Rendered Fat Content


Paul Cézanne:
Pistachio Tree at Château Noir (c. 1900)

Paean: a thing that expresses enthusiastic praise. (Oxford Languages)

" … nothing compared to most."

I sing today a song of praise for pain, that preeminent sensation. Above all others, it garners attention. It amplifies apprehension and can inflict damage with mere anticipation. Its sharpness can dull the brightest. Its dullness can sharpen even the boldest. Its lingering promise can thwart even the finest intentions. Its promise can utterly undermine inspiration. The dread of it distorts reason. Attempting to shed it encourages addiction.

Why a Paean for pain?
Mine's back again, and I admit I might be attempting to make it my friend. I am genuinely impressed with the impression it brings. It stings, then stabs. It aches and then seems to leave before returning, a continual thief in the night. He offers no reasons, no excuses. He is whatever he is in each moment, an intermittent, never wholly absent. On a scale of one-to-ten—that absurd and unanswerable question—he might be any one of them, a one or a ten or a one and a ten before circling back again to zero. I can go for a morning or even most of a day before something, or perhaps nothing will antagonize him to inject that transient sensation of agony again. He'll be gone in a minute, hiding and seeking without revealing his plans.

I live under a continuing threat; a threat almost become a promise. The acupuncture helped for a while and offered some promise, soon betrayed. I have an actual doctor visit scheduled now that I've overrun the initial immediate care prescription, which was remarkably ineffective, and I'm feeling uncharacteristically chicken. Paean's anticipation haunts me. The Muse managed to penetrate that otherwise impenetrable portal, the app my doctor insists I contact him through that usually denies me entry. The two visits will be back-to-back come Monday morning. The doctor first, then the pins and needles. My Paean and I will go visiting and try to find a reason for my Paean to stay behind.

I tell myself I will not become one of those chronic sufferers who drags his dull companion into every engagement and appointment. One who seems to live only from appointment to appointment, hanging on the ever-more remote promise that my Paean might have an effective treatment. I imagine myself rising to even that occasion, of being the stoic sort who never gives in, one who, through high moral purpose and intestinal fortitude, overcomes Paean's attempt to become preeminent. I imagine myself not the sort who would ever resort to streetcorner pharmaceuticals, though I know I'm ineptly attempting to fool myself on that front. We have a Fentanyl crisis just because we have Paean and humans, and in a fair fight, the Paean usually wins. It's only a fair and balanced contest if, or of course, one manages to accept their Paean and praise its presence. I ain't so bad off and could be much worse. Deltoid bursitis pain ain't nothing compared to most.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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