The VA and Hood Wings

Generally, I don’t have to go to Northway Mall. When I do go, it’s because I went for JoAnn’s Fabric Shop because the one on Dimond (yes, that’s how it’s spelled) doesn’t have what I need and/or I happen to be in the area. It isn’t because Northway doesn’t have some decent shops peppered throughout despite it being kind of run down or anything but because going to Northway Mall is a good 20 minute drive from my house. Gas ain’t cheap. 

Once every few years, I have to go grace the powers that be at the Veterans Affairs Compensation Office with my presence. First, they measure my scar to make sure it hasn’t grown. It hasn’t. My colon is still 2/3rds gone and hasn’t grown back but I’m still crossing my fingers on that regeneration procedure that won’t turn me into a crocodile a la Spider-Man’s nemesis.

They generally ask the same following questions:

Them: Are you still having problems with your injuries?

Me: Yup.

Them: You had a partial bowl ressection in 2009 following blunt force trauma from a horse accident?

Me: Holy shit, is THAT what happened?! I thought an alien just exploded through my stomach. Kidding. Yeah, I’m aware.

Them: (not amused) Are you having any pain?

Me: Mmhmm. 4-6 out of 10 on the daily.

Them: That’s not good. 

Me: It is what it is. 

Then: What do you do to mitigate the pain?

Me: Your mom.

Them: What?

Me: Nothing. Stretching and ibuprofen.

The doc this time was actually nice and competent so I spared her my normal snark because she was actually giving me some solid answers I hadn’t received before from the 10 other people in the system I’ve asked.

I might even get this huge effing scar reduced a bit to where it doesn’t look like Freddy Krueger moonlit as a surgeon when he wasn’t killing teenagers. This is contingent on the doc’s note in my file and her message to the surgical nurse actually being read so we shall see.

I look like Han sliced me open to keep Luke warm and I survived.

The reason it looks so wide wasn’t due to incompetence more than they were mainly concerned with saving my life rather than giving me a bikini-ready tummy last time it was administered – so I can’t complain. However, if I can do something about it, I will, because it’s kind of off-kilter aesthetically and the hurting thing. I actually like my scars more than I did before. I don’t bare my stomach to avoid questions and/or sympathy but they’re interesting – you know, when they’re not shooting with mind-numbing pain.

I suppose if it falls through, I’ll just grin and bare it like I have for the past 7 to 8 years but if it can be fixed, I’d be an idiot not to take them up on the offer – especially if they’re footing the bill.

After my appointment, I didn’t really feel much like going home. I love my home but the stall was because any time I have to go 20 minutes out of my way for a 30 minute appointment, I don’t feel particularly jazzed to drive, especially if I’ve been poked and prodded at a doctor’s office. Instead of going to my car to play some inane game on my iPhone, I walked around the mall a bit. I scoped out a few stores and basically just explored. Walking is the best therapy when your body is feeling uncomfortable, by the way. It’s highly suggested that patients walk after surgery because it helps speed up healing. As someone who has had multiple surgical procedures, I can tell you this is textbook accurate.

I happened upon this barber shop called “Kutz for Kingz” or something like that and there were a couple young men inside, talking and laughing. It reminded me of Luke Cage (which I finished last night, finally). It was really neat to see that art has imitated life like that in a very tangible way. If you haven’t seen Luke Cage, it’s on Netflix and I highly suggest it. Also check out Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist while you’re there (in order, if possible). I’ll have an article about Iron Fist later because “cultural appropriation” or some-such nonsense going about the Twittersphere.

Next to the barber shop is a place called “Hood Wings”. From the outside, it doesn’t really look like much more than your average indoor mall eatery with a few tables, chairs and a TV. There’s a counter and you can hear food sizzling in the background. The smell attracted me initially and then the artwork on the walls guaranteed I crossed the threshold. To whomever owns this establishment: I want to be your friend. We have much to discuss. 

Aside from Liefeld doing the cover, I loved this series

I talked to one of the cooks a little bit and asked if it was cool if I snapped some pics. I complimented the posters and the owner’s good taste. He told me the owner really likes Marvel. More points to the proprietor. 

I saw this piece of artwork and, since I just finished Luke Cage last night, it was like my little geek heart was getting a huge shot of serendipity with warm fuzzies. The chef let me know that the neck up is more representative of the owner rather than neck down but a good drawing. Indeed!

I want to get to a point in life where people do fan art of me looking like a badass.

The staff was friendly and engaging and downright hilarious. I don’t ask to be entertained by people when I go to an eatery but they were just genuinely funny with no pretense or guile. 

That was all I really needed to order a #2 (Cheeseburger, fries, and a Coke).


I’m not joking. I’m really not just saying this because I like that the owner is a geek or I’m getting paid or anyone asked me to say this. It was one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever had. I wasn’t even hungry when I ate but I wanted to throw them business and the food smelled amazing. I don’t know what they did and I don’t care if it involved tears of children, that burger was on point.

I didn’t even take a picture of the burger because I was too busy shoveling it in my gullet. The fries were super yummy, too. The portion size was out of this world so I couldn’t finish all the fries. 

I know this seems like a restaurant review and partially it kind of is, but moreover it’s the power of exploring your world and finding cool new stuff you never knew existed. 

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