… on a migraine, uber villains, and shakespeare


I bet you can’t tell, but this is a doctored image. I stole the Jaws part from the Internet. I already had Marshal Dillon Dingle chasing Blaze in my files. In the interest of full disclosure, neither German Shepherd had a migraine when I took their picture.

I only put “Shakespeare” up in the title for literary appeal. I can’t come up with a snappier title today because I have a migraine. I actually have the remnants of a migraine. I woke up with one…or maybe I should more clearly describe it. I did not technically wake up with one.

A migraine kept me awake all night.

It is such a bizarre thing, a migraine. Everyone seems to experience them differently. Sure, you can compare the pain in your cranium, eye socket, neck (and, sometimes I’m fairly certain I can feel the pain in my scapula. No. Not really. I just wanted to say ‘scapula’ because I never used it in a post before), but when you ask for specifics, people describe all kinds of personal migraine happenings and that is amazing to me.

I see migraines the way that Robert De Niro, in the movie Backdraft, playing an arson investigator with the supposed-to-be-ominous name of ‘Shadow’ describes fire: “It’s a living thing, Brian. It breathes, it eats, and it hates. The only way to beat it is to think like it.”

This probably only has significance to you if your name is ‘Brian’.

But if you pretend your name is Brian for a minute, and you have ever had a migraine then you might be able to empathize with me. These suckers take on a life of their own and it’s easy to see them as living beings that try to take over, like, everything. And they are bullies too, don’t you forget it. And with all the attention and press devoted to bullying of late you would think there would be laws against migraines by now. I mean, if you are the parent of a school-aged child, you could probably save a lot of money and wallpaper your child’s entire bedroom with the 2,135 bullying notices you have pulled from your child’s backpack this month alone.

I did.

No, not really. That would be giving the truth scope and I don’t do that.

Anyway, I don’t have a lot of time because my migraine isn’t all the way gone and the computer screen glow could bring it back. Plus I can’t really see the screen with these sunglasses on so Lord knows what I’m writing. Also, the neurological fiasco that my brain becomes post migraine means all bets are off.  In fact, I could take these sunglasses off and realize that I’ve got a novel so potent in its messaging that NASA could decide to include it in its next payload into outer space.


That would require a space program.

And probably an operational government.

That’s fine. It’s just as likely that this turns out not to be an influential novel and is instead a badly remembered chocolate chip cookie recipe that will actually yield a nice wad of Flubber.

You never know.

My friend Kim once told me that I should use visualization to make my migraines go away. Kim is all meditate-ish and ethereal-like and suggests things like this a lot (even though she knows me well).  She said I should imagine my migraine as an object, and visualize it floating out of and away from my body. Or even just visualize it getting smaller and smaller and disappearing.  Which I maybe would have done. But the only thing I could visualize were lightning bolts plunging into my eyes.

And lightning bolts are traditionally unruly and don’t remind me at all of nice, calm floating objects leaving my body. Plus they are usually followed by thunder. So the likelihood that I could imagine the dagger-like lightning bolts becoming smaller and smaller and disappearing was nearly impossible because all I was able to hear was thunder and it was distracting.

Either way, I have to come up with a way to focus so that I can battle my migraines with some effectiveness, and hopefully a feeling of “Take that you suckah!” success. If I can just get my mind around a good idea, I could…


I’ve got it.

What if I name my migraines? Like, after people I hate. This will give me some focus, I think.

What about Ashley Wilkes?

I mean, can you even conceive of a more irritating character? Seriously, what Scarlett O’Hara ever saw in him, I will never know.

Naw, I just can’t get amped up enough about Ashley Wilkes to want him to, you know, die in a hole (which is what I want my migraines to do).

Now wait a minute…

I did feel that way about the shark from Jaws.

I hated the shark from Jaws.

All those victims….Chrissy the innocent nude swimmer, Ben Gardner (“Hey, that’s Ben Gardner’s boat!”), Quint…Oh! And Pippin the black lab.

I love black labs.

Now I hate that shark even more.

Plus if I name my next migraine, ‘The Shark from Jaws’ (which sounds better than ‘Bruce’, which I guess was the name Spielberg gave to the mechanical shark, but ‘Bruce’ doesn’t really carry with it the villainous heft that I want for my nemesis), I can imagine me working my way toward its inevitable end (with a trusty Richard Dreyfus by my side). And as I battle forward, and finally get the Shark from Jaws (ne, my migraine) right where I want him, I can imagine myself saying – in a fantastically confident voice because my migraine has a potentially explosive oxygen tank in its mouth and I have a rifle as I balance precariously from the mast of my quickly sinking boat – “Smile you son of a bi…”


Migraine gone.

Blown to smithereens.

I don’t even mind the mental images of floating fish guts.

I hate migraines that much.

I am totally down with visualizing if I don’t have to pick nice, calming scenarios though. Just like with the Shark from Jaws, I could have a list of scenarios where I name my migraine based on movie villains. I would choose movies that have a totally rockin’ line that I can say to my migraine, right before I – choose one – toss it off a building, blow it out an airshaft, watch it writhe in agony in molten metal… you get the gist.


Oh, I’m sorry. Let me give you some context:

If I named my migraine, “Queen Alien” after the Queen Alien in Aliens, I could go all Sigourney Weaver tough on my migraine and I would get to use the line, “Get away from her you BITCH!” But I would say ‘me’ instead of ‘her’ because otherwise I would be talking about myself in the third person, and that’s just wHierd.

Or if I named my migraine “T1000” after the Terminator from T2: Judgement Day, then I can be all Sarah Connor and the Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator that future John Connor sends back. Together, we could battle my mercurial migraine back and, with a hearty, “Hasta la vista, baby!” watch it perish after morphing into all the characters it had pretended to be since its inception (how fun!).

oh. OH! I could name my migraine “Hans Gruber” after the bad guy in Die Hard, I get to say, “Yippee ki yay mother….” on second thought, no that’s not what is said by John McClane at the end when Hans falls from the Nakatomi Plaza building. He actually says, “Happy Trails, Hans.” Which is better, and not nearly as offensive. So I will say that to my migraine named ‘Hans” before I unhook my watch (the one my migraine is holding onto) and he will plunge 30 stories to his death.

In my visualization of course.

I’m actually starting to like this idea of visualization.

I hope I remember this the next time I get a migraine.

Maybe I should make some signs that describe my ideas and put them all around my house.

Don’t laugh, because migraines make your brain all bizarre and fuzzy, sometimes for days afterward. My nearly perfect husband knows, for instance, that my word recall will not be as….uh…….what’s the thingie…. I dunno. It just won’t be the way it should be for a few days. Which is fine because that’s what Google is for.

Thank God I decided to be a writer in this day and age, as word recall isn’t a major inhibitor. Can you imagine if Shakespeare suffered from migraines. He would have been totally screwed.

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks. It is the…place in the sky where the sun comes up…..and Juliet is the sun.


Totally screwed.

Oh my Gosh, did you see that?! I just totally made the title of this column make sense because now ‘Shakespeare’ is woven in. I’m psyched!

Anyway, I should probably head out before the haze fully sets in and driving becomes challenging.

Oh, this is my house?

That’s so wHierd. I thought we were at yours this entire time.

That’s why I was being so polite and not talking with food in my mouth.

Okay, get out of my house.

Thanks for readin’.