From the archives
Everyone needs a kidney stone
Everyone needs to have a kidney stone
once in his or her life time. Preferably, the sooner the better.
You see, experiencing the sensation
of having a semi tractor-trailer with snow chains and a load of rolled
steel park on your lower back tends to put life into perspective.
For instance, if you're riding in a
tour bus and the rest room door suddenly swings open and you can't reach
the handle without creating an additional sight on the tour, you can say,
"Hey, sure beats a kidney stone." (All of these examples are,
of course, hypothetical and have never happened to me personally.) Or your
daughter calls you at 1 a.m. in the middle of winter and says, "Gee,
Dad, did you know that a '95 Neon can straddle a traffic island?"
you can say, "Hey, sure beats a kidney stone."
This perspective also works for times
you attempt to repair the toilet yourself and manage to not only cripple
the commode, but break off the main water shut-off valve. (I did mention
that these are strictly hypothetical examples, didn't I?) It helps when
your mother-in-law backs into your brand-new car. The time your five-year-old
son drives spikes into your coffee table. When you lose a great job as
an editor at a publishing house due to corporate down-sizing. While you're
recovering from double-hernia surgery and something on TV prompts a belly
laugh. When you're spending half your vacation time sitting in a traffic
jam in downtown Chicago with a stick shift, no air-conditioning, and two
kids in the back seat waging a fight to the death. You can always say,
"Hey, sure beats a kidney stone."
It also works for intestinal flu, crashed
computers, lactose intolerance, sadistic dental hygienists, arthritis,
overdrawn checking accounts, terminal toasters and transmissions, impacted
wisdom teeth extractions, prostate exams, IRS audits, and flat tires in
the rain fifty miles from any form of civilization. Now there are some
things that are worse than a kidney stone such as death, divorce, and "Saved
By the Bell" reruns, but most domestic disasters and occupational
pratfalls pale in comparison to a kidney stone. And that puts everything
in perfect perspective.
It's been six years since my painful
epiphany, which brings me to another kidney stone insight: "All things
Copyright © 1997 James N. Watkins
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