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Life: The Rest Of Our Lives

Posted in 104, awesomeness, blame society, life, work on March 6th, 2014 by Hannibal Tabu

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Recently I left my job of five and a half years as a web drone for a major integrated managed care organization (MIMCO). I’d been miserable for more than a year and a half, thanks to being “reorganized” under the command of someone who (in retrospect it seems) didn’t like me from the moment we met. Aside from the financial stability for my family, I tried to stay in position due to the health insurance that was provided (also, ironically, serviced by MIMCO), which I felt was necessary for a nagging cardiac issue I developed (coincidentally) in the last year.

Under doctor’s orders, I was taking “beta blockers” to regulate the beating of my heart, and the cardiologists hoped that given time my heart would simply heal itself. My lifestyle choices and diet were not at fault (“You didn’t do this to yourself,” one doctor told me point blank), as I have crystal clear arteries, decent cholesterol and all other indicators of sturdy health. I have up fried foods some years ago, I try to exercise, I even got a horrifying prostate exam. I’m playing by the rules. One teensy wall of my cardiac organ was not performing as it should, so care had to be taken.

As my health insurance coverage was about to expire, my cardiologist believed that I may be ready to stop taking the medicine. The cynic in me wondered if losing coverage had anything to do with this, as an untimely demise would work in the best interests for everybody at MIMCO. Nonetheless, an echocardiogram showed that my heart was operating as it should and therefore I was no longer required to relentlessly follow the rather laissez-faire course of treatment prescribed for me.

So, in either a wonderful display of serendipity or a cynical attempt at murder (I’m choosing to believe the former), I now have a clean bill of health and am drug free once again. Sure, I suppose I now have a “pre-existing condition,” but that won’t be an issue in getting future coverage (thanks, Obama!) and for the foreseeable future, I am “okay.”

In a word, “yay!”

For this to happen as I am seeing the release of my debut comic book, announcing my new project and enjoying some favorable media scrutiny, I consider an enormous blessing. I also do connect my liberation from a frankly oppressive situation connected with my improved health. I am happy to (finally) share this news with you (as honestly it happened on Monday and i was too busy to get to telling you all until today).

I’m still keeping the last of the pills, though.

Just in case …

Playing (Music): “Happy” by Pharrell

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Life: Older 2014

Posted in 104, anniversary, awesomeness, bad ideas, blame society, comics, family, happiness, inspiration, life, relationships on January 20th, 2014 by Hannibal Tabu
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hannibal tabu 2014

Once again, I stand poised on the precipice of change, winds of possibility buffeting me as I wonder at tomorrow.

The last year has been interesting, from my first health crisis to moving to winning the Top Cow Talent Hunt to a host of other opportunities, challenges, amusements and foibles. I got into Eccleston’s Doctor Who. I saw my wife’s design business expand. I got an iPad upgrade. I DJed the LA County Fair after parties again, plus a number of other fun private affairs. I had enormous challenges in my professional life. I got to see more of my little girls becoming little people, their personalities gelling and becoming what they will be. I cemented a new tradition of birthday karaoke, low stress, fun times, no drama.

I’m still standing. I’m still here. I’m grateful and determined and sleepy and moving forward.

I’m showing off art from an Eisner winner, made from my words. I’m in a long term partnership with a brilliant independent from my home town.

I’m not afraid, most of all. It feels good, especially since I spent most of my life believing I wouldn’t survive my 40th year, like Malcolm or Martin or many others.

On the other hand, Stan Lee allegedly created Spider-Man when he was 40, so let’s see what’s next, shall we?

Should be fun!

Playing (Music): “As” by Stevie Wonder

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Life: Improbable Cause

Posted in 104, baby, blame society, children, daughter, ella, life, randomness on August 1st, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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I was in Target on Sunday with my toddler. I was grabbing some water for her as we headed to Kenneth Hahn Park for some kind of cook out to celebrate the wedding of a family friend. She was smiling and playful, hugging me from the cart as she normally does, the familiar stream of non-sequitur babble that is the lingua franca of the pre-K set serving as her soundtrack.

Honestly, I’d gotten side tracked. I swung by to see if I could find a set of behind-the-head headphones after breaking my best pair, a birthday present from my wife, while I was at the laundromat, before we got a washer & dryer at home. I’d ended up somehow in the paper products aisle of the grocery section when I needed to find those tiny little bottles suited for little hands.

As I passed overpriced Tupperware, I noticed an elderly Asian woman was reaching for those cube-esque boxes of tissues on the top shelf. She wore some kind of light blue and white polyester jacket, was maybe five foot one, and was having quite a hard time straining for an object just beyond her reach, like many of our dreams.

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I didn’t think about the very real perception issues Questlove discussed, I didn’t think about being an hour late to the event (I had no belief they’d even started grilling the chicken, honestly, and I turned out to be right). I simply said, “Can I help you, ma’am?”

She didn’t look. It’s possible she didn’t understand, or didn’t believe I was speaking to her, as she kept reaching, straining on tip toes, an aluminum walking cane hanging from her left elbow that reminded me of elderly relatives in snowbound parts of the country. I asked again, closer now, my arm near the shelf, and she said “Oh … okay.”

The box she’d been reaching for had torn plastic, so I reached past it and got an identical box, then handed it to her. “Is this all right?” I asked, kneeling slightly and speaking in the quiet tone that southern streets had shown me you should speak to somebody that much closer to the other side. She smiled and nodded, and said, “Thank you.” I smiled, responding, “Happy to help,” and reached back for my plastic red and white cart without another thought about it.

My toddler clasped her arms around me and said, “Daddy!” (she’s started doing that because I believe she senses “baba” — the word we settled on for our blended family — isn’t echoed enough in the “real” world for her) and I patted her back, not thinking much about it, making my way along the store’s wall towards the possibly overpriced flouride-enhanced water.

Maybe my littlest girl saw something that’ll stick with her — two people from very different cultures just being civil for the simple reason that there was no reason not to. Handing an old lady a box of tissues doesn’t change any of the horrible and sometimes illegal things I’ve done in my past (and believe me, there are many), nor does it qualify me for some special consideration as one of the angels. I’m just a tall dude who grew up in Memphis who saw something that needed doing, something that didn’t cost me anything and that (spirit willing) didn’t call down the wrath of Rule 285 on me (again).

Some days later, I’m reminded of an Arthur Ashe quote my friend Geoffrey Thorne posts fairly often: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

I’m trying, you know? I’m trying.

Playing (Music): “Pedestal” by Portishead

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