The Dawn of Man, or The Uses of Adversity

Note: do not treat any of this as the sagacity of a guru, please. I am no authority in particular on eating right to defeat cancer. These notes, rather, are those of one who for years has eaten in restaurants a Western diet and at home just some weird ass bachelor shit such as microwaved “grilled” cheese but who is open to advice.

Indeed, this is like that old diorama in the Field Museum of Natural History. The Dawn of Man. Some hairy apeman crouching in a cave discovering fire.

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head:

Shakespeare As You Like It

Canned soup as a base, uncooked raw veggies tossed in, the lot doused with chili garlic sauce, whole wheat bread from Just Green, and The Midsummer Night’s Dream on DVD. Must defeat cancer.

I have been compulsively watching ER from the 1990s to “deprogram” my narration of my medical problem as something happening in the 1940s, where they could do nothing for Bette Davis in Dark Victory.

I’ve never seen ER! I note the professionalism and Enlightened science of the Cloonster and Dr. Benton with hope. Romano is a prick! And Kerry reminded me of more than one pain in the ass manager in Chicago, yet they develop her character as she turns out to be as much a victim of the system of no-funding as the rest of the team.

Good stuff: but the (very powerful) scene in Season Five with the kid burned to death upset me. We cannot hide from reality but need our little Anodynes.

So first I tried watching Men’s Moron Movies to relax in the evening: The Hangover and Idiocracy and Dodgeball. I also like hairy chested movies about men on boats sailing about the world and locking up the ladies’ room: Bounty with Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson, and Taipan about the early days in Hong Kong.

But now I’ve switched to watching every Shakespeare play in my collection of BBC and others, starting with Dame Helen Mirren in The Midsummer Night’s Dream. I eat, take a pain pill, and chill.

The manager of a very good health food store (Bookworm on Lamma Island: try it if you are ever in Hong Kong) suggests using the rice cooker to steam vegetables including the parts Westerners throw away.

I am cool with everything as long as I can douse the lot in hot sauce. Yeah, I know I should probably use fresh hot peppers; the fundamental idea here is that if it is a named commodity in a package, even in a health food store, it may kill you. Capitalism is collapsing since for repeat business it all tends to need to addict you to its secret sauces, and they can cause cancer, whereas we have thousands of years of experience with fresh raw food! The package of cigarettes, so round, so firm, so fully packed is but a sort of pole or end point.

Coca-Cola was originally peddled as a health elixir and it was for the very good reason that in part due to scarcity of water known to be potable, many Americans were flat on their ass drunk by ten AM (cf Rorabaugh THE ALCOHOLIC REPUBLIC). Jean Nicot thought that tobacco leaves were a miracle cure and they were in a relative sense, in the sense that in Derrida’s Plato, the pharmakon is both poison and cure.

But only pure Nature is a miracle cure, the rest is pharmakon. I am blessed to live a short way from the beach. On my walk to the beach, an aged Chinese farmer lays out neat rows of celery and kale which reminds me of how Mom taught us how to plant things. The water isn’t the cleanest in the world, but it’s the Ocean and in it I can run, I can still run through the awful grace of God, for there is no impact.

This is pretty scary in the sense of the Kantian sublime, for Power Station Beach puts me in mind of the Time Traveler in HG Wells’ novel, as he goes forward into the far future to arrive at a beach, with things returning to the ocean.

But it is also the Dawn of Man, scratching my ass on the beach.

Note: if you’re in shorts and you sit on a rock in a subtropical monsoon forest, a bug will bite you in the balls sooner or later. 99% of them are harmless. The remaining 1%? The Giant Hairy Lamma Centipede. If it bites you you must go to the clinic. Fast.


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