My first idea was to blog about the interminable time it takes for referees to review plays that, when viewers see the replays at home, they are able make a clear determination. Not only does the guy(s) “under the hood” take much longer, it’s shocking how many times he (they) get it wrong. Or at least appear to get it wrong based on the video evidence.
Worse, take into account the poor people attending the game, sitting in the cold, freezing their collective tushies off, e.g. Fresno State @ Wyoming, and the case for instant replays doesn’t look as strong as it did when lawmakers (finally) implemented them. Not all stadiums have giant video monitors. Rather than making the game better, replays often just make it longer. That, and interrupt flow and/or momentum. Instead, however, I decided to make you feel smarter. It’s a blog I posted nearly six years ago.
Although I may not be listed in America’s Best & Brightest, most people who know me consider me a relatively intelligent person. This story could possibly burst that bubble.
One of the (three) years I coached at Buchanan High School (2002-05), I attended a coaches’ meeting which was held at Sunnyside High School. I arrived about 30 minutes prior to the meeting and stopped at a drug store to pass some time. Since I’m a sucker for sweets, it came as no surprise I bought a pack of Oreo cookies and a Diet Mountain Dew (two of my favorites). A little before 10 pm I got home and noticed I had an upset stomach. While I’ve had more than my share of surgeries, I usually don’t get sick to my stomach so it was out of the ordinary when I turned to my son, Andy, and said, “I think I might throw up,” then went into the bathroom and proceeded to do just that.
There I was, kneeling over the toilet, staring at what looked like a bowlful of recently consumed Oreo cookies. I brushed my teeth and went to bed, but in about 20 minutes, I got up again and repeated this not-so-fun adventure, once again looking at something that resembled Oreo cookies. I remember thinking, “There were only 6 cookies and it’s like I’ve thrown up at least a dozen.” I headed for the family room to rock for a while in the La-Z-Boy (an activity I find extremely soothing), but stopped to take a swig of diet soda - right out of the two liter bottle (since I was the only one who drank that stuff). That’s pretty much the last I remember of the evening.
My wife, Jane, was sound asleep when she was awakened by a loud crash. While it was me hitting the floor, she had no idea since, at that time, our bedroom was completely dark. She told me later she didn’t even realize I wasn’t in bed - she had thought our basset hound (since deceased) had knocked something off of a shelf. When she got to the kitchen, she saw me lying there. As she rushed toward me, she slipped on the spilled diet soda that was all over the floor but, luckily, didn’t hit her head and join me in la-la land.
She saw I was breathing and called 911. When the paramedics got there, she explained to them that I’d had several back surgeries and how fearful she was the fall may have worsened my situation. I can barely remember them asking me questions, which Jane told me I wasn’t able to answer, e.g. “Do you know where you work?” I think I said Fresno State even though it had been years since I worked there.
“Did you remember going to a meeting earlier that night?”
But when they asked what my social security number was, I ripped off all nine numbers in a matter of a couple of seconds. Hey, no matter how out of it we math majors are, it’s hard to stump us with a question in which the answer is numbers.
I was put on a stretcher and driven to St. Mary’s. I had a terrible headache (think it had anything to do with hitting my head on the tile floor?) Through the many years, I had become a BIG believer in Excedrin. I noticed when I took anything else for a headache, sometimes the pain went away, sometimes it didn’t. But Excedrin never failed to cure the headache. And there where many other people who agreed with me. I remember saying, “Excedrin’s one of the few things in life you truly can believe in.”
So I requested Excedrin from the nurse. She told me she could only give me ibuprofen. Shortly thereafter, Jane showed up - and with her, she had my shaving kit. Naturally, it contained Excedrin. My day was saved! I took a couple, assured my headache would be gone in no time - and, sure enough, it disappeared. About that time, the doctors started asking all sorts of questions before finally diagnosing my problem: a bleeding ulcer.
It was then I learned I had been vomiting blood, not Oreo cookies, although the two do happen to look an awful lot like (once the cookies have been chewed and swallowed). The doctors asked me if I’d been on any medication and when I told them about the back surgeries I’d had recently, they put the blame on the drug, naproxyn, which I think is an anti-inflammatory. Then the doc asked if I had been taking any other pills on a regular basis. I mentioned that when I had a headache, two Excedrin worked like a charm. He asked how often I got headaches and I said pretty much on a daily basis, certainly every Monday through Friday.
He then asked, “How long have you had this problem?” I thought for a while and said, “I know I was taking them when I first went to the University of Tennessee.”
“And when was that?”
I thought the doctor was going to faint. I’d been taking approximately 10 Excedrin/week for over 20 years! A quick calculation puts the number of Excedrin I took at over 10,000! (I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I had just taken another two). I can recall reading articles about moderation in life and, if I’m not mistaken, pill taking was mentioned in it.
See what I mean about not ever making the Best & Brightest list? The late speaker Art Berg once said:
“For those in this life who refuse to change, life will change for you - and then it is almost certain to be a more painful experience.”
How right he was!