Day 869: Jerks

At my appointment yesterday morning, with Dr. Estes at the Cardiac Arrhythmia Center of Boston’s Tufts Medical Center,  it became obvious that today’s post should be called “Jerks.”

That’s NOT because I think Dr. Estes is a jerk — quite the contrary. Dr. Estes is the opposite of a jerk. (Am I a jerk for not knowing the right word for opposite-of-jerk? Would you be a jerk if you knew that word and didn’t share it here with the rest of us?)

No, I realized that today’s  post should be titled “Jerks” because:

  1. I could have felt like a jerk for jerking a little with anxiety over the weekend about how swollen my new pacemaker/ defibrillator was, after my implantation surgery two weeks ago.
  2.  Dr. Estes reassured me that my knee-jerk, worst-case fear — that the implantation site was infected — was not true.
  3. I wasn’t being a complete jerk asking to be seen by him yesterday, since the site really was quite swollen.
  4. The swelling is due to the increased jerking of my arm (as I am returning to normal movements), combined with my need to be on anticoagulants because the upper part of my heart is constantly jerking with atrial fibrillation.
  5. I can feel like a jerk if (a) I bother a doctor for no reason AND (b) I don’t bother a doctor when I need to, which doesn’t leave me a lot of room to feel non-jerky.
  6. When Dr. Estes asked me to assess my return to work  (full-time, starting just one week after the surgery), I replied, “Work is great, except for the jerks.”
  7. Dr. Estes jerked a little with suppressed laughter as he gave me this medical advice in response:  “Maybe when the jerks are giving you a hard time, you can …” and he mimed grabbing the shoulder location of an implanted device and jerking with cardiac distress.
  8. When I told Dr. Estes that — ever since the May 4th surgery — my heart beating can cause  a strong jerk in my rib cage, depending upon my position, he said, “Avoid those positions.”
  9. Dr. Estes didn’t jerk with surprise or treat me like a jerk  when I  reminded him about this old joke:

Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
Doctor: Then don’t do that. 

The whole time that Dr. Estes and I  were taking about jerks, I was thinking about this Gary Larson cartoon, which I told my friend Maxine about, two days ago: 


Do you see any jerks (who make life interesting, according to that Gary Larson cartoon) in the photos I jerkily took yesterday, after my morning appointment with Dr. Estes?


Actually, I am the one being the jerk in that last photo, calling out, “Hey, Jerks!” to the supremely non-jerky Jan and Arvetta at Starbucks, just to get a good “Jerk” photo for today’s post.

Any evidence of jerks in these photos, also from yesterday?


I have a question about those last two photos. Do you think my boyfriend Michael was a jerk for leaving me a yummy meal of bluefish to microwave for supper, because he was working last night helping his brother John?

The final three “Jerk” photos from yesterday show my son Aaron rehearsing his dramatic monologue for a play audition tonight:


Aaron (right) is playing Biff Loman to Oscar’s Willy Loman, and his reading got better after he used the method of saying out loud  to himself before the monologue, “Oscar’s a jerk!”

Speaking of Aaron’s audition, he’ll be performing a punk classic about a famous jerk:

“Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads is a great try-out song for Green Day’s musical, American Idiot, don’t you think?

I’d obviously be a jerk at this point if I didn’t thank Dr. Estes, Gary Larson, Maxine,  Jan, Arvetta, Aaron, Oscar, Michael, Arthur Miller (for the play Death of a Salesman), Talking Heads, and everybody else who helped me create this jerky post, today.*

* What a jerk! I forgot to thank YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 60 Comments

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60 thoughts on “Day 869: Jerks

  1. I like how you always play with words! 🙂

    • I like when you visit! I thought perhaps I hadn’t seen you around here lately because I’d been a jerk to you, in some way.

      • Haha! 😀 “perhaps I’d been a jerk to you, in some way”- this could never happen, considering what a nice person you are (and I know this because I read your blog)… even though you don’t see evidence of me here often, I still receive your entries by email and I always read them and look at your photos! Funny… I have a tattoo on my back with writing “observer” (for various reasons I won’t dive into) but you are a wonderful observer of things, people and nature! 🙂

      • This comment makes me feel like the opposite of a jerk!!! Thank you.

  2. Antonym: saint? – Some jerk wouldn’t let me load the cartoon. I jerked off the video after one minute (I do hope you’ll allow me that one)

    • I’m such a jerk, Derrick! I published that post suspecting that the cartoon wouldn’t load. I just fixed it, though. Would I be a jerk if I asked you to look at the post again?

  3. Nah – a saint

  4. That cartoon literally made me LOL. Gary Larson always gets it right. The quote about the high road got me thinking….. is there less traffic because the world is filled with jerks that choose not to take it who would rather “fight it out” ? When it comes to calling the Doctor with concerns, there is no such thing as being a jerk IMHO- better to know for sure. I don’t want to turn into a jerk that writes a novel as a comment so I will wish you a great day here Ann!

    • You could never be a jerk, Lisa, even if you tried! Thanks so much for the comment, which had the perfect number of words.

  5. I too agree — wanting peace of mind where your heart is concerned does not make you a jerk!

    I overheard a guy in a bar over the long weekend while C.C. and I were in the mountains. he sounded quite pompous to me (I was eaves dropping) and then, I decided to quit being such a jerk and not criticize, condemn and complain about him just because I didn’t like the opinions he was sharing while I was eaves-dropping!

    It can be easy to be a jerk when I’m judging other people!

  6. For the opposite of “jerk” I prefer the term “mensch”. I’m kind of a schmuck like that, probably because when I hear “jerk” I always think of a soda jerk. Even though I was born long after the age of soda jerks had passed I still get a warm fuzzy feeling from the idea of going down to the drugstore and having a lemon phosphate. Maybe Biff and Happy would be there having chocolate malts.

    And I do see evidence of a schmuck in the picture of a truck. That looks like construction has blocked the sidewalk. Maybe that’s not the case here, but there are a lot of schmucks who do that.

    And good luck to Aaron on his audition. I’d feel like a total schlemiel if I didn’t say that.

    • I get a particularly warm and fuzzy feeling about soda jerks, Christopher, because my father had a drug store with a soda fountain and I spent a couple of summers there working as a soda jerk. Thank you for this beautifully non-jerky AND non-schmucky comment.

  7. You started my day with the beauty of humor. Thank you!

    Jerks, I met one last week while attempting to refinance my home. Condescending, lie-thru-the-teeth, arrogant and a bulldozer. But I found time to laugh, time to consider what my next step will be.

    Jerks can be good for us, we simply can’t allow them to knee-jerk us around.

    It’s like when I’m a jerk. Why am I being a jerk? Maybe if I take a deep breath and go off in a corner I can rethink my feelings, re-evaluate my emotions? Yes, put myself in a time-out! Sometimes it works, sometimes, not.

    But, sometimes the only way to deal with a jerk is to hold them accountable. This week I will do so, but I still have to investigate who should be the person best to handle the improprieties of the recent “almost” nightmare.

    I’m being a jerk by leaving out details and keeping you on edge.

    My apologies. I’ll write a post at the conclusion.

    Kisses and hugs, you lovable jerk! ❤️. Thank you for making my day brighter. 🙂

    • You are NOT being a jerk. As always, you help us with your insights, generosity, and humor. My day is definitely brighter now.

  8. As a proud former soda jerk, I object ! Just kidding. Thanks for the a.m. laughs.

    I love that your son is running lines with the cat, and that your health concerns have been lightened a bit by the Dr. visit. No jerks to be seen !! Van ☺

  9. Arvetta

    Would I be a jerk if I let this go to my head and say… I am famous now!

  10. I love the light you bring to every situation and every word! Taking a word that has a negative connotation and pointing out all of the positives is powerful. Thank you for sharing the power. Thank you for sprinkling my life with laughter. I also have to admit that Aaron (I hope that’s right) running his lines with the cat was simply awesome!

  11. I hate the same feeling a jerkness with doctors, and I know it’s something I need to get over.

  12. yeoldefoole

    One opposite for “Jerk” is “Hero”, which is so much more than just a sandwich….

  13. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah. Ah-ah-ah-ah.

    I felt like a jerk trying to create David Byrne’s pyscho sounds in his killer song, Ann.

    So much said with so little. I hope Aaron does better than I, for he’s a good one for Green Day’s musical.

    I thought your cat looked like a fish in the pre-dinner photo, and then boom, you mention seafood left by Michael. How jerky is that? Actually, is sort of swell.

    • The Jerk Store called and they had the wrong number, Mark. I am swollen with pride that a completely non-jerky person like you leaves such great comments here.

  14. Always love Gary Larson! I just think the Jerk shaker had holes that were a bit too large ….

  15. What????

  16. Now I am thinking about what the opposite of jerk is and I have no bloody idea, I do not a few jerks though just saying and some of them I am related to also

    • We all have jerks in our life AND jerk opposites (I hope). I don’t know a good term for the opposite of a jerk but I know you are one of those, Joanne.

  17. I have been a jerk and I have been jerked upon. I must say as far as jerky posts go, this is hands down the best one I have ever read. 🙂

    • Ooooooooookay that REALLY did not sound like I wanted it tooooooooo! Can I recall that comment????? Reading it afterwards put an entirely different connotation to it!

      • I LOVED your comment. Would I be a jerk if I let it stay here?

      • 😀 Not at all! It makes me laugh because I know how I meant it. But now when I read it I laugh like a 13 year old school boy on how it sounds. I suppose if someone else laughs, it’s well worth it.

      • It’s well worth it to me!

    • And thank you for EVERYTHING, supremely non-jerky ChatterMaster.

  18. Michael is a sweetheart and a mensch. Aaron is a sweetheart and a mensch. Dr. Estes is a sweetheart and a mensch. Your life is full of so many wonderful people, it’s no wonder the jerks stand out.

    I hope that the swelling around your pacemaker goes down soon. Will the fibrillation stop, or is that with you forever?

    • You’re a sweetheart and a female mensch. Like a jerk, I don’t know the right word for that, either. To answer your sweetly non-jerky question, my menschy doctors think my jerky a-fib is permanent.

  19. menschikkah? menscheleh?

    I’m very sorry to hear that your a-fib is permanent and I hope that in this one case, they are not totally right.

  20. It is understandable to worry about recent surgery and like, Ann, how “jerks” meant a few different meanings in this post! Hope you continue to feel much better and adjust to the new pacemaker. I admire how you are so open about your feelings, which can help others to see the healing and adjustment processes one must go through from this surgery, Ann. You make me feel guilty “whining” about my minot aches and pains of being a warehouse worker in an un-air-conditioned building. 🙂

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