Sunday, June 04, 2006
Ancient Chinese Secret
When I was in grade school, those long ago politically-incorrect days where women were "Bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan and never ever letting you forget that you're a man . . . " (the ad for the perfume Enjoli) or being told, You've Come A Long Way, Baby!, the print ad for Virginia Slims, the commercial I remember most vividly was one where a woman spoke in a heavy Chinese accent about Tide. The Chinese couple in the ad ran a dry-cleaners and when the white customers asked how could they get those stubborn stains out, the woman would say, Ancient Chinese secret. The "secret" was Tide, which was just out of view of the stupid customer. After the amazed customer left, the couple would share a laugh.
Having come from this backward culture and eating LaChoy, a kind of truly awful chop-suey dish (with the slogan -- LaChoy makes Chinese food, swing American!), I have come along way to experience the real ancient Chinese secret, that of acupuncture. I know almost nothing of how it works, only that it does. My sister found a brilliant woman named Xieufen in Canada who practices this medicine and massage. I was terrified at first -- I can't even get blood drawn without considerable trauma. But the needles are small and the results stunning. Like anything new, it was a little scary -- all those needles, all that chi flowing. Would I lose my neurotic Western self? No danger of that, sadly. But for a little while, I feel as if I've been cleansed from the inside out, a baptism requiring only that I stay still for a little while and close my eyes while somebody else determines what I need.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"My bowl is empty. But it's my bowl, you see, and I love it." Raymond Carver
Benedictions and Maledictions
Things I Didn't Want To See
I dreamt my mother returned from the dead
carrying a baby cobra in a take-out container.
Do you want to see? she asks, opens the styrofoam
box just a crack so I can tell it's moving. She
was always showing me things I didn't want to see.
Make no mistake; I'm glad she's back. The night
before she died, I slept on a couch in a maternity
ward waiting room. A nurse said to me,When you
hear a scream, it means a new life. When my
mother died,there was no sound, all the machines
had been turned off, the television muted. A janitor
mopped around her bed, my dad and sister cried.
After everyone cleared out, I held her body, already
changed, to my chest as she woud have never
allowed, and I listened for a scream, but none came.