A day at the Dentist

“Your blood pressure is elevated,” the snooty dental hygienist accused.

“You think?” I’m not a fan of snootiness. “Why do you need my BP to examine my teeth anyway? Are you going to stop a heart attack with an emergency tooth extraction?” Maybe it came out more, ah… less civil than I’d hoped. But in my defense, I was quite traumatized at this point.

*Crickets.

“I apologize. My pressure runs borderline anyway. Add to that a 300-pound dude in a lab coat jamming “bite wings” down my throat while he shoots radiation through a plastic basketball hoop attached to and dangling from the side of my head and you might understand my anxious state. Danged thing herniated a disk in my neck. And why do they cover my torso in a lead vest while leaving my face in the path of directed radiation? Is my face not as important? Why no crotch flap? I’m pretty sure that’s important too. Also, I saw my own toes sticking out of my own nose, my innie is now an outie, and I think I have a hernia now.” I took a short breath and spoke in the general direction of the x-ray tech. “Thanks for that by the way, Gigantor.”

Feeling better, I turned and almost attempted my best disarming smile. I don’t know that it’s ever disarmed anyone and may even more closely resemble a snarl that has at least frightened some children. She was about to get intimate with my teeth anyway so I deprived her of the opportunity to experience disarmament and kept that smile in check just in case she got paid by the number of exposures to my teeth. You aren’t getting double time pay out of me, snooty one.

“We need those x-rays, Sir.” That sounded like a weak excuse. Maybe because she couldn’t close her mouth and it’s hard to enunciate when you hang your mouth open like a fish out of water at every little inconsequential thing your patient says.

“Yeah. But do the “bite wings” have to come off of a 747? Then they cover these gargantuan airfoils with enough sharp-edged tarpaulins to cover the entire plane. Seriously, my bowel movements are going to come out shrink wrapped for the next three weeks.”

“You miiiight be overreacting at this point. You should just try to calm down.”

“And how does that work out when your husband says that to you? YOU START GETTING indexEXCITED!!” *Note to self: I need to watch Boondock Saints again.

I actually just thought that bit, but decided to keep it to myself. After all, she was hovering over my face with a Dremel and what looked like a small scythe. “Do you have to mow grass on my tongue?” I offered instead.

“What?”

“Never mind. Where were we? BP? I can explain that beyond having passenger planes shoved down my throat. Also, I do not get along with dental dams.”

“Oooo-K?”

“It’s your coat.” I stated it as plainly as I could. “Not the not-getting-along-with-dental-dams part. The BP part, I mean.”

“My coat? What’s wrong with my coat?” She sniffed it. I almost left.

“My BP goes up any time I’m near you medical types. Something to do with the coat. It might help if you had a nice camouflaged one. That probably wouldn’t help with X-Ray Kong in there though. I bet his kids freak out when he makes airplane noises with a giant spoonful of gag reflex coming their way. I honestly don’t know how you guys’ heads don’t explode every time you put one on. Which I guess would only happen once. Each.”12345678

She affected a look that reminded me of the one my wife wears quite often, sighed, and had me lay back. Then she put these safety glasses on me that are designed for the sole purpose of rendering all men unattractive to anything other than vultures.

“We’re just going to slip this dental dam in…”

I sat up. “No we are not. Didn’t I just tell you I don’t get on well with those things?”

“Just let me give it a try. I’m really good with these things. Just breathe through your nose. You won’t even notice it.”

“And that is what the last thirteen people to attempt it said. Statistically speaking, you just lied to me. I have no real reason to trust you anymore. Besides, this is just supposed to be a cleaning and exam. And I don’t appreciate the mouth breather accusations.”

“What? No. Looking at your x-rays here,” she pointed at a dark spot, deflecting. “You are going to need a filling immediately.”

I looked at the film for myself

“That’s a boot lace eyelet. If you squint, you can make out the rest of the boot. Told you I saw my toes. I’d also like to point out that gold crowns don’t get cavities so unless I have some mutant oral bacteria, you aren’t filling my crown.”

So yeah. That last part wasn’t true, but I’ve been waiting to use that whole bit about trust since my last visit where they attempted to choke me with a wad of latex bearing the innocuous sounding moniker “dental dam”.

Turns out I did need a filling, but not in the gold tooth, and they had time. I guess they saw more discussion coming from me and knocked me out which is incredibly unfair considering the amount of talking and question posing they normally do while they have you as a captive audience incapable of response other than thumbs up.

“Where were you May 28th?” I asked as a woke.

“What?”

“See what you did right there? To me? You could have saved Harambe….”

“Please stop talking.”

Be snooty with me, will you?

So Much Awesome

I have thought about this for a week now and I have decided I will not taint the glory that is this image with the fumbling words of an amateur blogger. I will explain though what you are seeing.

I sent my guys to go recover an inoperable trailer belonging to another unit. I asked for pictures of the recovery operation. This is what they sent me:

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To Drink or to Stink

Upon arrival in Korea I had to buy a couple of more towels. The one lonely towel I packed wasn’t faring well under the strain of drying me off twice a day. So I got it some new friends who turned out to be jerks that like to explode dark blue lint all over everything no matter how many times they are washed and dried. Then there is the problem that regardless of how often I wash them or what techniques I employ, they stink in less than four or five uses. Usually, I can get two uses before any hint of mildew creeps in. At best, I get two days out of one. At two showers a day that equals three towels a week and I still fall short of what’s needed for that. Boom! Look at me math.

Look. I’m a laundry once a week kind of guy. I am also a problem solver kind of guy. So I did what many of us might do these days when faced with stinky bathroom textiles: I sought the sage advice that can only be found on the internet. I stumbled upon a page espousing natural “life hacks” for people who don’t like man made cleaning agents. I assume from reading this that vodka isn’t man made and is mistaken by some to be a cleaning agent. This seriously sounds anti-hacky to me, but I guess it makes sense now that I think about it. I’ve never been near someone sloshed on vodka and thought “Wow. He smells really mildewy”. The idea is to spritz your towels after they dry and the fermented potato juice will kill the smell. Or maybe make the smell drunk so it falls off the towel. I don’t know how it works.

The point is not that I know how it works. You remember how I mentioned that liqueur is rationed on post in Korea? Yeah? Well. It is adversely affecting towels. That is the point. If you are reading this, send vodka.

Green is the New Orange

Everything I can buy on post in Korea is rationed. Well… Everything I want to buy, at least. Groceries, beer, liquor. It feels a little like incarceration, truth be told. I’ve taken to thinking of my rations as my “commissary”. On top of that, I was a little excited that my fermenters arrived safely with my household goods. Now I can start making hooch. Green is the new orange, folks!

Gas would be more fun than bleach…

Apparently, the Army is not overly enthused about the prospect of pouring gasoline down drains in the barracks and lighting it. Consequently, my request was denied and the person at Vector Control suggested that there are a number of professionals available to whom I can speak, but not at a glorified exterminator’s office. I told them that I just did speak to someone and they are already trying to pawn me off on another department rather than let me deal with the problem.

My wife said I should explain….

Koreans seem to be quite fond of eating anything that lives in bodies of water. Seriously. They are just like Cajuns except they don’t live in Louisiana and most of them speak better English than Cajuns. And they have more teeth.

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See what I’m talking about? I don’t even know what this thing is, but you can get them at certain restaurants. You’ll see them there, floating in little net bags in the aquariums from which you select your meal. I’m not sure why they are in baggies. I mean look at them. Unless you are suffering from a severe palsy, they probably can’t get away from you. If you did have a severe palsy, you probably shouldn’t handle the danged things anyway. That would just seem obscene somehow. The westerners I know who have been exposed to these call them penis fish, citing that they resemble a schlong. You’ve heard the term “it goes without saying”? I don’t think this is ever true. I like to say whatever pops to mind. So it needs to be said that if your tackle box contains anything resembling a sea schmeckel, you should seek immediate medical attention.

You might not be able to tell, but I am a little disturbed right now. Not because of phallic foods though. My wife finds my tendency to make light of everything to be an irritating character trait. It’s a coping mechanism, but the problem I face is in fact quite dire. So I guess I should get to the point.

As things stand, my quarry is either wandering about my room waiting to do me harm, or it is skulking about the shower drain. The former isn’t as worrisome, though I haven’t gone barefoot since the discovery and I have bleached the floors at least six time and rewashed linens as well as all clothes several times. The latter bothers me greatly as I may have loosed this vile thing on the world, so I dumped bleach down the drain in the hopes that it travels faster than microscopic monsters. It makes me feel a certain kinship to Sisyphus. I toil against bureaucracy and the decree of my mother, who I am sure rules the underworld, only to have my efforts be in vain.

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My wife says I should stop explaining quite so much.

I may have inadvertently exposed the entire northern part of South Korea to small pox. I’m pretty sure it is due to my nature as Nergala’s son. If you are a first time reader of this blog, my Mad Cow Blog (July archives) may offer clarification on that last statement. Anyway, the point to all this is that I lost my small pox scab. It was supposed to go into the little biohazard baggie of small pox Band-Aids kept under my bathroom sink so that when the process was complete I could turn it in for incineration. The bag of doom, not the sink.

So as I was saying at the beginning, I reported the problem and proposed a solution based on a time honored solution to pathogen eradication. One can only hope that copious quantities of sodium hypochlorite will suffice instead.

 

Image Credits:

Tally whacker Trout: http://maioka-fc.info/fishing_dictionary/yumushi

Sisyphus’ Labors: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/530861874801718890/

Hercules: King of the Zombies

“I’m patient zero,” I told my wife when she answered the video call.

“I haven’t even had coffee yet.”

“This is serious. I’ve put all the pieces together now. Get coffee. I’ll wait.”

She went off screen briefly and I sat listening intently to her morning routine. It contained more prayer than normal I think. I kept hearing things like “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” and “Lord you made him…” and some mumbled plea about answering calls in the future that began with “Good morning”.

She sat back down. “Patient zero?”

“Zombie apocalypse? Duh.”

“This should be fun. Please. Enlighten me.”

“So if you remember, I was raised with cats. Now throw my mad cow into the mix…” I began.

“You do NOT have mad cow,” my wife informed me. “And Moosa isn’t a real thing either.”

“Then explain my erratic thought processes. HA! You can’t. So much for your psych degree, Doc.”

“You’re just bizarre.”

“No. I’m misunderstood.”

“Einstein was misunderstood,” she incorrectly corrected.

“He couldn’t make correct change for the bus, either.”

“But You can most certainly make change for the bus.”

“Tell that to the Korean bus driver who had to make correct change for me when I put ₩ 10,000 in the thing to pay for my fare yesterday.”

For those unfamiliar, ₩ is the symbol for Korean won which makes more sense than our $ for dollars. Double strike-through W for Won versus a double strike-through S for Dollar. In regards to the origins of double strike-through S for Dollar, I blame the French influences on the early development of the written English language. Kind of like the superfluous K in knight or knife. It’s a working theory. Back to Won (₩). It is Pronounced wan but spelled w-o-n. Lost in translation, I suppose. Anyway, 1,000 ₩ is like 90 cents. Cents: (¢). Boom! Take that Frenchie!

“You didn’t.”

“It was all I had on me. It resulted in me having about six pounds of Korean coins in each pocket. After that I just dumped the contents of one pocket into the thing (what is that called anyway?) every time I got onto a different bus. The driver would then make change and the machine would spit a new set of coins out weighing slightly less than six pounds. It was exactly like paying a percentage to have my money laundered. I felt like I was in the Triad.”

“That’s exactly nothing like having your money laundered, and the Triad are Chinese.”

“Right! But they are also foreign to Korea, so it works.”

She placed her left thumb on her cheek and covered her eyes while shaking her head.

I explained to her for perhaps the hundredth time in twenty years how I came to be afflicted with the first of three bovine sicknesses. The second is from a mandatory series of anthrax vaccinations and the third is from an Army mandated small pox vaccination. I know that you are thinking that small pox and cow pox are two different pox (poxes?), but if you are thinking that, you are mistaken. Apparently, small pox was eradicated except for weaponized versions stockpiled alongside weaponized anthrax in Russia and sold off to any number of belligerent states. So the US engineered something out of cow pox to administer to us so we can’t get either type of poc. Milkmaids seemed to be immune to small pox, so why not? What is it with Russians and cow disease weapons? Weirdos. I digress.

Removing her hand from her face she asked me what Einstein had to do with all of this?

“You brought him up.”

“Oh my god, would you just get to your point?” she pleaded.

“As I was saying, when I got exposed to MRSA, that particular disease was outmatched by preexisting conditions and teamed up with the mad cow, cow pox, and anthrax. Voila! Moosa.”

“And your cats had what to do with this?”

“I’m glad you asked. Being raised with cats is what started it all. You remember that manipulative parasite they carry?”

toxo

“Toxoplasma gondii. Yes, but that affects women and causes birth defects or something.”

“It makes them more promiscuous so they have more babies and perpetuate the cycle, yes. But it also makes men less risk averse to put them in the way of the big cats we once lived alongside so that when we became cat scat we could also spread the bacteria.”

“Is there a point to this?”

“Of course there is. The Toxoplasma gondii explains why I was chasing that cat in Panama and got stuck in the sticker patch which is where I picked up that fungus that controls the minds of ants in South America.”

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I held up my arm to show her the sticker wound I’d gotten when I was nine years old. There is a still visible brown mark much like a tattoo. Maybe it is more like the pencil wound on my left leg I got when I was thirteen following a leg spasm while I held a pencil point down under my desk. “It got in at this point.”

“So you have fungus for brain. That explains things.”

“No. I’m just saying I’m not in full control of my mental faculties.”

“No argument there,” she shrugged.

“You can’t insinuate that I’m stupid after calling me Einstein.”

“I most certainly did not call you Einstein.”

“You said I was bizarre and through the whole misunderstood money laundering Triad thing, we established that bizarre is basically a synonym for Einstein when we talk.”

“I’m pretty sure having mushrooms in your head is no basis for zombification,” she suggested. “That fungus is not the same thing as magic mushrooms.”

“The point is that when the MRSA wins out over the mad cow, it will erupt in my skull at which point the fungus will take control due to Moosa diminished mental facility and I will become a zombie with bacteria that draws people to me. Cycle repeats. Zombie apocalypse.”

“I am going to choke your mother next time I see her.”

“I would too. This is all her doing. First the cats, then the willful spread of mad cow. I told you she was the Mesopotamian goddess of the underworld,” I gasped at a sudden realization. “I am a demigod! I’m like Hercules, king of the zombies!”

“And I am hanging up now.”

 

 

 

Photo Credit

Zombie Ants: http://www.ourwindsor.ca/news-story/5444141-a-mind-controlling-fungus-is-turning-ants-into-real-life-zombies-in-the-rainforest/

Facebook Lamentations 8:25

Tuesday, 25 August. What fresh hell is this? Somewhere near Starke, Florida we amble about like the undead as we struggle against the heat, inappropriately clad in full duty uniform. Our clothes stay wet and there seems to be no reprieve in sight. I saw a Soldier today who has begun growing moss on his uniform and moves much like a sloth. This must be how sloths are made. It is unsure if our drenched clothing got this way from profuse sweating or from absorbing humidity. I think that it is from the latter since the atmosphere is already saturated in excess of capacity. All I know for sure is that I showered on Saturday and have yet to successfully dry off.

The shower. The horror. It is a broom closet with an exotic dancer’s pole in the center of it with four high-pressure water jets attached.

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Fifty of us share this little chamber of pain. Obviously not at the same time. That would be awkward. The stall can barely accommodate two people, much less fifty or even the intended four unless they were a foot wide at the shoulders. There is a single hole in each shower head/jet that puts enough force behind the water to strip paint or even rust from a battleship. My first experience here was very nearly my last. Reveling in the act of being cleaned, I was caught unawares when the water very nearly pierced one of my boy bits. As it turns out, I am a great soprano. I used the dance pole to pull myself up off the floor and was briefly concerned that people might start throwing dollars at me. What’s worse is that none did. It was just one of those moments that leaves you torn between relief and insult. However, I was entertained when the water jet and a different, now overly sensitive appendage inadvertently recreated the same action that can be seen by strumming those stupid spring type door stops often enjoyed by cats and babies. And me. I love those door stops.

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Ultimately the entertainment value was brief and taught me much regarding the fundamentals required of a world class opera singer.

 

Fun With Engineers

So how did I get to this point? Perhaps a review of my nightly log of events may help. Then again, it may just serve to chart my descent into the mud and mosquito choked misery that eventually landed me in the hospital. That last bit is technically unfounded, but for the life of me I can’t imagine where else I might have picked up Lyme’s disease especially considering that it corresponded with my return home from this debacle.

March 10: It’s a good thing we got here at three in the morning. Had we not, they wouldn’t have been able to get accountability of everyone so we could then sleep on the sidewalk for six hours, propped up on our bags while we waited for the bus. I’m showing up at nine in the morning next time.

March 11: I’ve calmed a bit since my last entry. I just wonder if we set the tone of this exercise by bringing everyone in six hours early. Turns out that every echelon below the Battalion Commander bumped up the time when we were supposed to be there. So basically, he said be there at seven a.m. and everyone under him moved that time to something 15 minutes earlier when they passed the message downstream but felt like jerks for their practical joke and showed up in a display of belated solidarity.

*So here is something to brighten up my day: A positive note to self. When the sun last set on me, I was in the Georgia low country. I was greeted this morning by a light drizzle, grey skies, and steam rising off of a Mississippi bayou. I do love the South.

March 14: It has been raining for the past fifty hours. As soon as my soul becomes slightly less water logged, I will resume recording events. I don’t love all of the South.

March 15: I told a counterpart that the mac-n-cheese at breakfast was nasty. He then informed me that it was actually scrambled eggs. I’m not sure where he got that idea unless it was the overwhelming odor of sulfur. Still, the texture and consistency was undeniably pasta-ish. There was also a nickel size hunk of a questionable meat product they claimed was steak. I’m pretty sure that if it did come from a terrestrial bovine that it was slices of unwashed boiled hoof. The highpoint of the meal was a lovely oatmeal/brown rice medley that only had a mild numbing effect on the tongue and throat.

March 16: Perhaps at this point considering this adventure to be something of a personal winter is a bit misguided as it gets uncomfortably warm at points. I’ve decided not to brave the dining facility for breakfast. Despite the delightful numbing effect of the oatmeal/brown rice thing during consumption, it provided a violent form of sensory overload on the downstream side.
*On an interesting note, I have saluted 4,357 and 1\2 times. The 1\2 salute was due to a hesitation while rendering the greeting of the day. I found myself unable to ascertain the gender of the Captain to whom I was rendering proper courtesies. Fortunately, he\she was note paying attention and I was able to drop the half salute.

March 17. Day three of my personal fall. I choose fall because despite the best efforts of the cooks, I am still alive. The days are starting to meld into an uninterrupted line of bad ideas punctuated only by more food. I’m only aware of the date at this point because of the well intentioned St. Patrick’s day greetings.
I stayed completely away from the dining facility today as a personal favor to my driver’s olfactory sensitivities. This proved a prudent move as the convoy took eight hours to traverse less than fifty miles.
I fear that mutiny is on the horizon stemming from the absence of hot meals. I shall need to make an example of someone in order to maintain discipline. Perhaps a plank walking at Alligator Lake. Look it up. Narrow your search to the Fort Polk area. It’s real.

March 18. Day four in my own personal fall. I’ve learned much despite my discomfort. For instance: I just learned that sleep apnea is not just dangerous to the sufferer, but risks the few meager hours of sleep all around the guy in the cot nearest the door. Had mutinous sedition still stalked our ranks, he would make a fine candidate for a disciplinary example. His counterpart on the other end of our “great hall” grinding out a higher pitched counterpoint might also serve should the need arise.
At some point during the night, the clothing I had become quite literally attached to became self-aware and had to be put down. I cannot abide menu request out of clothes despite our unbroken eight-day relationship. Call it what you will, but symbiotic relations with trousers makes me uncomfortable.
After two days of nothing but the digestible plastic mix with copious amounts of saturated fat that the Army jokingly refers to as “Meal Ready to Eat” or MRE, the cooks have returned to their playful shenanigans. Lasagna? Still not sure. And what were those oval-esque chunks of what I think were meat? My ex pants would have liked it I think.

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MRE Chili with Beans (I think)

March 19. Day five. I asked for the corned beef hash at breakfast to which the server replied “Uh. That’s oatmeal, Chief”. I put my tray back and sought out pop tarts and granola bars. I am obviously at some entry level of gastrointestinal hell. I am not alone. The Company XO has reached an advanced stage of this yet unnamed malady. He doesn’t even exhale anymore. He simply inhales then levitates momentarily. I thought the engineers were running a vibe roller near our HQ at one point. I am sure he will explode soon and take out several Soldiers in the blast. Regrettably, I am convinced that I am not far behind him. On the bright side, if this new disease I have discovered does indeed kill me, I will be immortalized like Madame Curie. The down side is that our manners of demise may look similar once I’ve run down the curtain and joined the Choir Invisible.
Now that I think about it, maybe I should get a Geiger counter to the DFAC.

March 20. Day …… Six of the exercise? I could have sworn I left home on the10th. I just learned that it is Friday. Not sure how I was still on Tuesday. This very well may be the most elaborate ruse ever pulled by an entire unit on one person. The good news is that I am onto them. I refused all alleged victuals and seem to have entered a period of lucidity. It is plain to see that I have been being drugged at the chow hall. To what end, I cannot yet say. Maybe we stand on the cusp of perfecting MK Ultra and I am the guinea pig. Maybe I’m like Dolph Lungren (without all the muscle) in Universal Soldier. Being a Unisol looks like it sucked though. I don’t like this experiment anymore.
The XO is a lost cause. He persists in consuming mass quantities of all that the “cooks” put before him. He has yet to explode, but his voice is definitely two octaves higher. It’s quite reminiscent of inhaling helium and he seems perplexed by my reaction to him speaking. Coughing fits failed to cover my mirth during his brief so I gave up the pretense. Apparently this is frowned on in the Army. I would never have guessed that the service cherishes pretense.

March 21: Today we finished loading our equipment back onto rail cars and ourselves onto buses. Several cases of hypothermia later and at least one heat casualty all in the same day, the task force has learned a lot about Louisiana weather. Oh! And we also had one hydraulic excavator accidentally discover an underground stream, much to the operator’s chagrin, making this the most memorable training exercise in which I’ve taken part. All is not lost. Personally, I gained several valuable tidbits of good to know info from participating in this exercise.

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Field training lessons learned:

  • When your female commander is in your area of operations, lock the door to the porta-john. “Jesus peaches, Chief”! I swear she sounded like Pam from Archer when she said that.
  • Hydraulic excavators are not ideal for subterranean amphibious operations.
  • A three-day exercise takes ten days.
  • Despite CDC protestations, Lyme’s disease IS TOO present in the South and probably transmitted to me when I got stabbed by the blind fish I caught by hand while standing in waist deep mud.

Marriage Explained

As I trudge up the rock face to my quarters, I often avoid the circuitous route up the stairs that eventually leads to the opposite side of the building in which I live. More often than not, I opt for the foot-wide concrete ledge of the monsoon ditch that runs from the top of the mountain to some rice paddies in the valley. I don’t think the word “ditch” paints an adequate picture of this thing. It’s over twelve feet wide across its flat bottom and when my six-foot two-inch self is in it, I can’t see over the edge. At one point there is a slightly smaller ditch that joins it just opposite of my building. This junction creates a little island of sorts upon which grass and a few half naked trees grow. Seriously, it’s like the mange jumped host type and is thriving on flora. I’m not sure why, but I find myself drawn to stare at it once I’ve scaled what I had originally assumed was Fuji until a Korean informed me that Fuji is in Japan. Maybe I stare at this little island because I find it peaceful or a pretty little patch of the world that is just out of place. It may be more likely that I stare at it because I do not acclimate well to altitude and when I’m lying flat on the ground with my head turned in that direction gasping for air in a manner reminiscent of a fish gasping for water that isn’t there, I have no choice but to stare at it since it is the only thing present in my narrowing field of vision.

A few days ago I stopped just short of rounding the corner of the condemned building that lay one terrace below my current residence: The Millipede Marriott. I heard a strange new sound, which is interesting in and of itself since I wasn’t wearing my hearing aids at the time. I’m fairly certain that this means my wife could hear the same sound from our home in Georgia. If you were to imagine what a chicken might sound like if instead of multiple clucks in rapid succession, it was simply issuing a single cluck. Then imagine that the cluck was deeply pitched as if it were from a male animal and that this male creature was from the South Eastern United States. So now you have a deep cluck with a bad Southern twang drawing it out and maybe it’s being uttered from inside a large balloon.

At first I thought that some ginormous bullfrog was in the culvert through which Fuji’s drainage runs (I’m sure the guy was lying about the mountain’s location in order to have a good old chuckle at the foreigner who should obviously be removed from the highlands). I took this opportunity to pause my ascent, thinking that a grown man perched on the edge of a monsoon ditch peering into the black depths of a mosquitobat (more on them later) habitat looking for real life amphibious Pokémon might be judged less harshly than a pause to stave off altitude sickness. The sound continued and to my relief it wasn’t emanating from the cavern in front of me. Not that I have anything against caverns, but as eluded to earlier, there is a sizeable population of these bat sized mosquitos in that vicinity which is why I’d assumed the noise was coming from a giant frog. It would certainly have to be giant to survive and feed upon mosquitobats.

As it turns out, the source of the sound was far less interesting than a 200 pound green Jigglypuff subsisting on giant mosquitos with a taste for human eyes. Instead, it was a pheasant rooster standing atop the only rock on the ditch island that I’d be staring at as soon as I face planted at the apex of my climb. His chest was puffed out and his head was held high as he issued these strange sounding noises that were far too large to be coming from such a small bird. His mate busied herself nearby pecking around and doing her thing. I honestly don’t know what it is female pheasants do, but she certainly looked busy at it. The rooster stood watch, posing and making noise as the hen went about her business.

As with most animals I see, I mentally ran through options on how to capture and consume this rooster. In the end I just opted to take a few pics instead. For one, I don’t know what the hunting regulations are in regards to Fuji Pheasant or if they may be endangered. Also, I’m pretty sure that cooking takes longer than I like in the thin atmosphere up here. I called my wife and recounted the events of my day culminating in my almost participation in real life Pokémon Go. After I told her about the pheasant encounter she responded with a single profound and telling statement that explains so very much to me: “They must have been married for a long time”.

Touché, wife. Carry on. I’m going to stand over here and make some more noise.

Small Pox

            Upon changing the bandage on my second small pox vaccination (the Army requires it within ten years of the first), I noticed another pustule adjacent to the vaccination site. Of course I immediately called my wife who wasn’t happy about answering the phone at 2 A.M. When I’m in charge (if I live), I’m abolishing time zones so I can call during my daytime in Korea to her new daytime in Georgia without causing problems. For now, it would have to be fine because it was an emergency.

Me: I’m dying.

Her: What this time?

Me: My small pox is spreading.
Her: I just sat down with coffee. Which is the real threat to your continued existence?
Me: I have something LIKE a pimple next to the pox vaccination site under the band aid. It’s not like the zit on my face. That was totally a false alarm.
Her: So you have a pimple.
Me: I’m going to die.
Her: (Pinches her nose and laughs).
Me: I’m in a foreign country dying of a vaccination derived from a bovine malady (it’s made from cow pox you know) and you….
Her: Dying of an active imagination at the very least.

Me: I would expect such a response out of a Moosa denier.

Her: Oh good lord….
Me: And it spread to my chest after I touched the band aid in my sleep and scratched my chest (exposes chest to phone).
Her: It’s an ingrown hair.
Me: And look. This is serious. Real talk.
Her: It’s hard to take you serious.
Me: I’m really worried that the same finger that spread it to my chest might be the same one that got frisky when the toilet paper broke.
Her: (shoots coffee from nose).
Me: They can’t treat it there without amputating.
Her: Most people call a butt amputation a divorce.
Me: I wonder if the troop medical clinic will be so insensitive.