Evans “Buddy” King
As someone who considers himself a writer of sorts, I am always looking for material.
I have no bent towards fiction, although, over the years, I am sure a few adversaries and judges have read some of my legal briefs and said to themselves “how does he make this stuff up?” That’s “aggressive advocacy,” and what you do as a lawyer.
But fiction is out of the question for me as a medium of expression, as is serious political commentary. We are so blessed with “pundits” these days that any effort on my part to say something that hasn’t been said before would be for naught.
I think my writings should come under the category of “observational humor or comment.” They are “columns,” not “articles” or “editorials.”
“Article” carries with it the notion that the written piece involves the reporting of a current event. My columns are usually as relevant as a Seinfeld episode. Not a dash of “newsworthiness” in them. And certainly my writings are not “editorials” or “political comment.” The closest I have come to taking an editorial position was criticizing the use of instant replay in baseball. (How are you going to speed up the pace of play that way? What’s wrong with kicking a little dirt on an umpire every now and then anyway?)
And no one should be interested in my political opinions, although, if the views of Hollywood stars are supposed to be listened to, maybe mine should not be rejected out of hand. But my goal usually is simply to make people laugh—either “hehehe” or “LOL” or even “roflmao.”
I typically draw my topics from personal experiences or circumstances and then add “clever observations.” Occasionally, I venture into serious analysis and actually express personal outrage, but thus far that has been reserved for columns on Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and political correctness.
My preference is to reminisce about people and events, usually from my early Christiansburg days, and then try to share feelings from those experiences. Occasionally, however, something just comes along through pure luck that gives you a column or two.
Last week was one of those lucky times. I had a heart attack, followed by triple bypass surgery. (Some might view these events as a setback. All a matter of perspective. I look for the positive. One of my first thoughts was “here’s an idea for this week’s column!”
I will share only a few of these hospital highlights in this column. I have enough material for a full SNL episode, but I need to save some for future stories. Plus, I am worried about word restrictions in this column, one of many stressors in my life I have been told I should try to reduce. LOL.
First, I have to say unequivocally that daytime television sucks. I spent three or four days either flat on my back or in a reclining chair, without enough energy, or in too much pain, to read or write.
Unfortunately, they put a remote in my hand, and I revisited the world of incredibly inane game shows and soaps which I assumed had been gone since my childhood, or I visited for the first time the world of live television auctions and morning talk shows.
Combined with the tubes in my chest and hoses running places they ought not to, this “entertainment” started out unbearable and got significantly worse. The overall effect was exacerbated by the beds in ICU, which must have been designed by the same folks who dug the frozen foxholes during the Korean War.
Due to patient overflow, I was stuck in ICU for my entire stay. I am not certain whether there is a “Hell,” but this experience was close enough. It was worse than a visit to Yankee Stadium for a Red Sox fan.
If my future retirement plans were based on daytime TV, I would work forever. I would prefer to pick up the hobby of “poking oneself in the eye with a stick.”
A few more quick observations: my only other surgery experience had been for a congenital hernia when I was 10 weeks old. It was at the long ago torn down Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Roanoke, which was close to the more recently torn down Victory Stadium.
My father showed me the bill from that three-day hospital stay once—as I recall it was $48. I haven’t seen this one yet, but I’m guessing it will be more.
Another question or observation: why do the nurses you wouldn’t mind doing the things you don’t want done to you end up NOT being the ones who end up doing them to you?
At one point, I went from visions of Dr. Cuddy from “House” to Nurse Ratchet from “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” working on me. I asked for the Patient’s Bill of Rights at that point, but my appeal was ultimately denied.
On a significantly more serious note, I received wonderful, superb medical treatment and care. West Virginia University Hospital has a brand, spanking new, state-of-the-art cardiovascular wing, headed up by several of the best cardio guys that money and unlimited investment and spirited commitment can lure away from elsewhere.
My surgeons were able to make me feel special while convincing me that my procedure was as routine as their days get.
One of my friends and I envisioned a telephone conversation between my surgeon and his wife like the following: “yes dear I dropped little Ichabod off for his violin lesson. Wait a minute; I have to tie off one of Buddy’s bypasses. Done. Aced that one. Yes. I’ll remember a half-gallon of the two percent.”
This new unit of the hospital had been open for less than 30 days when I was dropped off there. If there is a criticism, it is that it was so new that the staff was still getting used to where things were kept. My stay was lengthy enough that, given shift changes and other personnel comings and goings, I became able to answer questions for the staff.
“Hey Emily, I think they keep those types of splints in Drawer 3C down in 1701 behind the cotton balls and that thing they use to shock your chest with.”
One final note: it’s me that is making these observations. Forty years ago—maybe even less than that—someone else would be writing this piece, and there would be no LOL. I’m truly blessed to live in the time and place that I do.
Evans “Buddy” King grew up in Christiansburg and graduated from CHS in 1971. He lives in Clarksburg, West Virginia, where he practices law with the firm of Steptoe and Johnson PLLC.