26 April 2006

the smiths - "still ill" (from the hatful of hollow lp, available for purchase here.)
orange juice - "lovesick" (from the glasgow school lp, available for purchase here.)

does the mind rule the body or the body rule the mind? well, the short answer is i dunno, but the long answer begins this way:

so, that grey area called the mind reacts to romantic disappointment and does so in the usual way. one feels stressed & exhausted & really just like the fuzzy end of the lollipop. this sends signals to the brain and triggers the cortisol which increases blood pressure and blood sugar to pull you through while, oops!, suppressing the immune system. in other words, i've a sore throat & a broken heart.

but! both brain & mind belong to the body (don't they?) and really isn't it the "fault" of external factors that i felt this way to begin w/? and what role does the wildly oscillating weather play in all of this? morrissey was really wise not to examine these nuances, not attempt to draw out these distinctions, in the context of a pop song. (and even wiser to throw that harmonica on the peel session version! and that is why i chose this version; it really has nothing to do w/ the fact that all the beautiful girls are wearing t-shirts featuring replicas of the smiths' s/t debut this season.)

basically, i have an excuse to look pale & "washed-out," as one person put it. i belong to a community of sufferers; we've all been there. there are entire aisles in supermarkets dedicated to this v. ailment. there is abundant literature to consult and an existing program to follow to ensure for my survival. just hang in there, baby, and in a few days the symptoms will fade awaya and good health will once again be yours.

this pain in my throat is a good thing, then. "pain," as edward hoagland writes, "is a packet of chiseling tools." i go to bed earlier to ensure i get plenty of sleep; when i wake come morning, i'm back in my program. i'm hitting the orange juice (yes, one should have lots of orange juice!) & vitamin c & zicam & zinc lozenges, etc.

the pain in my heart--ah, but there is no pain in my heart. diane ackerman set me straight on this one : internal organs don't have many sense receptors & so a pain in one's heart is directed elsewhere, resulting in a "referred pain." (i've found that the pain tends to be referred to my stomach, a pain the size of a dime, searing & concentrated, that hollows out the insides--like a sinister liposuction that focuses on sensation instead of fat.)

but it's odd having these two competing sources of anguish concurrently, being both so ill and lovesick--and contrary to what you might have heard, one does not cancel out the other. (the mind doesn't rule rhe body or vice versa!) the main difference, then, has to do w/ a lack of purpose. i fight the cold b/c, since i must go on, i'd rather do so w/o pain. but the heartache? i don't really wish to be out of love and, as hoagland writes, "it's when we have no imperative purpose in front of our sufferings that we think about 'bearing up'; 'bearing up' is converted to serve as a purpose." but i don't do "bearing up" well--or as edwyn sings, "sorry to moan, but it's what i do best!"

there is no prescription to take, no regiment to observe, no guarantee that symptoms will subside in seven days (and if they don't, i can always see my doctor). what's more, i have no community, no system to fall into w/ this pain; the supermarket doesn't open its arms to me, and if it does, it's only to point me in the direction of ice cream & other palliatives. "society," barthes writes, "subjects me to a strange, public repression : no censure, no prohibition : i am merely suspended a humanis, far from human things, by a tacit decree of insignificance : i belong to no repertoire, participate in no asylum." i can't even seek out my fellow sufferer; i can't go back to the old house or kiss under the iron bridge. not b/c it wouldn't be the same, far from it, but b/c you'd just catch my cold.

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