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The Fisher of Stories


Well, I’m Unbreakable. I’m Superman.

This was a big hit at school. For both of us.

I know we’ve all been over this before, and I know I’ve written countless stories about what it would be like to be a super-hero, but this time I’m actually convinced.

Here’s my evidence:

A. I recently got hired on at the newspaper I’ve been freelancing at.
B. My blood has become impervious to needles.

My proof for exhibit A can be shown with a picture:

Staff Writer, witches!

My proof for exhibit B will take a story…
Those of you who are avid readers of this blog will probably remember that I’ve never had a “normal” experience giving blood. For example, this tragedy happened earlier last year.
Those photos are the result of a young woman pulling a little too hard on the tube that feeds the blood into the bag, thus liberating the liquid Travis to a quite untenable home on the floor, and more unfortunately, my (at the time) brand new shoes.
Fortunately, someone in the BloodMobile had their head on straight, and doused them down with hydrogen peroxide, which later allowed the blood to wash right off, and left me with nothing but the memories.
The next time I gave blood, I talked with the nurses about “50 Shades of Grey,” and left quite a large puddle of butt sweat on the donation table. (Go ahead. Click those highlighted words if you haven’t read it before)
Which brings us to my most current decision to rent out “essence of Travis.”
I saw some signs around NSU (the university I attend) the other day for a blood drive. A couple of days previous to that, I had gotten a phone call from the Oklahoma Blood Institute about coming in and donating again because they had a drive in my area. I told them sure, I’d get around to it, and then never did. So I felt the guilt when I saw the sign.
I went in and got registered and, of course, bombarded social media with it, because I know those of you on Twitter and Facebook obvs care about every second of my life and want desperately to know what’s going on at all times.

Until it’s a man, then it gets real weird.


No one ever answered me, is he seriously still alive?

Then, a gentleman started the blood giving foreplay, which entailed feeling up my arm like it was a reluctant but well-meaning prom date, then tapping it with the blunt end of an iodine swab, then rubbing it voraciously with said swab until my skin shone like the oily skin of the aforementioned prom date.
Finally, he stood, poised at the brink, with the needle tip aimed at the crook of my elbow.
Now, I don’t know if he just “guessed” where my vein would be, or if he employed some sort of methodology learned in school. I also realize that my veins are coated in a thick layer of sub-cutaneous fat, and they don’t like to give up the good stuff easily. Maybe if he’d have spent a little more time on the foreplay, they’d have been more receptive.
He missed the vein.
Not to be discouraged with the attempt, he happily poked around the inside of my arm for a solid minute, at last uttering something that sounded an awful lot like a “Hail Mary.”
Oh how I longed for Expert Vein Sticker, mentioned in that story I told you to read a minute ago.
Finally, he called a friend over.
She, to be perfectly blunt, took a stab at it.
She failed.
Finally, someone walked over that looked very familiar.
Our reunion was as follows.
Me: “You look really familiar.” EVS: “You do too…”Me: “Were you at FBC Okay that one time?” EVS: “You’re 50 Shades of Grey guy!”
With the salutations out of the way, she attempted to get the flow of blood going. She succeeded, prompting this exultant tweet.

When I stand before the Throne, and Jesus asks me why he should let me in, I will say, “I AM A BLOOD DONOR!”

Then, to my surprise, something happened.
Actually, lots of things happened at once.
For one, the machine I was hooked up to started beeping like the heart rate monitor of a man who has just found the Victoria’s Secret catalogue mixed in with the hospital reading materials.
Then, everyone rushed to my side, providing me with a Kleenex box to elevate my arm, and a new way of squeezing the little thing they give you to squeeze.
EVS came over, and she tried like all get out to get the flow of blood started again, but all was lost…
I had clotted.

In all seriousness, I expected that tweet to go viral. Nothing. Not even a favorite.

Apparently, my blood contains such awesomeness, that when I am pricked, I immediately clot. They gave me a t-shirt and sent me on my merry way, leaving me with nothing but the bruises to show for it, and I’m pretty sure they’re going to have to replace that poor blood sucking machine. I do hope they use what little they collected for some sort of analysis though, particularly after a conversation with my mother.

Me: *regales with story you just read*
Mom: “Travis, that sounds bad.”
Me: “Well, bad for them.”
Mom: “If your blood is doing that coming out of your body, what do you think it’s doing inside your body?

imageimageimageimageSo there’s my evidence. That’s why I believe I’m Unbreakable. That’s why I believe I’m Superman.
Now someone get me some paint cans and bench press, I need to try something.

As I’ve explained in my post about being a Social Rapist, I am not always a smooth and captivating individual. There are moments, both when I’m alone and when I’m with people, where I can be incredibly awkward. As I get older, these moments are getting fewer and farther between, but they still happen, as evidenced by my day yesterday.

I left work early to go vote, and then I figured I’d go donate blood. There was a blood drive at my old church in Okay, Oklahoma, so I stopped by to give them a pint or two of my finest red (aged 29 years, with a sweetness to it that I have to take Metformin for).

I arrived in the parking lot and saw that they too were in the process of letting folks vote. That church has always been a polling center, as long as I can remember. So I walked up to the doors of the big building where the blood drive was supposedly at, and I see a lot of arrows pointing in the same direction that all say “Blood Drive” on them. The arrows kind of point back towards the main church building, so I amble over that way and look in the door, and the lights appear to be out. So I sidle on back over to the big building and walk in, only to see no sign of a blood giving party.

At this point, I could ask someone what’s going on, but everyone looks so busy voting, and I will not be held responsible for a Democrat getting voted in anywhere because I’ve distracted someone at the last moment by asking them about a blood drive that they know nothing about because they’ve been focused on voting straight party all day long. So I don’t ask anyone, and shamble on over to the main church building again.

It was 105 degrees in Okay, Oklahoma yesterday. 105. I weigh 340 pounds at this current moment. I also have the aforementioned sweetness in my blood that the doctors so lovingly call diabetes. The point I’m trying to make is that I run hot already, and for me, sweating often involves me doing nothing more than trying to fit six Doritos in my mouth at one time. Add the exercise of walking back and forth between buildings and the fact that it’s 105 degrees outside together, and you get a very moist and salty Travis. Particularly in one area.

That’s right… I’m talking about the swamp butt.

This is a mild case, trust me. Also, this isn’t me. I would never put…well, yeah I would, but I don’t have one.

This condition has caused me to avoid metal or plastic chairs like the plague, constantly fearing that I will leave a sweaty butt print that, let’s just go ahead and say it, won’t be making the ladies swoon with desire. Last semester in college I would have to sit in a plastic chair after a long walk to class, and I actually perfected a move in which I would get out of my chair and slide it under the table at the same time so no one would see my butt shaped ring of shame. If there are any swamp butt sufferers out there that need to learn this move, let me know.
Back to the blood donating. The first chair I sat in was cloth covered. Thank the baby Jesus for that, because cloth sort of wicks away moisture and you don’t know a swampy butt has been there until you’ve already sat down and…well, I’ll just leave you to think about that.
Then they took me back to my donating bed. The lady that was going to be drawing my blood was incredibly nice, and completely distracted me from thinking about the fact that I WAS GOING TO BE LYING ON A VINYL TABLE.
We talked and talked while she was preparing to hook me up to the machine about how no one ever hits my vein on the first try. I explained to her that the last guy to try actually punched clean through my vein, leaving me with a slightly swollen arm and bruise that made it look like I’d been punched by the Hulk. We laughed, we had good times, and before I knew it, she nailed my vein on the first try, for which I told her she needed a gold star, and the machine happily started draining me of my liquid Travis.

I often times wonder if I could replace my blood with “skinny blood.”

Then it happened. I overheard “Yeah, I finished all three books this weekend. Wow.”
I have recently acquired our daughter’s talent for sticking my nose in other’s business, so I said, “What books?”
You see, I was honestly thinking The Hunger Games. It is a great series, and I read them all in a couple of days, and I was ready to discuss my literary knowledge and blow these three ladies out of the water.
The expert vein sticker turns to me and says, “Oh, it’s Fifty Shades of Grey.
Here you might be thinking, “Haha, this is awkward, Travis doesn’t read trash like that.”
Only…Travis does.


So. There we were. There was sort of this awkward moment where I could have said, “Oh, I’ve heard of that,” and butted smooth the heck out. But…
“Yeah, I finished reading that last night!”
I hate to reuse a picture, but this describes Expert Vein Sticker and her two friends perfectly.

“Say what?”

“You read it?!” “Oh my God.””I want to read it!”
You see, right there, I should have been mortified. But I wasn’t.
“Yeah, it was trash, and the writing was horrible Twilight fan fic, but I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about.”
These ladies ate it up. Then one of them said, “You know, I called my mom the other day and asked what she was doing and she told me she was in her room reading that book.”

Now it was my turn.

There were a few crickets, and then we picked right back up where we left off, EVS and I discussing the “merits” of the book, and the other two gals chiming in about how they couldn’t wait to read it now.
Then EVS said she hoped Chris Hemsworth would play Christian in the movie.
Did I mention we were in a church building?
So I look up and say, without thinking, “He is a handsome man.”

Their turn.

As I said, I can be an awkward guy.
The ladies resumed talking momentarily, and I pretty much just waited for the machine to be done. I was really regretting donating two units at this point, because the machine had to stop twice and put the plasma back into my body.
When EVS finally unhooked me, we laughed a bit, and she thanked me for the conversation. Then, and only then, I became aware that it was a bit steamy in the room I was in. And I had still not dried up from my pre-donating hike between buildings. And suddenly, I realized I was on a vinyl tabletop. And I knew what was going to be there when I got up.
A full body sweat imprint of yours truly.
I had no choice. EVS had been so kind, and I couldn’t just let her walk into this blindly.
“Ma’am, umm, I sweat. Real bad. And when I get up, there is going to be a sweat imprint here, and if you give me a rag, I’ll clean it up. I’m so sorry.”
EVS didn’t even blink an eye.
“Don’t worry about it man, I’ll clean it up.”
I walked out, and I didn’t look back. I couldn’t look at their expressions as they saw what I knew was there.
Fifty gallons of awkward.
Laters, baby.