Flight Papers

feminism and creativity, art, madness, and play

Archive for the ‘death’ Category


Monday, August 16th, 2010

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Dear Internet,

I just ate a piece of pizza. I know that it is making me fat. I am aware that it contains polyunsaturated something-or-other, hydrolyzed this-or-that, and also sugar and, god help me, corn.

I know that half of what I just ate is giving me cancer even as the other half is preventing it. I know the wheat is shredding my intestines even as it murders my children. I know that the corn is genetically engineered and that it’s giving me cancer, because as everyone knows, genes cause cancer. I know that I probably need more B12 or B7 or K or something, I know that fructose is the new cyanide, I know that I’m probably allergic to goddamned near everything, and yes, I know that if I add a teaspoon of sugar to my tea I may as well be mainlining crystal meth.

Oh, and hey look! Something about gut bacteria. My gut bacteria, or possibly my lack thereof, are making me fat and maybe also killing me. Okay, I know that now, too.

I know that I need to work out more. God, do I ever I know that. I know that I should be working out RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND. (And yes, I know that the aspartame I just sipped in my diet coke is killing me in exactly the same way as sugar, but with a funny aftertaste.)

But you know what, Internet? I just. Don’t. Care. The aggregate cost of filtering, processing, and understanding a constantly-shifting stream of breathless information about THIS thing which causes toe cancer in genetically engineered lab rats or THAT thing which prevents aging in soybean nematodes—let alone the vast array of things that affect my chakral alignment or the quantum moment of my vitreous humors—has just become far higher than any conceivable benefit.

When you can show me a living person who is 300 years old and who doesn’t look a day over, say, 50, then we can talk.

Until then: please, please, shut the fuck up.

~ v.

p.s. I either ALREADY HAVE brain cancer, or I NEVER WILL. Either way, unless you’re whining about the antenna in the fucking iPhone 4, please shut the fuck up about cell phones, too. Actually, on second thought, don’t say anything about the iPhone 4, either.

Not just bad — black bad.

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

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Obama’s speech is beautiful, in its way. Let that be said.

I’ve been hearing about it on news outlets for the past three days, until the stupid passport news “broke” and every fragment of news media dropped “the race issue” like the hot potato it is. (Let it also be said: if I were into conspiracy theories, that’s the one I’d be supporting).

The words he’s saying are incredible, coming as they are from the mouth of a very real candidate for the throne. Race and class and the complex interactions between them are real issues that this nation has simply failed to address in a substantial way. It’s profoundly heartening to hear someone, anyone—let alone someone in such a strong political position—saying that we need to include these issues in our national discourse. This speech made me respect him more as a candidate, without doubt.

And still, there’s that twinge of doubt. I understand why he didn’t say that this is an anger we can all understand, and an anger that everyone must understand before we can move forward; I understand why he didn’t pin the responsibility for continued oppression on white America; I understand why he dipped deep into the well of reconciliatory rhetoric to find issues and language that some-substantial-subset-of-everyone can agree with. I get it, and it still makes me afraid.

Because it tells me that as a black candidate, he can’t address these issues head-on. Because if he does, he will be Angry, and there is nothing more dangerous. If he had gotten up on stage last week and said, “I need you to understand that I believe the good Reverend Wright’s sentiment is correct even if his rhetoric is inflammatory,” he would have been crucified as an Angry Black Man in a fraction of a news cycle.

And though I have that understanding, it does. not. help. There is a part of me that cries every day that these are still problems—but they are. Some tiny bit of me dies at every moment because there are people who will grasp at anything including the amount of melanin in your skin to explain why you deserve to be fucked and they do not; because there are people who prize the sanctity of their ephemeral, exploitative institution above your human rights, and will happily steamroll the latter if only because they can.

I understand that we cannot have a politician stand up and say, “It is okay to be angry.” I understand why we are still talking about “tolerance” (in the way that you tolerate a wasp sting) rather than acceptance (in the way that you accept your family*).

I understand all of this, yet still it is a catastrophe. Peace is not the absence of bombs. Nor rockets, nor gunfire. Peace is both the absence of violence and the reconciliation of former violence; peace exists in the acceptance of anger and the ability to channel that force through channels that may create, may destroy, but do not harm. Repression is not peace. Construction is.

Peace requires justice; we require peace. As Americans, as people, we need it like water and air, and we will never get there by gritting our teeth, understanding each other and building labyrinths of words that keep us away from one another. It’s like a pleasing and pointless gray pill—that pattern will not bring us hope or love or peace. Not now, and not ever.

* Family. Not blood relations. Not mutually exclusive, but not implied.

Bugs in the repiratory system, and hacks to the brain pain.

Monday, January 7th, 2008

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Some time ago (as in, in 2003), I described my approach towards illness:

  1. Denial. Denial is key; many, many illnesses will lose interest and go away if they are denied vehemently enough. Ignore symptoms—“That’s a nasty-sounding cough” “It’s the dust.” “We’re in a clean room.” “It’s the, uh, lack of dust.”. When the symptoms become impossible to ignore, deny the root cause—“I am not sick. Not. Sick. It’s just the dry air, you see.”.
  2. Ignore it, and it will go away. This is when I don my older sibbling hat; others may choose to mimic ostriches or right-wingers. Do not give in, do not repent. Do not suppress the cough, ignore the cough. Chloraseptic spray is a talisman of defeat—swallow the pain of that sore throat. The feverish dizzyness doesn’t prevent you from walking, does it? There is no sinus-pressure-induced migraine.
  3. Blitzkrieg.Sometimes, the above is not enough. (We here omit statistics, as they make me look really dumb are largely irrelevant.) In cases such as this, a constant battery of eichenesea, vitamin C, decongestants, cough suppressants, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and water will usually do the trick. Unless it doesn’t, in which case step four will likely be required.
  4. Activated charcoal / kidney dialysis. (Optional.)

And, you know, that list hasn’t changed much! Except that I learned sometime between then and now that the dosages listed on medicine bottles (especially paracetamol-free cough solutions, like most Robitussen) are really more guidelines than anything else—the toxic thresholds for most drugs are ridiculously high. So step three also involves drinking a lot of cough syrup and lying horizontally, feeling really, really peaceful.

(I’m not sure if that’s the worst part of being ill, or the best.)

[Paracetamol—a.k.a. acetaminophen, a.k.a. Tylenol—is actually one of those over the counter drugs that you can kill yourself with pretty easily. 1 gram tablets aren’t hard to come by, and the toxic dose is about 150 mg / kg. You can kill most adults with about twenty Tylenol administered over the course of a few hours. There are quite a few Tylenol suicides for this reason, but it’s actually a really bad idea. I’m not clear on the details, but the basic paracetamol overdose plot goes like this: you take a bunch of pills, you get really sick, and then you feel a lot better. Except, you’re not actually better. Your liver is in the process of shutting down, and at this point, there’s not a lot anyone can do. Which sucks, because by now you’re probably in a hospital surrounded by loved ones and not really in much of a suiciding mood.

Which is all to say: if you’re going to get fucked up on Robitussen, make sure it’s the stuff without acetaminophen/paracetamol. Fortunately, all this stuff is conveniently listed on the label. Mine says, “Dextromethorphan HBr 15 mg” Glug.]