice-cream for dessert, however, a pretty rare item in these parts in 1977. Which gave dear old Mom and Dad one more opportunity to tell me that after my impending and life threatening surgery, I could have all the ice cream I wanted!!!! Yay!!!! Oh how easy it is to dupe a 12-year-old.
After dinner, I was taken to
my doom the hospital. I was greeted by the surgeon, who just happened to be the mayor of our fair city at the time. He was wearing the typical garb of the late 70’s-a plaid sport coat with a striped tie. A tie with a spot on it.
What the hell does all this have to do with fruit punch??? Get on with it!–Oh hold on, it’s funny, right? Just keep reading.
After the meeting with the surgeon, I was greeted by a team of capable and friendly nurses. One of them even gave me a wheelchair ride through the hospital. Would you believe she actually took me to the basement, (No! Not to see the morgue! ) to the cafeteria, to show me the huge 5 gallon tubs of ice cream in a buffet of flavors. All for the little children who’ve had a tonsilectomy. What is it with these people and ice cream?
Ok, we’re almost there, stay with me—-
After the Magical Mystery Tour of the hospital, I was taken back to my room. The nice nurse brought me an icy cold glass of fruit punch. (Ha! Told ya we were almost there). Hawaiian Punch. By the way, I don’t like it. Never have liked it. I hate it to this day. In fact, every time I even smell it, I am reminded of this interminable night in this hospital. The fact that I don’t like it is what makes this memory…..um…. memorable. The nurse told me to drink it up quick as she put a sign in a foreign language on the placard behind my bed. NONE PER OS it said.
“What does that mean?” I asked, wide eyed and childlike. -cuz, I was um, a child, after all.
“That means you can’t have ANYTHING to drink now until after your surgery. Because if you do, you’ll throw up while you’re unconscious and choke on your own vomit and DIE!!!!!”-Said the previously darling and helpful nurse, who now suddenly was the most frightening thing I had encountered yet in my journey through little girl hell.
GULP! ” Okay then. G’nite.” Sniff.
I laid down in my oh so comfy hospital bed, turned toward the window and the fear set in. Mom and Dad had gone home, it was dark and scary, they were going to cut me open in the morning and I would surely die! If that wasn’t bad enough, I was thirsty. Terribly furry tongue, desert, sand paper in the mouth thirsty. Probably because I was told I couldn’t have anything to drink for the rest of my life–which, as you already know, was going to end first thing in the morning. That and I had drunk some of that damn Hawaiian Punch! Nothing makes your mouth drier or stickier than something like that. Feeling woebegone, I love that word, I rolled over, and through tear filled eyes, I could see that the glass of evil Hawaiian Punch was still sitting there!!!!!! Shit! Shit, shit, shit, shit shit SHIT!!!!!!