Letter From Milo: Re-Adjustment Blues

March 19th, 2018

Every Friday afternoon, I go to the Vet Center in Evanston and spend about an hour chatting with a psychologist named Dr. Betsy. When Dr. Betsy’s done with me, I like to hang around the place for a while, drinking coffee, making small talk with some of the guys, or just sitting in an easy chair reading a book or magazine.

I like the Vet Center. I’m comfortable there. I feel at ease.

The Vet Centers were established, by Act of Congress, in 1979, as community outreach programs to help Vietnam Veterans who were experiencing re-adjustment problems. After years of being ignored, Vietnam vets now had access to counseling that helped with PTSD, substance abuse problems, homelessness, employment issues, violent or suicidal tendencies, and other situations that plague combat veterans.

In 1991, following the Gulf War, Congress extended eligibility to the men who served in post-Vietnam hostilities. By 1996, the Act was extended to any veterans who had served in any war zone, going back to Korea and WW2.

I’ve been making the weekly trip to Evanston for about eight years now. I keep going back because Dr. Betsy and some of the other counselors have helped me weather a few stormy episodes.

But the real reason I keep going back is because I like to spend time, even if it’s just a few minutes or half an hour, with my fellow veterans.

I don’t know any of the guys very well. We’re just casual acquaintances. Many of them seem like regular guys, working stiffs, family men, retirees, the kind of people you’d run into at the grocery store, corner tavern or bowling alley.

But some of the guys that frequent the Evanston Vet Center – and I say this with love, understanding and compassion in my heart – are fucking crazy. These poor souls may be physically present, right here on the USA, but some essential parts of them are still wandering distant battlefields.

One guy I run into at the Vet Center constantly threatens to get vengeance on people who have offended him or treated him shabbily. He’s got a long shit list and adds names to it daily. To hear him tell it, one of these days there’ll be a bloodbath in the streets of Chicago that will make Iwo Jima look like a brawl at a Serbian wedding.

The guy is in his late 60s or early 70s and, as far as I know, has never harmed anyone.

Another guy I see regularly is a Vietnam vet who sits in a corner and talks to himself. He doesn’t just utter a few phrases. He has long complicated conversations with himself, complete with hand gestures, song fragments, and snorts of disgust. Occasionally, he’ll slap himself on the forehead and say something like, “Serves your ass right for fuckin’ around like that.”

One old-timer brings his wife to the Vet Center, and they bicker constantly. I can’t say for sure, but I believe they have the same argument every time. Once in a while the husband turns to others in the room and asks, “Did you hear that? Did you hear what she just said to me?”

Most people have the good sense not to get involved. When he asks me the question, I usually say, “Sorry, man, I wasn’t paying attention.”

When I mentioned what I had observed in the waiting lounge to Dr. Betsy, she said, “PTSD. Some have it worse than others. The stress of combat on young, not yet fully formed minds can be devastating. And sometimes the damage doesn’t show up for years.”

As I was driving home from my Friday appointment, thinking about my fellow vets, an odd thought occurred to me. What did those old soldiers see when they looked at me?

“There’s something wrong with that guy. He never says shit to anybody, just sits in the corner, drinking coffee, reading a book or scribbling shit in that note pad he carries.”

“I don’t trust him. He’s probably got a lot of nasty shit going through his head.”

“He’s got an evil look in his eye, too.”

“The dude don’t look right. I expect he’ll snap one of these days and do something stupid or dangerous.”

“Best keep an eye on him.”

Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re not.

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Letter From Milo: Self Abuse

March 12th, 2018

I was having a few drinks with an old friend, who I’ll call Leon to spare him undue embarrassment, when he told me that his wife had recently caught him jacking off.

“It was embarrassing as hell,” Leon said. “I mean, it’s bad enough that a 63-year-old man is jerking himself off, but when your wife catches you red-handed, well, it’s fucking mortifying.”

“Jesus, Leon, what got into you?”

“It was just one of those things. I was sitting at the computer when I saw a photo of Helen Mirren in a bikini and the urge came over me. I just couldn’t help myself.”

“I hate to state the obvious, but you’ve got a perfectly good wife at home, real nice looking, too. Why didn’t you just go make her an offer she couldn’t refuse?”

“I didn’t want to bother her. She was watching American Idol. She loves American Idol.”

“What did she do when she walked in on you?”

“She started laughing, then went to call her girlfriends.”


The great novelist and poet, Jim Harrison, once wrote, “The older a man gets the more weird things he has to do to get his dick hard.” He understood that the urge to enjoy life’s most basic pleasure won’t be denied, at any age. Men and women will risk everything – their reputations, fortunes and lives – in pursuit of sexual pleasure. In certain cultures, where God’s name is used to condemn the very instinct which God has given us, adulterers are routinely sent to the gallows, chopping block and stoning field.

Despite the threat of gruesome death and public humiliation, there is never a shortage of adulterers.

Everything considered, simple masturbation seems like a harmless and pleasant way to pass the time, just a guy, his hand and his imagination. Not that I would know anything about masturbating, you understand. As a legendary pussy magnet, seldom without the company of beautiful women (many of who, by the way, are now prominent, prosperous and pampered North Shore matrons), I’ve rarely had to resort to what the Brit’s call “the schoolboy’s comfort.”

The Third City’s motto is “We rarely lie to the American people.” So, I’ll admit to having masturbated at least once, about 25 tears ago. But it was for a good cause. The lovely Mrs. Milo and I were trying to have a family, but there seemed to be a small problem, which required her to have a minor adjustment to her system and required me to provide a sperm sample.

When my lovely wife explained the situation to me, I asked, “What exactly does that mean?”

“It means you have to go to Illinois Masonic Hospital in two days and masturbate into a specimen jar.”

“Are you shitting me? Why can’t I do it here and just drop the jar off?”

“The sample has to be fresh. It can’t be more than an hour old. You have to be there at 6:30 in the morning and you can’t drink or smoke weed the night before.”

“Ah, fuck.”

Two mornings later, after stopping at a newsstand to pick up a skin magazine, I arrived at the hospital for my appointment. I found the right floor and approached a young nurse sitting at a desk. I gave her my name and explained the reason for my visit. She went through some papers, handed me a specimen jar and, pointing to the men’s room, said, “You can use that facility.”

I doubt there’s a worse place to try and work up a chubby than a stark, brightly lit, hospital men’s room that smells of disinfectant. But I comforted myself with the thought that men have jacked off in the strangest places. They’ve beaten their meat in foxholes and prison cells. They’ve waxed their stacks in boardrooms and department store fitting stalls. They’ve choked their chickens in airplane restrooms and the coal mine at the Museum of Science and Industry. At this very moment there’s probably a Russian astronaut polishing his pole on the Mir Space Station.

When I finished I went back to the nurse’s station and handed the young nurse the specimen jar. I may have been overly sensitive at that point, because I thought I detected a smirk on her face when she accepted the jar and said, “Thank you.”

“That’s okay, sweetie,” I replied. “I’m an old hand at this sort of thing.”

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Letter From Milo: Otis, the Comeback Cat

March 5th, 2018

After taking a brutal beating from a feral tabby, a few months ago, Otis became a changed cat. He lost his swagger. He was no longer a kingpin tomcat, the badass who bullied the other toms in the area, dined in Lincoln Square’s best dumpsters, and frolicked with the finest pussy cats in the neighborhood.

Otis was now 16 or 17 years old, battered and scarred, just another worn-out old tomcat, his best days behind him. He had been to the top of the mountain, but he’d never fly that high again. And he knew it. His spirit was broken.

When Otis recovered from his physical injuries, he sank into a deep depression. He seemed to lose interest in everything, including food, catnip, and the random slaughter of mice, bunny rabbits and song birds. He even quit paying attention to the sexy Angora cat that belongs to Mrs. Shimkus, our next door neighbor.

Personally, I was glad to see him suffer. I never liked the bastard anyway. He’s made my life a living hell ever since he followed my youngest daughter home, about 13 years ago. If it wasn’t for the fact that my wife and children, who’d grown very fond of him, told me there’d be hell to pay if anything happened to the cat, I would have strangled the fucker a long time ago.

Still, as much as I despised Otis, I hated to see him moping around the house. Nobody likes having a depressed cat around.

“Hey, dumbass!” I said to the cat. “Snap out of it. Act your age. You’ve got a few good years left. Why waste them fighting with cats half your age? That’s a battle you’ll never win. We all have to accept our limitations. You don’t see me chasing after young chicks and getting in fights with 20-year-olds. I learned a long time ago that you can’t be a top cat forever, but being a middle cat isn’t that bad.”

Otis must have taken my pep talk to heart, because I soon noticed a change in his behavior. He seemed to be coming out of his funk. He stopped hiding in the basement and resumed his favorite position on the radiator under the bay window, where he could keep an eye on the street. He began taking pleasure in his five o’clock catnip again. And one day I found the pathetic remains of a half-eaten mouse in the back yard.

When I let Otis out of the house, he didn’t immediately rush next door and start fighting with the half dozen other tomcats who were hanging around Mrs. Shimkus’ house, all of them hoping to get a shot at Missy, the sexy young cat who spent most of the day grooming herself in the front window.

Instead, Otis began keeping company with Martha, a middle-aged, somewhat frumpy, but still attractive cat that lived on Wilson Avenue.

I realized Otis had finally figured out his new position in the alley cat hierarchy when one of my neighbors, Mrs. Torkelson, stormed up my walkway and confronted me on my front porch, where I was enjoying a cigarette with my morning whiskey.

“I should call the police on you,” she said, angrily.

“What did I do this time?”

“Your rotten cat beat up my Mr. Buttons.”

“You can’t blame me for that. Cats are going to fight. It’s their nature.”

“But Mr. Buttons is 23 years old, blind, and can hardly walk.”

“Well, then, he shouldn’t have fucked with Otis.”

“Oh, you’re a horrible man. I’m going to report you to the Alderman.”

Later that day, when Otis returned from his regular afternoon visit to the corner restaurant’s dumpster, I noticed that he had gotten some of his swagger back. There was a bit of strut in his step.

No, Otis isn’t the badass he used to be, but he’s still bad enough.

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Letter From Milo: Robbing Banks in Mississippi

February 26th, 2018

I wasn’t always a famous, wealthy and beloved figure in the blogging world.

I know it’s hard to believe, but before I was overwhelmed by fame, fortune and the paparazzi, I was just a regular guy. By regular guy I mean I was an average Joe, shuffling along in obscurity, content to make a living, raise a family, get drunk once in a while and get laid on occasion.

Then, the feces got into the central air. Like regular guys everywhere I got hit hard by the Great George Bush Economic Meltdown. The small business I had owned and mismanaged for many years, the Dumbass Advertising Corporation, Ltd, LLC & Sons, nearly went under. The cash stopped coming in. The lovely Mrs. Milo had to shoulder the main burden of keeping us afloat. I had to do something, anything, to crank up the cash flow.

So, I got a night job.

It wasn’t a great job. I had never done anything like it before. I won’t even mention what it was except to say it wasn’t anything I’d care to post on my resume.

The best thing about it was the hours, six hours a night, four days a week. It allowed me to keep my normal activities going during the day and it provided much needed cash. It was what I needed at the time.

The business wasn’t exactly a fly-by-night enterprise, but it was real close. The workforce was a mixed bag of characters. There were middle managers who had been downsized, college kids working their way through school, retirees who couldn’t make it on their pensions, whores who were too old to make a decent living, a number of young men with crude jailhouse tattoos, musicians who had wasted their youths trying to get record deals, a few people who were obviously junkies, and of course, an aging, burned out advertising man.

It seemed that anyone who wanted that job could have it. The only requirements were the ability to read and write and minimal computer skills. None of the employees stayed long. Turnover was ferocious. After a month there were only two of us left out of a group of 12 that started with me.

The other guy was a man named Teddy, who, as a young man, had made a living as a bank robber in Mississippi.

Of course, he didn’t blurt out this information at our first meeting. We had to become friends first. And that wasn’t easy. I wasn’t looking for friends and I doubt if Teddy was, either. All we were looking for was a paycheck, preferably one that didn’t bounce.

But as new faces kept showing up week after week, and the people we knew drifted away, Teddy and I began spending more time with each other. We’d eat lunch and take smoke breaks together, and after work we’d walk to the El train together. Teddy generally carried a half pint in his jacket and had a drink or two on the walk to the train. He was a gentleman and always offered me a drink. And I always accepted.

It was while walking to the El one evening that Teddy said, “Man, you don’t know how good it feels to be walking down this street.”

“It’s a beautiful night.”

“It’s more than that, Milo. You see, I spent 22 years in prison, in Mississippi. Got out eight months ago. Just getting on this El train and going anywhere I want is sweet.”

“Damn, man. 22 years?”

“Yeah, robbed four banks. I should have stopped at three.”

When I got home that evening, I opened a bottle of wine, poured a hefty drink and thought about Teddy. I would have thought someone who had served so much prison time would be bitter and angry. But Teddy was just the opposite. He was one of the sweetest natured men I’d ever met, always smiling, always genial. I never heard him say a bad word about anyone. He even had a playful side, which he allowed me to see.

He had begun greeting me at work by giving me an ugly look and saying, “Motherfucker, where’s my money?”

And I’d reply by saying, “Spent it, motherfucker.”

Teddy always laughed at my reply and said, “Shit, man, I would have done the same thing.”

One evening as we walked to the El train, I asked Teddy, “It must have been tough being a black man in a Mississippi prison?”

“It wasn’t easy. The funny thing is that my own people made it tough on me. You see, most of the trustees and guards at the prison are black men. But they have to answer to white men. So they can’t look like they’re taking it easier on their own people than on whites. Motherfuckers can make your life miserable, sometimes.”

“How’d you get this job, anyway? The application form asked about felony convictions.”

“”They just asked if you had been convicted of a felony in the last seven years. Shit, man, I been in prison a lot longer than seven years.”

Another time, Teddy said, “Stolen money don’t last long. This short money we making here last longer than bank money. My biggest hit was $30,000 and it was gone in a month. Course I had to split it with a partner. If you a criminal you got a lot of expenses. Plus, you get crazy with the money. When you work for your money, you watch it closer.”

About a month later, Teddy came in late to work, which was unusual. He never missed work and he was always punctual. He was also disheveled and smelled of alcohol, another unusual occurrence. He never drank at work.

“Are you okay, man?” I asked.

“My woman put me out. I had to move all my shit into my brother’s place.”

“Damn, man, that’s rough.”

“Bitch went crazy. Accused me of all kind of shit. I swear, Milo, I ain’t even looked at another woman since I been out of jail.”

About an hour later, Teddy abruptly stood up at his cubicle, raised his face toward the ceiling and hollered something I couldn’t quite make out. Then he rushed toward the exit door.

That was the last time I saw him.

Word on the street was that Teddy had broken parole, either a domestic dispute, something to do with a car or a concealed weapons charge. I was pretty sure he didn’t go back to robbing banks because I didn’t read anything in the papers about any local banks being robbed. He might be in prison in Illinois or maybe they sent him back to Mississippi. Who the hell knows?

One thing I do know is that I miss him. He was good company and always cheered me up when I saw him.

Sometime in my life I’d like to see Teddy again. If I do, I’ll throw my arms around him, give him a big hug and say, “Motherfucker, where’s my money?”

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Letter From Milo: Scared Shitless

February 19th, 2018

A while ago, I went to the Jesse Brown V.A. Hospital to see my physician, Dr. Frankie “Disco” Lopez, and hit him up for some new meds, preferably industrial-strength opiates. Dr. Frankie is a notoriously easy touch when it comes to handing out pain-killers. But just to be on the safe side, I Googled some exotic diseases and their symptoms to help make my case.

When I walked into Dr. Frankie’s office, he said, “Dude, we’ve got to make it quick. I’m meeting a nurse from ER for a nooner at the Diplomat Motel and I don’t want to keep her waiting. How are you feeling?”

“Not too good. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a case of Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia and I need something for the pain.”

“No problem. I’ll prescribe some shit that’ll make you feel real good. Hey, you’re a smoker aren’t you?”


“How long have you been smoking?”

“I started when I was three, about the same time I started drinking.”

“It’s time you had a chest X-ray. I’ll set it up.”

Two days later, as I was out on my back porch, enjoying a cigarette with my morning whiskey, I got a call from Dr. Frankie. “Dude,” he said, “I’ve got your X-ray in front of me and it looks like you’ve got a spot on the lower right lobe of your lung.”

“Ah, fuck!”

“I’m going to order a CAT scan so we can get a better look.”

“Doc, should I be worried?”

“If it was me, I’d be shaking in my boots and crying for my mama.”

I’m not the kind of guy that rattles easily. Anyone that reads my blogs knows that I’m a badass, tougher than concrete, meaner than a snake, as fearless as an Acapulco cliff diver. I’ve stared death in the face more often than a mortician. I’ve survived growing up on the mean streets of Gary, Indiana, a war in Southeast Asia, 30 years of marriage, the Bush administration, and a career in the advertising business.

That said, the possibility that I might have lung cancer scared the shit out of me.

After giving it some thought, I decided to keep the information to myself. I didn’t tell anyone, not even the lovely Mrs. Milo. I figured the situation would upset her worse than it upset me. I knew she’d be angry with me for not telling her, but I didn’t want my wife to worry until I knew that there was definitely something to worry about.

I had to wait three weeks for the CAT scan and, trust me, it was a very long three weeks. Everything slowed down. The days dragged by. I felt like I had a ball and chain attached to my leg. My thinking was scattered and murky. The words biopsy, major surgery, chemotherapy, and painful lingering death were never far from my mind.

My wife sensed there was a problem. Every few days she’d give me an odd look and ask, “Milo, are you okay?”

“Sure, babe, I’m fine. Everything’s peachy. Why do you ask?”

“Well, you’re acting weird. I’ve seen you staring off into space and muttering to yourself. Plus, you’re drinking more than usual.”

“Heh, heh, you’re probably just imagining things.”

There were a dozen other miserable-looking fuckers hanging around in the waiting room of the Radiology Department when I arrived for my CAT scan. And all of us were there for the same reason. Doctors had found something in our bodies that required further investigation. We were all hoping for the best.

Later that day, a few hours after the CAT scan, I was in my back yard, enjoying a cigarette with my afternoon whiskey, when the phone rang. It was Dr. Frankie. “Dude,” he said, “it was a false alarm. Other than a touch of emphysema, your lungs are clear.”

“Doc, that’s great news.”

“Well, I’ve got to call a couple of other guys who won’t be as happy to hear from me.”

That night, at supper, I told my wife the story. As I suspected, she didn’t take it well. “Oh, you’re such an asshole! I’m your wife! We’re partners! How could you keep that from me for three weeks?”

“Honey, it wasn’t easy.”

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Letter From Milo: Fortunate Son

February 12th, 2018

We had a 2nd Lieutenant, let’s call him Lt. Smith, who served as my platoon leader for several months. He seemed to be a nice enough guy, considerate of his men, easy to talk to and not too eager to cover himself in glory. He was an educated man, with a degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Lt. Smith was madly in love with his college girlfriend. Whenever I talked to him the discussion would invariably turn to the love of his life. He carried a photo album of her and would whip it out at the slightest sign of interest. The photos depicted an attractive young woman in a variety of settings, on campus, at the beach, on the ski slopes.

“Beautiful, isn’t she?” Lt. Smith would always ask me, after showing me her latest pictures.

“Yeah, she’s a real looker.”

“We’re going to get married when I get back to the world.”

“That’s great, sir.”

“We were going to get married before I came in-country, but I thought it best we wait, just in case.”

“That’s real sound thinking, sir.”

One day Lt. Smith got a letter from his beloved, which mentioned that she and a few girlfriends were going to spend the weekend in upstate New York attending an outdoor music festival. As it turned out, the festival was Woodstock.

Just to remind those of you whose memories are shot, whose brain cells are fried, or who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, Woodstock was the blow-out party of the 20th Century. It was a life-changing event for many people, changing their attitudes, redefining their reasons for existence and altering the trajectory of their lives. Lt. Smith’s girlfriend was one of the people who went to Woodstock and never looked back. Lt. Smith, who used to get a letter from his girlfriend every other day, never heard from her again, at least while he was in Vietnam. I’ve never seen a sadder man.

Incident #2

Packages from home were always a welcome treat. We called them “Care Packages” and they usually came from parents, grandparents, wives or girlfriends. The packages contained everything from homemade cookies to bottles of whiskey, porn magazines to editions of hometown newspapers. My father once sent me a wicked-looking Buck knife with a fine leather sheath. I lost it a couple of months after it arrived.

There was a guy – let’s call him Freaky Joe – who received a package from his girlfriend that contained a set of Day-Glo paints, which were very popular in the 60s. The paints glowed in the dark and were used for decorating t-shirts, making posters and face painting. I knew a guy in college who liked to get stoned, use Day-Glo paint to paint his teeth different colors and then go out at night and smile at people.

Freaky Joe spent one afternoon smoking reefer and painting a Claymore mine with his newly-arrived paint set. A Claymore mine is a plastic shell filled with C-4 explosives and packed with hundreds of BBs or ball bearings. It was attached to a long cord that had a manually activated detonating device at its terminus. When the device was set off, the Claymore exploded with devastating power, shredding everything in its range.

Freaky Joe was sitting with a goofy smile on his face, a Claymore in his lap, painting stars, half moons, polka dots and stick figures all over the mine’s outer shell. When asked what he was doing, Freaky Joe replied, “Just fucking around.”

That night Freaky Joe’s squad went out on night ambush. This was an exercise where a squad of eight men went out in the evening and set up an ambush along a well-traveled trail. Anybody who came walking by was in trouble. To be fair, the other side did the same thing.

Freaky Joe had his own idea of how to run a night ambush. He hung the painted Claymore mine in a tree, about head high. Then he went off about 40 yards, found a good place to hide, and waited for some poor soul to come by.

A while later, a lone Vietnamese came strolling along. He might have been an NVA regular, a Viet Cong, or just a luckless farmer. The man saw something odd hanging in a tree, something unexplainable. It was a group of stars, half moons, stripes and stick figures, all twinkling and glowing in the dark. His curiosity obviously piqued, the man walked up to the glowing vision and pressed his face close to see what it was. At that point Freaky Joe activated the Claymore and blew the man’s head off.

The boys got a good laugh out of that one.

Incident #3

Every couple of months my company would be taken out of the field and sent back to Division Headquarters in Chu Lai for three days of rest and relaxation that was known as “standdown.” There was plenty of relaxation but very little rest. It was basically a three-day beer bust, with lots of reefer and opium to grease the skids.

One of the best things about standdown was that Division HQ provided live entertainment, in the form of rock, country or R&B bands. The bands were generally from Australia, South Korea or the Philippines. I don’t remember if they were any good, but they were always fronted by attractive female singers.

One of the rumors going around was that these singers also doubled as whores. We had just finished watching a performance by an Australian group that featured three very good looking singers. They played mostly Motown stuff and did a credible imitation of the Supremes. When the show was over, I huddled with a guy named Duffy and a 2nd Lieutenant, whom I’ll call Bruce Diksas to spare him any undue embarrassment. We decided to take a shot at the the Aussie Supremes.

Lt. Diksas, being an officer and a gentleman, was able to commandeer the company jeep. Then he, Duffy and I went in search of the women.

“Oh, man, round-eyed women.”

“Yeah, and two of them are blondes.”

“Shit, man, I haven’t seen a blonde in eight months.”

“Did you bring the weed?”

“Brought a bottle, too.”

“Oh, man, this is gonna be great.”

“Fucking blondes, can you believe it?”

We finally located the entertainers’ compound. It was a heavily guarded area of Airstream trailers enclosed by barbed wire. The only reason we were able to get inside was that Lt. Diksas pulled rank, telling the MP at the gate that we were searching for an AWOL and had information that he might be in the area.

When we located the Aussie Supremes’ manager, a greasy looking guy who resembled a debauched Oliver Reed, we made our offer.

“We’ll give you a hundred and fifty dollars each for the three girls for the night.”

The manager lit a cigarette – I remember it was a Salem – and considered our offer. He pursed his lips, rocked his head from side to side, squinted his eyes, and then finally broke our hearts.

“I’m sorry, lads. That’s a nice offer, but the girls are playing the Field Grade Officers Club this evening and I’m sure we’ll get a better deal.”

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Letter From Milo: Pills

February 5th, 2018

I used to take pills strictly for recreational purposes. Now I take pills because I have to.

Every day I take Nifedipine and Metoprolol for blood pressure, and Levothyroxine for low thyroid levels. I also swallow an aspirin every morning, just in case.

I understood and accepted the blood pressure issues. A lot of people of a certain age struggle with that problem. But a malfunctioning thyroid was news to me. Before my physician at the VA Hospital, Dr. Frankie “Disco” Lopez, told me about my thyroid, I had no idea that there was a problem.

“Man, I didn’t even know that I had a thyroid.”

“Don’t worry about it. We’ll give you some pills and you’ll be as good as new.”

“Ah, shit! Are there any side effects with this thyroid medicine?”

“Yeah, you’ll have more energy and you’ll lose weight.”

“I hate to lose weight. I’m kind of skinny already.”

“Dude, being skinny is a good thing. It makes your dick look bigger.”

“By the way, Doc, I need some more pain pills.”

“What happened? I prescribed a shitload of pain pills for you a couple of weeks ago.”

“The, ah, dog ate it.”

“Damn! How’s the dog?”

“The dog’s feeling real good right now.”

Until a few years ago I never took any medication at all. I was as healthy, rude and rambunctious as a North Woods wolverine. I ate what I pleased, drank to excess, smoked like Bogart and entertained impure thoughts on a regular basis. I enjoyed years of low-life splendor and had planned on enjoying many more, perhaps even picking up a few new vices when I reached my Golden Years.

And then something happened.

My doctor said there was a problem that required immediate attention – and it involved major surgery.

“Ah, fuck! Do I have any options?”

“Sure, you’ve got some options.”

“Well, what the hell are they?”

“You can ignore the situation, eventually get real sick, and die miserably in a couple of years.”

“What else?”

“We can do the surgery right away, fix the problem, and you’ll be able to live out a normal life span.”

“Okay, what are my other options?”

“You have no more options.”

I won’t lie. The thought of major surgery scared me so badly that I briefly considered giving up smoking, drinking, abusing drugs and eating red meat. I asked the doctor what percentage of patients died on the operating table while undergoing this procedure.

“About two percent,’ he replied. “But those numbers are skewed towards people who are in bad shape when they finally come in for surgery. Those numbers don’t apply to you. You’re in real good physical condition, everything considered.”

The percentages the doctor mentioned should have been a comfort to me, but they weren’t. I’m a veteran of this life, an old hand. I’ve seen too many aces turn up on the river to have absolute faith in odds, percentages or probabilities.

Despite my fears and misgivings, the operation was a success. Pain was minimal and the recovery ahead of schedule. I was the new, improved and upgraded Milo 3.0. In a couple of months I was up to my old tricks again, doing the same stupid shit I had always done. If there was a lesson there, I never learned it.

The only difference in my life before surgery and after surgery is that now I take pills.

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    • Wally Popovich–Gary, Indiana’s Most Affordable Attorney. Hey, fellas, do you have some porn stars threatening to expose all your secrets? If so, call today, and we’ll arrange a payoff that will save your sterling reputation.

      Business is not always fair play - ruthless business competition concept - isolated

      Now working out of Booth #3 at Kaiser’s Old Style Inn–just across the street from the entrance to the Big Mill.

    • The Third City really enjoyed Faust, the Charles Gounod opera, playing at the Lyric.


      Don’t mess with the devil, my friends–he doesn’t play!

    • If making millions from a daily blog were so easy, everyone would be doing it…

    • mredhorse

      Nightclub shuts down after woman rides horse into crowd of partygoers, Mr. Ed says, `What a ride!’

    • Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, because…


      He says he paid $130,000 in shut-up-and-go-away money to Stormy, the porn star, after she threatened to go public with her tales of sex with Comrade Trump. Then he claimed Trump knew nothing about the payoff. Not only is the Trump gang sleazy, but they think we’re stupid. Nice going, Dumbass! 

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