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Bruce’s Hot Takes for January 19, 2024

hot takes

The Biden Administration says the United States is not at war with the Houthis. We are bombing the hell out of them, but that’s not “war.” Sure . . .

G-Poem is not a surgical procedure, even though it is invasive, done under general anesthesia, and takes 2 hours to perform. G-Poem, which I hope to have done soon if my insurance pays for it, is considered by doctors to be a “procedure” or “intervention.” I learn something new every day.

Electric vehicles are not ready for prime time — especially in rural areas. Terrible actual battery life (especially in cold weather), high repair costs, lack of parts, and sparsity of charging stations that work make owning an EV a no-go for most rural people.

PayPal donations in 2023 dropped significantly, while Patreon supporters stayed steady. I know I don’t push asking for donations, but I wonder if I should be more aggressive in this regard.

Creon, a pancreatic enzyme replacement made from pig pancreases, is used for the treatment of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency — a rare disease. I take nine capsules a day — three with full meals, two with smaller meals. Cost? Almost $3,000 a month. Fortunately, the drug company is paying most of the cost. How long this will last remains to be seen.

Gastroparesis, another rare disease, affects stomach/bowel motility. Food doesn’t transverse the bowel as it should. I’ve had food take 4 days to make it through my digestive system. Food will stay in my stomach for hours before emptying, leading to nausea, vomiting, pain, and a plethora of bowel problems. Gastroparesis is incurable, with few treatments available. Drugs, Botox injections, G-Poem, feeding tubes, and nerve stimulators are the only treatments available for gastroparesis.

I received some free light bulbs, night lights, and a power strip from First Energy (Toledo Edison). I wonder how much “free” is going to cost me on my electric bill.

Income tax time. Kill me now.

Winter is taking its toll on wildlife. Last night, we had three deer in our yard scrounging for food. This afternoon we had thirteen cardinals at our feeders — beautiful red birds against a white snowy landscape.

New year, new insurance company: Aetna Blue Cross, Blue Shield. My therapist is not in network. 🤬 We need universal, single-payer health insurance for all. This will not happen in my lifetime.

Bonus: New network programming is back. I’m already bored. We are rewatching Treme on Max. Now there’s an awesome show.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce’s Hot Takes for January 17, 2024

hot takes

Dear Republicans, learn the difference between free speech and free market. Twitter owner Elon Musk told some advertisers to go fuck themselves. That’s free speech. After hearing Musk loud and clear, scores of companies stopped advertising on Twitter. That’s the free market.

The late Henry Kissinger was a war criminal.

We the American people are culpable for the war crimes being perpetrated in Palestine. Our weapons, our money, our blind and deaf politicians. We can excuse and justify our behavior, but the world at large sees the United States as the money and power behind the Netanyahu government’s murderous war against the Palestinian people.

Dad’s Place, a small Evangelical church in Bryan, Ohio, pastored by Chris Avell, is in the midst of a legal fight with the City over feeding and caring for homeless people. The City filed CRIMINAL charges against Avell for violating zoning laws. The church is right next to the homeless shelter, caring for the overflow crowds the shelter cannot care for. Yes, the church is technically breaking the law, as is EVERY business and church in town. Why was Dad’s Place singled out by Bryan law enforcement? Avell is a friend of mine. I recently told him I have no use for his theology, but I appreciate his concern and care for the “least of these.” Avell has a top-flight church and state law firm representing him. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I will be on the primary ballot this spring. I’m running unopposed for Ney’s Democratic central committee seat. This will allow me to play an active part in the reorganization of the local party. The local Democratic Party is on life support. I hope new life can be breathed into the group.

In 1998, Evangelical preachers railed against President Bill Clinton over his inappropriate sexual behavior with an intern. I remember preaching a whole sermon about Clinton’s debauched behavior. Today, most Evangelical preachers have lost all sense of morals and ethics, resolutely supporting Donald Trump, even calling him a Christian. As long as you support Trump, Evangelicals, spare me your moralizing. You are hypocrites, the lot of you.

It was shameful for the New York Times to run an article questioning Taylor Swift’s sexuality. Who she loves or fucks is NOT news.

According to many Evangelicals, God created Donald Trump for such a time as this. Gag me with a spoon.

I saw a specialist at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor yesterday. I am hoping to have a G-Poem (gastric peroral endoscopic myotomy) procedure done soon. This procedure is relatively new and only one regional surgeon is qualified to perform it. G-Poem cuts the sphincter muscle in the stomach, relaxing it. Hopefully, this will improve my stomach/bowel motility, and reduce my nausea and vomiting. Unfortunately, many insurance companies consider this an experimental procedure and refuse to pay. My surgeon will seek pre-approval, hoping Aetna Blue Cross Blue Shield approves the procedure. We shall see . . .

Granddaughters #2 and #3 graduate from high school this spring. Victoria was accepted for enrollment at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and Karah was accepted at Richmond University in Richmond, Virginia. Forty-eight years ago, I was the first person in our family to go to college. Since then, Polly, and three of my sons, and my youngest daughter have graduated from accredited colleges. Our granddaughters are straight-A students. It does an old man’s heart good to see them do well in life.

Bonus: The Cincinnati Reds have signed a number of new players — especially pitchers. Hope springs eternal. Catchers and pitchers report to training camp in a month. Will this be the year the Reds make some noise in the playoffs? Fingers crossed, prayers uttered to Loki. May a dying old man’s wish be granted.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

My View of Modern Medicine, Doctors, and Alternative Treatments

homeopathy

I have a lot of health problems: fibromyalgia, gastroparesis, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) — all of which are incurable. I am also diabetic and have high blood pressure, both of which are controlled by drugs. Further, I have degenerative spine disease:

  • Disc herniation (T7,T8)
  • Disc herniation (T6,T7)
  • Central spinal canal stenosis (T9/T10, T10/T11)
  • Foraminal stenosis (T5,T6)
  • Disc degeneration/spondylosis (T1/T2 through T10/T11)
  • Facet Arthropathy throughout the spine, particularly at T2/T3, T3/T4, T5/T6, and T7/T8 through the T12/L1 levels.
  • Hypertrophic arthropathy at T9/T10

I have widespread osteoarthritis and a torn labrum in my right shoulder. There’s never a moment when I am not in pain. Sometimes, my pain is unbearable. Every day is a challenge. Do some people have it worse than me? Of course, they do. But all pain and suffering are personal, so it doesn’t matter if some people have it worse than I do. My body, my pain, my suffering, and so it is for all of us. I wish I could adequately convey to readers how it really is for me, but words seem to not suffice. Even my partner and family sometimes miss how bad things are. Sadly, those who love us the most often get used to us being sick or in pain. They no longer see us as we are. I can’t tell you the last time a family member said to me, “How are you doing?” or “How are you feeling?” I often feel as if I have become part of the furniture. People “see” me but they don’t really “see” me. I am little more than the rocking chair that has always sat in the corner of the living room — ever present, but rarely, if ever, noticed unless someone wants to sit in it. Chronic pain sufferers and people with debilitating illnesses can reach a point where they give up and kill themselves. They feel as if they no longer have a reason for living. I have come to that place numerous times over the years, more so in recent months. I see a counselor every week, hoping to lessen my depression. Sometimes this is helpful, other times, not so much.

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I have always been open about my health. This, of course, leads to all sorts of unsolicited medical advice, even when I ask people to NOT send me such advice. My openness turns some readers into medical experts, even though they have no expertise in medicine. Evidently, reading a few books and listening to a few podcasts is the equivalent of 10-14 years of post-high school education, and anecdotal stories are the same as double-blind studies. Typically, I ignore such people, knowing that medical ignorance abounds. On occasion, a few readers have pushed the issue, and that’s when I tell them to fuck off.

The scientific method is the best tool available for us to understand the natural world. Science isn’t perfect and can and does make mistakes, but I know of no other way to explain and understand our bodies. So, when readers tell me to do this or that and I will be healed, the first thing I want to see is the empirical evidence for the claim. When someone tells me that a particular supplement, food, diet, or alternative treatment will cure me, I want to see the evidence for this claim. When someone says veganism, reiki, homeopathy, iridology, essential oils, cupping, dry needling, acupuncture, chiropractic care, magnets, and a host of other alternative treatments will cure me, I want proof that these things work. Someone saying they do isn’t good enough for me (and shouldn’t be for you either).

I value expertise. Sadly, we live in a day when many people don’t. Valuing expertise is not the same as accepting what experts say without reservation. When one of my doctors suggests a new treatment or drug, I value their expertise. I have had the same primary care doctor for twenty-seven years. I trust him. But, he also knows that the first thing I am going to do after he suggests a new treatment or drug is do a Google search for relevant information. I am going to read the studies. I am going to visit patient forums. I am going to check out what online medical professionals say on the matter. Then, and only then, will I decide what to do. I have an appointment with a specialist at the University of Michigan later this month. I will likely have a relatively new surgical procedure that hopefully will lessen my suffering from gastroparesis and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. I am hoping this procedure will reduce my nausea and vomiting. I have done my homework on this procedure, so all that remains for me to do is determine whether the benefits outweigh the risks (and there are serious risks). Statistics, probabilities, and outcomes play a big part in my deciding whether to have a procedure done or take a new drug. I never do anything blindly or by faith.

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Let me be clear, I trust my doctors, and when I don’t, I look for a new one. They are the experts, so I must, to a large degree, have faith in them. It is unlikely that I will ever know as much as they do on any given issue, so I am dependent on them getting it right. I don’t know what more any of us can do. The system isn’t perfect, but it is the best we have.

To those who are defenders of veganism, reiki, homeopathy, iridology, essential oils, cupping, dry needling, acupuncture, chiropractic care, magnets, and other alternative treatments, please don’t. Don’t what, Bruce? Turn this post into a pulpit for you to preach your religion. Much like my view of religion in general, I am not interested in your personal opinion. Ouch, Bruce. Sorry, but I don’t ask the counter worker at McDonald’s about the best treatment for EPI, and I am sure as Hell am not going to ask non-experts either. If you are a medical doctor with a relevant specialty or an expert in a relevant medical field, by all means, share with me what you know — not feel or think, but what you know. Opinions are what we share on Friday nights at the pub amongst friends. When I want are facts and evidence, I seek out experts, not my drinking buddies. Just because you can do a web search doesn’t make you an expert. You do know this, right?

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Why My Writing Production Has Drastically Fallen

blogging

Polly had an appointment with her orthopedic doctor today. Major surgery is in the future for her — when is yet to be determined. Afterward, we drove to Archbold to eat lunch. We planned to eat at Samuel Mancinos, but the restaurant is closed on Mondays. Instead, we ate at a Mexican restaurant. I ordered a #18 — a taco, burrito, and rice and beans. I took three bites of the taco and some of the beans and rice before my ever-present nausea turned into feeling like I needed to vomit. I took some Zofran to lessen the need to vomit, sparing me the indignity of throwing up in a public restroom. Our server came to collect our plates. When she saw most of my food went uneaten, she asked, “You didn’t like the food?” I explained why I couldn’t eat my food. She genuinely felt sorry for me, taking my meal off our bill.

This is my life with gastroparesis — an incurable stomach disease. Every day, every week, with no respite in sight. In two weeks, I will have an endoscopy and colonoscopy. After that, I plan to have a gastric peroral endoscopic myotomy. This will hopefully reduce my symptoms. It is NOT a cure.

I have had numerous tests in recent weeks. A stool sample revealed I have an uncommon disease called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. My pancreas — for an unknown reason — doesn’t make enough digestive enzymes. As a result, my body can’t properly digest food and absorb nutrients. This may be why I am anemic and have low B12, potassium, Vitamin D, and testosterone. I will likely have to go through pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy with expensive drugs.

Throw in fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and degenerative spine disease, and I am in a world of hurt. My life is dominated by managing my health and lessening symptoms. My life has been reduced to striving to live another day. Joys that I once took for granted are gone. Eating is one of those joys, and not being able to enjoy food is so depressing I wonder why I keep trying.

As you may have noticed, my writing production has dropped dramatically. My life has pretty much come to a standstill. I am trying, but readers should no longer expect me to generate as much content. I cannot do so, and it seems evident, at least to me, that this is my new normal. Readers should expect less content from me, and if you notice my writing pace has picked up, don’t assume I am “better.” I am not, and I fear my best day is today, with more suffering and pain in my future.

I am 90 days behind on answering emails and social media messages. There’s nothing I can do about this. I will answer them when I can, and, quite frankly, some of them will go unanswered. I have had thoughts about hanging up my blogging spurs, but I enjoy writing, so I can’t bring myself to throw in the towel. All I know to do is manage my symptoms, rest, and do what I can.

Please don’t offer me medical advice. I am seeing competent doctors, to whom I trust my life. They are the experts, and unless given reason to believe otherwise, I trust them. I appreciate your friendship and support, but sending me links to articles and blog posts or questioning my diet, is not helpful. I appreciate your understanding.

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Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce’s Ten Hot Takes for October 25, 2023

hot takes

Newly elected House speaker Mike Johnson is a Christian nationalist (Southern Baptist), a right-wing Evangelical. He thinks Gilead is a wonderful place to live.

Mike Johnson’s election clearly shows that the MAGA wing of the Republican Party and its fascist leader Donald Trump are in control of the GOP.

Our democracy will not survive the re-election of disgraced felon Donald Trump. We are on the threshold of the collapse of the United States and its democratic institutions.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and his wife deliberately lie in their “Vote No on Issue 1” TV ad. Not a difference of opinion — lies, lies, lies.

Mike Johnson wants to criminalize abortion and arrest, prosecute, and imprison women who have one.

Israel continues to slaughter innocent Palestinians in Gaza. Joe Biden says nothing of substance as hundreds of Palestinian children are bombed and killed every day. It seems Biden is intent on letting Israel get their pound of flesh from largely innocent people.

Apple raised its monthly streaming fee by 43 percent to $10. Other streaming services are doing the same, forcing users to jump from one service to the other to manage costs. So much for streaming being “better” and cheaper.

I am no longer a Democrat. I may, on occasion, hold my nose and vote Democrat, but I no longer support the party.

American bombs, bullets, and armament are killing innocent people in Palestine. The West is outraged over Hamas’ use of Iranian weaponry, but silent over Israel’s use of American designed and manufactured weapons of mass destruction. All of us have blood on our hands.

Despair. That’s what I feel right now. I see little to cheer about these days.

Bonus: Gastroparesis is an incurable stomach disease. I plan to have a pyloroplasty procedure done in November. Last ditch effort to lessen the nausea and vomiting. It would be nice to have just one day when I didn’t have to worry about what I ate or running to the bathroom to vomit. Where’s God when I need him? 🤣 It is what it is, but I’m tired and worn out from daily battles with nausea, vomiting, bowel pain, and loss of appetite. Some days, in moments of despair, I find myself thinking, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Quote of the Day: Beating Children in School: Good or Bad?

spanking
Man spanking his son

By Dr. Clay Jones, Science-Based Medicine, Hitting Children in School: Bad or Good?

A quick public service announcement from Science-Based Medicine, or at least from me: hitting children is fundamentally wrong. It’s also not effective when done in an attempt to improve their behavior. Back in 2014, I wrote about the use of corporal punishment to discipline children, mostly focusing on its use by caregivers in the home. Sadly, not much has changed since I wrote this opening paragraph:

One of the most commonly practiced strategies used by parents to alter the long-term behavior of their children is corporal punishment, commonly referred to as spanking. But the use of the term spanking is problematic in that how caregivers interpret it varies widely, and there is frequent overlap with what pediatricians consider to be abuse. Despite a great deal of evidence showing that spanking is ineffective, is a risk factor for greater forms of physical abuse, and can negatively impact the behavioral and cognitive development of children in a variety of ways, it remains a controversial issue in the United States. The American Academy of Pediatrics and numerous other professional organizations have come down firmly against the use of physical punishment by parents, but unlike 34 other developed nations, there are no federal laws banning spanking.

There are still no federal laws banning spanking, either in the home or in schools, which is what today’s post will focus on. Pediatricians, though not all of us, unfortunately, are generally united in their stance that this is a problem. The American Academy of Pediatrics is naturally opposed to the practice of physical violence against children in all forms and recently issued a policy statement to specifically address when it is used as a form of discipline in schools.

….

Why is beating children in schools allowed? Great question. In 1977, the Supreme Court had an opportunity to protect children but failed. A 5-4 decision in Ingraham v Wright provided constitutional cover for school-based physical punishment, saying that 8th Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment don’t apply to students. They left it up to the states, many of which are seemingly incapable of thinking about the (born) children in any meaningful capacity.

….

The majority of children being hit at school in the United States live in the South, with the majority (nearly 3 out of every 4) living in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas. Mississippi and Texas are the worst offenders, with a third of all kids being attacked by teachers or other school administrators living in those two states. It gets worse.

When a school allows faculty to hit students, which students tend to get hit? Another great question, and one that requires a thoughtful and nuance re..black kids. It’s black kids. Children with disabilities have it the worst, however, with national data showing that 16.5% of kids who are hit at school being served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The tragic reality is that the more marginalized a child is, for example, a black child with autism, the more likely they are to be physically attacked at school by someone charged with their education and safety.

You can read the entire article here.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce’s Ten Hot Takes for September 26, 2023

hot takes

Republicans want to cut food, heating, and housing subsidies for poor children and families. This tells me everything I need to know about the Republican Party.

Senator Bob Menendez should be forced to resign from office by his fellow Democratic senators.

It looks like Trump not only inflated his dick size, he also grossly inflated the value of his real estate and business assets.

Some Democrats are calling for candidates to run against Joe Biden. I support this call in the primary. However, come November 2024, the only thing that matters is keeping Trump out of the White House.

Upwards of twenty-three raccoons frequented our backyard this spring and summer. And now that fall has arrived, the raccoons have disappeared, making occasional raids on the food we put out for feral/stray cats.

Chronic illness and pain affects every aspect of my life. Telling me to “put mind over matter” is never the right thing to say. When you say this, I say to myself, “Go fuck yourself.” Continue in your insensitive behavior, I might say this to your face.

“Looks like you are feeling better today,” well-wishers often say. They wrongly judge the quality and level of my suffering by what I do, failing to understand that looks can be deceiving. Just because I’m smiling, doesn’t mean I don’t want to cry. I often smile for others, hiding my pain from them.

Hey, Joe Namath. You had a lifetime 50% pass completion rate, worse than embattled New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. STFU. Give the kid the break. Nobody wants to hear from ancient old ex-players. Different era, different game.

Travis Kelce, a Taylor Swift dating, Bud Light drinking promoter of COVID vaccines is upsetting right-wingers with his “woke” behavior. OMG, the meltdowns are fun to watch.

Kevin McCarthy says Biden is to blame for the threatened government shutdown. Sure, Kevin, sure. I bet the hemorrhoid in your arse you affectionately call Matt Gaetz is telling you to say this lest you lose your speakership.

Bonus: I’m increasingly disillusioned with what I see and hear in the larger atheist community. Maybe this is on me. I’ve moved on from the “angry atheist” phase of my life. I’m not that interested anymore in debates about the existence of God.

Funny Bone — Toledo: Another Example of Disabled People Being Treated as an Afterthought by an Entertainment Venue

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Trae Crowder, Bruce and Polly Gerencser

My partner, Polly, and I traveled to Toledo, Ohio, last night to listen to Trae Crowder at the Funny Bone Comedy Club and Restaurant in Levis Commons — a sprawling outdoor shopping center. Big fans of Crowder, we’ve been looking forward to hearing him for months. We listen to his weekly podcast, along with the short videos Crowder puts out several times a week. Crowder, an agnostic, calls himself the “Liberal Redneck.” While Crowder, age 37, currently lives in Los Angeles, he came of age in rural Tennessee. Crowder attributes his liberal/progressive political and social beliefs to his family’s abject poverty during his childhood years.

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Our hillbilly mansion. We lived in this 720-square-foot mobile home for five years, all eight of us.

Having grown up in similar circumstances in the 1960s-1980s, I find Crowder’s humor appeals to me in ways other comedians don’t. When Crowder talks about “white trash” or “trailer trash,” I understand. When uttered by people who have never experienced real poverty, I bristle and often give them a buffet-plate-loaded-up-on-seafood-night response. However, when someone from the poverty fraternity satirizes these experiences, I laugh — been there done that — but the trauma of those years still lurks in the depths of my being. I no longer live in abject poverty. I am more “fashionably dirt poor” these days. Roof over our heads, food on the table, bills paid (albeit a few days late here and there), and taxes up to date. Life is good, even if the Bengals are 0-2.

Crowder delivered as advertised. We got the opportunity to meet him afterward, shake his hand, and have a picture taken. We live in an area where seven out of ten voters voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020. God, Trump, Guns, and Evangelical Christianity rule the roost. For godless liberals such as Polly and I, we are foreigners in the land of my birth and the home of our six children and grandchildren. Hearing Crowder was a brief respite for us from incessant right-wing extremism.

Unfortunately, the “experience” itself was, to put it mildly, less than optimal, and, at times, downright frustrating and painful.

We arrived at Funny Bone at 6:00 p.m. Unable to find a parking space, we were forced to park three city blocks away from the venue. Neither the sidewalks nor the parking lot were ADA-compliant. We entered the doors for the club around 6:15 p.m. The doors were challenging to enter. Technically, ADA-compliant, it took Polly several attempts to get my wheelchair through the glass doors (there was no automatic door opener). Once in the lobby, we found no staff to assist us. The club itself is on the second floor. On the desk sat a sign that said there was an elevator in “back.” Back where, exactly? No directions, no arrows pointing to the elevator. Being first-time visitors, we were left with figuring out what “back” meant. Polly walked the stairs to the second level, hoping to find anyone to help us. After being unable to find someone to help us, Polly came back to the lobby and told me that she was going to walk around the back of the building to see if she could find the elevator.

With the elevator found, we thought we were home free. Little did we know, the worst was to come.

Out of the inadequate doors we went, around to the elevator, only to find more doors we had to contend with. Barely wide enough for a standard wheelchair, none of the doors had automatic door openers. Fortunately, we had the elevator to ourselves. Easy in, easy out, straight. . . to . . . the . . . venue . . . now, right? Nope, there was another door we had to enter to reach the club. Thanks to boxes stacked near the door, Polly could not push my wheelchair through the door. She had to move the boxes so we had enough room to barely navigate through the door. This door gave way to a hallway that led to the hostess station. The hallway was narrow, and ADA compliant only if there were not boxes or people taking up space. In other words, it was difficult to navigate.

Finally, we made it to the hostess station. I had called Funny Bone the night before to remind them that I was in a wheelchair and would need accommodation. “No problem,” I was told. A few feet in front of the hostess station was a transition between flooring types. Paying no need to ADA compliance, Funny Bone used a raised transition instead of a flat one. Of course, hitting this speed bump nearly tipped over my wheelchair (with me in it). Thoroughly embarrassed, Polly eventually righted my chariot, and onto the main floor we went. The Funny Bone is laid out like a supper club. They could have parked my wheelchair in any number of out-of-the-way places, but the staff decided to sit me at a table that was pushed up next to another table, near where there would be a lot of foot traffic. I spent the rest of the night being bumped into by patrons and employees alike. Telling the crippled guy “sorry” might make you feel good, but it does nothing for the person physically harmed. I suspect if Funny Bone received a spot fire inspection or ADA compliance inspection, they would have failed miserably.

Crowder was as advertised. Afterward, we waited for most of the venue to clear out before leaving. We do this to avoid having to deal with rude, thoughtless people. That and the fact that it is impossible to push a wheelchair anywhere in a crowd. So we waited to make our escape. After retracing our steps, we finally made it to the parking lot at the back of the Funny Bone. We started out on the sidewalk, only to find out it was a dead-end, running into a metal gate. This forced us to take the parking lot, complete with speed bumps to our automobile. Adapt and persevere, right?

Polly wheeled me about ten feet into the parking lot, when all of a sudden my chair stopped, Polly screamed “Oh no!” and I went flying head-first onto the pavement. As I lay prostrate on my right side in the parking lot, Polly steadied herself and came to my aid, Others were nearby, but ignored what was playing out in front of their eyes, Finally, a young man rushed up and asked if I was okay; if I needed any help. Filled with embarrassment and pride, I thanked him and said I would be fine. He waited while I climbed on my knees to the wheelchair, locked the wheels, and pulled myself up. Polly apologized repeatedly as we made it back to the car. I told her, “It’s not your fault.” While on my knees I found the culprit, a chunk of asphalt was missing, and one of the front wheels on my chair sunk into the hole, sending me flying into the crisp fall night.

For those of us who use wheelchairs, walkers, and canes, doing simple things can prove to be a challenge — sometimes, dangerously so. I am not a disabled person who expects the same treatment as able-bodied people. I do, however, expect reasonable accommodations. Levis Commons and Funny Bone failed on this account.

How do I feel today? Time for a shovel and a six-foot rectangular hole. Either that or lots of pain meds and muscle relaxers. Polly couldn’t find the shovel, so we are going the medication route. 🙂

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce’s Top Ten Hot Takes for September 14, 2023

hot takes

I have never been an Aaron Rogers fan, but after watching him on Hard Knocks, I’m more sympathetic towards the man. Rogers blew out his Achilles tendon minutes into the Jets’ first game and is done for the year. I genuinely feel sorry for him.

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson will not lead the team to the Promised Land. The Jets need to sign a seasoned quarterback; someone who is a caretaker. Don’t throw the ball away and let the defense do the rest.

Last night’s low was 45 degrees. Where did summer go? I wanted to turn the furnace on. My bed partner didn’t want to crank up the heat. Who won? I froze.

I introduced my five-year-old grandson to newspapers — a sales insert from a farm supply business. Made his day. Sadly, children born over the past ten years know no little to nothing about newspapers.

Our six children grew up in a home that received a morning and evening newspaper every day. They especially remember Dad’s paper rule: keep the sections in the proper order. They also remember that on Sundays no one read the paper before Dad (though I think they sometimes ignored this rule, reading the comics and sports sections, and then putting them back in place — Dad none the wiser).

I no longer subscribe to any newspaper, getting my daily news from a plethora of online sites. I miss not physically reading a daily newspaper. Both local papers are dying. Outside of finding out who died or what Ney’s council did at their meeting, local newspapers offer little value to me.

I set a record yesterday: 12 vials of blood were drawn from my left hand — over $1,000 in tests. The pessimist in me wonders if any of this will matter. Every specialist interprets the numbers differently.

I’m anemic, with low potassium, B12, and testosterone numbers. Supplements keep these numbers hovering around low normal. I reminded the doctor that I was taking significant levels of supplements to keep these numbers out of the basement. Without the supplements, I would be dead. The question, then, is why I have these deficiencies. So far, no doctor has a clue.

Ohio State will not play in the national championship game this year. Neither will Alabama.

My youngest grandson found a cricket in the living room and freaked out. I stopped him from killing it. At Grandpa and Nana’s house, if necessary we capture and release. Spiders? More often than not, we ignore them. Polly swears a big wolf spider is stalking her. Maybe. 🙂

Bonus: Out of all the serious health problems I have, nausea is the worst. I’m nauseous every day, often without relief. You can’t escape nausea. Eating is one of the few pleasures I still enjoy, but nausea often ruins this pleasure. Hard to enjoy eating when you feel like throwing up. I take Zofran to limit the vomiting, but that dull, achy nauseous feeling remains.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser