Monday, January 5, 2009

Letter to Mom (Or, On Tests and Palimpsests)


I suck at timed examinations, always have. Written, multiple choice, oral, aural, rectal, you name it. I suck at all of them. I’ve often wondered why this is. Am I slow? Perhaps. Did I not have proper training as a kid? Possibly. An inevitable side-effect of racial miscegenation (you being Armenian and Dad being Scotch-Irish)? Could be. Performance anxiety? Could be a bit of that, too. (As a kid, you'll remember, I used to blank out at piano recitals.) Or is it that my brain, like history, is a thick palimpsest made up of so many layers of recorded and half-recorded events and sensations and thoughts, and of the subsequent accumulation of memories of those events, sensations and thoughts, that to dredge up the information needed to answer a question like

would require far more time than the darkly hooded testgivers would ever allow? Would that this were the case. Still, it makes for a good excuse, so I think I’ll use it if I fail my exam this month.

Your filial son,


Anonymous said...


Maybe the reason you suck at tests is due to your low level of cultural literacy.


Anonymous said...

Hey Ryan...

Please move back to So Cal. It would be like winning the lottery for me. I need a good old/new friend to spice up my life. We could run across freeways and I could help you take furniture from dumpsters like the good old days. I could create a haven for you next time you steal beer from the liquor store. Plus you can remind me that I am becoming grotesquely fat and force me to run or play tennis like before.

I do still have the nudie photos. I don't really look like that anymore...sniff you have them or you need them sent to you?

Remember when we made out?

And whatever happened to gay Todd?


Anonymous said...

My dear Ryan,

Hi honey and a Happy New Year! I tried calling twice tonight- so I will just write what I wanted to talk to you about. As I mentioned in my previous email, Brett has been diagnosed with copper toxicity. Normal level is 2.5, Brett's is 16.7. The toxicity is in the liver and the brain. Left untreated it leads to liver failure and schizophrenia (sp). This explains sooooo much about his drug use- always just trying to feel normal. He is on a very strict regiment of minerals and specific diet, we see the nutritionist about every 3 days.

Today his regular MD, Dr. Som, when finding out about all of this, said that he needs to be tested for Wilson's disease (which is simply copper toxicity because of heredity component). After he is tested, if it is Wilson's disease, then you will have to have your copper levels tested with an analysis of a hair sample. It is premature right now, but I just wanted to explain it all to you.

Brett is responding well to his treatment. The goal is to lower the copper levels in his liver, and get rid of it in his brain. When the liver can no longer store the copper, it stores it in the brain, which then causes phychiatric problems. So all these years of drug abuse, he has been trying to mask all of this. Your brother was not trying to be a shithead---- oh my God.

I guess we are just a bunch of mutants in this family, between my Chiari and now this. If Brett does not have Wilson's disease, then it just means that his body is copper toxic without a hereditary component.

On January 15, he goes to court for a probation revocation hearing. If they revoc his probation-then he will go to prison for 8 months because of one failed test for marijuana since he completed rehab. We are going to try to get them to reinstate his probation so he can continue his health regiment to lower his copper-it is all very stressful. But I can't imagine the judge sending him to prison if she understands his diagnosis.

Anyway-How are you and Hisae? Have you been to anymore protests? It showed the Japanese protesting on CNN a few days ago. Just be careful, the world has gone nuts.

I miss you and love you, mom