Here are three reasons from Blythe, California to be thankful for where you live.

A month ago I tapped my brake as a semi-truck with double-trailers of gravel from the local mine tailgated me at 55 mph. He waited five minutes to retaliate and ran me off the road in front of the in-session middle school. I took the license number to the police station where there was no one on duty, so I chased down a patrol car and made the report. Today I see that the old speed limit sign of 45 mph is replaced by a brand new one of 55 mph at the scene of the tailgate.

A week ago, I toddled with a probable kidney stone to doctor “A” for x-rays. I was rescheduled as an ‘understanding client’ for the next day, but there the doctor arrived three hours late from a dentist appointment and asked me to return tomorrow. I did and was startled to get hooked with twelve leads to an EKG. The switch flicked, the paper clattered and the nurse screamed, ‘Doctor, it’s going all over the place!’ Doc yelled, ‘I’ll take care of it!’ and sent me to a doctor B who does radiographs. There the receptionist ordered me to return the following morning, and at that hour I sat in a waiting room jammed with the indigent, handicapped, elderly and likely illegal aliens that dwindled through two showings of Jim Carey’s ‘Dumb and Dumber’ until I sat alone.

The mop lady entered like a caricature to swab around my shoes, and ask, ‘Where’s the x-rays?’ She registered shock, and promised to take care of it ‘Now’, but scowled when I didn’t lift my feet. Doctor B announced somewhere, ‘I’m going for a coffee’, entered and asked who I was. ‘This is your kidney stone appointment,’ replied the mop lady. He located my appointment slip that had fallen into a crack and escorted me to radiograph. In five minutes he produced, ‘The only abdominal x-ray in history with the zipper behind the coccyx!’ and seemed not to want to give it up.

I explained that I’d rigged my shorts with rope suspenders and backwards to relieve the pain, grabbed the film and hobbled from him yelling, ‘You promised no zipper!’

The waiting room back at doc A’s brimmed with sick, angry people as I raised the film like a scepter to cut to the front desk. The receptionist screamed, ‘You were supposed to be back yesterday!’ I told what had happened. ‘The next appointment is in two weeks!’, so I spun and fled the shouting crowd, ‘Hey, Hey!’ out the door not knowing if they cheered for or against me.

I slept well last night as always on a picnic table north of town near the mine and awoke this morning with two honeybees at my jugular and lay there thinking it’s time to move. I drove and found an abandoned sofa away from blossoming Ironwoods on a canal as wide and deep as a river. I jumped in to cool off, and now sit in the college library romancing the stone.

The college V.P. a beefy ex-sheriff, claps me on the back as I scan the Internet for ‘calculi cures’ for recently diagnosing a foreign body in his gangrenous forearm that the local hospital had missed. Now the V.P. pulls from his pocket a tiny framed-behind-glass two-inch palm frond that proved the culprit. The hospital after surgery made him stay for five days alone as the local physicians are boycotting it with their patients for graft and corruption. ‘I’ve told everyone in the college about you,’ cries the V.P., ‘So expect a rush!’

My getaway car is in the parking lot with one pack ready to hike the Continental Divide Trail and another to bus via Mexico to Central America. But the Internet just shut down. By the time you read this I should be far away from here.