The nerve between my neck and shoulder felt like there was an ice pick sticking out of it. For almost a month, the only thing I could do comfortably was lie in front of the TV and smoke. Since I wasn’t covered by MSP, I was content to do exactly that. Then my best friend took me to a free clinic-for my birthday. Nothing says I love you like a visit to the free clinic.
“Could it be carpal tunnel?” I asked the doctor.
“Does it hurt more at night?”
“When did you first notice it?”
“I meant what were you doing?” the doctor said. “Duh,” I could almost hear him think.
I was fast-forwarding through a porno. I remember it vividly. I couldn’t get the damn thing to stop. “Lie, lie, lie,” my brain said. Doctor/patient confidentiality be damned.
“Changing channels with the remote,” I said.
“Hmm. Sounds like carpal tunnel.”
The doctor recommended Ibuprofen and sleeping with a wrist-brace, then sent me on my way with nary a tablet of Vicodin. So much for prescription-happy gay doctors.
“I thought masturbation was supposed to make you go blind,” said my friend back in the waiting room. He couldn’t have been more nonchalant if he were doing his nails.
“I don’t even like porn,” I told him. “Why should I get off to two guys with big pecs and no balls having sex on E? What have they ever done for me? Half the time I fast-forward to the end and whack off to the previews!”
“Now you know better.”
I should have seen it coming. I had flashbacks of myself spending every waking moment scrolling through AOL chat rooms on my blueberry iMac-index finger pedal to the blueberry metal. It would be nearly four in the morning and I would need my left hand to keep my right hand on the mouse. And for what? So I could whack off with some guy in Czechoslovakia?
Now that I think about it, I miss that computer. We had some really good times together.
The irony of an autoerotic-related injury is that masturbation is supposed to be the safest form of sex: no crabs, no STDs, not even bathhouse foot. There must be someone I can sue. Apple? America Online? They have deep pockets.
Maybe it’s just a sign of our attention deficit times. Want muscles? Inject them into your ass. Need a makeover? Put it on credit. Horny? Fast-forward to the good parts. It’s bound to catch up with you one way or another, be it shrunken balls, a collection agency, or carpal tunnel.
In the end, all paths lead to the free clinic.