Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Losing Independence?

Any halfway intelligent person could make out a good case claiming I'm nutty as the floor sweepings at a Planter's factory. Then the defense would have its turn and I'd convince the judge and jury that I was the only sane person in the room.
OK, maybe not the judge. They live in a world of their own.
The point is, I've entered yet another stage of life. My entire existence has consisted of moving from one compartment to another, slamming the door behind me as I leave one and enter the next. I often think back to one of those earlier stages, but they're over with, finished, kaput. "Allus kaput," how often I heard that during one of those earlier phases.
As yet I have not come up with a new name for this latest step. Seizure Stage has a nice ring to it but lacks mass market appeal. I'll work on it.
Many people know I haven't been at the top of my game for a couple of weeks. Not that the top of my game at 84 amounts to a helluva lot. But during those recent days every ailment I've had in the 21st century came back. A Homecoming celebration of sorts. Like any similar gathering, one new wrinkle was added to make it memorable. A trial run was conducted Monday while I was typing some bit of fluff. Suddenly a pair of vise grips took me by the shoulders, lifted me in the air and dropped me again. What happened? I had no idea, but it was startling. I looked down and around to see if I had been smoking a pipe and it now was in the initial stage of igniting me. I hadn't had a pipe in my mouth, but I had just Lost Time.
Jackie took my blood pressure: 81 over 40 something. Low blood pressure brings on hallucination.
Then yesterday morning I was loafing in my living room chair as Jackie prepared to go to the drug store. I asked her to get a package of those cheap buns with gooey icing because nothing else sounded good. She went down the hall to get her coat and purse, then stood in front of me and said they were called sticky buns. I heard that, sticky buns. The next thing I knew she was holding one of my arms, which had been swinging wildly in the air. She said my face had been distorted, although I'm not sure how she could tell the difference.
Jackie called my favorite doctor and he returned the call on his new i-phone. I'm sure of that because we had been playing with it Tuesday when I went in for my monthly shot of joy juice that offsets the effect of a tumor on the pituitary gland that has been there for many years. Jackie was somewhat perturbed because she thought I should be asking medical questions and instead the doc and I were shooting at each other with various weapons on the i-phone.
So yesterday he said, "We can do two things. We can put him in the hospital for ten days to two weeks and run a lot of tests. Will he agree to an operation?"
He had to ask but already know the answer, "No."
"OK, I'll write a prescription for anti-seizure medicine and he can come see me again in a week."
So that's the way they left it, but I sure hope he has the i-phone ready to play with. Unless he has an even newer toy by then.
For obvious reasons I won't be driving a car anytime soon. Some people who don't know better will say that means a loss of independence. Nonsense. A car is handy at times but it owns you, not vice versa. You want independence, watch the last few minutes of the movie Elmer Gantry. He had everything, was on top of the world, but lost it all.  With only the shirt on his back and a cheap suitcase in hand containing all his worldly possessions, Elmer (Burt Lancaster) walked off into the sunset with a big grin on his face. That's independence.
Whatever, I suppose some people think I should take life more seriously. Why, when it's so humorous and filled with all these many unexpected twists and turns? Not a single one of us is going to get out of it alive. Eat, drink and make merry; it all comes out the same in the end. As the drunk said as he stood up at our table a week before D-Day: "You who are about to sigh, I dalute you." It's the only way to live.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dick, you sound pretty damned independent to me. Hang in there!

Rob Lopresti

11:32 AM  
Anonymous John Floyd said...

Dick, I wish you the very best -- hope you're up to speed again soon.


1:35 PM  
Anonymous Angela Zeman said...

Dick, you won't remember me, we met long ago in Muncie at the Midwest Writers Workshop. Our paths crossed again later, in Chicago at a few MWA Dark and Stormy weekends before I moved East. Just wanted to say hello.

I've admired your short stories over the years, and find in them an ever increasing dark smoothness--like the one I had the opportunity to read in the PWA Shamus batch.

Congratulations on this year's Shamus nomination, may you go on to win many awards.

Angela Zeman

2:27 PM  
Blogger James Lincoln Warren said...

I know that life is getting harder for you, Dick, but you still make it easier for the rest of us. I think you take life plenty seriously enough---lacking a sense of humor is as good a definition I can think of for dead.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Dick Stodghill said...

Thank you all so much. You kind of choked me up, which is more than any old seizure could ever do.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Leigh said...

Just because I couldn't make it to Indy for Bouchercon, you didn't have to take it so hard! These past several days I had unexpected medical issues, but nothing like seizureville. Your article put mine in perspective.

I'd say to Jackie to take good care of my friend, but she's already doing that. Thank you for the smile, Dick.

2:56 AM  
Blogger STAG said...

Seizures are a bitch.

I had them on and off for about a year after I was shocked back to life by a medic with one of those "stand clear" machines. I immediately returned the favor by breaking his jaw...but that's another story. One that I am darned determined to tell you when I get to Ohio next spring.

6:19 PM  
Blogger morgancraft said...

Just stopped by to catch up and saw your story. No one writes like you do, Dick! I SO enjoy your blogs! I'll spare you the "Sorry to hear..." crap (unless you count just saying THAT as ruining the "spare you" part), and instead wish you health and merriment. And not necessarily in that order!

9:32 PM  

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