Balls Deep in Bariatric Surgery

While I know it has done wonders to improve some folks quality of life, I must say that after tonight’s consultation session at Reading Hospital, bariatric surgery is mostly a big racket. Of the hundred or so people in the room, maybe ten or fifteen were really obese enough to qualify (including myself). Mostly, the consultation was a waste of time, a waste of a trip to Reading through thirty miles of torn up highway, and a poke in the right direction.

I had been considering getting the lap-band type of surgery, which is the least invasive, and has a patient geared up to lose a pound or two a week (the other types, gastric sleeve and bypass surgery, provide a much quicker weight loss). I sat there and thought “Fuck, if I can’t do that myself by cutting out Cheetos and peanut butter sandwiches at midnight, I deserve to be slit up a fucking treat (which is what the other two types of surgery do to a person).” Also the doctor mentioned about one person whose lapband went through his stomach wall and came out his mouth. That didn’t sound too appealing.

Mind you, I have met some folks who are happy as clams with their surgery results, and more power to them! I am truly happy they got the results they wanted, and are true to themselves. I saw the results on one of Mona’s friends and it was truly amazing and inspiring.

But many people seem to go into this thinking that losing a few pounds the easy way (as opposed to dieting and exercise) is going to make them these wonderful, popular people. Sorry folks, if you’re an asshat to begin with, nine times out of ten, you’re going to be a bigger asshat as a slightly-thinner person. Consider the fact that you’re going to be on protein and vitamin supplements, among other medications, for the rest of your fucking life. That’s seems like it would be a major annoyance, and you’re gonna be taking that out on a lot of folks around you. And we won’t even get into the annoying flaps of empty, now-fatless skin that no insurance company will pay to remove.

The doctor’s spiel at the meeting, and the number of comparatively thin people there, made me realize why it takes an armload of paperwork to get insurance companies to pay for this kind of operation, even when it could seriously increase a person’s quality of life (or just keep them alive): The doctors treat it as cosmetic more than anything else. Sure, he said quite plainly that the insurance companies in this country deem weight-loss surgery as elective surgery (he did even use the term “cosmetic”). If the doctors are using it as a major profit generator (these are very short operations at about $10,000 USD each; he mentioned he had done three that morning), like face lifts or botox, yeah, the insurance companies are going to look down on that. Need bigger boobs? No problem. Need a face that makes you look like a Joan Rivers mannequin? We got you covered. Want to lose a lot of weight really quick? Buddy, you came to the right place.

The doctor and his representatives were virtually condoning insurance fraud to get the companies to pay for the procedure; you have to go through three to six months of counseling, losing weight to prove you’ve got the cojones to do it after the operation – but not TOO much weight. If you lose too much weight, you may lower your BMI too much to qualify, or the insurance companies will think you can actually do it on your own and not pay for the hack-and-slash. “Don’t lose weight too fast” the woman at the meeting said. “Lose some and then level it off.” In other words, you may have the wherewithal to lose the weight on your own, without a shiny blade being involved, but don’t do that, because then we won’t get paid you won’t get the full benefits of the procedure.

Yes, before you start leaving nasty comments, I realize that bariatric surgery IS the only option for some people. There are many legitimate conditions that preclude normal weight loss after a point. My PCP thinks I’m one of those cases, which is why he sent me there. I can’t walk more than twenty or so yards, or stand still for more than five or ten minutes, without having pains in my legs – to be honest, they feel like someone’s slicing my thighs with flaming, electrified katanas.  But I know it’s just a matter of pushing through that pain and getting more exercise and trying to eat less junk (and less of everything). It’s going to be slow at first, and it’s gonna hurt. But I also won’t be spending $10,000 (well, Medicare won’t be spending that, I should say, since apparently bariatric surgeons LOVE Medicare, as long as it’s the right one; however, they don’t like Obamacare, since none of the plans cover this type of procedure) on something that I can do without.

Beginning the first of the month, Mona and I are going to start watching what we eat a lot more closely. And I am going to start trying to exercise more. I’ve never been one to trust doctors unless absolutely necessary, since several of them have out-and-out killed members of my family, and my best friend. While my PCP certainly has my best interests at heart, I’m going to try my best to prove him wrong on this particular point.

My Writing Process Blog Tour, also known as People are Fucking Fucks.

Thanks to Greta Burroughs for inviting me to join the “My Writing Process” blog tour. If you’re not already familiar with Greta or her husband Robert, get with it, people! Greta writes the delightful Patchy and Calico series, and Robert delves into pulp action with his novels, beginning with Riders in the Wind, an excellent period piece full of Indiana Jones-type thrills! You can find both authors’ work easily on

Unfortunately, and as usual, I couldn’t find anyone to follow me on this tour thing. You’d think when you do a lot of people a lot of favors at least one of them would try to help you when you need a bit of assistance with something, no matter how lame it may be. But, apparently that’s not the case.

So rather than just toss what I wrote, I decided to post it on my own, with no affiliation with the tour. I have no idea who the hell started it anyway or under what auspices it was running. But please remember that nothing said here should be construed as being supported or endorsed by Greta or Robert Burroughs. They don’t use the word “motherfucker” nearly as much as I do.

(Honestly, I’ve never heard either one of them swear. They’re just way too nice of folks to be hanging with someone like me.)

My Writing Process

What am I working on?
Probably far too many things at once. I swear I have some sort of attention deficit disorder when it comes to writing. First off, I’ve just re-vamped, re-edited and published a print version of my Science Fiction Trivia Quiz Book, along with a new e-book version of it. And I’m finished with a more generalized quiz book, Five Star Trivia, and I’m trying to get the nuances on that one done.

I’ve got a super-hero novel in the works, as I have for the past two years, going back and forth as ideas strike me. It’ll be the first novel of a trilogy. And it will never be finished. I think that’s pretty obvious.

I’m also working on a couple of science fiction concepts, included a very eschatological one that uses the legendary Shaver Mystery as a major plot point. I’m also got the seeds for a short story collection based on the works of the dinosaur metal band Blue Oyster Cult in my head.

There’s also a compendium of facts about obscure old-time radio shows, and one on old comic book characters in the works.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, my quiz books are not the easy, multiple choice stuff that reuses the same questions and answers that everyone else does. I try to put a little thought into my questions, to make them both interesting and something you have to think about a bit. I always hope that they might inspire folks to check into some of the myriad topics I write them on.

My fiction tends to be a bit on the bizarro side, and usually quite pulpy and sci-fi laden. It’s not going to win any awards, but I hope it’ll use up a few minutes or hours for someone who reads it and they won’t wish they had those few minutes or hours back afterwards.

Why do I write what I do?
For the babes and the bucks. Seriously, I just do it because 1) it’s fun, 2) it keeps me off the street, and 3) I like showing people there are things out there beyond the pap that is being fed to them. If a question on the Mothers of Invention gets one person listening to Frank Zappa, then I’m a bigger success than Stephen King.

How does my writing process work?
I have no idea. Honestly, most of my really cool ideas come from dreams, at least for my fiction, and evil twists I think of when thinking of normal situations. If it sounds cool, I’ll write it down and hope for the best.

Reading what I wrote last week … boy, that’s kinda lame. I was trying to keep it pretty nice and neat, since Greta and Bob are nice folks and I’d hate to embarrass them. But since I’m writing this for me now and no one else, fuck it.

If you’ve got the time to worry about some “process” for your writing, you’ve got singularly weird priorities. Just fucking write, for fuck’s sake. I get distracted so easy by everything and its brother that I couldn’t follow any asshat process if I tried. It’s just one more level of pomposity and snobbishness that a lot of “writers” like to layer on themselves so the angle they look down their noses upon other non-authors is a lot more acute.

Here’s the goddamn process:

  1. Sit down.
  2. Think of an idea.
  3. Write.
  4. When you come to a point where you can’t think of something else, take a break.
  5. Repeat as necessary.

Is that so hard?


Who’s up next?

No one. It ends here like Walking Dead should have with first season. As I said before, nobody could find the time to help me with this, and I end up looking like an ass. I had the Burroughses’ drop me from their list, since couldn’t properly reciprocate and fulfill my end of the bargain.

Oh, and by the way, if you are an indie author, never EVER ask me again:

  • To join a blog hop or blog tour or whatever the fuck you want to call it.
  • If you want my opinion about whatever sort of suspected fraudulent endeavor you’ve happened upon, either read my blog or IU and hope it’s there or just click away! In fact, that’s probably the best thing you can do! It is survival of the fucking fittest in the indie world, people. And if you can’t hack it, it’s probably best if you get sheared down by the Reaper early. Please feel free to send your book to PublishAmerica and AuthorSolutions. I hear they’re just the ginchiest and do wonders for beginning authors!
  • For any help for any project you may be doing unless you are either paying or you are a VERY good friend. Already had to deal with one certifiable weasel on that account. Ho-ho-ho!

And here’s the promotional bullshit you expect with this kinda crap. Sorry. I know it’s pointless and no one ever clicks on this junk, but I’d already written this all out, and I don’t think I’ve actually promoted anything I’ve done since starting this new blog:

About Me:

Rich Meyer has written more than thirty e-books, several print books (so far), a couple of short stories, a lot of flash fiction, and is preparing a lot of things that he hopes he won’t procrastinate too long about.

Rich is a regular contributor to the self-publishing blog Indies Unlimited, as well as his own blog of reviews and strangeness. He is a volunteer for the Old Time Radio Researchers Group, and the single proudest moment of his life was getting his artwork published as part of the limited edition Charlton Arrow Trading Cards series.

Rich also runs Quantum Formatting Service, which provides independent and self-published authors with an affordable alternative for print and e-book formatting.

Rich lives with his wife Mona and a plethora of furry children in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, which is to the real world what Tatooine was to Luke Skywalker.


This Blog:

Twitter: @RichMeyer1964

Facebook page:

Quantum Formatting Service: ($40 formatting for e-books or print books)

Amazon US page:

Amazon UK page:

Resolutions? Blah. How about intentions?

Since a blog always needs a picture to draw in the readers, here’s a copy of Bob Lubbers’ cover to the first issue of The Arrow, from 1940.

Let’s face it: New Year’s resolutions rarely work. Maybe a month, six weeks, and they’re forgotten. Completely pointless until you make the same damn ones the next December 31st. And the next. And so on.

So this year I’m making some intentions; things I intend to do instead of resolving to do. Nothing to break, nothing to lose, no feeling bad, no making bearing false witness against your neighbor, no … wait, scratch that last one. That’s something else.

In 2014, I intend to:

  1. Try walking a lot more than I do. It gets very annoying getting winded from the car to the convenience store.
  2. Quit drinking any diet soda. That aspartame is friggin’ poison. Haven’t drank any in three days and I feel quite a bit better.
  3. Drink a lot more water.
  4. Write a few short stories – maybe enough for an actual collection. I sorta got inspired by my colleague Chris James and his Stories of Genesis book. Even went back and dug out my Genesis albums. I was thinking Blue Oyster Cult would be a great jumping point for mine.
  5. Write two non-fiction books. I’ve had an obscure old-time radio program book in my head for a few years, and I think I’m going to get that one out this year. And a book on hobos in comic books. Don’t ask.
  6. Read my usual amount of books. At least 200 different titles, and hopefully more.
  7. Re-read Swann’s Way. The damn thing’s been on my Kindle for four years now. Time to read it or back to the ether with you, Mr. Proust!
  8. Blog a little more often. I’m probably going to be reviewing a lot more books on my blog here, along with posting weirdness. Hopefully around three times a week, but don’t hold me to that.

And that’s it so far. Sure, not many, but why make a big ass list of things you may or may not get around to finishing?

Hope you all have a good new year! Take care and be safe!