Quiet Carl: Cafe

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I clearly have a brain tumor.  I have all the symptoms.  I have a headache, there’s a small bump on my head and my vision is blurry.  I did just rub my eyes really hard to avoid conversation with someone but that doesn’t make someone’s vision blurry.  A brain tumor does.  What am I going to do?  I’m totally freaking out.  Alright, relax, breath deep and realize it’s probably just a brain tumor.


I think people are beginning to stare.  I guess it doesn’t help that I’m breathing heavily and rubbing my forehead like a scratchy lotto card.  I’ve never seen someone’s last minute of sanity, but I imagine this is what they do one hour before being arrested for shouting racial slurs at a kitten through the window of a pet store.  But hey, I’m the one with the brain tumor, not them.  Maybe they’re not even staring.  Maybe it’s just my brain tumor growing larger, putting pressure on my frontal lobe, causing poor judgement.  Hallucinations.

Maybe it’s one of those tumors that will make me all of the sudden know Spanish.  Doctors will say it’s a strange medical mystery and I will concur with, “si.”

What’s that smell?  Might be burnt coffee.  I am in a coffee shop.  Checks out.  I should put down my magnifying glass.  It’s making my tumor headache worse.

Why is this girl talking so loudly on her phone?  How has there not been a single point in her conversation where she’s thought, “I think I’m shouting but I guess that’s okay considering my parents never taught me to give a shit about strangers.”  I bet she’d feel like real dog dirt if she knew I had a brain tumor and she’s ruining my day (one of my last [probably, you know how these doctors are, though. “You have 6 months.” Then I live for 2 years and I miss four softball seasons. {ugh}]).

I won’t do that though, I don’t want my sickness to be a crutch or leverage in social situations.  I’ll use my 1/12 Native American heritage for that

Okay, I’ve been nodding and making eye contact with her for way too long.

Oh Jesus.

Shouldn’t have said that out loud.  Now people are definitely staring.  Okay, relax. Think of something peaceful.  Focus on the soft hum of the refrigerator.  There we go.  Okay, now I’m just humming in tune with the refrigerator.  It is 100% certain now.  People are staring.  100% of the people are staring.  I’m embarrassed.  And terminally ill.  An awful combination for a Tuesday.

Oh God.  Here comes the waitress.

No Bueno.

Is she serious?  Of course everything is okay.  Oh wait, I have a fucking brain tumor.  She’s got some nerve.  I should really tell her, I bet she’d feel like a real stick of butter if she knew I was dying.  How insulting.  I’m bothering the other customers?  Okay, well guess what?  Your tattoos look like you slept on the newspaper.

But no, I’ll just “keep it down.”  Meanwhile this girl is screaming into her cell phone and I can almost guarantee she’s brain tumor free.

Whatever.  I’m not embarrassed.  This isn’t embarrassing.  What the fuck am I talking about of course this is embarrassing.  I can see the doctor now, pointing to the x-ray, “Here’s the tumor and this much larger region is embarrassment.”

You know maybe this isn’t a brain tumor.  Maybe I just need to spend my time thinking about something else.  I’m too selfish.  A brain tumor?  I’m totally fine.  What am I doing?

I think I’m just trying to create an anxiety so large that my other, usual anxieties and insecurities won’t have any room to hang out.  My mind is an anxiety night club (The papers say it’s the hottest anxiety club in town [their words]) and Brain Tumor just showed up and brought all his boys so I’m dealing with that shit right now.   It’s busy.  They love champagne.  I mean it’s good for business and all but they make a mess of the place.

Meanwhile, my everyday anxieties like Am I Going to be a Good Father? and What if My Wife Leaves Me for Another Man With a Real Job and Zero Shitty Tattoos? are outside in line and the bouncer’s all, “You can’t wear sneakers, man.” And Am I Going to Be a Good Father? is like, “Are you serious? I come here every night! You know me, Glen.”  But tonight’s a different night at Club Freakin’ the Fuck Out.  Tonight is all you can drink Thurs–

Okay, I definitely have a brain tumor.

(Clears History)



Revisions: Doogie Horner


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