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The Goddess of battle, strife, and destruction explains it all for you

October 30, 2004


I may not be bitter, but God, I’m getting tired.  The endless parade of doctors and tests and hospitals is a pain in the ass, but not having a definitive diagnosis is making me nuts.  So far the working theory is that I had a small stroke  because I didn’t take enough of my meds, and if that’s the case, I have been told that its effects will (in all likelihood) pass. 


It didn’t paralyze any part of me or completely zone me out, but for a while there I was absolutely unable to perform the simplest of tasks having to do with sorting or organizing things and I’d find myself grasping for a word and not being able to remember it.  Scary and very frustrating.  I can deal with my body not cooperating with me, but when my brain starts to do it too, I feel I must draw the line.


To add to the fun, I’ve been having cluster seizures and have reluctantly gone back on medication to control them.  I hate this stuff – I can’t think on it, it makes me throw up and I could sleep for most of the day.  In fact, staying awake is a constant challenge


So on doctor’s orders,  I’m evolving into a gym rat – a truly humbling experience for one not blessed with natural grace or even basic motor skills.


I joined the club close to my house because I know myself well enough to recognize that if I have to go out of my way at all to work out, chances are I won’t.  It’s an expensive, upscale gym and although I didn’t realize it when I joined, it’s a major meat market.  I’ve always frequented women only gyms and this coed one has been a surreal environment to work out in. 


While I stagger in wearing ripped up sweats and an old t-shirt, the rest of the women do their hair and makeup before leaving the change room.  Their workout gear is expensive and revealing because apparently the name of the game is to attract a man – you can tell they think I’m lowering the tone.  It’s amusing to observe – I feel like I’m watching a Discovery Channel program on mating rituals.  I sweat, turn red in the face, swear and drop weights on my feet.  They primp, simper and flirt while lounging in provocative poses at the juice bar clad in designer spandex.  I’ve got no time for that crap.  (That being said, if anyone can recommend a good sports bra, I’d be forever grateful.  Victoria’s Secret just isn’t up to the challenge of restraining the twins in aerobics class and I’ve got enough to worry about without fretting over the possibility of knocking out my front teeth or blackening my eyes with the impact.  Besides, underwire hurts when you’re leaping around like a fool.)


Perhaps in compensation for smiting me with almost every disease known to man, God has blessed me with a natural six-pack – which really is the least he could do, considering.  You won’t find me in a spinning class because I’d never survive it – I do 30 minutes on the lifecycle and another 45 on the weight machines.  It’s hell on your nails, but I’m really starting to get into it.  I’m going every day, mainly because I’m paying through the nose for the privilege.  I never believed it when others told me they were addicted to exercising, but I’m beginning to change my mind about that.  I have so little control over most of the rest of my life at the moment that engaging in something over which I do have dominion is quite reassuring.


And I’m looking forward to the day when I’ll be able to bounce quarters off my butt and kick the crap out of anyone who pisses me off (and that list has been compiled and is growing).


But the club does have its drawbacks.  I never for a moment imagined my past would sneak up on me from behind, but yesterday as I was straining to hoist a 10-pound free weight an inch off the ground, I heard the voice of the Most Hated Man in Law School (at least while I was there).


I didn’t like the look of him way back when, and now a decade later, I like him even less.  Apart from the fact that the man resembles a Ken doll come to life, his oily, superior manner only seems to have deepened over the years.


“Well well,” he began.  “I didn’t expect to see you here.  Are you a member?”


“Yes,” I replied through gritted teeth.


“Wow. And you can afford that?  Legal Aid must be paying well.”


“I quit law.”


“Really?! Why?” he asked absently, preening at his reflection in the mirrored wall.


“Because I hated the people it attracted.”


“Yeah, I know what you mean” he said, the irony sliding off him like sweat. 


“So what are you doing with yourself?” he asked, obviously bored and disinterested. None of the babes in spandex were in evidence, so he was stuck talking to me.   I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t just move along.  I loathed him while we were in school – and he only sucked up to me because I was Dean’s List and he wanted to steal my notes.


“I’m writing some.  Reading a lot.”


“Reading, eh?  I like getting lost in a good John Grisham myself”, he mused (as I fake-hurled in my head).  “You ever read him?”


“Once – when I was taking the train to Windsor.  Someone left it between the seats and I’d forgotten to buy the Globe.”


“So, you don’t like Grisham.  How about Scott Turow?”


“No, I’m talking about actual literature.  Shakespeare.”


“Shakespeare, eh?  Yeah, he’s OK,” he said magnanimously, throwing me a bone.  “Well, things have been going great with me.”  I didn’t remember asking, but that didn’t stop him from regaling me with the Tale of His Life.


Turns out he’s done quite well for himself, the prick.  He’s on his third wife (the guy is maybe 35) and made partner at a big Bay Street law firm about two years ago.  My bet is that he’s making at least $300,000.00 a year, unabashedly shielding corporate polluters from those who would make them account for their misdeeds.  He has a new Lexus, two homes (one in Toronto and the other in Vancouver, where the firm has offices) and a condo in the Caymans. 


He favoured me with a disdainful glance.  “Yeah, I remember what you were like in law school.  All “save the world” and pro bono shit.”  He laughed, dismissing my ideals as youthful naiveté.  “You were always so afraid of selling out.”


“You weren’t.”  That one slid right by him too. 


“Well – it isn’t really a matter of selling out.  Let’s face it: we’re all in the rat race.  I just intend to be the one who wins it.”


“And that makes you…what?  The fastest rat? ”


He glared at me and stalked off, in search of spandex clad lovelies who would be more responsive to his sleazy charms.


Sadly, in no time at all, he found one.  I don’t know if these women are suffering from extremely low self-esteem or are inherently masochistic but there always seem to be hordes of insecure females willing to bask in his bullshit and the bullshit of guys just like him. 


Women experience a great deal of anxiety about themselves and their bodies and this is mainly the fault of the media images we’re bombarded with. It causes some otherwise sane women to go right off the rails trying to live up to an artificial, impossible standard of perfection.


This was vividly illustrated by a call I got in the wee hours last week.  When the phone rang at 2 a.m., I was startled and worried. 


“Mmmm?” I said blearily.


“It’s me”, Caroline whispered urgently.  “I need your help.”


“Are you OK?” I asked, instantly awake.  “Where are you?”


“I’m at home.  And I’m fine.”


“Then why are you whispering?”


“Well, remember that jerk I broke up with?  The one with the video camera?”


“YOU DIDN’T!” I shrieked.


“No, no, of course not.  But that whole experience really threw me for a loop and I was a mess for ages after.  And I didn’t handle it well.”


As it turned out, Caroline did not stick her head in the oven as a result of her betrayal.  Instead, she stuck it in the fridge and was now sporting an extra 15 pounds.


“Well, I started seeing this guy about a month ago – you’d love him…” (I rolled my eyes at that one) “…and he’s here now.  I want him to spend the night but I’m so fat I’m sure he’ll hate my body.”


“Nonsense – you were a twig before and I’m sure you’re still gorgeous now.”


“I don’t know…….” she trailed off doubtfully.


“OK, where are you?  What room?”


“The bathroom.”


“The one with the big mirror?”


“Uh huh.”


“OK – get naked.”


“Just a sec”, she said, as I heard her clothes drop to the floor.  “OK – ready.”


“Look at yourself straight on.”




“Now from the side.”


There was a pause.




“Does it look like you’re wearing an apron?”




“Then you’re good to go.  Have fun.”


I never did hear back from her, so I assume things went well.  If not, I can always drag her along to the gym with me.  I know a guy who’d just love to meet her.


Till next time,



Copyright© the Morrigan & Heartless Bitches International (heartless-bitches.com) 2003
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