Kage Baker was adamant in her conviction that you must be careful in your wishes. “Watch out what you wish for!” was her watchword at birthday candle extinctions, on sighting falling stars, or when fighting over wishbones. She was positive that the gods or Fates or whoever she was placating at that moment was only waiting for someone to utter a deadly specificity: then, their eldritch wrath would descend on the dummy who made their desires so clear.
She was indoctrinated early by all those stories about Monkey’s Paws and magic lamps. The escalating misfortune that came to greedy Fisherman’s Wives made a deep impression on her. In her adolescence she discovered both Plautus and Zero Mostel; their intersection in the deathless A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum indelibly marked Kage’s soul. For the rest of her life, upon receiving good news or fortune, she had two reactions: she danced in glee, and she threw a beseeching look to the heavens and yelled, “She’s ugly! Ugly, I say!”
That latter was intended to fool the gods, you see. Whatever had happened was not really good, anymore than young Philia was actually lovely. That was the idea, at least. I’m not sure if it ever worked – Kage was pretty beloved by fortune and most gods anyway – but it did garner us a lot of funny looks in public.
Yestreday, I was feeling very sorry for myself. It was Kage’s birthday and she was still dead. Oh, poor me, I whined, here I am stuck eating plums all by myself. Oh, I wish I weren’t.
Well. I should have remembered. I should have kept my mouth shut. I can see Kage in my mind’s eye, shaking her head at me disapprovingly …
My insurance is administered through the ACA, via a program called L.A. Care. I’m lucky it does; did it not, I suspect I’d have been dragged into the street and garrotted by now. What has happened is this: this morning, on a Sunday, no less, at the tender hour of 8:30 AM, a representative of L.A. Care called me to advise me that my doctor’s request for a new diabetes drug for me has been denied.
Why call me? I don’t know. Why on a Sunday? I really don’t know. Ordinarily, they won’t talk to me except during regular office hours, M-F, 8 AM to 5 PM. What I do know is that my doctor ordered a new drug because my old ones 1) were not reducing my blood sugar adequately; and 2) were causing kidney damage. And I only have one. Kidney, that is. When I mentioned this to the young lady on the phone, she told me there were several other drugs that my doctor must try first, before they could even consider approving his first choice. She even gave me their names.
They ALL cause kidney failure. None of them grows you an extra kidney, either. When I pointed that out, she told me to take it up with my doctor, whom she was not planning on calling. That step was up to me.
It’s a good thing L.A. does Care, huh? Imagine what would be happening if they didn’t.
Anyway, here I am. Tomorrow, I shall re-open negotiations; my doctor won’t be open before then, and L.A. Care doesn’t answer their phone on a Sunday. They only call out …
I must admit, it took longer for my medical care to get hinky than I originally feared. It’s been almost 6 months since the Inauguration. At this rate, I am certain to make it to my 64th birthday next month. Maybe Social Security will make a difference. Maybe the Beatles will intervene.
In the meantime, I refuse to lie to the gods. She is not ugly. I am not expendable.
There. Are. Four. Lights.