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ENTRY: Prognosis Positive: You’ve got Habititis.

There it is.

The bleak diagnosis stands out at me, the words sitting in my ears like clumpy wax.

As I sit here in the sterile examination room in my wonderfully soft, yet barely there hospital gown, the cool air of the waiting room wafting across my supple buttocks like a winter breeze, making me question if I really should have put the gown on without my underwear.

But it didn’t matter, my feeble mind races as my heart sinks to the bottom of my chest cavity like Cheshire Mammoth Cheese on a paper plate.

Perhaps I heard wrong, perhaps I am not among the millions afflicted – the question stood out.

I wring my hands as I so often do when nerves hit me, my soft brown skin turning a shade of white that would make my native ancestors wonder if I had vitiligo and if they could cure me with some prairie plant salve.

I sigh.

Deep Breathe, I tell myself.

I look up to the ceiling and hesitantly curse my luck, the soft beeps and mechanizations of the medicinal instruments make their noisy noises around me, sounding like hammers on tin as I tried to absorb the reality that set in.

40 years old and diagnosed with severe Habititis.

The questions I have for my physician abound within my brain like a pack of foxhounds:

How did this happen?

When did this happen?

Where do I seek treatment?

Should I seek a second opinion from an expert like Dr.Pierre Houde, PHD RDS?

In the end, I resolve myself to my fate and to the fact that I actually know what Cheshire Mammoth Cheese is.

But, I must be a man, a man of men, a man among many men and I must admit the truth.

I tell myself there will be no second opinion, no questioning my internal systems, no worrying about my doctors ethics in his diagnosis and certainly no time for a visit from Dr.Houde (although Pierre, you can call me anytime at (514)481-Not now…)

I have Severe Habititis, and not the gentle kind that you can clear up with a cream, or a backrub.

So I write this to not seek a cure but rather to look back on historical fact about my spiral towards this affliction. And as the weather gets cold and my attention shifts from the lazy summer days, the short skirts that herald summer to the coolness and bare tree feeling of fall I can admit:

I am terminal, a lost cause...but yet, I welcome it.

Because, I remember being young and having the first symptoms of Habititis on Saturday nights, In fact, I can recall the first time I sat there in my footie pajamas, the air outside had turned cool as it did back then in September before global warming. I remember looking forward to those nights as my parents made the weekly escape from the compound from my hyper sister, and my conniving ways.

We would have regular babysitters, mainly girls from the block who I adored being the little pervert I was. However, my parents decided to let my mother’s cousin babysit at times, a studious fellow who I will deem "patient zero"

Now "patient zero" was a fun dude, who used to let me win games we would play all the time, often let me watch questionable movies, eat copious amounts of junk…but the thing I remember most was "patient zero" recommending me to abandon my Love Boat and Fantasy Island evening to turn on something called "hockey"

"Hockey?!?" I replied disdainfully, "But Tattoo is going to spot – De Plane (for the umpteenth time)"

"How can we miss that event?" I gesticulated.

"Try it, I’ll let you stay up the whole game" was his simple, yet studious reply.

Seeing as I was a difficult charge at times and had previously offered all the change in my piggy bank to one of my female guardians in order for her to take her top off, this "patient zero" offering me something concrete that would benefit me like staying up for "hockey?"

Sold.

So there I was, in our 70’s themed den, sitting on the orange Muppet carpet that had one too many cigarette burns from parties my parents used to throw, and waiting for this "hockey" to start on a TV that my father unwisely bought from a street vendor in New York for 20 bucks, a "street Vendor" dammit! Let that sink in for a moment.

So in the end I would often watch games on a TV set that made it look like they were playing outside in a blizzard, cue rabbit ears, no matter if it was on CBC channel 6 or the very French channel deux (2).

Either way, for this "hockey" I was hesitant, I was nervous but I was excited and little did I know, but the early stage symptoms of Habitits began, not as a rush but as a tremor in my heart and breath…or it might have been the pizza I had eaten for supper, all I know is I don’t really remember the game, or the score or who the Habs played… as with us Habititis sufferers having short term memory is often a good thing especially after a loss (like the recent Tampa one) and remember I was a kid in footie pajamas in the late 70’s!!!

Either way, I remember was that I was hooked.

Immediately.

Like all Habititis sufferers (loose term) before me. The sport was fast, exciting and made boring winter nights seem like colors - Bright, eye-opening colors, that either could have been symptomatic of early stage euphoria, or plain and simple Habititis.

You see, from the opening montage of the goals we scored during our heyday, to the sounds of the crunching of the boards, to the frustrating and often relieving sound of the ‘plink’ of a hit goal post followed by raucous applause or deflating groans, that was it, the virus had entered my body and proceeded to knock out my globules of plasma bit by bit until it reached my heart, which now bleeds red, white and blue.

And little did I know that this affliction would stay with me throughout my life, through the highs of the cups, the lows of the Tremblay years and the cautious optimism of this year. And now, after 33 years of dealing with this now diagnosed Habititis, I can now say that I can and will deal with it.

I can deal with the heart palpitations and the sweaty palms, which tend to occur EVERY SINGLE game, no matter the opponent. The heart palpitations that tend to increase, beating and making it very difficult to eat, breathe and even pee in between periods (although, that might be something else).

Let’s not even talk about the sweaty palms, because they are gross. And seeing as my girlfriend is quite tired of wiping everything down that I touch during Habs games, I am now required to wear super absorbent gloves that can’t seem to hold anything. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have let slip through my fingers the important things in my life like the TV remote, that has reduced me to using a work related stress football to squeeze to work on my grip, Kung Fu, GI Joe…or not…Ah, Habititis.

I can also deal with the fact that it has made me borderline psychotic on numerous occasions, where I have disturbed many a friend and foe watching the games with me with sudden and loud outbursts of swearing and foaming at the mouth, the frothiness matched only by the head on my beer, which I have stopped consuming due to too many Habs related fights and ‘incidents’ that required minute police intervention.

Lucky that my fathers a lawyer, otherwise this submission might have been submitted on one-ply toilet written with whatever substitutes for ink in prison these days.

And I refuse to see a shrink, because the Tourette’s like symptoms that I get from Habititis are manageable without lining big pharma’s pockets, because let’s be honest, these symptoms only appear every second day, so no real need to be alarmed.

Unless, you have real Tourettes, in which case let’s donate until there is a cure, because I couldn’t imagine having the real thing.

Now, dealing with Habititis has somehow made me a little bit clairvoyant (see, I knew I’d write that) in my calling some games or determining plays, and that these visions just come to me, and I have often predicted a win or loss.

And. That. Is. Really. Annoying.

Who really wants to know what happens before it does?

Although right now, if I had one choice where my power bestowed upon me would, could and should work – it would be me winning this contest (if I may call it that). But alas, my clairvoyant ways works only on game days, and today is the day between games, so sorry.

I can also deal with the fanxiety from Habititis as I have for many years now, and while unfortunately I have only been relieved from this fanxiety twice in my long years, I can accept it. You see, the first time I coped being in 1985-86 where I immediately felt the elation and relief Habititis can give you, although the madness was still there, because after calling all my friends to revel (one of whom actually told me later I got them in shit calling at 11:30PM) I realized I was crazy mad with the disease, and I needed to find others and I took it upon myself to want to share in my Habititis guilt, so I ended taking the Montreal White Pages and dialed random people just to find one person with whom I could share our enjoyment and relief.

Needless, to say people weren’t thrilled. Although I did get propositioned by a nice lady, as I had a deep voice even when I was young. Go figure.

The second time I enjoyed a brief respite from Habititis was in 1992-93, when I had just graduated in high school and watched the winning game in a friends’ basement, drinking beers and eating his mother’s Filipino food. I can remember the amount of smoke in the basement, the nervousness and the shared symptoms which actually seem to be enhanced through the female version of Habititis which typically involves more yelling and shrieking and yet, the same amount of swearing.

But as the clock wound down and the Cup became a reality, Habititis reached an epidemic proportion, because there we went, to downtown Montreal to revel with all our fellow sufferers.

If you know and feel Habititis, you should be familiar with its side effects at times, and if you were around during that time, you’ll know things kind of went south…fast, and that nothing beats a mob of Habititisers.

So, stricken with the disease and the Habititis mob mentality, I foolishly started lobbing tomatoes at the local radio station Mix 96’s windows, much to the chagrin of the policeman who watched me do it who proceeded to smack me with a baton, proving that Habititis CAN and WILL cause bumps and lumps if not handled carefully.

Although it can also make you run, really, really fast.

Needless to say, the night ended with me slowly driving through the crowd on the corner of De la Montagne and Saint Catherine Street with a carful of people and I remember almost falling asleep, while rioters gently rocked my car on its axis….good times, Habititis, good times.

So, in the end the disease is not without its merits…not that I condone crazy riot behavior, but…

Because, I share it. We share it.

I share it with countless people across the nation, in this ass backward city and across the world.

I share it on Social Media with updates on a regular basis; I share it in conversations with strangers that stop me when I wear my Habs jersey just to have chats about our "problems on defense", I share it with co-workers and I share it with everybody who is mad about the Habs. This is evidenced by people telling me recently that they actually read my posts and like what I write, so my decision is to not stifle my Habititis, I will embrace it.

Because, the funny thing is, Habititis can help get you through real world problems, even when the thought of facing real world problems disappear for the duration of a game.

And when I watch what the Canadiens organization does for kids, real, sick kids and people who long for a visit in the hospital with their hockey heroes, and the smile it brings to their faces…it brings me back to when I was afflicted with a very real and scary brain tumor and epileptic seizures, when my hope was lost, I was partially saved by Habititis…and really good doctors.

But, during that time I kept telling myself I will see the Habs win another cup (which they did in 92) and it was some of that hope and desire that got me through…

Of course I also thank my family, doctors, videogames and that really cute physiotherapist I worked with for a few weeks…

But there it is.

Fellow Habs fans should agree that when you have a love for something so deep it resonates, it can cure, it can make you feel like crap one day and elate you the next, it can make you crazy and succumb to the side effects. But to deal with it is to realize you are in for one hell of a ride. A ride that Habititis can provide, and all you have to do is simply talk to the thousands of people that suffer from this:

Crazy

Stressful

Exiting

Wonderful

Habititis.

I could go on, but the time is late.

With that, I leave you with my ass hanging out the back of my hospital gown, it’s time to get dressed and go home to read up on our Habs and prepare for the next game where my Habititis will undoubtedly reach a fever pitch.

And hey, maybe Habititis isn’t so bad… all the boys need to do is win the Cup this year.

With the team we have, I now fully believe I might be cured in a few months…even if just for a while.

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