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i am the tony stark of writers

Does YOUR heart get to have bios upgrades? I didn't think so.So, I have a pacemaker. Which, I know, just aged me by, like 30 years. And since I started at just shy of 40 anyway, I’m sure I’ve completely lost my “ladies under 30” audience altogether. And that’s a shame, because I have enormous pens.

I never get tired of that joke.

So … pacemaker. Yeah, I have one. I got it back in 2010 after someone finally realized that a resting heart rate of 30 bpm isn’t technically “normal.” Tests involving treadmills, wires taped to my body, and repeated stabbings from needles ensued. Turns out I have a heart defect that no one noticed before, and my heart was gradually slowing down to the point where I could keep a decent beat in a beatnik jazz club. They call it a “bradycardia.” 

On Monday, I went in for one of my every-six-months checkups. More treadmills and wires and stabbings, but they also roll in a little cart with a computer on it, and then lay something over my heart that looks kind of like a hockey puck attached to a wire. For the next few minutes they tinker with my ticker, running it up and down a bit, reading data, saying stuff that I’m actually not sure qualifies as real language. Then they unplug me and send me home. 

I should mention that the computer they use is old. Like, ancient. There’s something a little scary about the idea that the doohickey you rely on for life is being “fine-tuned” by a computer running Windows 2000. 

Maybe I should object more. “Get a Mac up in here or somthin’.” At least bring in Windows 7. I’d prefer adjustments to my life-sustaining-device be done with a computer that can’t be outpaced by an Android handset.

They made some adjustments and tweaks to when and how often the pacemaker kicks in and does its thing and then sent me on the way. Now, for the past four days, I’m having some trouble. For the first two days I had all the energy and motivation of a used condom. Sorry … for that image … sorry. But you totally get it now, right? Not energetic. Spent. Floppy. We move on.

I’m getting winded just getting up from my desk and walking to the restroom. Sweating a lot, too. Like bending over to tie my shoes is a major exertion now. 

So I suspect something is amiss. 

Or it could be a coincidence, because I seem to have a bit of a sinus infection. So maybe I’m not actually winding down, but instead need some vitamin C. Or maybe I just need to go all Jason Statham and clip my nipple to a car battery. “Crank 3: Sweaty Cursing.”

Anyway, in case you were wondering why I all of a sudden clammed up (by most standards) in social media and here on my external brain, now you have it. I didn’t have the heart for it. I was beat. But on the pulse side, I can still pun. Artery sorry you asked?

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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at


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