Category Archives: Flashback
[My friends and I believe I met an angel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Here's the story..]
Riding the wave of musical enlightenment, I break off from my Center of the Universe clan as I proclaim in Spanish, “Necesito mear.” I need to go pee. They round the bend to find a wall to lean against while I experience the rare joy of no line for the port-o-potties!
I exit my pee terminal and find the wash stand. This is cool; a foot pump to deliver the water, a soap distributor to remain sanitized. Ahh technology! Afterwards, I open my backpack and dig for my hand lotion, the complication of darkness mixed with intoxication makes me fiend with desperation! I’m searching for this elusive bottle of lotion as I spy a group of festivalgoers carrying on in laughter and play. One of them separates from the happy herd and wanders my way. “You’re just digging away in that bag!” he notices. I give him an apprehensive look, for his hands are behind his back. The strange yet jovial man lowers his head so we’re face to face, then pronounces what he’s destined to do, “I want to give you something.” The blue eyeglasses sans lenses he’s wearing come off his face and he waves them towards me.
I smile politely and refuse, yet he’s sweetly adamant. I shake my head as I take him in: wide smile, wearing a fitted blue ball cap matching his dark blue eyes, endowed with a Bruce Campbell chin. He’s broad and tall; his body, immaculately sculpted. Holy shit, how did I not notice this dude is hot?? I smile internally at the revelation; I noticed his playful energy before I let the superficial influence me.
“Sweetie, I don’t want your glasses,” I insist.
He gestures towards me, “Take them!”
“But I already have glasses.”
“You’ll look great in them.”
“But I need glasses to see,” I explain, “there’s no lenses; how am I gonna see?”
I make a smug face. Logic trumps all.
He’s wearing the saddest look of dejection! Aww dammit, I kick myself internally, I did that thing again where I say something that makes sense to me, but comes off dickish to them. Puppy eyed, tail tucked, he starts backstepping towards his friends.
Now I realize I’m an asshole. “Come here,” I sigh, widening my arms, waving my hands to encourage him back so I can deliver an apologetic hug. “Come, come.” He smiles then wraps big arms around me, and I feel quite possibly the most purest of authentic happiness pierce my cynical skin and invade my corroded heart. We rock in this embrace. I tighten my hold as if we’ve known each other for decades.
As we pull apart, I find his face once again restored to that playful cherub. He reaches out his hand.
I extend my hand to flatten against his.
“Now stick out your thumb,” he instructs.
I flare my five so that my thumb sticks out. He does the same. “Now bring it in,” he instructs. I wrap my thumb around his hand and he does the same. He brings his face close to mine. “Hand hug.”
I smile. He smiles.
“Pay it forward.”
Tears fill my eyes as I nod, “I will.”
Even though I was standing and he was sitting, Billy towered over me by another foot. Billy’s huge, like, HUGE, with a thick neck, broad shoulders, and tree trunks as thighs. At one point in our boisterous conversation, Billy reached out for a pound, and as I served it back, my four knuckles rested against his first two. Big boy, that Billy.
We’re jawin’ on about whatnot and whatever when suddenly, Billy’s right leg swings up swiftly, his knee level to my chest, and I, out of instinct, hop back into a fight stance and lift my arms to block what seems to be a right knee to my face.
Billy doesn’t break a beat in his story as the battering ram is returned to a relaxed pose. I’m now in fight mode, but not sure why.
“Billy! What the fuck was that??”
“Oh my leg? Oh it does that.”
“Yeah, it’s like a nervous twitch or something.”
“Nervous twitch?? Billy, I thought you were gonna knee me in the face!”
“Really? No, I wouldn’t do that.”
I relax my balled fists and loosen my stance. I exhale deeply, hoping I didn’t leak out too much adrenaline. “Billy, I was gonna hit you.”
Billy slumps his shoulders and closes his eyes. “It’s okay. You can hit me.” He straightens his spine, rests his hands on his thighs, and just waits, in a knowing fashion, in a this-happens-all-the-time fashion. I’m bewildered. He doesn’t move. “Go ahead, hit me.”
Flummoxed, I look to his brethren at his right, who says, “That’s just Billy.”
Billy awaits his bludgeoning, a willing receptor for my left hook. And I thought I was insane!
“Billy,” I place a soft hand on his left shoulder, encouraging his eyes to open and look at me, “I don’t want to strike you, Billy.”
“It’s okay if you want to.”
“Thank you for the invitation, but no, I don’t want to hit you.”
Billy shifts in his seat, back into his relaxed pose, and offers sweetly, “But just so you know, if you wanna hit me, you can hit me.”
I am simultaneously touched and freaked out by his gentlemanly invitation for assault. I sit back down, where the girls are talking, and continue eating sushi.
This morning’s dream I was revisiting one of the locations where I was sourcing data for my Penn State University graduate research. What played back was the moment I visited with an informant, an octogenarian, a lifetime resident of the town, and his face when I entered his living room. He was standing, but you could tell it was difficult for him to remain standing, so I insisted we sit after he clasped my hand in greeting. You could tell his wife at this stage in their marriage had succumbed to full-time care-taking, as she shook her head at him and told him to stop staring. But his face, dear reader, it was the most awesome face I’ve ever observed! His blue eyes were wide and brilliant, the lines around them were lifted, his smile was half mooned and fixed in awe. Although his skin was liver splotched and Northern Tier pale, there was a glow. I’ve never experienced such genuine appreciation for my presence, and I doubt I ever will again. The glow, his glow, was what woke me up this morning, necessary after quite a tumultuous week.
So I was motivated to look up Ye Olde Thesis, the first work I published as an adult. Mom has a hardback copy, the other, for whatever reason, my ex insisted on keeping. But it is a public work, and accessible on the Webby Web, and if you are in need of a Dostoevsky-esque work to help you get to sleep, feel free to download: https://etda.libraries.psu.edu/paper/8320/
Appendix C has all the phenomenological aspects of my research experience, but my fave part is the thesis conclusion. I’ve cut and pasted it for you here, and bear in mind, this was my mindset seven years ago as of this post. My writing style is much sharper and I’m less idealistic, but the question, Can communication technology bring communities together? is still very much fresh in my mind:
I don’t consider this research as “work”. It is and ultimately this is merely
data collection. But for me, this thesis is insight to the rural way of life, the
culture of PA and an overall validation that I’m doing my part to positively
contribute to a rural dweller’s well-being.
I kept a thesis journal the entire time at Penn State University. When it
came time to prepare this reflection, I sat and read all my entries. It was
humorous and insightful and depressing all at the same time. I found the entry
that described this idea about communication technology and its impact on
society. To read it now after the research experience is humbling. Where my
mind was at then and where my mind is now is the same, except now I can run
my mouth and use science to back it up!
I close this thesis with the actual journal
May 20, 2007: Discovery. I haven’t really accomplished a damn
thing in the realm of this MS other than realizing how frightened I
am of people that are genuinely smarter than me. As much as I
avoid competition I find that it’s essential in order to get things
done around here.
I’ve whined and moped enough. Feigned interest and appreciation
enough. There’s plenty of people leaving this institution that truly
deserve the degrees they are awarded. I, on the other hand, am
sitting here waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Let’s face it: the two things you are good at is 1) telling people what
to do and 2) running your mouth as if you know what you’re talking
about. How transparent do you want to continue to be?
What do I like? I like the way I was raised; amongst different
groups of people within a very isolated community. I like to
interface with people, and I seek out those that have something
strikingly different about them. I like to fix things and situations
because I tend to be the one in the room least likely to panic. I want
to help. I always want to help, to the point where I sacrifice my
efforts for the greater good.
I’m a fan of technology related to communication. The Internet,
cell phones, GPS, GIS; it’s all useful. I don’t care to know how it
works; not anymore anyways. But I have this notion that of all
technological advancements afforded to us, communication
technology has helped a good majority of us to connect with one
So can communication technology bring communities together? I
think of how I grew up on base and had to correspond via letters
and anxiously wait for a response. I listened to local radio stations
and we watched European and AFN channels on TV. Now, with the
advancements in technology, the means of communicating have
garnered a quicker response time and have brought separated lives
much more closer [sic], even if in all dimensions except physical.
I figure that I’ve learned more about rural communities to respect
them and to certify that these areas are enriched by many aspects.
I think by investing in rural communities, by making communication
technology more assessable, community and economic growth can
But of course, what is most cherished about these neighborhoods is
that there is low reliance on mechanisms that speed processes
along. Even in that one reading where the guy had to invest in
another phone line since his ordering system was upgraded by his
distributor, people are really ambivalent of investing in anything
that changes their way of life. So how do you “sell” communication
technology in a tradition-heavy, low maintenance community? Will
the investments benefit a few? How will local government and
businesses assist in this investment? What would it do to a
I feel that collaboration has proved in many dimensions the
capability of people to change for the greater good. I think people
that dwell in rural areas are afraid of what they do not know, and
naturally shy away from strange technology. We also are
experiencing a population aging and thus contributing to the local
economy by lesser and lesser means.
Communities that have similar issues but are only limited by
distance can develop a grass-roots e-organization with the ability to
talk to each other on how to manage similar problems. I think
about the distances that female Australian farmers travel just so
they can carry dialogue and not feel so alone in the world given
their regional isolation. We need to know that we aren’t alone in
this big world. We can shatter barriers by promoting dialogue
across shoulders without the stigmas of physical features. And I
think when people are given an opportunity to learn from one
another without working thru a middle man (like extension offices
or government agencies) we feel a sense of empowerment and
capability. And from there, anything seems possible. And
communication tools like the Internet can help.
That sounds about right. –IMES
As in ‘go’, as in ‘green light’…clean ups on every page. Especially check out my I Blew Up Juarez tab…did I answer your questions satisfactorily? Think I covered ‘what is the book about?’ and ‘where can I find it?’ as succinctly as possible. And please do Like the page, but only if you mean it ;)
You know how you look at a thing too long you don’t know if you’re done? I’ve updated two of my Pages, “All About Von” and “Make Contact”. Well if you could just dance through those, offer edits where necessary, so I can stop looking at this, I’d really appreciate it!
Going to walk away and shower while you do that. Maybe eat lunch. Yeah, lunch…
SUMMER IS HERE!
Which means more skin, more outdoor activities, and more bad decisions!
I’m gonna pull random make-out sessions. Think of a drive-by shooting, but instead of filling you with bullets, I’m just gonna grab your face and fill it with my tongue!
1) Ayn Rand said so, and The Ultimate Warrior backed it up. On Objectivism, my favorite wrestler defined (source OpenCulture): “In essence, a concept where man is a heroic being, and his life is an end in itself, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” In quick, text-able interpretation: I’ma get mine.
2) Time’s too short, baby. Guys have zero game, terrible conversation skills, and they wouldn’t recognize an open if a neon blinking arrow was hanging over my head.
2) It’s the closest they’ll get to live porn. American males acquired their sexual “technique” from watching hours upon hours of porn, so they expect a woman to put her mouth on his body part within 8 seconds of meeting. Holding a pizza pie would be a bonus.
“The Random” does present its challenges. These are the ones I’m wary of:
1) Smokers. Everybody smokes. EVERY. BODY. SMOKES. And not good tobacco…CIGARETTES. Have you ever kissed a person who smokes cigarettes? It’s like licking the bottom of your mom’s kitchen garbage pail she’s been using to throw away YOUR diapers. Blech! So if I see a guy I wanna Random, I gotta check for box-shaped bulges on his person, as well as how frequently he steps outside the venue.
2) Girlfriends/Wives. There is an innocent way to pull a Random on a married or committed guy; make out with the chick immediately afterward! Then they’ll both be alright with it. Unless the G/W is a Smoker, then it’s a sacrifice for the payload. But then you gotta consider…
3) Insecure Girlfriends/Wives. Is she a human blood pressure cuff, darting evil eyes at every passing uterus? Is she constantly reading over his shoulder or trying to take away his phone? Is she pounding down the brown liquors? These situations make for primo Random targets, especially if he’s sexy and visibly annoyed with her. If all relays signal a go, then the moment she takes off to the restroom, I enact OPP, just like Naughty By Nature taught me.
There’s special considerations, but they require closer proximity, thereby cancelling the drive-by effect of The Random:
1) Lip Condition. My first beyond-eww-groadie-and-now-liking-the boys kiss was terrible. His full, rosy lips were chapped along the bottom, and although he was measured and passionate in delivery, all I could feel was my face being sanded down to a pale sheen. Since then, I’m very aware of a man’s mouth. First his dickprint, then his mouth.
2) Height-distance ratio. The key to a successful Random is to be able to run up, get my arms around his neck, and pull him close in one clean move, increasingly difficult if he clears a full foot or beyond. Failure to be smooth means he is calling the police and charging me with assault. So be courteous if you’re 5′ 11″ and over and position yourself near a chair, or even better, a set of stairs.
NOW LET THE GAMES BEGIN.
UPDATED 05.19.14: Here’s my reaction to Sandy Henry’s challenge…enjoy!The air is thin where you are and yet I gasp for air grasp at stones climb higher ever higher to wheeze in a forever moment. You aloft in Prakriti laughing with your fellow demigods and yet I can see you there which means I can be there too. But how? But how? The climb up Babel has left me dizzy my heart lub dubs slower my skin blues with the surrounding sky. Oh let us know one another sweet lord You can walk in my space but I can’t seem to walk in yours what to drink? what to take? to transcend from this fake reality and join us for eternity? I know. I feel I know. Let the last bit of air leave me So I can finally breathe. -Von Simeon
Sandy Henry created this poem and performed it at a recent event. She then posed the challenge of creating a work, any kind of work, in reaction to her poem. I’m up for the challenge; how about you?
I’m gonna do a creative reaction and post it Sunday evening. Whatever you decide to do – photo, poem, prose, song, freestyle – send me a link to it. You can post it on your blog, just make sure to give me a touchback. ;) Sandy is looking forward to our activity.
Bear was born on May 28, 1998 in Dallas, Texas, the son of an AKC champion American Cocker Spaniel. Larger than regulation, Bear was given as a companion to the champion’s owner’s father. Over time, the senior member of the family succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease, and the family, unable to keep up with his obligations, sent Bear to the Cocker Spaniel Rescue Society of Austin. His age, along with his obesity due to overfeeding, made it difficult to get Bear adopted. He also refused to come out of his kennel on show days, so the volunteers concentrated on their other rescue dogs.
On January 2003, Bear discovered his future companion at a Rescue Society adoption day. That fateful afternoon, Bear left his kennel and approached a small, chubby woman sitting on the floor, sniffed her hands and leaned his head on her lap. The volunteers, amid gasps of bewilderment, signed her up for a home inspection and a background check. Clearing both, Bear came to live with Ivonne and earned the additional name, Cleophus, “the wise.”
A month later, Bear traveled to Florida to start a new life in North Tampa. He excelled in strutting, playing adorable, and begging for food. Bear was not a dog at all, but a very vain small humanoid trapped in a canine body. He was an excellent party host, and an aficionado of wines, reds in particular, and was no stranger to vodka. Bear Cleophus also enjoyed the occasional weed “shotty” up the snout, making him giddy and goofy to the entertainment of all.
Bear did have his doggie duties. His expertise was in scrutinizing male suitors as they entered the home. If he liked the man, Bear would play with him. If he didn’t, he’d create a ring of judgement by neatly laying biled excrement in a perfect circle on the floor, ideally near the failed man’s property.
He was a master of deception, owning a loud, guttural bark for a medium-sized dog, and used it to keep the unwanted at bay.
Another of Bear’s duties was playing the proverbial sidekick, the Tonto to Ivonne’s Lone Ranger. In 2004, Bear traveled from Tampa to Long Island, New York in the back of a Honda CRV to keep his familiar company on her first Atlantic Coast drive. Noticing she had stopped at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, scared witless to proceed forward, Bear Cleophus climbed to the front of the SUV, sat in the passenger seat facing forward, and told her, “You got this.” He encouraged her to crank up the volume on the album “The Wall” by Pink Floyd, and sat with her as she went under and above the water. From that moment on, Bear always rode shotgun.
Bear Cleophus was also an academic. He attended Penn State University with his companion from 2006 to 2008. Ever the vainglorious daemon, Bear would pick up hot chicks and dudes as Ivonne studied on the steps of Old Main. Bear spent countless hours in the AERS lab as his companion entered sheets upon sheets of primary-sourced data for her thesis. He had his own cushion by her office desk in 311 Armsby, and became a de facto mascot, boosting morale for all the economists, demographers, and community builders in the program. Upon graduation day, Bear Cleophus received a silver dog tag with a lion paw and the school’s name emblazoned across, making him Bear Cleophus, Master of Science.
As evidenced, Bear and Ivonne were inseparable. There was only one moment in time they were not allowed together. For eight agonizing months, the demonstrably fickle ex-husband refused to let Bear live with his “mother,” and it took mediation and separation of assets to allow Bear into her custody. Soon after the divorce was finalized, Bear returned with his companion to Florida, this time, to Saint Petersburg, to turn a story idea about a mercenary with superhuman powers into a novel.
Bear Cleophus aged seemingly overnight, losing his vision and hearing rapidly, and in response, Roberto Tiberius was brought to Saint Petersburg in 2012 to fill in on guard duties. Bear’s final road trip was to Tarpon Springs in January 2013 to experience the Epiphany tradition of diving for the cross. Bear held Death at bay, wanting to ensure the manuscript was delivered to the publisher, wanting to celebrate one more birthday. Blind, deaf, weak-limbed, exhausting cold air, his companion had to tell him, “Whatever you’re holding onto, it’s okay to let go. I’m going to miss you. I’m going to be fine.” The next day, May 9th, 2013, a beautiful sunny afternoon, Bear Cleophus let go.
Bear’s contribution to this existence is immortalized in Ivonne’s novel, “Dedicated to Bear Cleophus Espada (May 1998 – May 2013), the little black dog who told me to write this story.”
[NOTE: Last month I lost followers after posting about a truly difficult moment regarding my violent behavior. This is MY blog, and I use it to convey whatever I want, artistically or otherwise. Those of you who judge me for being truthful about my life, please keep it moving. I don't want to hear from you. Those of you who stayed with me after my voluntary incarceration, you're the absolute best.
It's been a month. Thought you might wanna know what's been going on....]
Instead of crying tears of authentic joy on April 4th, I was indifferent.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I, the persuasive post-er, launched my first novel with the most fanfare one could exert across a keyboard, ladling out statements of aggrandized praise and achievement. Waves of kudos and congrats soon followed, and yet, I was still frowny face. I didn’t want to be, but two weeks had already passed. In two weeks, the anti-depressants will kick in fully, the pharmacist had explained. Thus, the stoicism.
As I separated into wash piles what seemed to be a lifetime of laundry, I shuddered at the sight of my “prison clothes,” the sweat pants and hooded sweater they gave me to wear, strings removed. They were assigned with slide-on slippers, the kind you use to shower in communal bathrooms, to replace my boots, because they had laces. Since I had been admitted as a possible suicide, they couldn’t let me wear my boots.
They used to be my favorite pair of shoes, but I haven’t worn them since I got out.
After my release, there were several phone calls and text messages to return; confused family members, friends wondering why I didn’t show to places, even got some random contacts that were luckily ill-timed. My writing partner was the first person I visited, the first person I could get a hug from. My emergency contact, she shared she called the unit, but no one spoke when the line was picked up. I said, “Must’ve been one of the schizophrenics.” She laughed, thinking I was joking. She made a quip about it becoming a zombie quarantine due to the lockdown. How sweet, I thought, she can find the humor in it. Only then could I loosen up. Laughing with Marie helped me actualize the terror was over.
Many people romance violence, meaning, they fantasize about physically harming people, creating wounds, causing the sounds of pain to emit from scared victims. Realistically they couldn’t push a shopping cart into someone by accident without feeling guilty for it. Let me be the first to tell you, if this is still your frame of mind, it’s not cool AT ALL to lose control of your person, to become a beast, exact brutality, and not even know you’re doing it. Play all the RPGs you want, cosplay with plastic weapons, enjoy that level of innocence. But by all means, don’t sit there and think those of us dealing with mania are having a gay ol’ time. Every day is a threat, every situation an opportunity to relapse. What you’ll learn, if you pay attention to manic people, is there’s no definite marker, no clear trigger, that universally makes us hit that switch. Every diagnosis is unique, every condition based on history, environment, and biology. This is why blindly diagnosing people with PTSD then wiping our hands of them is not a wise solution. Think of all the shootings that have occurred in the United States since 2009, all attributed to people with PTSD. PTSD and what else? That blanket diagnosis does absolutely nothing, especially for those who have “tasted blood.”
Again, not one to woo-woo-woo whenever I’m in a difficult spot; after all, this has been my ‘dirty little secret’ since I was 12 years old. However, in the follow up assessment and intake at my new mental health services facility, it was apparent that I had kept TOO much to myself, and not having a trustworthy inner circle was a detriment to my good humor. To test the waters, I invited my friends to the April 9th book launch, with the idea to tell them that night what was really going on with me (I had left it as, I was in the hospital). I didn’t get to it because -surprise- people wanted to buy books after the reading, so I rescheduled a date to see them, intending to tell them the truth. It turned out that one of my friends had also been in a crit unit, not in Florida, but when she shared her experience, I felt simultaneously less embarrassed and not alone.
Not to discount those of you and others who, when I mentioned my setback, expressed sadness and concern. That’s good, that means at minimum you care about me. I began to feel a bit embarrassed because people were reaching out, continuously expressing, “I wanted to do something. I didn’t know what I could do.” I felt I had disappointed you somehow. When people were electronically reaching out, I was like, damn, look, it happened, just because you aren’t physically here doesn’t mean you’re NOT here for me. Does that make sense? As in, my awareness of our friendship/connection despite spatial parameters is uplifting enough. So yeah, you did your part. You reached out to me. Thank you. You may chill now. :)
Unfortunately it took a rage-out to bring to light I don’t have a 100% handle on my ‘situation.’ I did very well living the ascetic lifestyle these past three years, but the darkness began to ooze from that terrifying inner place about November 2013, and it had solidly formed by February going into March of this year. When I converted to asceticism (also referred to in some Eastern philosophies as The Warrior Way) I abstained from alcohol, weed, tobacco, sex of any kind, and music for a full year’s time. In the meantime, I took down the mental dam I had on my creative side of the brain and just unleashed the emotions and egocentrism for hours, days, on end. While I had done a great job of severe self-discipline, I never addressed my life-long emotional instability and violent conditioning. Since I’m still entertaining the thought of exacting harm, this is a good time to put everything on the table.
I have a therapist now, I get to talk to him about everything I’ve held in and held secret for others all these years. This makes me laugh remembering, during our initial meeting, I had asked him to review what the limits of confidentiality were, because while I do want to share things, I don’t want to go to jail upon sharing them, nawmsayin? This is a valid question to ask folks; don’t enter into a soliloquy in front of someone who can testify against you in court. ;)
I also got my first psychiatric evaluation. I’ll be turning 37 next Monday…this is the first time in my life, including childhood, that I’ve comprehensively detailed to one person all that has gone on of which leads to today’s unpredictability. During this evaluation, I admitted how the anti-depressants were taking away from me feeling positive emotions, so I got switched to a mood stabilizer. Within four days, we should know how my system takes it. *sigh* I’ve always had a Herculean attitude towards medicine (“I’ll bleed out before I ask for a Vicodin!”) but it’s time to throw in that badassery towel. If this is what it takes, this is what it takes. The only alternative is a knife in the chest, right?
My friend Hailey Burke wrote “Up The Downward Spiral,” an e-book she self-published in 2013 and I recently finished reading. It’s her voice and her confessions of her tumultuous youth. Upon reading it I was reminded we all have pain and setbacks and regrets and guilts and not one of us has the right to say his is worse off than mine and vice versa, for it’s an individual experience, framed for a certain existence. I know if you’ve read this far, you’re not one of the ones judging me for my disorder, but there are so many people out there that do. The case worker who suggested I faked my manic episode so I could get more disability pay, the psychiatrist who transferred me to high profile for being ‘uncooperative’ (he smelled awful and I covered my face while I spoke to him), the shortsighted pacifist who immediately ranted about the consequences of war, assuming I was a former servicewoman. People are quick to judge, and lax to ask. Just ask. Start by asking.
I thought I’d have this summer to travel and promote my book, but now I realize I need this time to pay for medical expenses. So I’ll do what I can with the strengths I have, and hopefully this new medicinal regiment will provide me something I’ve never had, which is a stable and positive mood. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll have a hard time continuing to write dark comedies, thrillers, terror and war stories because I have puh-len-teee of material to go on. It would be cool, though, to be genuinely elated when the NEXT book is published.
How’s that kitty-in-a-tree poster in every waiting room go…? “Hang in there.”