MRIs freak me out.
The first time I had one, I declined the headphones. I also opened my eyes at the beginning of the test. Big mistake. The top of the tunnel was an inch from my face, and I felt buried alive. I spent the entire twenty minutes trying to calm down so I didn't press the help button and ruin the test.
The second time I had an MRI, my doctor prescribed lorazepam to take beforehand. I swallowed two pills and asked the technician to cover my eyes with a towel. I also accepted the headphones, choosing Billy Joel to play on Pandora. Billy did not help at all. I sailed through the test only because I was so dopey on meds. Good thing I'd gotten a ride from a friend.
A few weeks ago, I had my third MRI. This time, I sucked it up, only took one lorazepam, and drove myself to the appointment. I did the towel thing again and chose Good Charlotte to play on Pandora.
Why Good Charlotte? One, punk music is awesome. Two, some of the band members are from my hometown and went to the same high school as I did. It's true. We all grew up in Waldorf, Maryland, and we all went to LaPlata High School. I don't know them, I never met them, and we weren't in high school at the same time. I graduated in 1992. They graduated a few years later. But it's still cool as fuck. I mean, these guys are famous now, especially Joel and Benji Madden. They made it through LaPlata and escaped Waldorf, which is enough to make them my heroes.
When I attended LaPlata, it was filled with all kinds of people. Middle class suburbanites, trailer trash, rural folk, rich kids, etc. And apparently, everyone was having sex. Or, at least, they were talking about having sex. A girl in my freshman gym class said she was pregnant and stressing over what to do, have the baby or an abortion. Another girl in my freshman gym class liked to talk about the guys she made out with at parties and how she had to hurry up and straighten her clothes when her mom came to pick her up. During the sewing portion of my home economics class, a girl gave a group of us a graphic description of her first time having sex; it involved her biting her boyfriend on the shoulder because the pain was so intense. During the cooking portion of home economics, I sat at a table with a girl who didn't like having sex on waterbeds because her ass always banged against the wood frame under the water. She also claimed her birth control pills gave her chest pains. Most of them were probably full of shit, but they talked a good game. Some, though, were definitely telling the truth. At least two girls in my class had babies before our senior year. And a guy in my twelfth grade English class was married, and his wife had a baby before we graduated. It was nuts.
More nuts were the fights. Girls pulling hair and giving each other black eyes over some dumb boy. Guys kicking each other's asses so badly that, when the teachers finally pulled them apart and marched them to the office, they had blood pouring down their faces. The worst fight I ever saw, though, happened one morning during my sophomore year. I got off the bus, walked into school, and passed by the cafeteria where a bunch of boys were fighting. Punches were thrown. Chairs were tossed. Tables were flipped. Teachers were hit and pushed during their attempts to intervene. If I remember correctly, one boy even choked another boy. The cops were called. About a dozen students were arrested. All because someone in one clique didn't invite someone in another clique to a party. I didn't watch for long. I went to my locker and then to my first class, where only one or two people were waiting for the first bell. Then a voice over the loudspeaker announced that anyone who wasn't in class by the late bell would be marked as tardy. No leeway this time. Everyone came running. Fucking nuts.
When I first started at LaPlata, I tried to fit in. I ran cross-country. But I figured out rather quickly that I shouldn't run long distances because I would vomit whenever I did. I also hurt my knee. Plus, the coach was not a fan of mine. So I quit. After that, I fucking hated high school. I felt like a loser, a joke, a prisoner, a visitor to another planet. I did everything I could to be invisible because it seemed like the only type of acknowledgement I ever got from anyone there was a roll of the eyes. All I thought about was how much I wanted to not be there. So I kept my head down, kept my mouth shut, and kept telling myself I only had four more years of this bullshit. Then three, then two, then one. After my graduation ceremony, I practically ran out of the school and never looked back. Set these words to music, and you'll have another loser anthem. Although, mine will never be as badass as Good Charlotte's original Anthem.
When the technician slid me into the MRI machine and started the music, Pandora was still set to the music chosen by the previous patient. Something from the 80s? I can't be sure because I was too busy panicking. Soon enough, though, the music switched to a Good Charlotte song, and a calm settled over me.
I'm convinced now. Choose the right music, and you'll be chill during an MRI.