Friday, October 29, 2004

Here's Looking Achoo, Kid

I love those scenes in Titanic movies where the swells crowd to the lifeboats, thrusting aside the women and children, sometimes with shawls over their heads as a disguise. I recognized those scenes as Marxist moments before I knew what a Marxist moment was.

When I was a kid, I took refuge in the Great Opiate. I thought, as the movies showed the monied and arrogant floating away safe and dry, "Today they are in hell, being pushed overboard at 10, 2 and 4 into the sea of everlasting fire."

Now, old freethinker that I am, I just think oh that Kate Winslet is sweet.

I concede, having waived the right to counsel, that the previous comment is a kind of intellectual non sequitur if scrutinized from a certain point of view, but I like to think of it as post-modern flair, for as Derrida would have said: "Flair, flare, fleurs de mal and Fleers bubble gum discourse give us disday our daily thoroughbred."

And that same "bred" brings us back to the swells on the boat cutting in line and getting more than their share, for bred they were to the act of taking. In this flu season of rationed vaccine, I am wrestling with the temptation to get more than my share. I am a boy of 60, not subject to chronic respiratory disease though I certainly did get the flu every winter until the combination of crunchable vitamin C and a regular flu shot seemed -- anecdotally, but what is an individual at last except a clump of anecdotes yearning to breathe free? -- to keep me healthier.

(Healthier except that my improved respiratory health coincided with the appearance of chronic back pain. I've written about that. You remember. Thanks for the expressions of concern and the ludicrous traditional family nostrums.)

But enough reminiscing about my greatest hits. Today we talk of flu and whether or not I will try to get a flu shot in this moment of shortage. I am certainly on the fringe of that group George Bernard Shaw lampooned as the "deserving poor" -- in the case of the flu the deserving poor of health.

Whoa, I just coughed, coughed as I typed the preceding sentence. My lungs are feeling tickly, though that may be related to the spray oven cleaner I used on our drip pans last night. I don't think I feel so good, though in that case I shouldn't get a flu shot until I feel better but if I recover from this something-that-is-probably-nothing, I really shouldn't get a flu shot, should I? That's pretty healthy, to be able to overcome a tickling and possibly a coughing and I just put my hand to my forehead but what does that ever show?

What to do? I am reminded of another Shavian comment, that the typical Englishman regards the world as his moral gymnasium. Okay, I am brave and good and I will let myself be crucified on the viral cross of Hong Kong B for the children for the children for the children.

It is all Bush's fault of course, another of his many sins of omission. When he dies and goes to hell -- which he will if there's a hell to go to -- I will certainly be there waiting for him if there's a hell to go to but I think I will be sitting on a warm rock with nothing more than a bad sunburn because you know hell is saving the roasting spit for those who lied large and scattered suffering with a lavish hand while being such a HYPOCRITE.

There I am on my rock sipping a tasty coffee. Past Bushy will sail on the S.S. Plutocrat and there in the distance will be the fireberg ready to rip into the ship's prow and there on board are all the children Bushy will have to shove aside to get to the lifeboat and they are ten-feet tall with claws and teeth and public school educations.

And that makes me think of a poem. (Cue the music)

I sink forever in this lake
Perhaps I did make one mistake

And as he sinks forever I will finish my coffee and get back on my head in the you-know-what and remember how brave I was when I handed my flu jacket to a weeping child (big girl in a shawl -- with a mustache?) and walked back to where the band was playing.

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