Use With Caution While Operating Heavy Machinery and Talking

“You might have trouble sleeping”

I explained my blood-brother relationship with insomnia during the first 20 minutes of this session so I think I can manage.

“Loss of appetite is most common. You may find yourself experiencing undesired weight loss”

Can you define undesired?

“You could experience an unusual amount of irritability.”

Well, sure. If what little sleep I’m able to receive is taken away along with any inclination to satisfy a hunger that no longer exists, I might get a bit agitated.

He handed me the prescription and sent me on my way.


The first few days were kind of a blur. I was focused and motivated and found myself actually wanting to leave bed. But things took a quick turn as I realized there was one side effect he failed to mention: the incessant need to talk. To talk to another person, to my dog, to a brick wall.

I bothered my loved ones with motivational text messages about how much I admire them and I deliberately ran in front of people like a bat out of hell just so I could reach the door in time to hold it open and experience the short exchange of gratitude—which, in turn, lead to a rise in automatic door installations. The doctor had mentioned that my body would take a while to acclimate to the medicine and that I should give it a fair shot unless the adverse effects interfered with my life. While I may have been unusually friendly and supportive, my life had not yet been interrupted. But then came the day I found myself saying that I did, in fact, have a minute to talk about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

My intention was to let them know that I already identify as a Christian but it appeared as though the side effects had other plans. An increased desire to socialize somehow resulted in befriending an entire Mormon congregation. The girls left my house after two hours, promising to return in the morning with their leader—their words, not mine. And they did.

I watched the girls approach my front door with a man fashioning a brown trench coat. I answered the door and was introduced to “daddy” Thomas. The side effects kicked in again and I found myself saying something like “Why not Pastor Thomas? Isn’t “daddy” a bit familial?” To which they responded with an explanation of their tight-knit congregation and how I would be an excellent fit. Typically I’m not one to recognize a dangerous situation but I had just completed my annual re-read of Chuck Palahniuk’s Survivor. It tells the story of a failed cult mass-suicide. Those who survived began to drop like flies as if someone was cleaning up after an unplanned mess. So this guy lives in fear after discovering that he’s the lone survivor, waiting for death to knock on his door. I began to believe that death was knocking on my door.

They started to show up at my house every day for the month that followed the first encounter. I morphed into a Pavlovian dog conditioned at the sound of their unique knocking patterns to propel myself into broom closets or to drop to the ground and take off in an army crawl. They started to leave bibles and gifts and notes that exclaimed how distraught they were to have missed me again.

I guess I could have told them to stop coming around but between my passive-aggression and my irrational fear of being the star of Palahniuk’s new novel, I chose to ship myself off to school a week early and dump the burden on my family.

It turned out that these girls were not, in fact, sociopathic cult members. They were more like a real-life application of If You Give A Moose A Muffin and their visits virtually stopped after about 6 months. But, in typical life-laughing-at-the-Cotzias-family fashion, every once in a while my dad will call to inform me that my friends stopped by again, that my mom simply does not want to be a Mormon, and that my sister is two mid-day knocks away from homicide.



“Have you been experiencing any side effects?”

They’re all gone…for the most part.



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