Pain and Torture


One of the first things my physical therapist asked me was, “You know what P.T. stands for, right?”

“Uh, ‘physical therapy’?” I quavered.

“No,” she cackled, gyrating my poor finger in all sorts of impossible directions. “’Pain and Torture’!”

And boy is she right. I thought I knew what pain meant after the ER doc re-broke my finger to get the bones back in the right place. But what I’ve been enduring — three times a week for the last three weeks — is worse, because it just goes on and on and on.

20 years later

Geek, Life

In commemoration of my 20-year high school reunion, I thought I’d post this piece, verbatim from June 1985. I’m sure it’ll be of absolutely no interest to anyone out there other than man_size, eyehawk, comfortslut, thamesrhodes, larrondo, and al_monster… or any other graduates of Music & Art/LaGuardia from that era.


Broken ring finger, drawing hand

Life, Work

“We need to re-set your finger,” the doctor said. “Now, I can either do it real fast, or we can give you a couple of injections to numb it up and we can do it that way.” I contemplated my puffy, black-and-blue left ring finger, with the tip turning slightly inward. The doctor and I looked at each other. I was scared of having the broken finger popped back into place, but I was sicker of being in the ER. It was last night, going on our fifth hour there, and it was now almost six in the morning. “Whatever you wanna do,” I sighed. As the doctor pulled the curtain around my chair (to shield me from inquisitive eyes or to spare the onlookers from the gruesome sight?) I gave Sari a despairing glance. She widened her eyes in fear and sympathy. Then the doc and I were alone in our little space.

Giving me another glance, he grabbed my finger and without any ceremony, yanked and twisted the last two joints. The pain was so intense that I almost didn’t feel it — it was like a burst of white light directly into my brain. My feet flew up into the air, and I could hear Sari let out a freaked-out giggle. For a second I imagined her view of the scene, with just my feet showing, and then flying up like that. It was horrible and comic all at once.

As my finger pulsed in shock, the doctor compared it to my other hand, made me make a fist, compared the two hands again. “Almost there,” he said, “but I think we gotta do it one more time.” It was true the finger seemed straighter now — straight enough for me, at least. I looked at him weakly. “You sure?” I whimpered. I mean, it WAS my drawing hand, but all I cared about was whether it would work or not, not how pretty it would be. “You gotta live with this for the rest of your life,” the doc said. “You want it to be perfect.”

Then it was back to the p-a-i-n. For some reason, this time the doctor not only yanked but felt compelled to grind and twist the digit as well. I confess to yelling a bit this time. But after some more attempts at fist-making and more comparisons with the other hand, he seemed satisfied. All I needed now were some follow-up X-rays and a splint, and we’d finally be released from ER purgatory. And all just nine hours or so after the whole stupid story began.

* * *

George Corbett exposed


As with many real-life “adventures” this one seems to be coming to an anti-climactic conclusion. When I wrote about George Corbett in May we all had fun imaging the lurid details behind the stuff I found, especially the photos in the camera. Then when I heard from George’s wife last week, I found that he was fine and his car had simply been broken into. Now I’ve got the photos back from the shop, and as much as I wish there was some juicy stuff to report, that’s anything but the case.

The 15 pix I got back from the unfinished roll seem to be of a family get-together, with various family members in posed and candid shots. Here’s a typical one: (Ignore the date on the pix; according to the camera, today’s date is January 7, 1994 – the damn thing is obviously busted.)

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Nice looking family. Other pix show a young boy, some men in their late teens/early 20s, a woman in her 30s, and an older guy. Nothing that really communicates much about the personality of the shooter, although this one tells me George may be a leg man…!

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There is also a bunch of pictures of a wall of family photos, including some vintage faded wedding pix from what looks like the late 1960s or early 1970s. Finally, there’s a photo of a car on what looks like a New York City street. But no, it’s not the street on which I found the camera and notebook and no, there’s no reflection of an axe murderer in the car window.

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I wish there was more to share, but there just isn’t. The most frustrating thing about all this is none of the pix seem to be of George himself, so I still don’t know what he looks like. He remains an enigma. And he still hasn’t called me to arrange picking up his stuff.

Where Have You Gone, George Corbett?


About a month ago, on a misty night, Sari & I were taking Plaza Street East on our way back home from Park Slope. As we walked along, I spotted something strange. Lying there on the trunk of a car was a Canon Sure Shot (in a vinyl protective case) and a bunch of papers. Going up to investigate, we discovered the camera contained a partially shot roll of film and, among the miscellaneous papers, newspaper clippings, and bank receipts, a little red notebook. The items obviously hadn’t been there for long, because it being so windy and wet, they were still relatively dry and undisturbed. But there was literally no one else around.

Needless to say, my curiosity was piqued by the mystery. Had someone been mugged, and the contents of their bag dumped there by the thief? Or was there another reason for their abandonment on that particular street, that particular car? We decided to gather everything up and try to return them to the rightful owner. Leafing through the papers and the notebook, we determined that they belong to a guy named George Corbett. Unfortunately, everything in the little collection is almost three years old, with the most recent dates being late 2002. There are a couple of contact numbers in the notebook, but two of them are out of service, and the third has an automated message which has so far not resulted in anyone calling me back. Other papers point to Corbett being a resident of Valley Stream, but none of my Internet searches have revealed any such person.

Besides the mystery angle, I find a certain connection to Corbett because he was such a pack-rat. I mean, he’s got old horoscopes, coupons, notes on napkins, index cards — a guy after my own heart! I wanna do the right thing and reunite George with his stuff. I know if I were him, I would want it back.

But this is were it gets creepy: from what I’ve been able to piece together, back in 2002 George was in school, at Nassau Community College. His major? Mortuary Science! So what’s next? The obvious, right? Develop the pictures in the camera. But you just know they’ll reveal something grisly. I’m not sure I wanna know.

Where’s a good private investigator when you need one?

Loose In The Mails


The term “dysfunctional bureaucracy” is a redudancy, but the U.S. Post Office exemplifies it nonetheless. Early this year, I ended up with a spare CD wallet. You know, one of those zippered pouches people use for carrying around their CDs, DVDs, computer programs, files, and the like. Since I enjoy trading on eBay, I put the thing up for sale at a nominal price, and it was won by a guy in Texas. I was glad to pass the thing on to someone who needed it, and shipped it right off via my local post office.

Couple of weeks later and I got an email from the high bidder saying that the CD wallet never arrived. I didn’t have any way of tracking the package, so after another week of it not turning up, I refunded the guy’s money. Shortly thereafter, I received a distressing letter from the “Loose in the Mails” section of the Post Office. Inside the envelope was a torn section of the package I had shipped the CD wallet in, along with a form letter explaining that it had ripped open at some point during its journey from Brooklyn to Texas and — lo and behold — the contents were missing. They also included a Parcel Search Request form for me to fill out, should I so desire.

Well, being the compulsive type that I am, I dutifully filled out the form, describing the item, its color, approximate size, brand name, etc., and sent it off to the Mail Recovery Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. I probably have too much spare time on my hands, and there’s something about a hopeless task that gets my dander up. I mean, it certainly wasn’t about the money, right? So, like I said, I sent off the form and then promptly forgot about the whole thing. This was in late February.

Well… yesterday I got a little package in the mail, from the U.S. Post Office! Inside was my Parcel Search Request, now with a proud green highlighter mark indicating the Result of Search: “Articles described above are returned herewith”. I love that “herewith” part. And inside the package was not one, but two (2) CD wallets! No, neither of them was the one I lost in the mail — the item won by the poor Texan eBay high bidder — but two totally different CD wallets! Isn’t that terrific?! I bet the person who lost these is just thrilled!

Now if I sell these CD wallets on eBay and they got lost, will I end up with 4 of them? And then 8? When will the rain of CD wallets end? And where are they all coming from?

Anyone need a CD wallet?