The Opioid Crisis, Solved

Zabriskie Point in Death Valley. (Zabriskie is why it's a National Park.)
Zabriskie Point in Death Valley. (Zabriskie is why it’s a National Park.)

My week to rant, obviously.

Ah, the Sturm und Drang about opioids. All the finger pointing. All the acrimony! It’s the Doctors! It’s Big Pharma! Yeah, I suppose everything has something to add to the mix, but the underlying reason is more simple, and more personal. A lot of people are hopeless wimps!!!! On Monday I had a cyst excised from my back. Absent the Latin, that means that a surgeon cut it out with a sharp knife and stitched up the edges. It didn’t start hurting until about 3am  the next morning. I got up, took some aspirin, went back to sleep. After lunch yesterday it started hurting again. By evening I took some more aspirin. Then I took another dose of aspirin when I went to bed. I couldn’t lie on my back because of the sore spot. This morning, I woke up lying on my back! Whattya know? Pain gone. I’m told that later today I can take off the bandage and take a shower. Looking forward to that, I can tell you. The surgeon did prescribe a painkiller. Generic Percocet, a dreaded opioid, which, you’ll notice, I have not used.

Here’s the thing: it didn’t hurt all that badly in the first place! I mean, yeah, I had a sore spot in the middle of my back. I had to be careful leaning back in a chair, and I couldn’t sleep on my back for a night and a half. Woe is me! But, on a scale of 0 to 10 (which is how they rate pain in recovery rooms,) 0 is no pain at all, and 10, to me, is passing a kidney stone. I’d take Percocet, or anything offered, if I were passing a kidney stone (one was enough, believe me.) But, this sore spot on my back, at its worst, got up to maybe a 3. Mostly it was 1.5 to 2.0. For that, aspirin, if anything.* That being the case, I am forced to conclude that a lot of people either feel a lot more pain than I do, or that, as I wrote above, they are hopeless wimps!

Seriously, you need opium for a sore spot on your back? Ask yourself, does the pain prevent you from doing your job? Is it closer to, say, four broken ribs, or a mosquito bite? Sure, Pharma makes the stuff, and doctors prescribe it, but hopeless wimps take it for pain that doesn’t need it! Holy cats, folks, that’s the answer! Want to solve the opioid crisis? Don’t take the stuff!**

Steve’s Live From Las Vegas: the world’s problems solvled in a few easy to read paragraphs!***


* Aspirin gets a bad reputation, but it’s a lot safer than any other painkiller. It may give  you an ulcer, and if you eat eighty regular pills, it might kill you. Tylenol will kill you with as few as 10 pills. Opium messes you up completely. Ibuprofen can hurt your heart, Meloxicam eats your stomach wholesale. Aspirin also works against fevers and body aches. It’s never bothered my stomach.

** Don’t comment! Don’t write! I know, some pain needs opium to be survivable. I’d take anything to make the pain of passing a kidney stone go away. But opium for a sore spot on your back? Really?

*** Since you believe this, contact me for information about a bridge I have for sale!

Writing to Make Things Better

I know that You know what This is! If I'm wrong, search Google Images.
I know that You know what This is! If I’m wrong, search Google Images.

Yesterday I ranted about discourse, and listening to each other, and about not presenting arguments in a way that can’t be argued against. Then I promised that I’d talk today about how writers can help make the situation better. And we can. But, I hear you say, what about the dictum of not deliberately trying to teach your readers? What about not being pedantic and boring? What about concentrating on telling a great story and letting your beliefs come out naturally?

Yes, what about all that? Did you think I was kidding in the past when I’ve said those things? Mais non! (French sounds so classy, don’t it?) The fact is, that is exactly what writers can do to make the larger society nicer and easier to live in. For instance, if you read yesterday’s post, you may have noticed that I’m a bit touchy about the incident reported. Pissed, that is. But, you’ll also notice that I didn’t give any details about who the other parties were, or where one could go look at their posts, or anything else that would get people worked up over what is, in fact, nothing. I tell stories. Stories help people see themselves, and help people to work out their problems. That’s true. So, all you have to do is tell your stories. And don’t go into a critique group sure that your story is wonderful the way it is, either, because likely as not it isn’t. Just the fact that writers use critique groups is an indication that we’re not like the closed-off ideologues we see on TV every day. We help each other to be better at being ourselves.

So, the way for a writer to make the world a better place is to keep on writing, keep on improving, and keep on being a good person. The inmates have always been in charge of the asylum around here, and storytellers have always been the ones to let the truth in via the back door. Good job, writer! We couldn’t be here without you!

Being Considerate And Other Anachronisms

White Buffalo -- Not So Rare in Williams, Arizona
White Buffalo — Not So Rare in Williams, Arizona

The bison are at Bearizona on the East side of town on Route 66.

I recently commented on a comment on a friend’s Facebook page, offering to start a discussion around what causes the rape culture in America. I have my ideas, others have theirs. I hoped that some like-minded individuals could possibly brainstorm some things that might be done to help make sexual assaults less and less common, if not eliminated altogether. What I got was accused of “mansplaining,” whatever that means. Here’s a hint: just because a man explains something, it isn’t “mansplaining.” And I wasn’t offering an explanation, but a hypothesis. I tried defending myself once, and got answered again with name calling and invective. I posted that I didn’t allow anyone to slam women in my home, nor men neither, and read the reply that I was “okay with dissing women on the Internet.” My last post was that I have never done that, and I haven’t. Everything I’ve ever posted is still out there, somewhere, so anyone who cares enough can check for themselves. And, I am pissed about that incident, but of course I literally can’t argue with those people. And that brings me to the theme of this post.

Stating your positions in a way that cannot be argued against isn’t all that difficult. Books have been written about how to manipulate the public discourse, after all. Many blame the current administration in DC for the coarseness of our national conversations, but that doesn’t explain why some apparently anti-trump, avowedly feminist individuals, are using the same techniques. My hypothesis is that boomers are responsible, but that really doesn’t matter. What does matter is what we can do to make things better. As I’m still pissed off, this may sound harsh,  but here are a few ideas:

  1. Everyone must remember that whatever they know or believe to be true is based upon only their own limited view of the world.
  2. That being the case, some humility is in order when offering opinions. No one has a monopoly on the truth.
  3. Arguing in a manner that can’t be refuted (literally) means that you can never learn anything new. Everyone has to simply relax and realize that their own answer may not be an answer at all for anyone else.
  4. If someone seems to oppose your views, talk to them rather than slamming them. You might be happily surprised that you were wrong about them.
  5. And, this is important, the world survived for eons without your input. It will go on for eons after you, and I, and everyone else, is no longer alive. Relax. You’re going to be okay, I promise.

Tomorrow is regular writing post day, and I’m going to write about how writers can help improve the world, because we certainly can. Check back in the morning!

Writers’ Groups


Fiddling on a Train Between Angel's Camp and Yosemite, California, 2011.
Fiddling on a Train Somewhere in the Vicinity of Angel’s Camp and Yosemite, California, 2011.

I belong to several writers’ groups. One is the Romance Writers of America, which has a very excellent convention every summer. One is the Las Vegas Writers’ Group (see us on Facebook and Meetup) of which I am coordinator. And one is Writers of Southern Nevada, where I am on the board. There are other groups, and plenty of them, but there is only one of me.

My question is, are all of the many groups out there really necessary? The question is occasioned because the other day I was invited to a meeting of some “literary leaders” in Las Vegas, at Books or Books, a fine store on Sunset Road. The owner of Books or Books is starting a non-profit called “Books Bringing People Together.” One of the attendees seemed threatened by that, although, in general, writers don’t compete with other writers. The pie is, after all, seemingly infinitely expandable. But, really, it is a valid question.

We at WSN are (check our mission statement) devoted to helping all writers, and all writers’ groups. I’m looking for suggestions from anyone with an interest in writing as to what we could do to make that happen. You can comment here (I’ll have to approve it to read it, but I will,) you can comment on our Facebook page, or since it’s me, through the Las Vegas Writers’ Group Meetup page (link is above.) I’m thinking that someone should try to bring some coordinated effort to the Las Vegas literary scene before we all get lost in a hopeless maze. And that somebody should remind us all that we’re all in it together while they’re at it.

Please let me know your ideas!


Rat Poo, An Existential Question


I sympathize with this story completely. Last September I had to dispose of, I think it was nine, assorted rodents in one month. (I won!)

With holiday revelries closed, I sat down to sketch out my plan for 2018.  What do I need to do this year to feel l made the most of it?  I hammer out sailing destination goals, bucket list items in various destinations, plans for staying financially and physically fit, plans to explore new interest

Source: Rat Poo, An Existential Question