I had every intention of canceling my membership at my gym, which is located above a hellmouth of bedbug and cologne contamination, but when I went in there I was talked out of it by a sympathetic lady with a house in LI and a 4-year-old-son — so she understood, really, but why don’t I just go to the other gym locations if that’s the issue — and arms like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 [warning: sound]. How will I ever get those arms if I don’t stay at 24 Hour Infestation & Racquet Club?*

So instead of leaving, and because I’m too lazy to go to one of the other locations, I followed the advice of a friend who’s dealt with Biblical-proportion bedbugs and when I get to the gym I put all my clothes and my entire gym bag inside of a giant Ziploc bag. I really like these bags. They speak to me as only a high-quality plastic bag can. I can see myself a few months down the line ditching my gym bag and using just the Ziploc to transport all my stuff. That will also be the day on which I have Entirely Given Up.

morgAs you know already, I am interested in Internet phenomena and memes [warning: lazy Wikipedia links], particularly when they involve bullshit medical conditions** such as Morgellons Disease. How has a condition that pretty much no one in meatspace believes exists (except biased researchers) gotten so much traction online? Precisely because IT’S A DISEASE NO ONE IN MEATSPACE BELIEVES EXISTS!*** Surely there is some sort of Internet Law that explains this principle: The more improbable your illness is in the real world, the more credulously received it will be online.

I went to the dermatologist a few weeks ago for my annual Maybe THIS Year It’s Cancerous consult. I like him even though his paper gowns are the flimsiest I’ve ever seen. Halfway through my full-body exam I’ve already ripped the gown in half as though I’ve mistaken it for a tearaway track suit. Anyhow, after we were done he asked me if I had any questions.

Me: Yeah, do you know what Morgellons is?

Him: No.

Me: It’s a medical condition that most doctors think is a form of delusional parasitosis and it’s characterized by colorful threads growing out of people’s skin.

Him: And why do you care about this?

I guess we don’t get fake diseases in NYC all that much because we already have real things to contend with….like BEDBUGS.

Anyhow, I have kinda weird feet that are always, always calloused and virtually impervious to things like sharp rocks and glass shards and hypodermic needles. Shortly after my trip to el dermo, I noticed the pad of my left foot was hurting when I put pressure on it. I sat down and looked at it really closely and saw that something dark appeared to be embedded a few layers of skin down. I love doing home surgery, so I started poking at it with a pair of tweezers, hoping it wasn’t a plantar’s wart.

After considerable digging, I extracted a half-inch-long black, wiry hair. Seriously. I weighed two possibilities: that God was punishing me for making fun of people with bullshit maladies all these years, and that a hair of foreign origin had somehow wormed its way into my foot. Both seemed equally implausible, but I settled for the second one.

And then, last week, I noticed the same pain, in the same part of my foot. And using the tweezers and a safety pin I pulled YET ANOTHER black, wiry hair, this one the length of an eyelash. And N witnessed it this time!

So great. I have contracted Internet Crazy Disease. I am building a website to support my cause as soon as I can find the right Celine Dion midis to embed.

*I see there was a bedbug scare at Kings County Hospital. I have been to KCH and I can assure you that a single bedbug is the least of its hygiene problems. By the way, the Linda Hamilton arms thing is a joke. I will never have those. Even at 115 lbs in high school I had Ethel Merman arms. It’s my genetic lot in life. I blame the Newfies.
**Many years back I got sick — really sick, like 100-blood-tests-and-still-no-diagnosis sick — and I had a passionate and vaguely creepy infectious diseases specialist who assured me that he believed I really was sick and he was determined to figure it out. I remember saying to him, “Please don’t tell me it’s Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, because I don’t believe that exists, OK?” Never did figure out what it was. It just went away on its own after two years.
***And that, my friends, actually is what is referred to as begging the question.
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