August 28, 2006


Gaunt and long-haired, Midnight looks like Chris Robinson from the The Black Crowes.

“In ’93,” Midnight began, “a semi hit my Old Cutlass 442 and broke my back. I was paralysed from the waist down so they did a laminectomy. They took out part of a disc and moved the sciatic nerve a little bit, so it was not being pinched by the L4 and L5 vertebrae. In ’95 I had a fusion: they put in two stainless steel screws and removed the disc. In ’97 they removed the two screws and put a plate in there and drilled four screws into it. In 2003, at Joe Arpaio’s Durango, I was smashed for standing up for an old timer and my L4 and L5 vertebrae were cracked.”
“I heard Durango was a gladiator school?”
“I thought I was gonna be killed. They broke my eye socket and cheekbone and fractured my skull. Four ribs were cracked. They had to screw a plate and pins in to hold my eyeball in its socket. Here, feel here.”
I felt the metal at the top of Midnight’s left cheek and said, “Anything else wrong with you?”
“I’ve got no gall bladder, appendix or tonsils,” Midnight said in a proud way.
“Anything else?”
“Just emphysema.”
“Do you mind if I ask what you’re in prison for?”
“Theft of means. I stole a truck to finance my $250-a-day crack addiction and $100-a-day meth habit.”
“Did you do drugs for most of your life?”
“No, before the accident with the semi, I was straight. I was a heavy-machine operator drivin’ backholes, graders and bobcats, makin’ $23 an hour. Me, my old lady and son had money in the bank. We didn’t want for nothin’. Then I couldn’t work. I didn’t feel like a man no more. I took an overdose of Demerol and Valium on my first suicide attempt. I became addicted to painkillers: Valiums, Somas, Vicodin 750s, Demerols and morphine. When the doctor cut me off because he didn’t want me to kill myself on his drugs, I started self-medicatin’ with street drugs and I lost everything - my family, home, vehicle, my freedom, every damn thing. I’ve been in and out of prison five times as I have no one to help me. Last time, I got outta prison with the $50 gate money, I was picked up by Mesa Police who reinstated a fine for a shoplifting case and released me with no money, wearing blue dungarees and sandals. I had to shoplift some shoes from Wal-Mart. I ended up sleeping next to railway tracks, eattin’ outta a dumpster by Papa John’s Pizzas.”
“You got robbed by Mesa Police! How long were you out for?”
“A coupla months.”
“It’s tragic that a car crash changed your fate so dramatically.”

Later on, Midnight talked about witnessing his father’s suicide. I read his Office of the Public Defender Presentence Report. Here are some excerpts.

E’s father committed suicide just four days before E’s 18th birthday. E’s father put a 12 gauge shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger…it blew most of his face and top of his head off. E was reaching for his father’s arm to stop him when he witnessed this horrible tragedy. He was never the same after that.

In 2004, after consuming a large amount of crack cocaine, E tried to commit suicide. He wanted to die like his father did. He took a 9mm gun and pulled the trigger but the gun jammed. He was prescribed several medications but did not have the money to get his prescription filled therefore he didn’t get the necessary medication to help stabilize his condition.

E’s mother passed away in 2001. She was involved in a serious automobile accident and haemorrhaged to death.

Is Midnight a throwaway person?

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

August 27 2006

Question Time

Tania in Norfolk asked for my favourite comedies.

The Young Ones is my favourite. Others include Black Adder, Spitting Image, Absolutley Fabulous, Monty Python’s flying Circus, and Southpark.

Tania also asked if I had read Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil.

It’s one of the few books I’ve read twice. I find Nietzsche’s voice irresistable. It’s readable unlike Kant. I enjoy Nietzsche’s pyshological insights, criticisms of society, and foresight. I get excited reading Nietzsche.

Quotes from Beyond Good and Evil that I like include: “The discipline of suffering, of great suffering..has produced all the elevations of humanity hitherto.”
“Profound suffering makes noble; it seperates.”

Tedsie in Leicester asked for some long-term investment advice, something to put away for his kids.

Small monthly investments in investment trusts will average your cost as the stock market swings. When the market crashes you can invest lump sums at cheap prices. I’d gear your investments to those capitalizing on Eastern growth - especially India and China. Other investment trust themes that should do well include nanotech and biotech. Stem- cell research has massive potential. For investors looking to speculate in individual stocks, you should research those companies developing hepatitis C drugs (based on the epidemic in prisons that has been swept under the carpet and should spill into society). Companies treating diabetes and companies offering security against identity fraud should do well.
August 26

Good Lookin’ Out!

Thanks for sending books. I am pleased to report that with your help I read 113 books in the first half of 2006, smashing my reading goal. We’re filling up shelves in the prison library. These books will be enjoyed by prisoners long after I’m gone.

I send thank-you letters to everyone who sends books unless the books come without receipts. I would like to thank those of you who have recently sent books inclduing Ed in bayside, Helen in Suffolk, Emily in Kirlkand, John in London and Alan in Australia.
The funniest books I’ve read in the past six months are Mark Leyners Et tu, Babe and J Robert Lennon’s Eight Pieces for the Left Hand. In the past year I’ve become a modern-fiction junkie. At the end of 2005 I was reading 30% fiction. Now I’m reading almost 60% fiction.

Thanks readers!
Greeted By a Vicodin Junkie

"Vicodin," Weird Al began, "has turned me into the rough equivalent of a drug-addled Scottish barfly known to frequent Jekyll & Hyde's in Edinburgh, incapable of completeing one-syllable words, incapable of cognizent conversation after gulping Vicodin down at a rate of twelve a day for the past seven days.
"I have, however, come up with a better system than the federal government for measuring hurricanes. By looking at the speeds of Floridians doing wind-induced cartwheels down the streets of Miami, I can detect categories and wind forces accurate to ten decimal places on the Beaufort scale.
"As the drug half-life of Vicodin reduces toxicity levels in my body, I'll become correspondingly more intelligent and hence worthy of cult members. Indeed, now they've arrested polygamist leader Warren Jeffs on the FBI's most wanted list, there's a power vacuum out there and I'm acccepting applications. Potential cult members need to submit their annual salaries and vacation homes in the south of France, Switzerland and the Gold Coast. A short essay must be submitted listing my intelligence, good looks, wisdom and above all modesty. Current estimations of the size of my projected cult range from zero to one. The one being me. I am the one, the godhead, universal consciousness, Krishna, Ram Dass and all that."
"Indeed," I said.
"By the way, how are you and your celly getting along?"
"He's a smoker. But you know how it is. Even with the best-matched celly in the world, nothing beats your own cell."
"Yes, even if Mother Teresa were my celly, I'd gut punch her after three months. But there's an especially dark cloud hanging over your blood-splattered cell. The scene of a violent encounter between two men whom, depsite repeated attempts, failed to kill one another. It's a karmic part of your black aura. As is being assigned a cellmate who smokes like an 1800s woodburing train, transmitting his cancerous tumours to your body while you sleep by his simple exhalations.
Now that you've finally made it to Yard 1, I'll immediately set about working up anti-British sentiment with the local population, into a frenzy of further bloodletting. There'll soon be British blood all over your cell."
"It actually seems mellower here. Perhaps because I don't know too many people."
"Your life won't be mellow for very long."
"You look like you've gained ten to twenty pounds, Al."
"Yes, I've turned into a wallowing pig who wakes up with popcorn in his asscrack. I've been eating food in amounts that make Slingblade look like a caloristic piker."
"I've certainly missed your sense of humour."
August 24


The bottom of the window at the back of the cell opens at the level of the ground. Lots of bugs, especially ants, spill in. When I'm writing, the ants crawl on my paperwork. I have to stop what I'm doing in order to flick them out of the window. It's hard to detect all of what the inmates call "piss ants" because they are so small.

The mosquitoes get more aggresive at night. It's so hot that I only wear shorts in the cell, giving the mosquitoes a large area to strike. I sleep wrapped in a sheet and I often wake up with bite marks on my head and neck. Some of them steal our blood and fly straight into the fan. They leave bloodstains on the wall from which their corpses dangle.

Last night a dragonfly whizzed in, and zigzagged all over the place. I was trying to read, but it kept ramming my face. Eventually, it descended to the bottom bunk and buzzed in Midnight's ear. He stood up, grabbed a shower sandal, and beat it to death.

August 19 06

Minimised (Part 2)

The blood splattered on the floor, ceiling, walls, bunks, windows, toilet, sink, door, table, shelves, and corkboard in my new cell would likely cause a practitioner of feng shui some concern.

"There was a fight," Piggie said.
"The cops half-assed cleaned the blood. Dude's cheek got bitten off. It ripped his face wide open. The other dude was talented with his fists, elbows and head buttin'."
"It looks like the guy who lost all this blood must have needed a transfusion afterwards," I said.
"I'm a porter. I'll getcha some cleaning supplies," Piggie said.

At least it's a single cell, I thought. I can clean the blood up. But there's no mattress, lightbulb, trashcan or chair. How's a writer supposed to function with no chair? I'd better go and get permission to get my mattress from Yard 4.

Thirty minutes later I returned with my mattress and discovered my new cellmate, Midnight, throwing up blood in the toilet.
"Shouldn't you be at hospital," I said. "That's a lot of blood."
"I just spent four days at the hospital," Midnight said. "Morphine IVs. A CAT scan. A GI tube down my throat. A cancer biopsy. They said there's a cancerous lump closin' one of my intestines. After I drink fluid it all comes up bright red like this."
"That's rough. Did they give you anything for it?"
"I'm on Vicodin, Elavil, Omeprazole, Acetaminophen, and stomach-nausea pills." Midnight faced me. He displayed a chin covered in blood.
A wood entered the cell and said,"Jon, can I speak to you outside?"
"Yeah, sure," I said, and exited."What's the matter?"
"Look, your new celly just got beat up. I've been asked to tell you not to get involved."
"Beat up?"
"Yeah, he owes money. Stay out of it, OK? He might have to move off this yard."
"If he owes money, I'd rather not be involved."
I went back inside and said,"Someone here beat you up?"
"Yeah, I've had two fights today. One on Yard 2 before I left and another one just now."
"In this cell?"
"Yeah, some dude just came inside, asked me for the time, and sucker-punched me."
"That's a lot of drama. Will there be more problems like that coming to this cell?"
"I think it's squashed now."

What have I got into? I thought. They say Yard 1 is mellow yet a guy just got his cheek bitten off and my celly got beat up as soon as he arrived. All this blood is a bad sign. And no chair. A writer with no chair. Calm down. Would Marcus Aurelius be phased by some blood? Try not to be affected by what is happening externally. This is good stuff to write about. Whatever will happen next?

"I gotta tellya upfront, celly," Midnight said.
"What's that," I said.
"'Cause of my medical problems, I hafta pee through the night. Wouldja rather I flush the toilet and make noise or just leave my pee in the can?"
"The flushing will wake me up," I said. "Let's leave it in the can."

Midnight and I spent hours cleaning up the blood. We still find spots of it here and there.

Coming soon: How an accident led to Midnight losing his family, home and job as a heavy-machine operator. And the cocaine, crack and meth addicitions that led to his imprisonment.
20 August 06

The Death of Aunty Ann

Those of you familiar with the mechanics of this blog may be aware that it began with my Aunty Ann smuggling my notes out of the Madison Street jail, typing them up, and emailing them to my parents in England.

Sadly, on the 17th of August, Aunty Ann died of cancer at the age of 61. Her passing caused such heartache that I’ve only recently felt able to write about it.

Aunty Ann and her sister, Sue, helped me get established in Phoenix when I arrived in 1991. Both of them acted as surrogate parents over the years. When I was held on remand in the jail, Aunty Ann's visits were a great source of support. I am distressed that I will never see her again.

Aunty Ann, Dad disclosed that during your last days, your stamina of spirit and acceptance of suffering outshone the sorrow of your illness. Your example spoke volumes. May you rest in peace, and may your spirit live on in your children.

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

It is Jon's birthday on 28th October, if anyone would like to send him a card.
His current address can be found on the post ‘Minimized’ below.
18 August 06


Living in prison is like being in a video game that can scroll to a different level at any time. When such moves occur, whatever routine you established is disrupted. You worked hard to be accepted where you were at. You built rapport. You developed friendships. You learned who it was safe or dangerous to be around. Then suddenly everything changes.

“Dog 11, roll your shit up. You’re goin’ to minimum.”

It’s finally happening, I thought. I'm moving to Yard 1. It seems unreal. I’m trembling. Take deep breaths. It’s the end of an era. The era of Two Tonys, Xena, and Slingblade. How are my friends going to take it? Will I be able to blog them still? Will I get a single cell at Yard 1? Get a grip. Everything will be fine.

I wrote ten sides of paper on the farewells. Here are some exerpts:

“Say hi to Weird Al for me,” Shane said.

“I love you, brother,” T-Bone said, and bear-hugged me.

Xena’s lengthy hug spoke louder than his words.

“I love you, man,” Two Tonys said. “Outta all the motherfuckers I’ve ever met, you’ve changed my way of thinkin’ the most.”
“But ultimately you’ve changed your way of thinking.” I said and hugged him.
“You need to take some fuckin’ credit. And stop bein’ so fuckin’ humble.”
“Alright, I’m glad I helped you.”
“That’s more fuckin’ like it.”

“I had a feeling something was going to happen today,” Jack said. “Who am I going to have deep conversations with now?”

“Let’s make love,” Frankie said, “real quick in my cell, Englandman.”
“I’ll dee-cide who I make love to, and it’s going to be with a woman,” I said.
“I’ve dee-cided we need to French kiss before you leave.”
“I’ll dee-cide who I French kiss and who I don't French kiss.”

George sang "Rule Britannia", as I walked across the yard on a handshake marathon.

“The bloody pond-skippers leavin’ us,” Slope said. “For a son of a Brit and a Limey youz one helluvanalright dude. Take care dawwgie. I think you’re gonna do well.”

“007’s finally leavin’ us!” BHF yelled.
“It’s alright,” Ogre said. “Hey England, I sent word to Yard 1 that you’re putting stories on the Internet about who’s doin’ drugs and you’re usin’ real names. They’re gonna beat your ass down as soon as you get there.”
“Nice try Ogre. Nobody believes rumours coming from you. Good luck to you,” I said and put my middle finger on display to him as soon as I stepped out of the gate.

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

Mail sent to Jon's previous address will get forwarded to him. He is still in Santa Rita, it is the Yard and the cell that have changed, see below:

Santa Rita Unit
Shaun Attwood ADC#187160, 1-B-10
PO BOX 24406
Tucson, 85734,

17 August 06

Do I have a Haemorrhoid (Part 5)

“It seems,” Shane said, “Your ass was jealous of your balls and started self-injuring. How did you discover the lump?”
“While I was wiping.”
“Hmmm. Through layers of toilet paper you felt it?” Shane asked.
“Yeah. It’s on the outside. Also I felt it during a shower. And I’ve been feeling it ever since.”
“Why do you keep feelin’ it?” Xena asked.
“I have to clean myself don’t I?”
“When I was wiping my ass,” Shane said, “I was thinking there’s no way that you could feel a lump like that.”
“I told you, it’s on the outside!”
“Does it hurt?”
“Has there been any blood in your stool?” Xena asked.
“No. It doesn’t even itch. But if my arse falls out I’ll be sure to let you guys know.”
“It seems ,” Xena said, “that it has debilitated you mentally. Anythin’ in your anus that debilitates you mentally needs to be checked out 'cause the stress over somethin’ that may be nothin’ at all can be ten times worse than than the problem.”
“It’s stressful and embarrassing. My pulse shot up when I went to see Odd Job about it.”
“It needs to be seen by a medical eye regardless of the cost of embarrassment,” Xena said.
“Let’s see the cream they gave you.” Shane said.
Pondering the ointment, they took a sinister interest in the intrarectal applicator.
Xena, holding brandishing the applicator, said, “I can give you somethin’ much better than this that’ll shoot up your ass much further.”
“I stopped using the cream.”
“Why?” Shane asked.
“Some strange side effects, including a weird tingling sensation.”
“That’s because,” Xena said, “you have a virginal prostrate. It’s supposed to tingle when you enjoy it. You didn’t realise you were enjoyin’ it 'cause you’re straight.”
“When you wipe, how long do you keep your finger in?” Shane asked.
“In! My finger doesn’t go in! I should have known better than to tell you guys.”
“You hafta,” Xena said, “apply the cream internally. Do you want me to show you how to do it?”
“I’m not using the bloody cream any more!”
“I can,” Xena said, “help you douche with haemorrhoidal cream usin’ a soda bottle with a straw on the end. If you assume the position, I’ll flush you out with a geyser of water. I’d advise you to hold some water in for a bit.”
“Coffee-enema style?” I asked.
“Yes. But I think we’ll use Cola-Cola,” Xena said. “I tried it the other night.”
“Look. I’ve got one little lump. It’s no big deal.”
“So you say,” Xena said.
“What’re you trying to say, that these things travel in packs?”
“Just like wild wolves,” Xena said. “We really need to look in your ass for the internal ones.”
“Before they start hanging out like a bunch of grapes,” Shane said.
“Are you sure there’s been no blood in your stool?” Xena asked.
“Or on the paper after the wipe?”
“No blood.”

George entered the room, quickly caught on to the topic of discussion, and said, “It’s most likely a cyst. A tiny blister on his backside. If you guys hold him down, I’ll pop it.”
“That’s not happening.” I said.
“He’s even scared of the applicator he’s supposed to insert,"George said. "He’s frightened he may get excited.”
“It’s only an inch and a half. Here let me stick it in for you,” Xena said, approaching me with it. “It won’t hurt.”
George jumped in between me and Xena, offered his rear end to Xena, and yelled, “Do it to me - at a fast rate.”
Xena picked up a Manila envelope and used a corner of it to prick George's behind.
George straightened up and said, “Bad bitch!”
They wrestled until George ran out of steam.
“Look what you started,” Shane said to me.
“Slut!” Xena said, pointing the interectal applicator at George.
“I’ve seen cornholes you only dream about. Now what, motherfucker?” Xena said.
“Now, now,” I said. “I thought we were doing a think tank here on my anal lump.”
“My advice, Jon,” Xena said, “is to sit on your bunk, spread your legs like you’re doing’ some yoga position, and grab your tight-ass cheeks and pull them apart. Then you need to move your little balls outta the way – ”
“Hey now!” I said. With all due respect to my balls, they’re not that little in this heat.”
“Well,” Xena said, “they’re not big enough to fall over your anus.”
“Good point,” I said.
“Spread your ass cheeks,” Xena said, “in front of a mirror so you can see your little asshole to find out what’s going on in there.”
“Use your blue eyes to see your brown eye,” Shane said.
“Excellent advice, my deeply-concerned friends,” I said. "I’ll be sure not to do any of these things. I’ll wait and see what the doctor says.”

Addendum: The lump went away so I cancelled my medical appointment. I suspect it was just a blood blister.

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

The Killer at the Optometrists

16 August 06

The Killer at the Optometrists

Two Tonys was recently transported to see an eye doctor. I asked him how it went.
“Have you ever been transported into Tucson from here?” Two Tonys asked.
“No,” I said.
“Lemmetellya about the transportation guards: they’re real negative motherfuckers. They’re probably told, ‘If you slip and fall, don’t think a prisoner won’t grab your gun and kill you.’ They’re trained to keep their distance and remain aloof. To give us what we’ve got comin’: chains, transportation, and a cup of fuckin’ water if there’s a fountain around. They’re not gonna talk about who won the ball game or where the nearest pizzeria is. They’re real shitheads.
Anyhow, I get to the doctor’s office, and there musta been twenty fuckin’ people to see him, and I’m at the bottom of the list 'cause I’m a state prisoner. I look around, and I got no one to talk to.”
“How did the other patients react to you?”
“They wouldn’t make eye contact with me. I’ve got belly chains on, ankle chains on, sittin’ between two guards packin’ Glock pistols, and they didn’t wanna look at me. So I’m lookin’ at them, studyin’ them. There musta been six old couples, and I’m figurin’ out in my brain – 'cause I’ve got nothin’ better to do. I’m gonna be stuck there for a couple of hours starin’ at them – and here’s what I see: a couple across from me about my age, probably married for forty fuckin’ years.
I see the guy in his grey knee-length shorts, his cotton shirt, his argyle socks, and his Nike-swoosh shoes. You know, presentable. A typical retired suburbanite who probably got a gold watch when he quit workin’ for the phone company or the insurance company or some other shit, where they gave him cake and donuts at the office cubicle party, and told him what a swell guy he’d been for the past twenty-five years. Runnin’ from cubicle to cubicle, sayin’ how much they were gonna miss him, till his ass hit the door.
And the guy’s just sittin’ there, lookin’ at the wall. Not sayin’ anythin’ to the old prune-faced lady sittin’ next to him, who he’s gotta be nice to, and will probably miss like hell when she dies. And she’s just sittin’ there lookin’ at the wall as well, and I said to myself, You know what? He’s doin’ time. You think this motherfucker ain’t doin’ time? He’s gonna see the doctor, and she’s gonna give him moral support after they squirt that shit in his eye – after they squirted me, I couldn’t see shit on the way home. I had to feel my way to the fuckin chow hall – and then he’s gonna go home to his nice middle-income house, with a pool in the backyard, and the grandkids, who probably live in Cincinnati, are gonna come over and visit him once a year, at Xmas. And his ol’ lady knows just how he likes his coffee in the mornin’. And they might or might not still be fuckin’ - forty years, come on now! How much can you fuck the same person for forty years? It’s gotta get old. Put me with J-Lo or Salma Hayek or Terry Hatcher of Desperate Housewives and I’m gonna get fuckin’ tired of it eventually.
Here’s the crux of my thoughts: the old guy ain’t no happier than I am. I could see it in his face. I’m goin’ back to the joint, but I’m gonna clown with the youngsters and talk a lotta shit. I’ll do a little walkin’ and exercise. I’ll enjoy my shows: American Idol, Survivor, and I watch a lotta PBS. So what if I have to get up four or five times to piss durin’ the night due to my enlarged prostrate, the old guy ain’t having as good a time as I am. He might have me on the food - he might be eatin’ Waldorf salads, and lamb cutlets with apple sauce or mint jelly, compared with my burrito mix and two tortillas. He’s got me there. But I’m goin’ the store tomorrow. I’ll get me some Milky Ways, Nutty Cones, and a couple of Sprites. I’m gonna plug up my arteries real good, but I deserve a good time every now and then. I can tell ya this much: the old guy may be eatin’better, but he ain’t laughin’ harder. He ain’t got the sense of adventure I’m havin’ 'cause anythin’ can kick off in the joint at any time, and it often does. I ain’t got it that bad. The old guy’s gotta pay the bill for his life, whereas the State’s pickin’ up my tab. That’s called PMA: a positive mental attitude, brother. Happiness is just a state of mind.”
“I agree,” I said. “It seems you’ve become an existential philosopher. But what I’m still wondering is: what were you doing at the eye doctors?”
“They squirted some shit in my eye and looked at my cataracts, to determine if he’s gonna hafta cut 'em out or not. This growin’ old business ain’t for wimps. But you know what? A lotta guys don’t make it. I’m sure you’ve heard of Achilles, the Greek warrior, a hero of the Trojan War, who got whacked by Paris who hit him in the heel with a poison arrow?”
“Yeah, Achilles killed Hector in the Iliad.”
“Well, when Achilles was in hell – Hades – Odysseus asked him in so many words: is it better to die like a hero, young, in battle, or to grow old on yer fuckin’ farm feedin’ yer goats? Achilles reply was: I’ll take the goat feedin’ or even be a slave any fuckin’ time.”

"Do not speak soothingly to me of death, glorious Odysseus. I should choose to serve as the hireling of another, rather than to be lord over the dead that have perished."
—Achilles' soul to Odysseus. Homer, Odyssey 11.488

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
15 August 06

Do I have a Haemorrhoid? (Part 4)

I ceased using the ointment, and hid it so that Frankie wouldn't find it.

"George," I said, “I’ve got a health problem you may be able to advise me on, but I don’t need it sharing with the rest of the yard.”
“And what would that be?”
“I have a small lump on my anus. I saw the nurse. They haven’t looked at it. I was given cream and I’ve been scheduled for a full exam next month.”
“Is it itching or bleeding?”
“I’ve got some good advice for you.”
“What’s that?”
“Don’t tell Frankie.”
“I’ve only told you.”
“It’s probably a cyst. What we need to do is pop it and see what comes out. I’ll do it if you like. I’m used to seeing backsides. I used to pack them with cotton when I was a funeral director.”
“Mine is a little more alive than that, and what good would popping it be?”
“It’s similar to how you deal with a zit, except you normally lance a cyst.”
“I think I’ll give the popping a miss, otherwise I’ll end up at Medical witha bleeding behind."
“As pale as you are, I don’t think you have that much blood in you. And you certainly wouldn’t be the first in here to go to medical with a bleeding rectum. Mooga was up there with a bleeding ass all of the time.”
“Have a look at the cream, tell me what you think.” I took the ointment from its hiding place.
George examined the tube and fondled the intrarectal applicator.“How beautiful!”
“That thing isn’t going up my arse.”
“Why not? Bigger stuff comes out. What are you afraid of? You’re such a prude hiding this in your Kleenex box.”
“I’m trying to get some serious advice out of you, George. What if I’ve got cancer or something?”
“Well, usually cancer polyps are on the underside of the colon.”
“That’s reassuring.”
“That’s when they do a colonoscopy, and you can’t eat for a few days before it.”
“So what’s this rectal exam I’m scheduled for?”
“He’ll do a visual of it. If it looks serious, a hospital appointment will follow. That’s when the tubes, cameras, and lights come out. If he sees a suspected polyp, he’ll probably snip a piece off for a biopsy.”
“I doubt if it’s rectal cancer.”
“It’s always good to get it checked. Detected early enough, it is easily treated and got rid of. Look at Katie Couric. Her husband died of rectal cancer, so she had a colonoscopy live on The Today Show. It can be a very serious matter but highly treatable if caught early enough, but so many people are scared of someone looking in such a private place.”
“Thanks for the advice. I thought you were just going to rip me about it like you did with my scrotum situation.”
“I only made fun of the scrotum 'cause it was external and I had visions of one-ball Jon. Until we find out whether it’s serious or not, it’s nothing to joke about. If it turns out to be a haemorrhoid, the gloves are off, and I’ll make fun of your asshole. In the meantime, if you need help with the applicator, I’ll be only too happy to give you a helping hand.”

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
14 August 06

Psychotherapy with Dr. O'Malley # 5 (continued)

“I’m not sure.” I said. “In high school a lot of the boys grew bigger and taller than me, and I felt inadequate. Getting mauled by some of the rugby players didn’t help. As I grew older I got along better with girls. I was always a wheeler-dealer from a young age, and that drive got stronger, much stronger into my early twenties.”
“Why do you feel you were driven to acquire material things?”
“I guess I was a bit of a show off. I equated material items with being cool. I was immature.”
“So you were mesmerised by external things, and you didn’t give much attention to your inner core. There’s a part of you that wanted to attract attention, and material things would generate attention from others. You have to realise the essence of a person has nothing to do with being attracted to money and things. Look at the Dalai Lama. He looks like a regular old fella. But he’s very charismatic. You need to find your internal self and you need to ask yourself what person do you want to be. Drugs aren’t going to do that for you. Not peyote or mescaline or LSD. Hallucinogens may fit into certain cultures, but in our culture they don’t make sense.”
“Does all the alcohol and nicotine consumption in our culture make sense?”
“Wasn’t that a scene you were part of?”
“No. We were a counterculture. We dressed outrageously. Our music sounded like signals from outerspace. We were rebellious. We sneered at mainstream – even mainstream drugs. We were out to shock the world.”
“You wanted attention.”
“I got attention.”
“But it didn’t work out. Everything you did was a step on the path that brought you here.”
“That’s true.”
“With increased mindfulness you can learn from the previous negative things you did and determine what things are going to be beneficial to you. You’re able to start afresh.”
“I agree.”
“Now let’s discuss your thought journal. When you were in class you applied breathing at the end of each sentence and you did well, but when your buddy instigated a play fight you got mad. Instead of getting mad you can train yourself to concentrate on your breathing, just like you did in class.”
“You’re right. But it’s easier said than done.”
“Absolutely. But you need to think about breathing, and to be able to analyse your thoughts in all uncomfortable situations. When you take a deep breath you get a useful response: your adrenalin doesn’t pump in as much. I see progress in your thought journal throughout the month until the last entry.”
“Detecting that lump brought on anxiety and embarrassment.”
“Do you think it could be something that could cause your fatality?”
“I really don’t, but I’m aware of a slight chance of it being cancer.”
“So there’s a nagging doubt?”
“Yes, but its mostly embarrassment. I’ve got to have an examination. I can’t image people looking in my arse.”
“It there’s something wrong with your car, you take it in. You shouldn’t be embarrassed if your engine’s leaking oil. The mechanic has seen engines that look better than yours and he’s seen worse. Health providers find solving bodily problems interesting - just like I find the brain and behaviour interesting. The bottom line is: your embarrassment is all in your head.”
“I realise that.”
“Good. But do you realise this anxiety has driven you all of your life? You need to become adept and to learn to listen to your anxiety. To know when things make sense and when they stop making sense. For homework, I want you to not only listen to how you talk to yourself but also to notice, and to write down, when anxiety causes you to cross the fence into irrational thoughts. And remember to breath. Long deep breaths. Make Darth Vader noises if you have to.”
I laughed and thanked him for the session. It seems I’m making more progress with Dr. O. than Drs. A. and B.. What do you think? How do you feel Dr. O.’s advice about drugs compares with Two Tonys’ advice?

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