Tuesday, January 23, 2007
You Have Your Whole Life
A few of the men that frequented The Blade and Wing, an old Vietnam vet hang-out that I used to bartend at, were amputees. I'd watch them drink their boilermakers (the most common request I got -- I didn't even know what a cosmo was in those days) and keep my eye on everything to make sure everybody wasn't in any danger of fighting or falling off the barstool, both common occurences. I was reminded of these men when I read an article the other day on body integrity disorder -- put simply, people who want to amputate a healthy limb in order to feel whole. These people believe they've been born into the wrong body and go to dramatic measures to harm themselves so that a surgeon will have to amputate -- packing themselves in dry ice, putting their legs on train tracks, and so on. When I mentioned this to a friend, my friend said, Send their asses to Iraq. That'll do it.
I suppose what disturbed me most about the article was that everyone I know wants to change a little something about themselves at one time or another -- from most women I hear, If I could only lose ten pounds, I'd be happy. I used to believe this too until dieting caused my hair to fall out. But it's all a matter of scale -- whereas one person wishes to be a blonde, one wishes to hack her right leg off. Once a student of mine wrote a great story with a line out of a military instructional manual -- You have your whole life to get out of a minefield. Our minds, if nothing else, are those minefields, and I think of it often as pain, real and phantom, haunts me. Things that aren't there sometimes hurt just as much as things that are. We carry them around like an extra limb, all the while wishing that someone would make us whole.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence. " Charles Bukowski
Drinking music suggestion: Music for Lovers John Coltrane
Benedictions and Maledictions
The beautiful scarf in the picture was made by my gorgeous, talented friend Stacey! And the car, of course, is my precious Snowflake.
You Won't Even Know I'm Gone
If it were easier, you'd send me back.
But all my original packaging is lost
and there is no receipt. Don't worry --
I'm returning a few things too. I'll save
you the trip, put myself back on the shelf.
I'm no longer your have to have, just
your it would be a relief to give up. Don't
be too sad, honey. This, like most things,
will hurt for a very long time. You won't
have to give up everything all at once.