Tag Archives: suffering

Infectious Coryza

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  If you don’t have a God, you sure as hell better get one!  Shit is hitting the fan and there is nowhere to run—nowhere to hide. I’m beginning to think maybe the world is coming to an end or it’s doing a damn good job of faking it.   Every day that we wake up there is something going on that is worse than the day before, and we never know when the chaos, murder, or mayhem (ranging from the smallest bacteria to the latest natural disaster) is going to strike our pathetic little lives.

shit hits the fan sodahead dot com

Image from

My collision with the proverbial fan started a few days before Valentine’s Day.  I was taking a break from writing and decided to check on the children’s well-being (ages 30 and 28) via their Facebook pages (I rarely comment, but like any good mother, I spy).  The thirty year old was fine and seemed healthy enough, but Baby-girl’s posting about her encounter with the common cold almost made me hop a plane with a couple gallons of chicken soup and a tub of Vapor Rub:

“Sweeping declaration:  this is the worst cold I’ve ever had. 4 days out of 6 spent entirely in bed, sleepless nights, overwhelming guilt about what I’m missing, single-handedly employing the good people at Bite Squad to ship in truckloads of chicken soup—countless tissues and cough drops later and all I can think is….I freaking love my dog, she is the best, the sweetest, the cutest and refuses to leave my side no matter what. She is my buddy. :-)” [Used by permission]

Wednesday standing sick duty

Wednesday Addams—Guard Dog Sick Duty|Photo by CDT

Like any decent mother, I was on the phone doing my combo nagging/worrying Momma jig as I jokingly said:  “Child, you get sick more than anybody I know.  You must not be taking care of yourself.  I’m so glad I’m nowhere near you (sorry kid, nothing personal; I just can’t afford to get sick right now)—you sound so awful that I wouldn’t be surprised if that cold traveled thousands of miles through the cell towers and tried to zap me right off my non-sick feet.  Just for grins and giggles, I think I’ll sterilize the phone in case you have an infection that defies science.  Drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest, take your vitamins and call me in the morning, cutie pie.  MUAH!”

It is as if the gods of chaos, mayhem, and destruction heard my glib reply to my daughter and sent one of their oracles from Baby-girl’s city to stand at the entrance of my town dispensing “Infectious Coryza” curses (the common cold) as if it were Oprah giving out cars to a handful of lucky winners, because I came down with the cold from Hell within 24 hours of the phone call with my sick kid.

Sick Meme Oprah

Oprah “Give Aways”

It’s been six days!  Six days of my life being turned upside down by a common cold which, can I state for the record, is not “common” by any means?  This torture was tailor-made for me.  Six days of in-and-out fever, hacking, mucus—my God, the rivers of mucus—the aches, the pains, and a high-pitch ringing in my left ear that I am quickly lapsing into insanity over as I keep slapping my ear while turning in frantic circles like a dog chasing his tail to try and catch the sound or make it go back to the Hell from which it emerged.  If Lennon was right and “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” then “shit just happened” to me and I was definitely not making plans to encounter Infectious Coryza.  It destroyed my Valentine’s dinner with WW and turned it into a “Valentine’s Fail” because there ended up being no dessert that night (see “Epic Valentine Fails”  Enough said!  I could hardly taste the delicious food and wine at my retirement dinner nor could I shake the concern that I might be killing off some very lovely people with my infection from Hell at the dinner party.   I’ve been in a complete fog at work (how much did I actually get done?), and I haven’t been able to write anything coherent for days which caused me to miss my blog deadline.  It hurt to even read so I dropped off the grid, and in just six days (not counting the mayhem, murder, and chaos in the Middle East and Africa that is always happening) I discovered that shit hit the fan in so many bizarre situations causing innocent lives to implode:

  • An LAPD cop (Christopher Dorner) lost his mind and went on a killing rampage because he had been wronged on his job (who hasn’t been wronged on a job, and when did this become a license to kill?)
  • The South African Olympian Blade Runner (Pistorius) allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend in a jealous rage (Yikes!)
  •  A sorry-ass excuse of a man (Joe Rickey Hundley) flying on a Delta flight allegedly slapped a toddler (not his own—not that that would make any difference) across his face and left a scar, just because the baby was crying from an earache due to pressure from the plane landing, and to add insult to injury, Mr. Hundley allegedly called the baby the “N-word” (Huh?).
  • A 10-ton meteor traveling at 40,000 mph exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk hurting over 1,000 people and exploding copious windows for miles around. It didn’t even land; can you imagine the damage if it had hit the Earth? (Did you know this happens all the time in Russia?  It just usually happens over Siberia where few people live.  The meteor that exploded near the Tunguska River in 1908 leveled 80 million trees and had this happened over a large metropolis, the meteor would have obliterated the entire city and its inhabitants—Holy Mary, Mother of God!)
  • Fellowes killed off Matt Crawley on Downton Abbey (seriously, Fellowes, don’t I have enough stress?)
  • A cruise ship (Carnival Triumph) left port on a 4-day cruise and got stranded at sea with only a couple of working toilets and 4,000 plus people, no air conditioning, not enough food, limited alcohol, and sewage back-up.  (Do I hear a mash-up of the Gilligan’s Island and the Love Boat theme songs making its way to YouTube?)

When I finally checked Dalai Mama’s Twitter account after six days of being knocked out by a common cold, sure enough my fans had a lot to say about bad things happening to good people citing the news articles I’d just gotten caught up on.  But the most delightful tweets were the Twitter feed from a couple of my fans on Carnival Triumph who sent me very creative reasons to never cruise again.

Cruisewear cartoonist Lowe Sout Flo Sun Sentinel

Cartoon by Chan Lowe|image from South Florida Sun Sentinel

Shit Happens”/a tribute to the Carnival Triumph Mishap

Sung to the tune of “Love Boat by Paul Williams and Charles Fox

(My humble apologies to P. Williams and C. Fox)

CRUIS-ING—exciting and new!

Went onboard—sought a fantasy come true.

The TRI-UMPH—was a horror at best.

Shit seeping through the walls; shit flowing in the halls.

THE TRIUMPH—it won’t be making another run

THE TRIUMPH—just was too shitty for anyone.

Paid for steak, wine, and vodka

Got onions and mayonnaise.

And cruising—one of life’s great rewards

We’re so sick at sea—we just may swim to shore


 Welcome aboard!


There were 96 other verses on Dalai Mama’s Tweeter feed of “Shit Happens” (my readers obviously had a lot of time on their hands) but you get the point.  Dalai Mama’s readers paid for an expensive cruise and were expecting luxury, instead, “shit happened”—literally, and they got to cruise on a floating giant toilet with no air conditioning, no alcohol to numb their sorrows, and no gourmet food to assuage their pain.  In other words, they went in search of Heaven and landed in Hell.  C’est la vie. 

Bad things happen cartoon by Simeon Liebman London Times

Cartoon by Simeon Liebman|image from London Times

I am discovering that no one ever wakes up in the morning and says, “today I’ll die in a Holocaust, get stranded at sea, or get shot by a madman.”  I am also discovering that bad things really do happen to good people, and we have little or no control over them when they do.  It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, male or female, black or white, religious or non-religious.   (Although, I’m getting a little sick and tired of never knowing when the sky is going to fall or when I’m going to get hit by the common cold or WWIII.)  I’ve got so many questions to ask God in order to try and make some sense of all of the chaos in world history.

I watched Roman Polanski’s The Pianist (a story about Polish-Jewish musician Władysław Szpilman, whose family was exterminated by the Nazis and who, himself, barely survived the occupation of Poland) while I was sick.  I was speechless through most of it. Why? Why? Why?  What was the point of all that hellish suffering?  And even though I get that we have no control over natural disasters (especially meteors), why should a two-year old adopted baby flying with his mommy have to learn so early in life that a stranger can cross the line, hate him, call him derogatory names, and hit and hurt him when he’s already in pain from an earache that he can’t control?  Why should a disgruntled cop be allowed to obliterate the hopes and dreams of people who had nothing to do with his grievances?  Why should the friends and families of all the gunshot victims we’ve been mourning from Sandy Hook to Chicago be battling anything today except possibly trying not to catch the common cold?  Years ago when I was stupid and self-righteous, I would have had pat answers to these questions.  Nowadays, since I’m entering my twilight years, the only thing I know for sure is that my response to suffering seems to mean so much more to my character, in the long run, than my ability to control every aspect of my life.  No one likes to suffer—least of all me.  But maybe Richard Bach has a point when he says:  “The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.”

Butterfly photo of WW Tomczyk

“The person I choose to be from the suffering that is thrust upon me”|photo by “WW” Tomczyk

“In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.”Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

 “No man is broken because bad things happen to him. He’s broken because he doesn’t keep going after those (bad) [parenthesis mine] things happen.”― Courtney Milan, Unraveled

Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.”― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
– I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
– I shall fear only God.
– I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
– I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
– I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.” 
―    Mahatma Gandhi

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized


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It’s Sure Gonna Suck for You

Do you know what I have discovered?   I wish I had had an “onboarding” course or interview before I made my debut on Earth.   It may not have made my journey any easier knowing what to expect, but at least I wouldn’t have gone through most of my life waiting for the other shoe to drop.

How do we get here anyway?  When I say here, I mean to Earth.   I don’t mean, what is the biology of it all (at 63 if I don’t know how babies are born, I better give up the ghost).   But it is obvious that we are so much more than instinctive animals.  We have the ability to choose between good and evil.  We also have the ability to choose whom we will love and whom we will hate.  In other words, we have souls.  As a soul, before being stuffed into the sausage casing of my little brown body, I would like to have been shown a DVD of my proposed life and given an edit pencil so that I could take out what I didn’t like and add in what I thought was missing.  That’s all I’m sayin’!

Google Image



Cosmos Nanny:  So, C-‘48, how can I help you today?

C-‘48:   Well, I know it’s getting near my time to take a slip-and-slide through the vagina shoot that will transition me from this world to my birth family on Earth.  But you see, I was talking to the other candidates last night and they said you used to have an onboarding course we could take to help prepare us for life on Earth.  They also said that some of us fair better than others once we get our body casings.  I’d like to take that course so that I side step as many of the pitfalls as possible in my life.

Cosmos Nanny:  Those damn rebellious baby souls are always causing problems by passing along misinformation.  Most of you are pretty well-behaved, but there are a couple of you who are destined for New York City and who have a street cred that makes you too clever for words.  A few of you are always stirring up mischief.  You’re all beginning to get on my every last nerve, that’s for sure.

C-’48:  I’m sorry; I’m just scared of the unknown.  The Earth sounds like a pretty scary place!

Cosmos Nanny:  (Sigh!)  Okay.  We used to have an onboarding course but we don’t any more.  It caused way too much hysteria, and people were always trying to change their destinies or trick other baby souls into taking their place.  So, no, there is no onboarding course.  You’ll just have to wing it once you get there.

C-’48:  Really?  Oh, come on:  throw me a freakin’ bone here.  Like for instance, what race will I be?  What gender?

Cosmos Nanny:  What do you want to be?

C-’48:   That’s easy to answer:  I want to be white; I want to be rich; and I want to be a man.

Cosmos Nanny:  Ha!  Don’t they all.  Well, kiddo, you’re going to be anything but. You are going to be born poor, black, and female, and you’ll grow up in the Cleveland ghetto.

C-’48:  The Cleve!  Shit, not The Cleve!  Anywhere, but The Cleve.

Cosmos Nanny:  Why, what do you have against Cleveland?

C-’48:  A couple of the other baby souls said it is the point of no return.  It’s like the roach motel commercial:  “Once you check in you never check out.”  Where in the Cleve will I be born?  Can it be with the rich white people in Shaker Heights?  Can my mother look like Doris Day?  I really love yellow hair!

Google Image/Doris Day

Cosmos Nanny:  No, you can’t.  Why do you insist on being born “white”?  Black is beautiful; you’ll discover that sometime around the mid-sixties.

C’48:  Crap!  Because according to the other baby souls, things go a lot better for the souls in the white-body casings.  They said if I choose any other casing color (yellow, light brown, or reddish hue), I’ll have a bad time of it on Earth because the white-body casings will treat me like shit.

Cosmos Nanny:  I’ll be sure and tell the Irish how much better life went for them due to their white-body casings the next time I’m sitting in on a lecture about the Irish Potato Famine in the 1800’s.  Did those rascally baby souls tell you that the potato famine killed more than a million Irish souls, and it displaced another million or more Irishmen and women to the New World?  And the pisser of it all is that the people of England let them starve to death while stealing their land, robbing them of their culture, and exporting tons of their food to the world market.  Or maybe instead of an onboarding course for you troublesome baby-souls, I think I’ll reintroduce my course about the Bubonic Plague that wiped out 75 million Europeans or approximately 50% of its population by the time it was over.  The culprits in this suffering were close living conditions, filth, and rats.

“Die Pest in Epiros” (“The Plague in Epirus”) by
Pierre Mignard (1610-1665)

C-’48:  Yikes! That’s supposed to make me feel better about living on Earth?  What other planets do you have up your sleeve that I can matriculate to?

Cosmos Nanny:   Just Earth as far as you’re concerned.  Now hush — enough of this misinformed nonsense.  Let’s get on with the work at hand.  You’re slated to be born in a place called Central-Woodland in a house that won’t be condemned for another ten years after you’re born, but it should have been torn down ten years before you ever entered it.  The house will have rats the size of cats and roaches the size of hummingbirds.  The people in your neighborhood will be trapped by poverty and locked out of education and jobs due to the tenacious long-reaching effect of Jim Crow laws — not “officially” written down in the North, but just as tenacious as the ones in the South.  Your caretakers will be numbers runners, schizophrenics, alcoholics, prostitutes, and pedophiles.  I found a picture of a house cited for Urban Renewal that looks very similar to the one you will spend your formative years in (give or take a few less holes), just to give you an idea of what you’re in for.

Google Image/Cleveland House

C-’48:  Aie-yi-yi!  You’re so goddamn nonchalant about the shit I’m going to have to deal with in my life.
Look at that house:  I can see the abuse and mayhem written all over its framework.  Don’t you get it?  I’m
not cut out for suffering
.  I don’t think I can handle pain – physical or emotional.  Can’t I just stay here?  Or how about this:  Since the sperm hasn’t connected to the egg yet that will form my body, can’t I simply choose to be someone else born in 1948, and you look the other way?

Cosmos Nanny:  Like who?

C-’48:  I don’t know. . .tell me who’s in the catalogue that will be born in 1948.

Cosmos Nanny:  Of the baby souls you would hear about in your lifetime, there will be born a Mikhail Baryshnikov (a womanizing Russian dancer who defects to the US and builds a brilliant career as a dancer but a mediocre one as an actor).  Then there will also be an Al Gore (worth more than $100 million, a US Vice President, and supposedly “founder of the Internet,” and a global warming darling who will cheat on his
wife after 40 years of marriage).  And, of course, we can’t forget Ozzy Osbourne (a drug-addicted, rock musician who bites off the head of a bat on stage and is arguably the father of reality TV that will destroy Western civilization as we know it).  They all will become rich and famous, but they all will have had and have caused their fair share of suffering – none of which you could have survived.

C-’48:  Well, that’s a shitty sampling of rich, white men.  Aren’t there others?

Cosmos Nanny:  Sure there are but they are all Jewish, and you couldn’t handle being Jewish.

C-’48:  Say what?  How do you know what I can handle?

Cosmos Nanny:  I know what you can handle because you don’t want to suffer.  You’ll do anything in
your power not to suffer.  You couldn’t bear the history of the Jewish race bleeding down through your ancestors.  It is going to be hard enough to bear up under the slave history of the African races and all the Jim Crow aftermath that you will inherit.  But you’re missing the point all together:  no race escapes suffering.  No race or gender is better than the other.  No human is immune from life’s sorrow, and no one has a corner on suffering.  Do you remember the quote I taught you and the other baby souls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?

C-’48:  “If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

Cosmos Nanny:  There are lives you will come to know who will be born in comfort of class and skin but once you know their history, you would not want to change places with them for all the money and white-body casings in the world.  The Kennedy clan will have more money than God, but they will bear so much premature death, assassinations, mental retardation, alcoholism, accidents, scandals, and death threats that you would never willingly trade places with their mother in a million years.  Helen Keller was born before you in a wealthy family, but her years of painful isolation due to being deaf and dumb would have crushed you in a nano-second if you had traded places with her.  And the doctor in Connecticut, whose entire family will be beaten, raped, and burned alive by heartless criminals when you are in your sixties, would change his color-casing for your life in a heartbeat, if he could bring his wife and daughters back and save them from that horrible day.

C- ’48:  Okay, okay, I get it.  I have only one more question before I go:  Will I have children?

Cosmos Nanny:  After a bit, but not without a struggle, and that in itself will be cause for suffering.

C-’48:  Oh. . . . Will they suffer?

Cosmos Nanny:  Yes.  They will suffer, all the more, because in your attempt to save them from suffering, they will create their own suffering, especially one of them.  It will take you a long time to learn that making sure children are happy and content is not a raison d’etre for them — serving the poor and fighting for the disenfranchised is.  It causes children to think beyond themselves and their wants and needs.  But the irony
of your children’s self-imposed suffering is that it will be the catalyst of your greatest character development.

C- ’48:  Really?  How so?

Cosmos Nanny:  I can’t tell you that.  That’s like putting the cart before the horse.  You’re going to have to find out for yourself.

C-’48:  What?  No, no, no, no. . . .  I hate this system.  I don’t care what you say.  I’m going to adjust things when I get down to Earth.  I’ll make life easier for myself and my family so we don’t have to suffer — so help me God!  You’ll see.  Now that I know how things are going to roll once I’m born, I’ll make some changes before they happen.

Cosmos Nanny:  You haven’t heard a word I’ve said, have you?  Say good-bye Cleve ’48 because it is time for you to go.  And by the way, once you enter your mother’s womb, you won’t remember a word of our conversation.  This is a good thing because I think you’re going to be a trouble-maker.  But I will throw you one “freakin’ bone” as you put it:  you’ll end up living in a house like this one — a complete juxtaposition
to the home of your childhood — and have the life that picture represents. You’ll encounter a lot of suffering getting there, but it will be the great love of a “white casing” that will keep you there and make it a home.

Author’s House/1980’s – 1990’s

C- ’48:  No, wait. . . I have so much more to ask.  I want to know if there is a God, why is there suffering?  Why doesn’t he stop all this turmoil if he is as good as we’ve been taught?  Are some people born good and others born bad?  If so, why can’t God just keep the bad souls from transitioning to Earth?

Cosmos Nanny:  ENOUGH!  Some things are a mystery, and no matter how much you clamor to know the
answer, to remove the mystery would remove the motivating factors that build character.  Suffering is a plumb line that determines your true depth in the midst of the bullshit that you will try and construct as your earthly façade.  Now go and get into your little brown human casing and prepare to make your entrance.  Trust me — it won’t be as bad as you think.

C-’48:  Seriously?   I don’t believe you – not for a New York minute. I can tell this trip is going to be a very bad one.  I can just feel it!   Send a note to God for me, and tell him that he’s sure got some explainin’ to do — that’s for sure!



Negro baby girl born today in Cleveland ghetto

Rescued from toilet

Mother mentally unstable

Father AWOL

Life of child/TBD


“Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.” – George Orwell

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”  Helen Keller (1880 – 1968)

All text and photos by Eleanor and John Tomczyk copyrighted
© 2011 except where otherwise noted

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit
is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Uncategorized


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