My own personal otolaryngologist (they must be great spellers, along with ophthalmologists) just diagnosed me as having benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. I like any condition that starts with the word "benign." I was impressed with the doctor's articulateness, his confidence in the diagnosis, and his overall manner. He suggested a series of odd (to me) head movements as treatment (the canalith repositioning procedure, or CRP) or to do nothing at all (since it does appear to be getting better; I even wondered, "Why am I in this doctor's office?"). So, that's my kind of dizzy (MKOD). And, gee, I thought it resulted from extremely wild erotic positioning (EWEP).
At the rest stop (cleverly dubbed a text stop by New York State) in Roscoe, along Route 17, a historical and conservation marker poetically declares that "the shorn hills" have grown new timber. The shorn hills. I love it. I really cannot imagine this era producing any sign, historical or not, that employs "the shorn hills" as a phrase.
Cash4Life, the new New York State Lottery game. Top prize: $1,000 a day for life. What does "for life" equate to? My life is in the latter days, not the salad days (though on some levels, you'd never think so; no details forthcoming here). But $1,000 a day. I saw it on a billboard, so it must be true. I thought, Gee, I'd take $100 a day. I would. You say, That's nothing? Not nothing for me. I live simply. It's not a lament or a complaint. If anything, I am boastful, even snobbish, about my simple means. $100 a day would be a sweet cushion. It's possible $1,000 a day would ruin me. You hear stories. That's the prevailing notion. It ruins folks. And then there's the obligatory, "But I'd like to try it. A thousand bucks a day."
Truth be told, yeah, I buy Lotto, Cash4Life, Powerball, sometimes Mega Millions tickets. Quick picks. Typically one shot, one or two bucks. Surrender to the Fates. At their mercy. Or mercies. But truth be told: each ticket purchase is a surrender, is a bowing to the lie. Each ticket says, Your life needs this big fix, this dramatic change, this remedy, this takeaway, this giveaway, this grand gesture. I know better. It does not need any of that. That's the trick, the lie, the shiny bauble.
Because we all know this deep down, even if covered over, papered over by wants, desires, dreams, avarice, and suffering: you get "IT" and you only want more of "IT."
Which reminds me: my guru, the late Raymond Davidson, would often say: If you have enough, you have abundance.
Driving home the other day, late afternoon, early evening (who can remember any more? maybe I am making all this up as I type), near the Syracuse border with Solvay, I saw a white-tailed deer gallop off to my right, into some shrubbery, fenced off. Did I say gallop? Gallop with a dollop of prance and hurdle and gambol and leap. Seconds later: a middle-aged bearded man riding a bicycle. I try to catch the eye of the bicyclist, as if to wordlessly say, "Dude, you see that? You see that deer? You chasing it?" Even if I did catch the bicyclist's eye for a split second, he wasn't indulging me. His look was like, "I'm riding this bike. Deer? I ain't seen no deer." I made the right turn. I thought I'd intersect the path of the deer, but no sign of him. In the bush, I guess. Or else it was a very large dog or a fox. Or a figment. (It's redundant redundant to say "figment of imagination.") A 3-D figment of fantasy. But naw. It was real. It was a deer. And don't tell me the bicyclist didn't see it. I'll wager the two of 'em, Bicycle Man and Deer Me, have this bit, this act they've worked out. It's a routine. "Figment Follies."
I made a comment, one that was intended as a compliment, if you will. In return, he gave me what I would call "a blank look." He returned a look without comment, seemingly indifferent. Note to thin-skinned, oversensitive, "attached" self: you truly do not know what his response or reaction is or was. So, before you get all pouty and resentful, consider that the recipient of your remark may have been puzzled, perplexed, in agreement, in disagreement, either/or, both/and, neither/nor, thinking about his great aunt, suffering constipation, calculating an equation that could lead to a cancer cure, meditating on Descartes, have a hearing problem, not like me, like me, formulating a diplomatic response for another time, processing other data, undergoing a TIA or stroke, entertaining erotic and lurid thoughts about Marilyn Monroe (or Marilyn Manson), forgotten what I said immediately after I spoke it, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. And nausea is the point here. It is nauseating, what paces we put ourselves through when we are all up in our heads. The sickness unto self, as Kierkegaard put it. Cui bono? To what good?
You hear the word recovery and you wonder. You muse about what it means, and you do this by a series of questions, not tidily posed out loud, or even sequentially whispered inaudibly merely to your self and no one else. No, you wonder, after the fact; in repose, after you have heard that word recovery more than once, in various guises and contexts but most likely only in English, but maybe in German in Berlin, that time you exposed yourself to a recovery context there. Your series of untidy questions (and let's face it: there really were no questions; this is just a convention, a trope, a trick, a syntactic regime to get your point across, to attempt to get your ponderings on paper, digitally speaking). Questions in and around and above and under and alongside and through recovery such as: what was covered that needs to be covered once again? the naked self? the masked self? the unwalked terrain of sobriety? The overwalked geography of drunkenness? Who does the covering or the uncovering or the recovering? Is not recovery more a verb than a noun, despite its declension, a verb with all its active and passive voices, its tenses, its dynamic, its past perfect, imperfect, pluperfect, and embedded promise of future? And in the end, even in the beginning, aren't you glad recovery defies the straitjackets of category, definition, demeanor, steppes, solitude, sunrise or sunset, and syntax?
A few days ago, at Target, in Fairmount, a suburb of Syracuse, I saw a young woman, maybe in her young twenties, wheeling one of those red plastic carts, wearing a T-shirt, maybe it was a sweatshirt, which said this in script letters on her back: "TRUST NO DICK." The phrasing may have differed slightly, but that was definitely the gist of the point being expressed, however blaringly, imprudently, clearly, confidently, or coarsely. That was its core marketing message. Don't censor the messenger here. I mean, here we are in Target, not far from where I bought Simply Balanced organic black tea, plastic storage crates, and tissues; amidst toddlers in carts and senior citizens like me, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, sales associates, and babies too young to talk or read.
I am not a prude. I won't pretend I was offended by this declaration via vulgarity. In fact, I mused somewhat amusingly to myself: "Well, that's true. No self-aware man would even argue the point himself, upon honest reflection." There's a multitude of locker room sayings endorsing the same viewpoint toward male anatomy and its sway over the psyche, from the male perspective. I won't bore you with them.
I always have questions, though, and this time they are:
-- Did the wearer of the article of clothing in question sport this out of anger or hurt?
-- Was she whimsical or serious?
-- Was it essentially anti-male or pro-female or neither or both?
-- Was anyone shocked or offended to see this level of discourse in the public square?
-- What would be the reactions and responses if the anatomical reference were switched to one of the female variety, using a crude term?
-- Does anyone care?
-- Am I an old scold for even thinking about this?