I am prone to hyperbole. And I think we can all agree that is not an exaggeration. However, in this particular case, I feel that my complaining has been completely justified and proportionate to my suffering. The main problem is, I feel that when I made the decision to have nasal surgery, I underestimated what I was setting myself up for.
It was big.
Actually, I'd like to go a step further and in a rare instance of being grateful to George W. Bush for making up words, I'd like to use a word even bigger than underestimated --
I would go so far as to say -- misunderestimated.
Underestimated with a little extra something . . . for emphasis.
It could be my ENT's utterly bland demeanor as he very briefly explained the procedure and the recovery --
to hear me recount the details, for instance, would be quite a different experience.
It could be the book they gave me to read in advance in which everyone looked so gosh darned normal, just carrying on with their day to day lives as if they had not just endured a life-threatening invasion of the worst
(Kind of like the movie Walt Disney made
to sell menstruation to girls
and make it seem like a fun part of growing up!)
I felt justified in my combination horror/self-pity/despair when my oldest daughter looked at me the other day and said, "Good. At least your eyes have gone back in their right place." WHAT??!! Thank goodness she had not previously remarked that my eyes were NOT in their right place, which would have only heightened the nightmarish scenarios my own brain was concocting overtime during sleepless hours of snotty suffering.
Although I'm standing by my surgical decision in the hope that it will indeed pay off, I must admit that at times it has seemed like the worst idea since my previous worst idea: jumping off a jungle gym as a kid while holding a bag over my head. I thought there would be a cool parachute effect of some kind. Instead there was a crash, which may have looked cool but was actually very painful (and also temporarily robbed me of the ability to breathe, now that I think about it.)
At any rate, when I wrote about my impending "procedure" last Monday, I did so fully expecting that I would be back here laughing about it with you on Wednesday, perhaps slightly loopy from pain pills but those would only add to the charm and merriment of the essay.
In reality, on Wednesday, I was wishing and thinking dire things that are not suitable to print or even consider on a family friendly website such as Small Works.
I would tell you more but I fear there are not enough exclamation points available to underscore the depth of my feeling about the experience!!!
Partly because the over-use of the exclamation point has sucked
all possible meaning out of it, leaving us with nothing when we
really, really need to communicate that we mean it.
As Jennifer Egan (recent winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her brilliant work, A Visit From the Goon Squad) observed, "The more exclamation points you use, the more you need to use in order to create an impression of exclamation."
My predicament precisely!
Although Mark Twain decried the use of the exclamation point as being akin to laughing at one's own joke and instead advocated a more understated burying of the punchline, we unfortunately do not all have Twain's talent to communicate things with exquisite precision through a deft (almost surgical!) choice of words.
So instead we use an exclamation point as if to say, "Look here! This is what I mean! It's the important part!" And without such crutches to make communicating things easy, we might never get the email/essay/text message written at all.
"But not many would think of that.
They would think of it next day,
but that is the difference between talent
and the imitation of it. Talent thinks of it at the time."
It's much easier to just stick an exclamation point (or 5) on the end and then think of what might have been the right words later, when you are smacking yourself on the forehead for your dopey overuse of exclamation points...
In a recent NY Times article on the proliferation of exclamation points, Aimee Lee Ball explained that "Writing is by definition an imperfect medium for relaying the human voice, And in the age of electronic communication . . . many literate and articulate people find themselves justifying the exclamation point to convey emotion, enthusiasm or excitement. Some do so guiltily, as if on a slippery slope to smiley faces."
So since punctuation has become meaningless, and the face (definitely not smiley!!!!!!) icon has not yet been invented to suit this particular purpose, I suppose I shall be content just to tell you that: 1) I am glad I am back, and that 2) my absence was somewhat . . . er . . . more trying than I expected.
But I can't help but wonder if it would have changed things if, ANYWHERE in the literature or the doctor's calm delivery, there had been one single well-placed exclamation point . . . something along the lines of :
YOU'LL BE SORRY (!)
(At the very least it might have helped me prepare for impact.)
Happy glad-to-be-alive Monday! (*sniff)