I Shouldn’t Be Here.

My old chum, Freddy Farquart and I were sitting around sucking down Scotch when a thought intruded.  “Hey, Freddy,” I said, “There were some times in you life where you dodged the bullet, right?”  After a suitable pause, I looked up and said, “Ya know Freddy, I’ve dodged a few myself — if you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine”.

“OK, Merl, you first”, said Freddy as he took another sip.

So here’s what I told Freddy.

When I was six, I had a strangulated hernia.  Rushed to the hospital for immediate surgery.

At age thirteen, I had my tonsils removed and caught pneumonia for the first and second times.

At fourteen I fell off a roof.  One the way down, I scrapped the skin off my back in the cedar shakes.  I also lit on my head, knocking me out for about five minutes.  Moreover, I skewed myself right in the armpit on a small picket fence surrounding the little sidewalk on which I koshed myself.  One of the small pickets went into my shoulder joint, dislocating the bones.

When my fifteenth year came around, I broke my hand playing ice hockey.  Asshole from Bloomington stomped on it because I stopped his puck.

About twenty or twenty-one, I buried an axe in my leg while helping Grampa clean up after a storm.

When I was twenty-four, I had a seizure and found out I am an epileptic.  I have both Grad Mal and Temporal Lobe.

At thirty-three I had surgery for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

At about the same time, I had a putrescent cyst cut out of my ear canal.

As of this writing, my mouth is as full of gold as Ft. Knox and I’m missing three teeth.

When I was fifty-eight, I found out I have cancer and had a totally maiming operation that really fucked me up.

I’m as deaf as a post and have hearing aids turned all the way up. Through the years I learned to lip-read.

As 2003 rolled around, my appendix blew and I was in the hospital for the better part of a week as they treated me for Peritonitis.

In 2013 I had another operation for the cancer.

A year and half ago I found out the cancer had metastasized and went on chemo — which, praise be, seems to have worked!

Last Christmas Season, while playing Santa, I got dehydrated and contracted gastroenteritis thanks to norovirus.  This caused me to go to the hospital (via ambulance) where I was put in isolation in the cardiac ICU because of the heart attack I had, thanks to septic shock that topped it all off.  They tell me it was a near thing.

Today?  All is well.  For now . .  .






2 Responses to I Shouldn’t Be Here.

  1. Kelly says:


    I’m a 20-something year old female who stumbled upon your Teratoma entry and has now spent an hour at work reading your stories. Your writing style captivates me. It’s like I am there in person listening to you speak. Everything around me fades away and I’m taken to another world.

    I wish you the best of health and hope you keep on writing through your everyday struggles. I know I’m young but you already mean something to me, so if you ever need a stranger to talk to, hit me up. Best, Kelly


    • Merlin Sprague says:


      Thank you for the kind words. They are really appreciated. BUT DON”T READ Bill THE SPITTER! It’s exceptionally naughty though it’s true. The characters are from my family — a family by marriage, I hasten to add. Creatures like these could not possibly spring from the loins of any ancestor of mine.


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