I finally have an excuse for my weird behavior, i guess. Why i’ve stopped drinking coffee over a month ago, and have now almost completely cut out caffeine altogether, this in a city with such a high caffeine intake that our city sewer system has specific filtration for it. Why i order Thai food with 1 star (which is, to be quite honest, a bland and flavorless way to consume a lot of starch while minimizing your enjoyment of a meal) and why i spend an alarming majority of my medical flex plan fund on antacids and pepto. Yup, apparently i have a stomach lining infection, or something sort of like that, according to the phone call from my doctor’s office yesterday. Where did i contract this? Who’s to say. My cute, funny, reassuringly-capable doctor asked me if i had been to any third world countries lately; i asked her if the block my office building is located on counts?

Anyway, regardless of origin, this bacteria or whatever is apparently eradicated by attempting to obstruct my esophogas with a handful of very large pills, twice a day. A nice little assortment of them, too; some bright neon yellow ones, a large chalky white one, and a tiny rice-grain-sized pellet with itty bitty print stamped on it by those determinedly high-tech pharmaceutical people and their we-can-laser-etch-our-logo-on-a-single-atom branding strategies. I’m stuffing these down my gullet in the morning, in addition to the usual multivitamin cocktail and a nice, big vitamin C to ward off those winter sniffles, and all together that makes 9 pills a day for the next 8 weeks. That’s a lot of pills, kids, so many that i may need a pill system to keep myself from getting confused.

What does all of this mean? How will my rousing, nonstop rollercoaster social life be affected? Well, not drinking coffee will make me immensely unpopular ’round these parts, and my beloved baristas are already confused by my abstinence. Those rollicking beer binges and the early weekend mornings waking up in a downtown gutter reeking of whiskey and strippers will be on a doctor-prescribed hiatus; alcohol is on the no-no list, as well. Really, i think all of the “fun drugs” are, along with a few “niche” foods such as milk, citrus, carbonation, chocolate, tomatoes in any form, foods that are spicy or otherwise have distinct flavors surpassing the intensity of steamed rice, and anything with sugar or fat in it. Luckily my diet rarely consists of those things anyway, as i’m subsisting these days on unseasoned ramen noodles, wild nuts and berries, and squirrel meat. In addition, my aching midsection does not quietly acquiesce to external pressure, so gut-punching fights with Clint are probably out, as is restrictive clothing. Devastatingly, i won’t be wearing those tight leather pants again until at least 2006, and i guess dressing up as Steven Tyler for halloween this year isn’t going to happen. On the up side, i’m might discover a new love for bland, tasteless food, and next week in New York i will have some quality war stories to trade with Michelle, what with her having rabies and all.

For the rest of you, it means the beer in my fridge is now fair game for the taking, and the spicy asian snack mix in my desk also needs to be consumed in some way that does not involve my personal digestive system (perhaps pigeons like it?). Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s some unsweetened instant oatmeal in my immediate future and that ambrosia doesn’t microwave itself.