Rendered Fat Content


Egon Schiele: The Family (1918)

"A reckoning might be impending …"

The Muse and I arrived out of exile one year ago today. We found an empty house waiting patiently for our arrival. We set up the inflatable bed in the living room then set about settling in. The Muse's son's family had not quite finished moving out, so I spent the next day helping to relocate their stuff out of the basement in preparation for the moving van arriving the following day. The rest, as they say, is history. Few days would be spent idle until the following winter. We shaped up the yard and repainted the front porch before setting about to refurbish nine rooms, floors, walls, ceilings, windows, and doors. I spent the last day possible to paint outside, finishing painting the exterior trim on the last window before settling into a long-ish idle winter. I'd supposed that I'd earned a break, but three months off have only left me feeling StovedUp for spring.

I have aches and pains the likes of which I never once had when we were on exile.
My lower back seems to be permanently spasmed into a Charlie Horse knot. My legs seize up as if beset with shin splints should I sit for more than a few minutes. I've been limping around and spending quite a lot of time reclining, reading. I suffer from what might be called a Repetitive Reading Injury as a result of cracking that seven hundred page Sandburg's Lincoln, leaving my right hand feeling bruised and swollen. And Spring's here, the season for starting the cycle all over again, digging garden, expanding borders, setting up scaffolding for external painting, and I'm StovedUp, feeling down right agéd.

The Muse regularly visits a quackopractor. I went once, decades ago, but left embarrassed, not finding the choreography quite believable. The Muse also submits to massages, one every week or so it seems. She complains of feeling StovedUp, too. After a long week of extended Zoom® calls, she's tied in knots and treats herself to hands-on treatments. Me? I can't quite come to see those therapies as believable fictions. I mostly suffer in silence. I might submit to a hot soak in a mineral bath, but I usually just suck it up and tough it out, never having been much for touching treatments. I'm more of a talk myself out of it sort of patient, the talking cure, my old favorite.

I consider most treatments to be forms of punishment. They first wound my pride. Just considering them leaves me feeling painfully dependent. I'd much rather believe that I could be independent. If I can tie myself into tangles, I believe that I should be able to untangle myself again, though this strategy does not always provide relief. My fingernails seem too short to untangle some of these latest knots. I have grown skilled at working wounded, perhaps at exacerbating damage, making situations worse. I have a long track record of denying my own dysfunctions and a remarkable pain threshold perhaps better suited to hurting myself than for curing anything. I have thrived on a cure thyself and a working through it ethic, one perhaps better suited to youth. A reckoning might be impending before I make my exit, a hands-on cure for a hands-off guy.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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