That idea of a "Perfect Storm?" Well, it's kind of a misnomer. The notion that a bunch of circumstances that pile up on one another can end up getting George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg killed. I'm pretty sure that cooler heads would have determined this a "surefire dead heartthrob storm" upon further analysis. Because that's what these situations generally call for: further analysis.
Take for example my most recent bout with kidney stones. Though it seemed to have crept up on me from out of nowhere, I looked back over the past few weeks and did some further analysis. The first thing that occurred to me was that one of the major contributors to my somewhat chronic condition as victim of the periodic but dreaded kidney stone is soda. Pop. I had been making great, drastic strides in ridding myself from the demon Coke when my son showed up over his Christmas break. We went out to a bunch of movies. All of these required a large Coke. Or two. We also went out to get a cheeseburger or two. Or three. Not all at once, but each visit to those various cheeseburger dispensaries provided me with the chance to get yet another large Coke. And refills. That's something that these newfangled Coke-squirting machines allow us to do: Walk right up, just before heading out on the town with a great big stomach full of meat and cheese, and get yourself a top-off on that twenty ounce tub of cola that had only recently been drained the first time. Don't leave for home without it.
I didn't. I had a lot of Coke over a two week span. It eventually did that thing that massive amounts of Cola does to a person with my particular condition: it left deposits of phosphoric acid. Add to that an increased workout schedule, with all that free time I spent waiting around for my son to wake up so we could go to movies and get cheeseburgers. I didn't hydrate the way I should. That dark cloud you see on the horizon is that Perfect Storm forming.
My son packed up his car this past Sunday at noon, and by one o'clock, I had begun to feel a stabbing, burning sensation just over my left hip. He was gone, but I had this wonderful memory of all the fun we had. And Coke. The fact that I could tell the doctors and nurses to whom I got to speak to over the next couple days this rather point-to-point cause and effect tale of abuse only made the pain a little more embarrassing. Yes, I avoided the emergency room, but since I only had myself to blame, I could only shake my head. And blame Coke.
I won't say that I am going to go cold turkey on Coca-Cola. It is one of my few remaining vices, and while I audition new vices that are perhaps more friendly to my kidneys, I will look back with fondness and an appropriate amount of shame on the way I went out to the garage, found a good sized sturdy box, emptied just the right amount of gunpowder inside, and placed myself carefully upon it before I lit the match. Coke was my own petard. Boom. So I have a souvenir from all that fun and frolic, and a couple of days' bed rest to recover from it. Outside, the rain came down. The perfect storm.