Right in the middle of last night, my phone rings. When my phone rings it is impossible to ignore, because my ringtone is the intro to Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” I know, right, it’s more than a little extreme, but the idea is to get my attention and make me answer it so it will stop going, “boom boom BAH, boom boom BAH!” And Freddy Mercury singing “Buddy you’re a boy,” etc.
Where was I? Oh, right. So my phone goes off in the middle of the eff’ing night, and I pick it up, and it’s my longest bestest buddy friend from forever, with whom I used to go on adventures and get into high-jinks. So I’m like, wow, what’s up, is everything OK? I mean, I always wanna talk with you, but did you know it’s like, 2:30 am? And he’s all like, yeah, I’m really sorry to call you at this hour, but I’ve got something to discuss with you that can’t wait.
And I’m like, wow, what’s the problem, baby?
So he’s like, look, I don’t know what it is or how it happened, but through you I contracted some kind of virus, and I passed it on to my eldest son, and now he is sterile. He can’t have children. And all this time, I have known it, and I’ve never said anything about it because I love you so much and I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. And the virus is incurable, and I know you didn’t know you had it, because if you did you would have told me.
Silence. I’m sitting there in the dark gripping the phone, devastated by this news.
And I’m like, wow, what kind of virus is he talking about? I don’t know of any viruses that cause the second generation to become sterile. And my brain starts going Whirrr, Whirrr, like a hard drive that’s gone sick, I’m sure you’ve all heard that sound.
Then I open my eyes and everything is black. I’m lying on my back. Noga, my little dog, is curled up next to my left ear same as always.
And I’m like, what the f*ck? I turn on the light. My phone is lying there on the bedside table. The screen is dark. I pick it up, look at the recent calls log. None since yesterday, and none from him. Oh shit, not again.
These drugs I take–the ones that keep me from doing harm to myself, the ones that keep me right-side-up enough to write this and other stuff–oy vey, are they a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they keep me sane (sort of). On the other, they make me crazy! That middle of the night phone conversation was so crystal-clear real, that if it had not been for the bizarre content I would have just shrugged it off and called my friend the next day and said, Hey man, what’s with the 2 am phone calls? I mean, I love you, man, but you know I don’t keep those hours anymore.
As it is, I did call him today, at a civilized hour, and told him the whole story. We got a good larf out of it, anyway. Then I went to my therapy session and told my therapist, and after she got all done laughing and wiping her eyes she said, “WHAT drugs are you taking now?”
“The usual,” I said. We both shrugged.