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Sunday, May 10, 2009

1st, Meditation. 2nd, Medication.

On Friday morning, some asshole in a gold Ford Taurus cut me off. He had an Emergency Medical Services license plate and whacker antennas all over his car.

"I probably know this asshole," I thought to myself as I sped up to see if I was right.

Turns out, I was kind of right. It was a d-bag from my old ambulance company, but I didn't really know him. I recognized him, but I didn't know him. He was wearing a white shirt, which indicated his position as a supervisor.

Supervisors at my old ambulance company are no different than supervisors at other jobs: they're generally incompetent, inefficient, ineffectual, slovenly, lazy, and borderline retarded. Put a white shirt on a guy and automatically deduct thirty IQ points. It's like magic.

Seeing this dumbass inspired me to pick up my cell-phone and call one of my old partners to check in and see how she was doing. I call Topia maybe twice a year, and we pick up right where we left off, like no time had passed at all. She and I were steady partners for around a month-and-a-half, and then worked together sporadically. I started on the truck with her when my partner got fired and her partner was out on disability after being tackled by a deranged psych patient who had broken free of his restraints.

Though we only worked together for a relatively brief time, we got to know each other very well, and became good friends. I helped her move from not one, but two apartments during the time I worked at the company-- the first time lifting enormous heavy black lacquer furniture that weighed as much as a small condominium. The only reason I helped her move the 2nd time was that she had gotten rid of that fucking furniture.

"Good," I said, "because if you think I'm moving that shit again, then you're one crazy, black dyke."

Topia is, in fact, an African-American lesbian. She's not especially crazy, though, but her girlfriend is. Topia has a huge, gorgeous smile, huge breasts and a huge, wild mane of beautiful curls. I don't know if the hair is real or not-- I don't exactly know how black peoples' hair works. Is it all weaves? I have no idea. I'm pretty sure the breasts are real.

Anyway, Topia was overjoyed that I called her on Friday.

"I can't believe you remembered my birthday!" she squealed.

"Um, I didn't," I admitted. I was a day late anyway-- she turned 29 on Thursday. She promised to call me on May 13th.

She caught me up on all the company gossip, which I absolutely love. It's like tuning in to a TV show you used to watch religiously, but don't always have time for anymore-- so you watch once in a while, just to catch up on your favorite characters.

George and Sarae, long-time partners on the street and in the bedroom, finally got married, after George sired Sarae's baby back in 2006.

"Did you go to the wedding?" I asked.

"No, they had it on a Tuesday at 5:30pm," she said.

"I didn't know you could get married on Tuesdays."

"Yeah, well, they probably did it because it's cheaper," Topia said. "Of course, I probably could have made it to the wedding because-- you know black people-- the thing didn't start until 7:30. Sarae was an hour-and-a-half late."

"Oh, they were on BPT," (Black People Time, a phrase I learned from Topia.)

"That's right," she said, laughing. "BPT."

I asked her how it was working with Brad. That's not his real name, but I'm calling him "Brad" because his voice is identical to that dunderheaded bass voice of Brad Garrett, the brother from "Everybody Assrapes Raymond." Brad is approximately 6'4" and has a streamlined, bald head shaped like a big, bloated bullet. Brad's a paramedic and I worked with him on several occasions and I always dreaded it. Brad always made me drive him to L.A. Fitness in the ambulance so he could go in and work out for an hour and leer at women. This was, of course, against company policy (the working out while on duty-- I don't think there was anything in the P&P manual about leering at women) and I was always paranoid that we would get an emergency call while Brad was in there pumping himself.

He would also relish in telling me all about how smart he was, how great he was with money, and how he had figured himself out emotionally. He also loved badmouthing his baby mama. He called their spits, spats and other assorted goingsons, "Baby Mama Drama."

"Brad?" Topia said, "Oh, Brad's great. He's big into self-actualization now. You know, all that bullshit. He's always reading Deepak Chopra to me, and mispronouncing all the key phrases and words. He's also big into meditation. He meditates all the time. And he has a new catchphrase, too," she said.

"Oh, yeah? I can't wait to hear this. What is it?"

"Judge not," said Topia. "Judge not."

"Right, I'll remember that."

Topia told me that Brad has been making meditation audiocassettes for some bullshit franchisee operation run by some phony Yogi who Brad pays to get a license to peddle his shit.

"I'm going to retire off this," he says.

"He plays these tapes while we're transporting patients," Topia said to me on the phone, as we were both cracking up, "I swear to God, he makes me play them while he's in the back with a patient. So I have to hear is big, stupid voice going, "Breathe deeply. Be calm. Judge not."

"He does this while someone's having a heart attack?" I asked, incredulous.

"Oh, no," Topia said. "Brad doesn't actually believe that these people are having heart attacks anymore. He thinks that they are having a poor mind/body connection and that they need to meditate."

"Oh, my God. Why doesn't he just quit being a paramedic and walk around in sandals, a turban and a blanket and just touch peoples' crotches and heal them?"

"That medic money's too good."


She told me that, a week ago they were transporting a patient who was in the midst of an active myocardial infarction (at least, that's what normals would call it. Brad probably just thought the guy needed a chakra realignment). During the transport, the patient made the very ominous statement, "Uh.... I don't feel so good."

Now, when normal people in the course of their regular day say, "Uh.... I don't feel so good," that usually means that they've got vertigo or a headache or, at the very worst, they might throw up. When a patient in the back of an ambulance on 5 IV drips and a cardiac monitor says, "Uh.... I don't feel so good," you can pretty much start the countdown.

"You're fine," said Brad dismissively. I can just picture Topia's eyes bulging out of their sockets in the rearview mirror.

Two or so minutes later, the cardiac monitor made a noise that indicated that the patient probably wasn't fine. Brad moved over to the bench seat next to the patient, which he never does. He prefers to sit in the captain's chair and nap during most transports.

"When I saw him move over to the bench seat, I couldn't believe it. I thought he was about to start medic'ing this guy up. But he didn't."

"Listen," Brad said, "I want you to mediate with me."

"What?" the patient said, appropriately confused.

"Trust me, okay? You're fine. Just close your eyes and meditate with me. Breathe in slowly, and breathe out slowly. And go 'Uhmmmmmmmm.....' Uhmmmmmmmm...........' Come on, you can do it. Now, look at the light. Go towards the light."

"But I don't wanna go towards the light!" cried the petrified patient.

"No, not that light! The white light. The calming white light. It's a good light, not a bad light."

Because the patient was not cooperating with Brad's less-than-traditional methodology, Brad decided to try a different tactic.

"I guess I'll take your blood pressure."

Normal blood pressure is 120/80. This gentleman's pressure was 70/30, meaning that he was basically bottoming out. His ship wasn't sinking, it was fucking a coral reef.

"Oh, shit," said Brad, obviously surprised that his uhmmmmmmmming wasn't working its magic. He immediately discontinued the patient's nitroglycerin and administered another drug to boost the patient's pressure. Miraculously, he felt better.

When they delivered the patient, who was thankfully alive, to the cardiac cathertization lab, Brad gave a report to the nurses. I had assumed that he would have left out the part about where he tried to get to Nirvana with the patient, but he didn't.

"You... meditated with him?" one of the nurses asked, her eyes narrowing.

"Well, I tried-- but he wasn't into it. He wasn't ready."

"Well," said another nurse, "when all else fails, medication is always a good last-ditch option. Don't forget, you are a paramedic."

"Yeah," Topia said to me, "Brad's real popular with the nurses. Just yesterday we were taking a patient in the truck, and a nurse had to ride with us because the guy was on so many medications, and Brad was in the back having a high old time with the nurse."

"I'll bet."

"Yeah, he was telling her all about his baby mama and how he calls his kid "retard," and how he cured his high cholesterol with meditation-- oh, and Crestor. And I said, 'No, Brad-- that wasn't the meditation, it was the Crestor.' And he got all pissed, because I was embarrassing him in front of this nurse, and he said, 'No, Topia-- the the meditation allowed the Crestor to work on my body.' And then, everything was quiet for a minute, and he pipes up with, 'You know, I've had a vasectomy!'"

"WHAT?!" I howled.

"Yeah! Just like that! And the nurse goes, 'What is that, your pick-up line?' And Brad goes, 'Well, no-- but don't you find that attractive?'" And the nurse goes, "Uh, no, I don't.'"

Stupid bitch. Her chakra must be all fucked up.

Judge not.


  1. That guy is insane. I am wondering if this is just an American thing. I feel quite safe with our paramedics here in Toronto Canda. But I will try to "Judge Not." Also yay! He had a vasectomy!
    Some People should! ha ha!

  2. This guy sounds like a real piece of work. Aren't you glad you no longer have to work with him?

  3. I was thinking about it and I think that if you put a SHORT SLEEVE white shirt on a guy you have to automatically deduct 45 IQ points.

  4. Adam-- The shirt in question was indeed a short-sleeve jobbie. But, can a man have a negative IQ?

  5. NICE!! I think negative IQ is quite possible. I mean it's 2009...deficits are in Mr. Apron.


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