Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ravaging the System

There's this sense of reward I feel whenever I heal from a hangover, or like my recent experience with food poisoning. It's as though my body has accomplished something grand, letting seep from my marrow a toxic sludge, any old sense of burden made a solvent in the literal poison, raised into a cacophonous crescendo of discomfort, until, swept away through a stream of hot, dark yellow piss.

Recently I grabbed a quick xxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx , and holy hell I felt like Rasputin in his final moments. I vomited once about 2am, again at 4am, again while taking a shower at 7am, again when I got to work. While hanging over the toilet bowl down the hall from the office, I realized this was worse than any intense hangover, and I've experienced plenty of those to compare. This was my body rejecting something that had penetrated deep. The greasy thing I ate at xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx. After some vomiting, came explosive shitting. I'm leaving the place cryptic as I've long since enjoyed it, of any fast food, it's been my go-to for a cheap, quick bite while on the run around town. Of the hundreds of times I've chowed it down, this was my first internal attack. So, though it will take some time before I go back, I will forgive it. I will eventually come around. I'll write this off as a fluke. Could happen anywhere. Makes me rethink the culture of chef worship seeing how  minor actions of a cook can smite one down, groaning.

I had left work early, laid in the shower because the warmth was somewhat comforting, distracting, and if I needed to vomit again, a good place to wash it away. And I did retch again, hot burning acid from my stomach ripping away my throat. I thought I maybe saw drops of blood in this latter round of upchuck. I wondered if I should go to the hospital? Did I have the energy to go to the hospital? No. I did not. I thought I could be dying. I thought that could be a relief. 

But eventually my body rid itself of the poison and I felt like a new man. The ravaging, was somehow, refreshing. It reminded me of the monologue from Sam Shepard's La Tourista I had used for theatre auditions for many years. "Nothing like a little amoebic dysentery to build up a man's immunity to his environment." Perhaps I've internalized this philosophy a bit after so many recantations. I'm a fan of ravaging my system every once in awhile. The clarity after that storm, seeing thick tree roots of dull anxiety ripped up and laid waste. 

But today I thought about ravaging, and society's equivalent. A body politic can digest things that are unhealthy too. And things like the Boston Marathon bombing, Newtown, Aurora, and let's not forget about variations of attack abroad. Yet the sigh of relief at the end of my nausea, where is the equivalent in this greater scheme of world retching? Well, there are bubbles of violence, we all settle back in, until the next event of malevolence pops. Just as I'm sure someday again I'll eat bad food, or drink too much, making this sigh of relief a blip in time too.

Civilization can get complicated. Problems fizz. When I see attempted solutions in the form of explosions, nicking apart flesh, aside from the horror, I notice there is a glaring lack of creativity in that approach. It's cliche. Someone's mad at the world and they hurt people, they make a mess. It's been done before, ineffective to a goal, it perpetuates cycles of sociological shrapnel, and literal shrapnel. A troubling lack of regard, empathy, and imagination. As I think about this, from the perspective of my body's cells, I can hear them say the same thing about my instinct in the face of my own problems to bombard my system with shitty food and drink. I'm a self inflicted terrorist taking down a little known party in power called my stomach lining. 

As I laid out in my shower I began to feel a greater respect toward the living community that is my body, the trillions of cells trying to work together, to coexist and meet their needs. Problem solving should enlist much greater creativity than the nuclear urge to ravage the system. There isn't much in the way of critical thinking there, it doesn't address and balance multiple perspectives. It's shortsighted, without courage or patience, and courage and patience are considered virtues. Drunks and mad-bombers aren't considered heroes. Because they aren't solving problems.

Zooming out from the temporary wasting of my own flesh, the bigger body is yearning for an ocean size equivalent of a ginger ale jacuzzi.

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