Rendered Fat Content


Unknown: Twenty-Armed Dancing God Ganesha,
Remover of Obstacles
(10th century, India, Madhya Pradesh)

" … the true meaning of life was presented on a day
when I was tucked up on the couch, Recuperating from something."

In the middle of it, Recuperating feels indistinguishable from slacking. The inactivity seems identical. I struggle to interpret my condition with the generosity it might not wholly deserve, for if I were true to my upbringing, I would have already cleared myself for reengagement and ended this forced idleness, but I am not true to my upbringing. I have been more or less actively rebelling against my upbringing since before I was fully brought up, and I seem unlikely to change my behavior now. It's not that I was raised by wolves. I mostly revere my parents intentions, even though they were sometimes difficult to discern. My most generous interpretation insists that they always meant well even if they weren't always able to do as well as they intended. In that, I was raised to be like them, but a point came where I needed to make my own decisions, my own choices, and beyond that point I needed to become my own parent and, curiously, my own child.

I wounded my knee painting.
Had I been true to my upbringing then, I would have just continued working, trying to ignore the growing feeling that I might have really damaged something in there. After all, I had a job to do and, as I was raised, the job comes first. I knew full well that I was supposed to sacrifice for that work. My father learned at a very early age to grab whatever work came by, since in his Depression-era life, more work might not be coming soon. One showed up at the appointed hour and worked until either the job was done or the day was done. If you ached as a result, you kept that to yourself. The overseer might not take kindly to a worker who complained too much, or at all, apparently. One kept their real feelings securely bottled up inside.

I possess enough of that ethic without fully embracing it. I have and can and will work right through some ill, but I prefer to think that I've advanced to a point where I can offer myself a real choice. Can I accept my own judgement, overriding the factory-installed default? Can I actually be my own parent sometimes, being kind rather than harsh and judgmental? Can I give myself some slack I do not really feel I possess?

The problem becomes what to do with myself if I'm not up doing my work. Gone are the days when a morning might evaporate watching Perry Mason reruns. Home sick from school back when I was a child, I faced the same dilemma I face when Recuperating today. What can I get away with? I was sick, but something inside me knew that I should keep up appearances. Any spontaneous recovery once the permission to stay home was given could encourage suspicion that I was perhaps faking illness to avoid a test or something. I needed to convincingly act as if I was sick, and I had scant experience in the fine art of doing that. I'd lay on the couch and speak in a croaking voice and refuse any lunch at first, all part of the ploy to ensure that I appeared as ill as I really felt. I seem to play the same games with myself now.

I diagnosed my wounded knee as one of those flesh wound things, something idleness would heal. Idleness seems one heck of a regime, since it entails no actual process to observe. I prescribed just staying off my knees, with anything else allowed. I had not been aware just how much kneeling I engaged in through a typical day until I started paying attention and avoiding kneeling to promote healing. I seemed better off just laying down, keeping the load off it. Judging if it was getting better proved challenging. I might be back to better this morning. Whether I'm back to a hundred percent or not, I'm past ready to be Reconning again.

The note announcing that I was all better and should be readmitted back into school again always seemed like fiction, for I was usually just on the upswing toward better, still feeling residual weakness and disoriented. I'd take my seat and commence to faking it until I came back around. The alternative might have been to never go back to school again following any illness. I keep learning to this day stuff that must have been covered when I was absent. I suspect that the true meaning of life was presented on a day when I was tucked up on the couch, Recuperating from something. I never expect to catch up.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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