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I meant to post this in July, but I never got around to it. It helps explain where I’ve been.
Note: This was very hard for me to write, because he deserves better than the words I can muster, and this was the best I could do. I would need ten years and ten thousand pages to properly articulate what he meant to me and all the multitudes of people who loved him, and even that would never be enough.
He was my buddy. Not just my buddy, though. He was my ever luvin’ buddy, and also everyone else’s. That’s how he signed every email I ever saw: “Your ever luvin’ buddy, John” or sometimes YELB if he was in a rush. I sometimes referred to him as MELB for that reason. That sticks with me a lot, because it’s one of the truest things ever said. John Corradin really was your ever luvin’ buddy. No matter how annoyed he might get, no matter what horrendous decision you made in a game, one thing never changed: he loved you, he’d always love you, and he’d forever be your buddy.
Here is a news update, and also the best song of all time.
So this is going to be a quick post to share something amazing, but it needs a back story:
In February, we were effectively kicked out of our IVF clinic with whom we had been working for nearly a year because SOMEONE had to go and have a recurrence. Then, in a staggering exercise of paternalism and bureaucracy, a heretofore unknown to us “risk-management team” and an “ethics board” decided that due to my recurrence, I had a greater likleihood of Disney momming this potential child, so they were going to prevent us from even retrieving eggs from our donor–even if we used a surrogate–until I got a life expectancy from my oncologist (who, btw, responded to that request with an, “umm no, I can’t even give you one of those until after treatment which we are postponing for the moment anyway. Also why the heck would they need that if you’re not…
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Fair warning: If the title wasn’t enough to clue you in, this is a post about jackin’ it while getting your insurance company to pay for it. If you have zero desire to find out what it’s really like to provide a sperm sample, it’s completely understandable. If, however, you’ve always wondered if it’s like how they portray it in the movies, or you’re curious to discover what materials are provided for the purpose, read on. I promise to try to make it more funny than gross. Also, the pics may feature adult themes. Not like my junk or anything, but, ya know, fair warning and all that. You might see part of a heavily photoshopped woman’s butt.
Also, a hearty welcome to the new followers I picked up this week! You deserve better, but hey, you didn’t know what you were getting into.
A word from my wife.
When my doctor told me, my eyes watered but I didn’t cry. I asked questions. I held it together and breathed slowly until I got to the car. I always insisted on going to these appointments alone, insisted I could handle it so I needed to do that now. I breathed more and I didn’t cry. I thought about how to tell my husband. I thought the words a few times, and then I called him. I thought the words over and over, but when they finally came out of my mouth, the sound of them was too intensely real to hold back the tears: I told him they found something in my lungs. He said he was coming home. We talked about how to tell my parents. I told him I had some errands to run and then I’d be home, too.
I called my mom. I sounded upbeat…
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It’s been a couple years since I did this, but I thought that if there was ever a year that deserved to be celebrated by a two-bit writer on a pointless blog, it’s 2016.
OK, wait a second. First aside (and it might be a record coming in on the second sentence – although the chances that I’ve done it before in the first sentence is becoming likelier the more I think about it): it’s been a long-time habit of mine to be self-deprecating and insulting to my abilities and this blog. It’s a tradition, of sorts, mostly because I try to be humble and also that I recognize that, in the world of writing, I’m barely the speck of dirt that will one day invade a pore and give rise to a pimple on the ass of the world’s literary giants. I might not even be that important. Anyway, I recognize that my talents are limited and this blog is rarely updated and barely worth the cost of reading it (opportunity costs, folks. You could be learning about dimorphism or the Egglet-Burke Theory or how to properly season a cast-iron skillet instead of wasting your time here). So I know these things. But I’m going to take a conceit from my favorite gaming-related blog (The Angry GM) and, instead of being self-deprecating (read: honest) about my abilities and this site, I’m going to go the opposite route. For the remainder of this post, I will assert that I am an amazing writer, the GREATEST WRITER, and this site is the most prestigious and exclusive gathering of the greatest distilled thought that millennia of evolution have worked towards in building to that apex of human development, me.
So I’ll basically pretend like I’m almost every other blogger ever.
This is the tenth chapter of this story, in case the title didn’t give it away. If you want to read the others first, or if you’d like to read them in random order (hey, I don’t judge), here are the other chapter links:
The universe had other plans for me besides a stiff drink or seven. It always did. “Before you pickle yourself,” Severa said, “I need you to ring my contact. You’ll want to be sober for the meeting.”
I grabbed some filtered Earth water instead with a scowl. The label made it look like Earth was a pastoral wonderland and the water therein was hand-filtered by nymphs. I grew up there and knew it probably came out of a rusty spigot in some filthy bottling plant. I drank it anyway in a misguided show of solidarity for my species. “What’s the name?”
“Don’t worry about that,” she responded, clicking on her omni. Mine buzzed silently as she sent me a message. Just a number with no information. “You have encryption on your piece of terracrap?” She was recovering quickly.
I have a deep and enduring affection for Kurt Russell. Even above and beyond his movies, there is just something about the man that makes my knees weak. This perplexes and worries my wife, but there isn’t much I can do about it. I love his performances, his manner, his aw-shucks grin, his interviews – you name it. But there is one thing above everything else about the man that impresses me and leaves me swooning.
My birthday was a few weeks ago, and I got some cool shit. I got to TOUCH AN OTTER’S PAW AND NOSE. I got a fire hook/marshmallow roaster that looks LIKE A FREAKING RAPIER. I got a mandolin that’s over a hundred years old because MY WIFE KNOWS I LIKE TO PRETEND TO BE A BARD. It was a good birthday, I’m sayin’.
But the greatest gift of them all was a song. It was a song my wife wrote for me, and she recorded it, and played it for me, and I cried like a baby. Derenemyn is the name we gave our home. It means Hill of Oaks in Elvish. We’re nerds. It is a song about us and our time together. I wanted to share it with the world, so here it is. The lyrics are below. (She also wanted me to apologize on her behalf for the shitty midi instruments. I will not. I love it.)
The Song of Derenemyn
Once before and long ago
A brave young man was made to know
A year of joy and bitter woe
In his loving of a maiden
He met her at an olden fair
With whipping wit and golden hair
Like magic, she did him ensnare,
This maid of Derenemyn
A year went by, and still he yearned
And when the fair at last returned
He told her how his heart had burned
For the maid of Derenemyn
In summer sweet, they planned to wed
They laid in groves as marriage beds
As fairies light around them tread
Midsummer’s joy proclaimin’
And yet one day, the maid grew ill
He held her, but it worsened still
He eased her and he tried to will
The balm of Derenemyn
But fear and tears and furrowed brows
Could not keep them from their sacred vows
So Summer’s beauty once more roused
And they wed on Derenemyn
Though Summer is not made to last
And yellow took the green of grass
So Autumn made the leaves of brass
And set the hills aflamin’
And as it did, they tried to find
A cure to ease her troubled mind
And leave this sickness soon behind
And return to Derenemyn
Though the crisp of air filled her heart with song
She knew the journey would be long
But with him, she knew where she belonged
To him, on Derenemyn
The bitter chill whipped in the air
The leaves turned brown and the oaks were bare
So he built a fire beside her chair
As the dark of winter came in
She struggled all the day and night
Her body weary from the fight
And all joy vanished from her sight
All joy but Derenemyn
So the hailing oak threw his arms up high
And touched his hand to the silver sky
And the snow came falling by and by
On the side of Derenemyn
As all things come and all things go
Like summer and like melting snow
So spring with creeping green did grow
The forest’s soul reclaimin’
And so her weary body healed
And spring in her was soon revealed
Her eyes glowed like the greenest field
In her home of Derenemyn
And they danced and laughed and they sang once more
Twice happy as they were before
And loved each other ever more
In the woods of Derenemyn
Once before and long ago
All things did come, and then did go
But lucky few will come to know
The joy of Derenemyn.