Workout Log 19 August 2012

Edward G. Nilges, “Mama Kanumba at the beach”, 2005

20 minutes water dancing with a friend at Hung Shue Yuen beach first thing (at 9 AM, however). Beautiful day!

Listen! I am a grandfather for the children have been born and that is a hell of a great thing. I shall do what the doctor says so that seven odd years from now I can buy the granddaughters books such as Pride and Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables and other books for girls in addition to more generally popular books such as Shakespeare.

This is because my grandmother sent me books. I had this student a while back, wonderful girl whose favorite words were “family and book”. I used to buy the new grandling’s father books in San Francisco at this “Clean, Well-Lighted Place for Books” near the opera house. Being able to sit with a damn book for a while is to me pretty much what civilization is all about, whether you’re reading, as I have read, Kant in Paris, or Orwell in Burma, dammit. Kids who READ may not be any better behaved than kids who do not. But kids who read are more civilized, which is different.

Is a family a book?
Yes…some of the pages are wrinkled, once wet,
Long ago, with tears,
Oops some of the pages are stuck together!
Secret things and words were said behind doors and in email
But I swear ro God I did not mean to hurt I just did
Being able to construct sentences that go on and on
And just do not seem to care.
But it is a lie, I will say until the day I die,
That I did not love you. It is a lie.

Well, the kids are alright. Everything else is in a desk drawer marked “Baby, I don’t care.”

Let us go on…

Wow hanging out with people really is great. A dinner last night with another (cf for example that 1980s flick MY DINNER WITH ANDRE) can be a spiritual experience unless of course it’s just a drunken brawl.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with drunken brawls, I would hasten to add. I have had more than my share of drunken brawls. Like Falstaff and Justice Shallow i’ th’old play (Henry IV Part II) I have heard the chimes at midnight. Hell, chimes at midnight are for pussies in Chicago, we’re talking about industrial strength drinking where you systematically demolish a Chicago Tribune news paper kiosk in the pale light of dawn on general principles including the universally acknowledged fact that the Chicago Tribune is for pussies.

Or, you wake up butt naked in a fountain in Mexico City, with your last memory being of ordering a Martini at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

[Note: the newspaper kiosk destruction c’est moi: the Mexico City fountain is the experience of a friend who shall of course remain anonymous.]

But I digress, or, as my long-suffering editor at Springer-Apress scrawled in an electronic annotation in my book, “yeah, you digress.” The company of another, especially one who’s smarter than one, makes life worthwhile once the charms of Jugende undt Schonheit, Youth and Beauty, have faded.

Every Man In His Tumor

The tumor pushes aside nerves creating a little pain, I am always somewhat aware of it; I shall go to the cancer center on Wednesday. If it creates any complications such as continuous pain which is not the case I’ll hit the ER at Queen Mary, but as of now, it’s just there.

All I can do is make the appointment on 22 August. They have new scans, and I need to elect the next step, which is an expensive injection or a more dramatic treatment, about which I will post when the time is right.

Every man in his tumor, to paraphrase Ben Jonson. But no, this is serious, I understand. All I can do is the next right step, and not give up the fight.

I decided to wait to buy my airline tickets to my health spa week in Thailand until Wed and after I make my appointment. This isn’t because I am not going. I probably won’t merit ICU or hospitalization under any scenario. But I need to decide on the return date after getting an update on my cancer.

Adorno, in his 1960s lectures, said we do not know what “freedom” is because to him, as a uniquely gloomy marxist, economic difference is unfreedom even for the wealthy. There is a lot in this but post-diagnosis I have a different sense of freedom.

I feel in fact free since the worst, perhaps, has happened leaving me sort of blinking in the light and going WTF. I can do whatever I wish. No more teachers, no more books, no more child support, job interviews. Not with the same necessity although of course I still have to work.

Picture what will be, so limitless and free. – The DOORS. Listen!

I am not making light of trouble. My father never understood how I’d make light of trouble and I wish he had. I could never help him out of his black moods. Mom could, though.

Cancer cells weaker than normal cells and homeopathic doses of vitamin C may help. But these holistic therapies are never properly tested. I have long been aware of that Nobel winner Linus Pauling who outside of his discipline believed that Vitamin C could “cure” cancer. But I have to believe what Dr Lam said to me clearly in June, your cancer is incurable. That is the scientific knowledge, the “justified true belief”.

Not “terminal”: we do not use that word. I might get shot by an angry husband or be chased off a cliff by a wild tribe of savage jungle women on Koh Samhui. Not even fatal, not necessarily; as a philosophy major I know that the only necessary truths are those of math. But serious, yes, serious. Dad I know it is and I am doing what I can!

My dinner mate last night told me that when Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with his disease, the doctor pulled that “you only have ya de ya months to live” shit on him. But Hawking had a purpose in life above and beyond personal gratification and so, he’s still with us, and pulling down one million quid per lecture. Hawking is one of my heroes.

For me to reject what we scientifically KNOW, or the POSSIBILITIES raised outside of science by homeopathy and holism, would be to enter a demon haunted world and spend every penny I have on booze and whores in Wanchai. And then I’d be a corpse, maybe with one of those little toe tags like we have in the USA. And what then? Some free public cremation, Up In Smoke? The US Consul notifying next of kin, ho hum, ain’t no dead white man storage in this town, sonny boy. You see a SIGN say dead Gweilo storage?

Ashes to ashes…funky to funky…we know Major Tom’s a junky….

Screw that.

I have also sorts of notes I make on the fly on the computer in Word outline form. I shall print them out and take them to the Cancer Center at QMH on Wednesday. They consist of questions about new treatments and “phenomenological” notes about how the lump feels on a daily basis.

I work out eat right and get rest. I practice the piano every day to restore my ability to play Bach, because Bach is eternity, Bach is Adam and Maiden, Bach has what Spanish dancers call the magic…the duende!


And that is all I can do. That is all she wrote.


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