Rendered Fat Content


Vincent van Gogh: Shoes (1886)

"Without such provocations, I might never feel truly inconvenienced."

Scrounging tends to be one of the early casualties of prosperity. The dumpster diver becomes a WalMart shopper and a trajectory changes forever. Aging, though, can shift certainties to reintroduce the vagaries one might not have even noticed losing. Proud ones might faunch at the shift, feeling as though they've been assaulted or rendered undignified by it. The lucky ones might notice a certain vitality reentering their lives as what they'd grown accustomed to perceiving as their birthright is formally denied them. Insurance companies seem particularly adept at denying access once considered sacrosanct. For me, after The Muse shifted health insurance companies, the inheriting operation refused to pay for a refill for the only prescription I felt certain actually delivered on its promise. They were, of course, absolutely obtuse about their reasoning, never once actually confirming what they'd done, leaving it up to pharmacy clerks and nurses to attempt to interpret their intention and deliver their message.

As near as any of us could tell, they'd denied the refill request in spite of doctor's orders and expressly because the prescription actually worked.
Part of the rumor filtering back to me suggested that because my triglycerides didn't measure in the range they required to approve the medication, it was counter indicated, a legal term meaning 'they just decided.' My triglycerides were not high enough to qualify under their criteria because I had been taking the drug. It had lowered my reading. Without it, the level would unquestionably return to what had formerly been normal, perhaps even high enough to qualify for the medication again. This decision carried deeply disturbing philosophical implications, the sort of which Zeno would have been particularly fond. Only those not taking the drug could qualify to take it.

The greatest sin in western civilization is not a carnal one, but the sin of paying retail for any prescription. The prescription drug market is a charnel house of double dealing, with every player engaged in so-called bidding. In any other market, the trading would be labeled price fixing, but the players pay for better lobbyists than the rest of us, so it's their charnel house within which to gamble. The rest of us get to experience the esteemed pleasure of paying for their shenanigans, and we usually pay through the nose without realizing it. Our insurance companies claim that they've successfully bid down the price to absolute rock bottom for their policyholders, each one claiming the success that only one could ever actually achieve. Recently, start-ups have noticed certain irregularities in this market and in the bidding process and have become arbiters there. Anybody can claim a coupon which might enable them to underbid their lying insurance carrier, throwing this market into considerable disorder.

Now, though, for me to continue taking my paradoxical prescription, I have to hustle. I can log into a hot half dozen of these hotshot arbitrage operations and see what they're offering. One yields a coupon that claims that they can secure the prescription for eighty-nine cents. I tried to redeem that coupon but the pharmacy tech returned with a bid for eighty-nine dollars. I returned to my laptop to Scrounge for other offers. I realized while I was dealing with this hassle that I was engaging in virtual dumpster diving, Scrounging for the first time in years. I later strode back into that pharmacy and claimed that prescription for twenty-one nighty-eight, the best I could pull out of this round of negotiation. Next month, maybe better.

The Most Important Things Happen At The Least Convenient Times Rule suggests that this prescription Scrounging might be of great importance. I sense that my future will be delivering more of this to me and it will increasingly become my job to perform my own arbitrage within cranky and unfamiliar markets, to dumpster dive in my own interest. I'm warmly anticipating these challenges. I feel certain that these perturbations will help keep me alert and in a fighting spirit. I feel certain that I can rely upon my institutions to continue to deliver an adequate supply of paradoxes for me to untangle, and for this ongoing service, I suppose I should feel grateful. I'm considering writing a letter to the insurance commissioner thanking him or her for overseeing such an inconveniencing operation. Without such provocations, I might never feel truly inconvenienced.


Friday shows up as if to inconvenience the week it ends, this one marking what would have been my dearly departed daughter's fortieth birthday celebration. That's my foreground recognition this morning. Little else is registering. I might have spent this writing week anticipating this April Fool's Day, the day my only daughter, never nobody's fool, entered this world and changed it forever. I could only aspire to do better.

I began my writing week going nowhere, on
TheRoadToWashtucna. "I swear that every trouble’s more manageable when deliberately heading nowhere with a vengeance."

I speculated that my life might be divisible into Stages, and that I might be entering a Reflection stage now. "We toss great wisdom as if it were comprised of stained baseballs, cracked, aging, and terribly, terribly satisfying to give and receive."

I suppose that I could be accused of whining by writing about feeling StovedUp and my unwillingness to submit to treatments, the most popular posting this period. "I consider most treatments to be forms of punishment. They first wound my pride. Just considering them leaves me feeling painfully dependent."

I noticed that I had been running a few days behind the emerging season in SurpriseSpring. "I'll suffer from a Seasonal Arrhythmia Disorder, moving in what might have been a perfectly appropriate Winter cadence, but the magnolia's in bloom and the garden impatiently waits for my already tardy attention."

I declared that I felt as though I was almost Gettin' over the idea that I had some idea to get over in Gettin'. "I might have learned under her tutelage how to distract myself into performance, a skill I still employ almost daily, one of the essential skills of living if one expects to get by without necessarily Gettin' over anything."

I noticed a certain
Narrowing of my perspective and interest. "My universe became tighter, largely within my own arm's reach."

I ended my writing week engaging in the popular fantasy called Securing. "Locked out's as secure as anyone ever gets."

And so I end my writing week, leaving another March behind and entering a fresh April with baggage and forever absent one darling daughter. I continue Reconning here, seeking safe passage, looking for a trail. Thank you for traveling with me here. I remain grateful for your presence.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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