On Saturday I celebrated another significant change in my life: After 11 months, I have health care insurance again.
I don't have the little card yet, promising hospital systems I am now one with them. All the paperwork has been sent to various old address.
But theoretically, if something bad happens, I'll only pay a high deductible -- and pain. Probably much pain. Fair amount of pain. And the accompanying cussing.
So I've been working on a list of all the things I have let go in the last 11 months:
-- I'm fat. I'm so fat the big fish at the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame asked what it was like to have Jonah in my stomach. So fat I treat a bucket of KFC like drinking a shot of Fireball. I'm am so fat, local boaters have told me they're glad I'm no longer blocking the Suez Canal.
Some friends have suggested I stuff a sock in my mouth and it would have the added side effect of shutting down my stupid jokes. But with some sauerkraut and hot mustard, I could eat me a sock.
I know I need to cut down on calories and increase (actually start) exercise.
-- My knees hurt so bad I walk around town like a orangutan with rheumatoid arthritis. People in produce sections have offered to retrieve the bananas for me. Clinton Eastwood called me for a sequel to "Any Which Way You Can."
My left knee has been swollen since October and I suspect a torn meniscus. And let's be honest -- that's just a fun word to say. Last weekend, I ordered a meniscus and gravy for breakfast.
The right knee is just plain sore after several round of gout. I've sworn off most gout-inducing foods but there are remaining issues.
-- My back hurts more than watching "Look Who's Talking Now 2" -- Joe Biden's favorite movie. I sprained my back a couple of times in football and when I was 17, the doctor said, "Rich, your back is never going to be the same." I laughed. Nearly 40 years later he remains correct and it gets worse as I age and gain weight.
-- My, um, hose has, um, changed over the years in terms of water pressure and such.
-- As a 55-year-old man I realize that I need to have doctors to explore my back door entrance. I know there's good anesthesia but I wonder how that mixes with Jack Daniels.
-- I have stopped growing hair where it's supposed to grow and started growing hair where it ain't supposed to. For instance, my pillow. And some SOB broke into my locked car and dropped short, white hairs all over the seats and then, without disturbing anything else, left and locked the car again. I've called Liam Neeson for help.
-- I traditionally have a build up of ear wax and need my yearly cleaning. I can't hear certain things, like Joe Buck calling a Packers game -- so there's a blessing. I've had this problem since I was a kid but now think I can turn it into a profit with ear wax candles on Etsy.
-- And don't ask about my sacroiliac.
Peace and health unto all of you my brothers and sisters.