Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What a Pain

You join your brother and sister Homo sapiens by knowing where in the body a particular pain resides when it finds a temporary or semi-permanent lodging place.  Sinus headache?   Spasm in the left calves?  How about a hitch in the shoulder from swimming too many laps, or that scratch on the forehead—no, not the one from the argument with the tree branch, the one with the wall of the swimming pool when you were showing off and trying to do a flip turn?

Easy as it is to locate and either treat or favor such bodily pains, locating the psychical often poses problems.  Where does it hurt when you realize you have done something against your own self-interest?  Suppose you have made a fool of yourself by doing something against your better judgment or, equally painful, not done something you’d considered it prudent and ethical to do?  Where do they hurt?  How do you apply the analgesic or bandage or message therapy?  Suppose you are severe in your response of disappointment?   Suppose you receive news almost simultaneously of one thing you’ve worked at for years being returned as unusable while something that may have taken you all of one day to compose has been given a home and at a princely sum?

Where does it hurt if you are dumped or deceived or betrayed?

You have splendid memories of such joys as finishing a marathon, of seeming to range into a sensual zone after swimming more than a mile, of the stunning sense of having captured the lightening in a bottle that is an effective sentence.  There is an all-over feel good sense, but its very nature of being all over brings a note of incompleteness with it because you don’t know exactly where within you it is lodged, however temporarily.

Some feelings, the so-called positive or energizing ones, evoke behavior such as dancing or skipping, possibly even making wide, sweeping gestures with your hands, accompanied by gestures resembling the closest you will ever come to dancing.

Yet other feelings, the ones culturally felt to be less social, even bordering into the anti-social, trigger physical responses such as frenetic behavior and general expressions of irritation.  Some of these behaviors are signified by behavior of aggressiveness known as acting out.

You know the symptoms, the manifestations, but not the places because their points of origin are different kinds of pain, they are emotions.  Sometimes these emotions wear ski masks to hide their identity, as though you did not already know who they were.  They are in effect terrorists attacks they do not fight civilized, friendly wars, nor are their allegiances as likely to bear any recognizable flags of identity as, say, a Charley horse is.
Sometimes emotions will have left their equivalents of IEDs, improvised explosive devices that take you even beyond the mere and transitory pains of sprains, scrapes, and arguments with tree branches.

Sometimes, after you have seen the damage they can cause, you resolve to take on the emotional equivalence of isolationism or at least to purchase better body armor.

Such thoughts do not, you are pleased to say, last long.  There are certainly undocumented emotions out there, waiting to sneak beyond your borders.  There are any number of emotional terrorist organizations, all with seemingly conflicting agendas, acting as though you hadn’t enough agendas of your own, phoning or emailing in credit for explosions and kidnappings and random acts of destructiveness.

They are risks you have long since agreed to accept.  Threats and actual acts will not keep you inside, isolationist, conservative, suspicious.  Because some of them get out of hand sometimes, you are not going to let them keep the high ground.

The more you think about it, the less dangerous they become and, in spite of the ever present risk, the more boring they appear.


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