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If you don’t mind their trademark combination of foulness, expletives, poop jokes, and brilliant insight, I highly recommend this article on Cracked: Five Great Joys In Life That Healthy People Never Experience.

If you’re lucky enough to have a condition that can be treated — not even cured, just treated a little — the moment the medication kicks in is like unlocking a secret level in life. All these years, you’ve existed at half power because chronic illness Harrison Bergeroned your ass, so any meds that take even a fraction of that weight off of your shoulders are basically giving you…superpowers. If people thought you were obnoxious after you got those glasses, with your constant prattle about wood grain and cloud patterns, they’re going to strangle that newfound health right out of you the first time you wake up to find it doesn’t hurt as much as it usually does.

“Holy sh★t, have you ever realized how great it is not to feel like you’re going to die after you eat?”

“Have you tried this walking stuff? It’s amazing! It hardly hurts at all!”

That’s how I felt last night. I had 7 or 8 guys over for a poker game, old friends and new. It wasn’t anything remarkable, except if you remember that I’m the guy who, five or ten years ago, would find it terrifying to even be in a room with 7 or 8 other men my age, forget about inviting them over.

A few drinks in and, thanks largely to having watched Warrior1 a few nights ago, I got the idea that after the game, wrestling would be a good idea. A lot of other people agreed, and we tore it up for a while — none of us particularly in shape, none of us knowing what we were doing, but everybody having a great time. We only smashed one lamp, but it wasn’t even a nice lamp.

Hitting people and smashing things is, obviously, fun enough on its own, even before remembering that I’m the guy who, back in high school, faked a stomach illness because I was too terrified to participate in field day. And now I’m wrestling in my living room, in front of 7 other guys who are ALL CHEERING, and I’m not even worried about if I’m gonna win or how I’m gonna look? And not only that, but I don’t do half bad?

I never would have believed it.

Like the guy on Cracked says, our condition is treatable. I’m not talking about SSA itself (the verdict is still out on that), but everything else, the stuff that really matters — the loneliness, the insecurity, the not-belonging.

The treatment is harder and slower than we’d like, but Oh man, it’s worth it.

1 You really have to see this movie. It’s about forgiveness in the face of tremendous, unforgivable dysfunction and hurt. That, and also ass-kicking. My kinda flick, and it’s on Netflix instant watch.

9 thoughts on “It Hardly Hurts At All

  1. Faith

    As someone who has struggled and is still struggling with loneliness and self-esteem, this extremely moving.
    “The treatment is harder and slower than we’d like, but Oh man, it’s worth it.” What great, inspiring words. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Sky

    “…our condition is treatable. I’m not talking about SSA itself (the verdict is still out on that), but everything else, the stuff that really matters — the loneliness, the insecurity, the not-belonging.

    The treatment is harder and slower than we’d like, but Oh man, it’s worth it.”

    GAAAAAHH I want to scream this from the rooftops!!!

    Reply
  3. jp

    the thing is, steve gershom, i don’t know any guys who’d play poker with me at my mom’s and my apartment, let alone who’d be willing to wrestle with me. if i were to invite the one guy i know to my place, then proceeded to ask him to please wait in the kitchen while i prepare the living room for our wrestling match, he would run for the door and never speak to me again.
    i have kicked around the idea of putting out an ad on craigslist under the strictly platonic section, as a general request for any and all who’d be interested in some games, drinks, and a little rough housing. but i have a hunch that whoever responded to that ad would be a person not like the ones you had over your apartment.
    i think i need to get out more…

    still, i loved your post, and love that you’re seem to be making good progress :)

    Reply
  4. Dave Mc

    I’m very happy for you, Steve. This exact thing has been on my a lt lately; making guy friends to hang with every now and then. Very hard for me to do!

    Reply
  5. Aaron

    Steve, great post. I agree with the concept of the article. As a 4 year survivor of pancreatic cancer the illness has taught me not only to thank God for the no pain days but also for the days. I know this wasn’t an article about redemptive suffering but really only the Catholics teach their is redemption in offering our sufferings. Take it fro someone who knows it is hard to pray when your ill or depressed but it only takes a thought to offer it up. God Bless

    Aaron

    Reply

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