Wednesday, July 05, 2006

7.05.06, What Becomes of Fear

The most crazy event in my life, of late, was probably last night, 2:23 a.m. — did anything significant happen historically at that time? anyone lose their virginity? relatives passed away then? — I woke up not from something usual like a run to the bathroom or a fever and wet clothing, but from hiccups.

Six fucking hours of hiccups! I kept thinking of historically figures who had died of having hiccups, reading the internet to find out causes and countless "cures," not a single one of which worked by the way. Upside down water-drinking, earlobe rubbing concentrically, holding one's breath in countless odd combinations, swallowing a tsp of dry (white? I guess) sugar without getting it wet or absorbed on the back of your tongue (that one is tough), drinking lots of water, drinking lots of it slowly, drinking lots of through a paper towel, and for all it's worth they may as well have said "Get a pair of bright red pumps and a tiny woman's thong, wear these and nothing else and dance in front of your 8th floor window while the police below harass drug dealers and scan local buildings with their spotlights." It would have done just as much good.

From just after two till about 4 I just worked at it, killing these goddam diaphragm spasms, then just reading and living with it," then I figured if you get that tired and your body is going hiccup through sleep anyway, the let it. So from 4 until about 6-something I slept and hiccupped and then got up, took my morning drug routine, and they went away sometime between about 6 and 10 when I got up later. (I always try to get 8 or 9 hours sleep now; I treat that bit of medical advice as if it really matters, where I couldn't give two shits about sleep before . . . actually, phsysiologically speaking I still can't give two shits about it, or most anything else, but that is quite a different chapter in this story.)

Before I work on the Franky Scale, or offer any more brilliance about hiccups and such, I wanted to re-post a quote that was put into the comment section of the blog early on by The Princess, at my request then, but I think very few people read it or paid it much attention. It's worth some time. In many ways this uncanny line from Garcia-Marquez, from his book Love in the Time of Cholera, works as my motto, from now till death. So there is a certain amount weight hung on it.

And before I give the line, it was also uncanny that good friend, who understands well what to ask and what not to ask, got me with a really pointed question — it was appropriate but just not one I had thought before, and this question came before coming across the Garcia-Marquez quote, which was re-stumbled over later that same day. She asked me the simple question: "What are you most afraid of about dying?" What is more simple, huh? What do you fear? What scares you? And this could lead into, what's left undone? Who will you miss? (but that's an already flawed question in that presumes post-mortem bad) But it points to all those feelings about "now until then" and in the simplest form.

My answer: "The pain, I guess. I don't want to suffer through intolerableble pain, the kind of pain that makes you want to die, anyway, by any means. The pain that is a "10" on the doctors' pain scale." Or I said something like that, surely somewhat less articulate, since I find my verbal articulation has really taken a nose-dive in the last three months. So keep that question and answer in mind when you read G-M's idea:

"Each man is a master of his own death, and all that we can do when the time comes is to help him die without fear or pain" (Love in the Time of Cholera 10).

The fear (the same fear in all the poetry) comes from pain, the fear of the pain. We say "do not go gentle, do not go gentle" but there is a part of the brain that knows, or wonders the unmentionable question at least, which is at what point will I not be able to endure the pain any more. Notice how none of the figures in Dylan Thomas's poem heed his advice — they all couldn't fulfill what they hoped to, they were all what-if's. At what point with the unpleasure simply be the norm of the pleasure principle? Where, or when, does that happen? That's the rub of the waiting game . . . is this the pain? No. This one? This, is it normal, extreme, is it too masked by oxycotton . . . . is it . . . . is it?

The quote works as motto for now, and I wanted to make sure more people had a chance to see it. In the world frustrationion which seems to be where all of you live, wanting to help but either not knowing what to do or, perhaps — and yes, I usually see this when it happens, give me credit — of having a difficult time accepting what I say I need or don't need. I was solitary before, why would I become such a more of a social animal now? Though I have a bit. I'm still OK being alone when I want. I did not live in Salt Lake City before, my family did; why change that now? My life is here, most of it that is. I've lived in many places and each place holds part of me. Now I'm here, by choice; I'm alone sometimes, also by choice; I tell you that your "being there" is a great help, and it is. "[A]nd all that we can do when the time comes . . ." I don't know how Garcia-Marquez hit on that with such accuracy without having gone to the dead place, but he's right on.

Franky Scale: I'll say low 7, since I feel pretty good but I'm also just a hair above the Hell's 10th circle filled with the eternal hiccupers — I'll check my Dante — so I'm hesitant. Oh [!!This is a Christian spoiler alert, blesphemy ahead!!], did we ever talk about what happens to a Mormon if you catch Jesus wearing crotchless garments and deny that you saw him? This came up in NYC after dinner, don't ask why, but we were theorizing how you can get thrown into the Mormon "hell"-like place, called Outer Darkness or Perdition. We figure seeing Jesus firsthand and then denying him is pretty bad, but if you see him wearing crotchless garments — probably baught on eBay — and you deny that, it's so sinful that you'll get transferred not to Outer Darkness but the Mormon leadership will cart your ass off to Catholic Hell. Then you're really screwed. Have you ever sat down and read any of Dante? Very serious shit. (Theology is such a consolation at times like this.)


Anonymous said...

I would take the Catholic Hell over the Morman perdition any day!!

Mr. Jones said...

Hm, this piques my curiosity quite a bit. So little is known about Perdition, it might not be that bad. Catholic hell is pro ball though. No doubt about it. -Mr. J

[disenchanted princess] said...

i'm laughing so hard i'm about to piss myself . . .

next time you get hiccups, maybe think about the boogie monster and it'll scare them away. or, i'll lend you the red heels . . . and a camera!

Anderson Imes said...

As someone who has endured Catholic mass 3 times in his life, surely Perdition has to be a better spot. Although you don't get the glamour that a trip through Inferno affords.