Friday, June 19, 2009

Who's Gonna Drive You Home, Tonight

Picture yourself on the side of a congested highway, vehicles speeding inches from your foothold. Asphalt kicks up in clumps as cocaine-addled truckers stress-test the road with their endless convoy. Stretching for miles, a turbid haze in various shades of sepia muddles the urban vista. Adding insult to injury, your tire’s blown a flat yet the trunk carries no spare. And you – stubborn Luddite born of cost savings and technological rejection – lack a mobile device; placing yourself at the mercy of nearby exit ramps, derelict gas station pay phones, and hypodermic needles jabbing forth from their change return slots. In a harrowing commute turned hellacious journey, you, my friend, stand on the shoulder of a bustling artery amidst the choking exhaust of metropolitan rush hour. And your head is throbbing. And your legs are tired. And nobody is helping because nobody cares.

Without warning, the cocktail of chest pain, shortness of breath, and acute anxiety chokehold your sanity. You wheeze frantically while heaving your neck forward to catch air. Bodily functions yield rapidly as the hurt radiates from one symptom to another. Vision blurs, balance fades, mouth dries, stomach churns. Lumbering unsteadily, feelings of claustrophobia and panic percolate through the amplified clamor of traffic horns. In mere seconds, legs will finally fail, one first then the other, knee caps cracking awkwardly as head meets pavement in a surrendering final slam. While some may notice, none will stop. Instant heart attack.

Through the rippling heat, two men appear, sweaty and alarmed. While your senses have numbed, the ensuing heroism-cum-buffoonery wakens you to the sensation of being clumsily dragged. Somehow, this inelegant mode of transport sends your mind into horrifying flashbacks of 'Deliverance,' sans banjos. Clothing is shredded to ribbons as it coarsely scrapes blacktop. After what feels like a mile but is likely a few yards, you are dropped, quite brutally, in a grassy patch within earshot of the highway but hundreds of miles from comfort. In this unassuming field you will experience fear unlike any conceivable nightmare. One of the men positions his car nearby – spinning the tires and splattering mud and earth – while the other holds you hard; arm across neck, knee into groin, gnashing his teeth and spitting vulgarly. You flail. Fade to black. You gasp. Back to black. You quietly consent to fate, wishing only not to die. Darkness smothers.

Time has passed, though whether minutes, hours, or years remain unclear. Oddly enough, your pants appear zipped and buttoned, a nice consolation among an otherwise gruesome kidnapping. And yet, something is terribly wrong. Jumper cables have been fastened to each nipple, positive and negative, in some perverse abortion of outdoor sadomasochism. Your heart pounds brutally, throbbing against rib and bone as your mouth hangs agape, drooling and coughing to catch air. Suddenly, a car engine roars, sending a violent electro-current coursing through your body, knocking your torso forward as if hit with a defibrillator blast. Upon falling backwards with a heavy thud the engine roars anew, throwing you head over heals in agonizing pain. Again and again and again your body is heaved and throttled until your eyes have bulged dry from their sockets and your nipples run bloodied and raw. You scream about hospitals, but your voice is shredded by the deafening growls of engines angry and fuming. You are alive. Stripped of your dignity. Bruised. Used. Humiliated. But you are alive.

* * * * *

“And that’s basically how it happened,” our substitute science teacher concluded, his cherubic face assuming its dead-on likeness of the obese yet jovial John Candy. This fool – holding down the fort while our regular instructor enjoyed maternity leave – had just relayed a perfectly asinine monologue on saving a man’s life with his automobile. Steeped in imbecilic hubris, and more suited for a chapter in ‘S&M: Breaking The Usual Routine,’ our lecture on the circulatory system had descended into a “citizen of the year” brag-fest over some poor bastard who allegedly had his heart revved and his colon blown via junk science. Thanks to the miracle of jumper cables, six-cylinder engines, and a pair of trusty, conductive nipples, a man allegedly walks the streets like Christ, risen from the dead after a tangle with the devil on Interstate 95. Impressive, no? After all, my physics teacher never regaled us with sundry tales of banging Stephen Hawking to unlock quantum gravity mysteries (that said, my physics teacher was a heterosexual man, and Mr. Hawking is nearly paralyzed, limiting his lechery).

The AMA was clearly asleep at the switch, as the heroics of our myocardial maestro were given nary a footnote in the journals of the day. Chalk it up to another of life’s cruel injustices. If funded by a university, our rotund friend could’ve been curing AIDS by now with old carburetor parts. But alas, he aimed for the mediocrity of substitute science education, smiting the coronary research field while indirectly killing 500,000 Americans per year with his callow neglect and desire for non-working summers. Then again, once you blow fifty miles through the point of no return (in a car that might just as easily be the second coming of Christine), few hospitals in the developed world will even let you don scrubs, much less operate a defibrillator. And there aren’t many casting calls for John Candy lookalikes, especially since, well, Candy’s dead.

Nipples, people. Nipples. One word: ouch!


Chris@Maugeritaville said...

MVD, this is your best writing yet. "Myocardial maestro" is nothing shy of genius.

But I must tell you, if it weren't for the quick thinking of your substitute teacher, I would have died that day. So there's that.

MVD said...

Hey Chris - I'll see your "best writing yet" and return the complement with "best comment yet." It doesn't take much to squeeze a chuckle out of the Bastard, but this had me roaring.

Thank goodness you don’t plan to lactate. Those highway heroics could've bled the well dry.

Theresa said...

Ah, you bring back my 80's daze with The Cars unforgettable ballad. Maybe you're too young to know what the hell I'm talking about?

Anyway, I'll second Chris with his "This is your best writing yet." Well done.

MVD said...

Actually, Theresa, ‘80s new wave is a huge guilty pleasure, it being the soundtrack of my crucial formative years. So yes, if you caught the Ocasek & Co. title reference, then you're a step ahead of the Backstreet-reared kids and Geritol warriors stumbling through here.

As for my age, I was out of diapers, but still a rambunctious lil' ball of thunder when "Drive" was on the radio.

Expat From Hell said...

Man. This posting sent the volts through my nipples and right into the cranial cavity. You remain the Benchmark of Bloggers.


MVD said...

"This posting sent the volts through my nipples"

Hopefully it tingled a bit, Expat. It's nice to know that male nipples exceed mere aesthetics.

Matt Shea said...

Mike, who let this lunatic near a Bunsen burner? That's what I'd like to know. His powers of roadside defibrillation make me wince when I think about how he'd perform a citizen's arrest. Perhaps with a potato gun, or a crossbow.

MVD said...

Good point, Matt. Fortunately, the victim wasn't exhibiting signs of delirium when found. I’d imagine it's quite messy to perform a roadside lobotomy with the jaws of life.

Ron said...

Hey, MVD...I think this procedure needs to be seriously considered as part of the training in become a certified paramedic.

The course could be listed under: "Alternative Emergency Holistic-Cable Healing."

tee, hee!

Great post, bud. This is just the humor I needed after the friggin' ass joyous week I've had at work!#*?!

MVD said...

"I think this procedure needs to be seriously considered as part of the training to become a certified paramedic."

Great thinking, Ron. There are plenty of mechanics that could use the extra cash from lecturing at these seminars. In fact, I can’t think of a more honest and forthright profession.

Matt Shea said...

Well, to be honest I'd be surprised if he hasn't already taken Ron's suggestion and presented this to a local ambulance service. Imagine the cost-savings of not having to carry around fancy defibrillators?! Makes economic sense in these GFC times.

Jen said...

Great job at setting the scene. I was wincing in my seat while reading. You have a wonderful way of bringing the characters of your youth to life. Seeing a John Candy look a like hovering over my half dead body with jumper cables at the ready to attach to my nipples would probably have been enough to scare the life right back into me. That poor man. Oh well, at least he survived.

MVD said...

"That poor man. Oh well, at least he survived."

Actually, Jen, one might reword your sentiments into: "that poor class." Even pre-teens have their limits for yearly bullshit intake, and this kind of mindless bunk was force-fed in lumpy spoonfuls.

But still, ouch.

Suldog said...

I am positively shocked by your negative reaction to this tale of die-hard heroism. You should undergo a battery of mental tests to determine why you are so acidic. Cable me with the results.

MVD said...

Gold star for a clever response, Suldog.

After a bevy of comments, I'm reconsidering my opinions of nonconformist heart surgery. In fact, as I type with my right hand, I'm icing up my nipples with the left. In 15 minutes or so, I'll ask my neighbor's kid to handcuff me to the mailbox, pop the hood, and retest the procedure's adequacy.

If alive tomorrow, I may even post the results. If not, my wife will post them.

Darren said...

I knew that there had to be a more interesting science teacher out there than my own high school Chem teacher. While he boasted a mane not unlike Barry Gibb (darker and jheri-curl infused) and a wooden cross the size of an iPhone dangling on a leather rope necklace, he never attempted to wake me from a Periodic Table-induced stupor with a set of jumper cables. Come to think of it, unless it was Friday night at his house and I was a 25-year old boy toy named Jose, I doubt that jumper cables would ever come into play.

MVD said...

"unless it was Friday night at his house and I was a 25-year old boy toy named Jose, I doubt that jumper cables would ever come into play."

Actually, Darren, it's better that you didn't know what was dangling whenever he cued up "Saturday Night Fever" and created new periodic elements from his friction with Jose.

bluntdelivery said...

1. first of all, i just need to see Deliverance already. Cus I'll be dammed if i don't hear a reference to this movie in every disturbing story of my life.

2. and this was one of those disturbing stories.

3. this is a bit too rough, even for me. i'm going to take my nipples out for a classy dinner and a glass of wine after hearing that story. make that a bottle.

MVD said...

"i'm going to take my nipples out for a classy dinner and a glass of wine after hearing that story."

I'm sure the other restaurant patrons would be thrilled with your idea, Brit. However, check the town ordinance on public nudity before you head out for this meal. Believe it or not, the less progressive types might have you arrested.

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