Bone Scan

You may have a plan
But God or Nature may want a bone scan
What hast thou done to the bone?
You were never alone, and it curved with such gracile force. (Edward G. Nilges)

I said to my soul, be still… (TS Eliot Four Quartets)

You have to be still for twenty minutes in a bone scan. It isn’t painful in itself, just spooky, and my sciatica and back pain acted up with ferocity in the position I was in. I decided it was bearable.

It was the eye of God searching for things I’d evaded for years.

Here in Hong Kong, you feel like James Bond, in the hands of the evil Doctor whoever and his Bond girl nurses, the difference being, of course, that the doctors here aren’t evil, they are kind in the abstract-benevolent way of the sagacious Chinese and extremely well-qualified. There’s no joking around or sports talk, which I do not miss, nor are there intelligent doctors and nurses who notice me reading some wacked out book (currently I’m struggling through a biography of Poussin in French) and share my interests, which I do miss, a bit. But

I have set my life upon a cast, and I will stand the hazard of the die (Shakespeare: Richard III, unfortunately)

I am up for permanent residency, and this place is now home. I’ve paid my taxes which help to fund this system, of queueing, and open wards full of aging Chinese guys, some at death’s door. As opposed to the massive joke of the USA and its bills for everything which the hospital knows you cannot pay.

I need green tea: a walk during the day, before the scan, with the radioactive element in my system, produced pain which was immediately stopped by a green tea at DeliFrance in the hospital entrance. I need to stop all caffeine and all “fantasy foods”. By that, a nutrition writer in the eighties meant your true junk foods but I am coming to believe that any food with a branded name that is packaged in probably a cancer risk, and one that can cause my cancer to grow faster.

I naturally buy, for example, spices like Guilin sauce in jars, and use them liberally to kill anything moving in what I cook. But a friend said, buy chili peppers fresh at the greengrocer! I swear, those options have been programmed out of my subconscious by adverts.

We’re not stupid (I Not Stupid) when this happens. TS Eliot was an intelligent yet shy young man at Harvard. Subliminally, Edward Bernays’ propaganda suggested an anodyne to the hyper-sensitive young Prufrock and by the time of his maturity (the Four Quartets) his brain no longer functioned without nicotine. Highly intelligent people, especially artists, are MORE affected by the subconscious appeal of marketing.

It’s now towards the end of a rather difficult day, and there may be far more difficult days, that are themselves more difficult, ahead. But there’s a DeliFrance on the ground floor and once again green tea is working. That’s amazing. What’s merely amusing is Edith Piaf on the soundtrack as I sit alone, singing Non, je ne regrette rien.

I mean, it’s a joke, although my father would fail to see the humor: Cancer Boy sits alone as Piaf sings. It’s a joke because a consequence of commodification is the lack of lived experience until such times as we get a doctor’s verdict or are in a traffic accident.

Everything else, work, vacations, marriages, has become the name of the thing.

On the white collar job, Job One has been since the 1980s looking like a “productive” employee.

The vacation must be “perfect” meaning as seen on TV, as in the case where the couple who’d been landed on our Key in the Florida Keys where our Outward Bound patrol had camped was angry because they’d been promised a deserted Key.

And the marriage must conform to rules. Spontaneity is renarrated as verbal abuse.

Adorno saw this. Less fortunate war refugees were just amazed at the fact that there was food on the shelves in America, but Adorno noticed it was packaged. The purpose of pompous talk about Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” is to get us to be satisfied at the lower tiers. The fact is we need it all, from green tea and peppers to live theater every week.

A day later I must apologize for the abrupt, atonal, Asperger transition here, I was under a lot of stress.

As it is, a community with a working small movie theater would be an improvement, but, of course, that was destroyed by DVDs. But it would take a fairly dreamy kid to imagine a community, a sort of Brigadoon out of time, where every week players put on a live show, and the food was all fresh.

I used to dream that the original Globe could be brought back when I was a kid. And Sam Wanamaker apparently had the same dream, but grew up with the money to do just that at the New Globe in London.

But that’s still ersatz, my fat pal Adorno would point out, for in fact, the destruction was commencing in Shakespeare’s time. First of all, the old Mystery cycle had been destroyed by Henry VIII. In the 1590s, the Puritans were conducting a Kulturkampf against theater which is well known; less well known facts are found in The Oxford History of Early Modern Theater: the plays that were allowed in the first decade of the 17th century could contain no religious references whatsoever, in an irony of Fundamentalism which destroys spontaneous religious expression…from the ban on American women’s Bible reading circles in the 1690s in Massachusetts (thought to be a source of witchcraft) to the fact that today, Cairo taxi drivers who are Islamic fundamentalists listen to the Koran muttered rather than chanted, the former thought more Islamic.

No, the reality would be local communities producing food and theater. My only difference from the large number of bearded and solemn old men who advocate this is that they disregard the paradox of anarchism, that it must needs ignore what’s happening in the next valley such as famine.

Which implies Federalism, a concept that becomes increasingly hard for people to grasp, for the same reason that, as I discovered as a software engineer, most programmers don’t grasp Dijkstra’s separation of concerns. Federalism, and the US Constitution itself, is basically “verbose”.

A day later, I find I should add that the Oxford History of Early Modern British Theater says that even under Cromwell, traveling players would sneak about Britain, recreating fragments of agons, Shakespeare from memory, one step ahead of the authorities. For we must shout theater in a crowded fire, like Jerry Rubin.


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