2.280 meeting, fopal

Tuesday 09/14/2021

Went for the usual 3-mile walk this morning. Since I didn’t do it yesterday, and since the aerobics class is on zoom only currently. Felt just a bit of sensitivity in the hip/glute/lower back when setting out and thought about cutting it short, but kept going and as I warmed up it was fine. Getting on top of this back pain thing slowly.

Again I didn’t have anything prepared for the writers group. Others did, of good quality as usual. One, Prudence’s, got a lot of chuckles and I am going to include it below just to fatten up this very ordinary post.

From that meeting I went to FOPAL where I completed the triage of my section, then processed two boxes of books. I was amused to find in the donations, a set of programming manuals for X-Windows and Motif. My that takes me back. That was one of the first GUI systems, back in, oh let me run ask Wikipedia, 1987. It was quite significant to me when I was working at Informix about that time.

Had dinner with the Craig and Diane Allen.

OK, here is Pru’s piece on the topic of “when I am sick”. Try to read it in an English accent.

I do try to make a little sickness go a long, long way. I have to, because there is so little of it.

I last had a cold in 2013.

I last had a fever of over 100 in 1960.

The only interesting thing that my body has ever done is to grow lumps, and my lumps don’t tend to translate into scenes in which people bring you small meals, and wipe your brow.

The first of the lumps was the most interesting. I was thirteen, and can still remember the feeling of importance when I was told what was inside the lump. It was TB! I was somebody, finally. I was a person with TB!

True, it wasn’t the most dramatic form of TB. I wasn’t going to fade away in a garret, with a tenor lamenting my last breath. My TB came from a cow, and it had settled in a salivary gland, not the lungs. Still, it got me a lot of attention in my boarding school—and not just attention, but salad. At that time, my mother was in the thrall of an expensive quack called Dr. Latto, who had already engineered a remission of her own TB—the grown-up sort, in the lungs—by having her sing several times a day (although she was totally tone-deaf) and sunbathe naked lying on an army-surplus silk parachute. For me he prescribed jumping up and down in cold water, rubbing my neck with olive oil, drinking carrot juice and eating nothing but salad and a baked potato twice a day for a year.

It worked—or something worked. When I brought my once tubercular salivary gland to Palo Alto twenty years later, and it freaked out my new doctor, I was able to tell him, “It’s just a harmless lump.”

“We don’t trust any lumps in this country,” said the good doctor. He arranged for it to be removed—and the verdict? Totally harmless.

There was a little more excitement twenty years later, when another lump turned up and I had a return of that old “So this is what it feels like to have a real disease I wonder what dying is like” feeling because it was first misdiagnosed as a sarcoma of a particularly lethal kind.


Sorry, said the PAMF pathologists the next day. Our bad. It’s just another harmless lump for us to cut out.

Maybe that gave PAMF an idea for a business plan: search, and there will be lumps. If you find excuses to give people enough MRIs, might you not find one or two?

So yes! They’ve found lump No. 4—harmless, but out it should come, because, remember? We don’t like lumps.

At least it will earn me one or two of those elusive days in bed.

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