14 June 2013: The Three Edwards, Etc.
Taken by Ines Laimins April 2013: note that my weight here was 130 lbs. and I have gotten back up to 140, am still gaining. I thought the image rawther Byronic but the typical reaction has been one of shock at the loss of weight. 19th century men could look like this because they lived in a different, less healthy era: the crags in Lincoln’s face are created today on Daniel Day Lewis’ face by makeup, and were etched on the real man’s face by harsh winters and absurd diets over stressing meat and sugar as mine does.
First thing workout (30 minutes: 150 steps, 100 supine pull-ups, two stories stairs) but rather late at 6:30 AM. Pleasant breakfast but now in pain. Hope I can manage pain after discharge.
The hip blazes up and then in sympathy my left ankle is incandescent with neuropathy (false pain reports from nerve injury). The latest dose of Fentanyl is gradually settling me down but shall I have to take morphine the rest of my life?
Intense intellectual and artistic work seem to help in a way that only the company of those who are wise helps better. I can work through pain when I have a challenge. If I only had light reading and TV I’d be batshit by now. Instead, I set myself projects including reading Shakespeare and Kant, drawing cartoons and drawing realistically and studying the science of my cancer.
They say “get your mind off my troubles”. Hey, I know how to do that. There are some WILD joints in Lang Kwai Fong where I could sure as hell get my mind off my troubles…and be found the next morning floating peacefully in Victoria Harbor. Heck with that. My kid needs me. Doesn’t know it but he does, dammit.
As it is, I am making a movie with a lovely and talented friend who may have some real connections, if not to Hollywood well then to ShanghaiWood. As I have divulged it is all about me running my mouth, one of my favorite subjects. But as Ines digs deeper it is about an elfin friend discovering me at Tung Wah, a hospital-warehouse where I languished over the holidays.
Ahhhh…Fentanyl…the pain is lessening…”I give you suffering, I give you the noble Eightfold Ayran path to the release from suffering.” Right action would be better than morphine.
Finished Adorno’s commentary. Now, “light reading” is the Prologemna and Peter Strawson’s commentary. I focus on the text before breakfast in the spirit of the White Queen:
Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one CAN’T believe impossible things.’
‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!’
– Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
She believed impossible things. I read of things almost impossible to understand, before breakfast.
The Three Edwards: Myself, My Son and Mr Snowden: A Song of Lamentation: Das Klagende Lied
Dammit. DAMMIT. Edward Snowden dropped out of high school and yet surfaced with a six figure salary because of his IT skills. My son could have done the same after he dropped out, and I tried to tell him this, but the weight of disapproval ground him down. I got my son an IT job next to me at a company where he, and nobody else, was able to program a ceiling camera in a mall, not to violate privacy but to count heads.
Like Eddie and I, Snowden, apparently because of his high salary at a young age, doesn’t seem to have any money sense: I would have told Snowden to stay, not at the Mira five-star but at the Cosmopolitan in Happy Valley, a four star hotel. Cable TV, bathtubs, a workout room, no pool, friendly staff that greeted me by name because I would frequently stay at the Cosmopolitan to save a trip to Lamma when I had an early start on Saturday morning.
My colleagues at the crumby firm were cynical about the quality of the data because they simply didn’t know how to use the camera, controlled by a commodity PC chip. My son came up with an elegant algorithm, his boss told me, in a day, as I would have back in my own day.
We’re like Eddie Snowden, whose technical chops were linked, all the way down, to his refusal to ignore his Duty to reveal a serious violation of the Fourth Amendment. For the technology, which he understood as do most intelligent people, grabs my personal information in the reverse of “just in time” where an inventory item is only ordered when you need it.
Instead, the system stockpiles a vast amount of personal data taken from innocent people when there’s no suspicion of a crime. Not “just in time”: “just in case”.
Now, imagine trying to explain this to a right-winger who’s already royally pissed at Snowden and braying for the death penalty. He will shout you down.
Just as my son’s truth was ignored by just enough people to kill him. At his funeral I did meet one of Eddie’s former employers who recognized his genius as a bicycle repairperson and builder, but Eddie went from this morale-building employment, which may have ended because of a closure or cutback, innocently to another employer who turned out to be a criminal (it’s a crime not to pay employees for hours worked, in Hong Kong and Chicago).
That, and a girlfriend issue, and getting jumped at a club called Treasure Town, reduced my son’s self-esteem and threw him into a depression by way of the same mechanisms that used to throw me into depression. I asked Eddie if he could open his own shop, he could hardly see how (it takes liquidity).
I wish my son had been an Edward Snowden, and ripped the nation a new asshole, reminding its leaders that we have a Constitution and the rule of law, like little Hong Kong. He could have. He could have been da champ.
Te decet hymnus Deus in Sion et tibi reddetur votum in Hierusalem:
Exaudi orationem ad te omnis caro veniet: recquiescat eius in pacem et lux perpetua luceat eius.