I think I’m dying.
Actually, I know I’m dying. We all are. But now I’m worried that I’m dying faster than a Kim Kardashian wedding.
Here’s why: I just read a legal brief about vermiculite, an ore that was used to insulate homes and schools for decades even though the corporation that made billions digging it out of Montana knew it was deadly. Their vermiculite contains asbestos. And if asbestos gets into your lungs, it turns them into something that looks like homemade grape jelly. Then you die a slow, painful, embarrassing death, like Herman Cain’s presidential campaign.
Unfortunately for me, the attic in my former house was filled to the rafters with vermiculite. I know this because I LAID IN IT FOR HOURS WORKING ON THE WIRING AND NOW I’VE GOT ASBESTOSIS!!!
I don’t really know if I’ve got the deadly asbestosis.
But I probably, almost certainly, definitely have it. It’s because of my cough, and the shortness of breath when I climb stairs. Coughing and gasping for air are two of the major symptoms of the deadly asbestosis. Also of living in a dry climate and climbing stairs. But in my case, I’m pretty sure it’s the deadly asbestosis.
I admit I might be a wee bit paranoid. If I hear about a disease, I’m convinced I’ve got it.
A couple years ago, for example, I read that John Hughes, the author of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, dropped dead of a heart attack at the age of 59 while he was taking a walk. I spent the next couple of months unable to sleep because I was convinced could hear sludge piling up in my arteries like so much cold bacon grease. Also, I was afraid to fall asleep because I was afraid I might wake up and write a piece of crap like Beethoven, Hughes’ 1992 hit family comedy about a slobbering St. Bernard that (spoiler alert!) narrowly escapes an evil vet’s murder plot.
Bueller was terrific, but Beethoven proves that even the best writers can be brilliant one day and as dumb as Rush Limbaugh the next. I figure Hughes was fretting over his dismal, late-career movies Maid in Manhattan or Curly Sue when he realized what he’d done to his career and died of shame.
I suppose I could ease my health worries by getting a checkup. But I can’t imagine a trip to the doctor’s office going well.
*cue the fantasy-sequence music from Grey’s Anatomy*
*a handsome but world-weary doctor with awesome enters the examination room*
*a middle-aged man waiting inside is scratching himself and nervously playing with tongue depressors*
“Mike, it’s good to see you again this week. What seems to be the problem this time?”
“My side aches, Dr. McDreamy. I’m pretty sure I have pancreatic cancer.”
“We all miss Steve Jobs, Mike.”
“No, seriously. It hurts a lot, doc. Even more than when you and Meredith broke up for the 11th time.”
“I could run some tests if you’d like.”
“When you say ‘tests,’ what exactly do you mean?”
“Draw some blood, maybe perform a colonoscopy. Men your age should have regular prostate exams anyway.”
“You want to stick a needle in my arm, and go alien invader on my tuckus!? I wouldn’t let you do that to me if you looked like Olivia Wilde, the smoking-hot bisexual doctor on House.” Pause. “Wait a minute! Actually, yes I would. But not you, McDreamy. I’d rather die of a horrible disease.”
“Then you probably will.”
“Can’t you just give me an MRI or something?”
“Sure. But a whole-body scan’s going to run you at least $4,500 and your insurance won’t cover it,” Dr. McDreamy says, pausing dramatically and running his fingers through his perfectly wavy hair in a manner that indicates world-weary concern. ”Look, I don’t want to sound rude, but the truth is, you probably don’t need a blood test, let alone an MRI. I think you might suffer from a mental-health issue called hypochondria.”
“I knew it! Can you recommend a good therapist?”
“Normally, yes. But in your case, no. You’re hopeless.”
*fade to black*
*really black — the sort of black you only get right before everything goes completely dark*