Progress Report 15

Brian J. Sullivan

People often ask me what I have for breakfast (as if knowing would be some kind of enlightening experience). On good days I'm fed a steady diet of rejection; on all other days I eat the same tasteless brand of granola that I have eaten for over twenty years (think of dry dog food without the crunch). Sometimes I even spice it up with a banana on the side. Exciting, isn't it? Aren’t you glad you asked?

When in season, I will substitute the banana with peaches, plums, or pears. However, I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the advent of labeling each piece of fruit. It's difficult enough trying to focus my trifocals, much less trying to pick the hard-to-remove labels off each fruit's delicate skin. It takes more time to get the label off than it takes to eat the fruit. So I don't—take the label off, that is.

Besides staring at the four walls of my efficiency apartment, the highlight of my day is the arrival of the mail. Not that I ever receive any personal mail, but one can always hope. The routine goes like this: junk mail to the circular file, magazines to the kitchen table, and all "other" to the "in-basket." Next I return to the magazine pile. Sitting around day after day convalescing has created a low threshold of tolerance for magazine ads. No, I'm not just talking about the occasional postcard size ones stuck between the pages. I'm referring to the full page ads. I methodically go through each magazine, page by page, and tear out each page which contains an ad on both sides. When I'm done, I usually have a large stack of loose pages destined for the trash and a magazine half its original size. Listening to many of your comments, I can tell I'm not the only one who does this either.

My daily ritual also includes strapping on my leg, or I should say my "plastic, non-flexible walking cast" (25 pound, Frankenstein-like boot, solid black). Down the front of it is a series of Velcro straps which need to be slipped through a corresponding buckle and cinched tight! I liken it to a Victorian corset— the tighter the better! Remember it's all about looking good, not feeling good. After about a twenty minute ordeal to squeeze the circulation out of my leg, I'm ready to "peg-leg" my way to the grocery store for some whole milk and fruit with individual labels adhered to them.