Of Karma and Colons

Throughout the early 2000s, I was one to regularly break out the singularly (and oddly) famous Arnold Schwarzenegger line from Kingergarten Cop.

Someone would say, “Man, my head hurts.” I’d reply, fake Austrian accent in bloom, with “It’s not a toomah”

Someone would say, “Do you see spots?” I’d reply, fake Austrian accent in bloom, with “It’s not a toomah”

Someone would say, “Pass the butter,” I’d reply, fake Austrian accent in bloom, with “It’s not a toomah”

Just like this …

Then, six or seven years ago, my father had a brain tumor (he’s survived and thrived, but it was scary). I haven’t uttered the sentence since.

Karma, man. Karma.

Along those lines, I’m a big fan of hypotheticals. Would you rather have this or that? That or this? Would you rather slam a rusty nail into your skull or spend the next 12-straight months listening to Celine Dion cover Kiss? Would you rather eat 10 cups filled with your mother’s snot or dance naked for 200 seconds at halftime of the Super Bowl? My all-time favorite—and one I’ve uttered, oh, 1,000 times is this: Would you rather have a voice box or a colostomy bag?





Karma is a bitch. I don’t need a voice box. Or a colostomy bag. But, after three months of, ahem, scarlet-infused excrement, I recently had a colonoscopy. Two days ago the doctor gave me his diagnosis: I either have Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis. The official word will be determined next week.

I’m not happy, not devastated. I’m in good shape and I exercise regularly and I like the idea of improving my diet and, once and for all, permanently eliminating soda as a beverage of choice. The hypochondriac in me would have sworn I had colon cancer—and I don’t. So, hey, that’s good. Not that Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are reasons to celebrate. They’re certainly not. But they sound relatively smooth to manage in most cases, blah, blah, blah.

The point is, well, I don’t know what the point is. Don’t make jokes about tumors and colons? Be grateful for what you have? Look both ways before crossing the street?

Hmm …

7 thoughts on “Of Karma and Colons”

  1. Jeff, I know you’re a skeptic, so I hope you don’t really believe in Karma. Saying bad fortune is Karma is pretty much the same thing as when fundamentalist Christians say bad things are a punishment from God. I call Karma liberal people’s fundamentalism. Chalking up accidental retributive justice to karma (“when bad things happen to those we hate”) is no different than pulling a Falwell and calling it a punishment from God, like when he and Pat Robertson blamed 9/11 on gays, feminists, and secularism.

    You’re right, it’s probably good to not make jokes about tumors and colons. But you should avoid those jokes because it’s the right thing to do! Whether or not you end getting a disease has no connection to the way you’ve treated people over the course of your life. Sickness, bad luck, etc. are random. You know that.

    Be good, and do good, because it’s the right thing to do, not because you hope “what goes around comes around.” Sadly, it doesn’t. Like Ecclesiastes says, bad and good fortune happen to the good and bad alike, for no reason, because life is vanity.

    By the way, glad you’re okay! I hope you stay healthy for another 60 years, so I can keep reading you!

  2. i quit soda about 6 months ago because my blood sugar was running a little high. now i just have one if i go out to eat, which i don’t do often.

    also, i think you are operating under the western misconception of karma; that ‘what goes around comes around’. this is pretty far from the actual concept, which is more along the lines of that things happen to you in life because there is a lesson you are supposed to take from it.

  3. That beaver photo is great. I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before.

    Why did you mention soda? Mother Jones had an article today about diet soda and now your comment. Kind of off-putting for a guy who jokes about one day being the first person to die from too much diet soda.

  4. The longer you go the body starts to rebel. The more you abuse it rebels.
    Would you rather have a bunch of crap happen to you ore would you rather be dead? That is really most peoples option.
    I turn 60 soon, mu eyes aren’t what they used to be – common occurrence for most of us around 40.
    I’m not as mentally sharp as I used to be. I blame it on the one real thing that is wrong with me, I have Graves disease. As the Doctor said, “everyone has things go wrong as we age, at least Graves is very manageable and the pills are cheap ($10 for 90 days).
    Both of those you have been diagnosed with can be difficult to deal with but they can also (USUALLY) be very manageable.
    Welcome to old age 😉 Hope it works out to not be a real problem.

    1. Having reread my post I can say mu (my) eyes must really be a problem – guess I need some sleep.
      “The more you abuse it rebels” – The more you abuse the more it rebels (soda is abuse)
      “ore (scratch that e) would you rather be dead?”

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