Thursday, October 19, 2023

Shaky Legs and a Golden Field of Wheat

Most of a human body is composed of microbes.  Human DNA is a small minority of the genetic material of which one is made.  The human brain, however, is a much more sterile environment.  There is a microbiome there, but much less so than the rest of the body.  We can't exist without the help of many of these microorganisms, and indeed, they often exchange genetic material with our own cells.  

Were I in a classroom today, I would ask students if they think that we now have knowledge of most things in nature or is there more unknown than known.  I think the question is an important one to place before them, especially in light of what would be my own "authority."  We don't know shit, I think, and are still fumbling around in the dark.  And that is as a collective whole.  Our individual knowledge--each of us--is pitiful.  Our ignorance is scary.  

"And yet," I'd say, "you need to get out and vote!"

And then I'd give them the big ironic grin and sarcastic laugh.  Half of them would laugh along while the other half would feel alienated.  Maybe I'd get death threats.  That's the world I live in today.  We are nothing if not primitive.  

I read today that we all have some Neanderthal DNA in us.  Asians have more of it than Europeans, but the range is from 4% to 2%.  How did we get Neanderthal DNA?  The report was very clear.  

" [A] result of prehistoric sexual encounters between our ancestors and the now-extinct Stone Age hominins before the latter disappeared around 40,000 years ago."

Well. . . there you go.  I just like to keep you informed. 

Get out and vote!

I was still on shaky legs yesterday.  Can it still be the vaccine?  I don't know.  Something is wrong.  But I took a walk and went to the gym for a light workout just to see.  Afterwards, I took a soak in the tub and then showered and washed my hair and got dressed in my new linen shorts and expensive t-shirt and looked in the mirror.  I didn't look at all like I felt.  I looked good.  My eyes were clear and blue and my hair was a golden field of wheat.  And so, on shaky legs, I headed out for needed supplies.  I limped around the grocery store getting what I could in order not to cook the evening meal.  I just didn't have it in me.  That is when I realized that I had not eaten anything all day.  I am trying to lose this big old gut of mine, and though it is impossible, I keep trying.  I knew as I struggled through the store that I needed to move everything up an hour.  I would eat early.  I would collapse on the couch before dark.  I would go to bed at nine.  


When I got to the checkout, the little girl with the pixie cut and nose ring looked me in the eye and smiled.  She looked like a kid who plays a lot of video games and subscribed to a magazine titled "Woke!"  But she looked sweet.  When she finished ringing me up, she looked at me again, staring with that half smile, and said, "I like your hair."  

See?  That's what I thought.  A golden field of wheat.  What about my eyes, I wondered.  Do you like my eyes?  Even though I thought she was probably a twisted little freak, the compliment. . . you know?  It is something I've always tried to teach.  A compliment will change people's day.  We don't do it enough.  

Still, by the time I got home, I was done.  I called my mother and begged off going over.  Then I made a Margarita.  

"Do you think this is wise?" the little voice in my head asked.  

"I don't know.  Let's see."

I sat on the porch and made my usual image.  

First sip.  I was thinking I felt better.  The phone pinged.  It was a photo of a hand holding Marcona Almonds.  It was code.  Code is good.  It is like a literary trope, a signifier for the thing itself and more.  Much more.  There is an insider's knowledge to it, an intimacy.  The day was picking up.  It was early yet, but I would make a roasted beet and goat cheese salad with walnuts and balsamic vinegar.  Maybe later I would have some roasted chicken with some beans.  I would check on the world briefly and then settle into a coma as I readied myself for bed.  Maybe I'd be better in the morning.  

Before I left the porch, however, I sent this.  All love is crazy.  

It's probably just the Neanderthal in us.  

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