The health blogs claim that drinking My Own Piss™ gets easier. This is not true. Each day of drinking My Own Piss™ is worse than the day before, and that day more difficult than the day previous, and on and on.
Any sort of complex ideas about god or penance or that accompanied the initial days were completely wiped by a nutrient deficiency. Though I expected this, I hated it with a simple, stupid hate that ate at my brain.
Anyone who thinks this is a good idea should let me hit them in the face.
I am making mouth noises as I move about the house to sound as automated as I feel. There is also comfort and motivation to making nonsensical noises while you go about your day. My grandfather whistled through his teeth. My great-aunt Margaret hummed the same three notes over and over. I settle on a robotic bleep-bloop-bleep, and the occasional do-dee-do.
My grandfather would not approve of this—he was a man of leisure. He made big, appreciative speeches about everything. He ordered scotch whenever scotch was available. He is shaking his head, wherever he is.
My great-aunt, on the other hand, was catatonic for forty years, and possibly schizophrenic.
It could go either way for me at this point.
The walking, talking, acid-lined pit I have become has let go of anyone—let alone myself—getting anything out of this whole thing. I am in too much of a haze to see anything beyond the imagined.
It’s not unlike depression where every minute is a minute where the potential for satisfaction seems permanently gone.
I don’t want to get out of my bed, but that’s okay because we are not supposed to be productive; we were not made that way. Humans are destroyers and manipulators, not creators. We take, and we take, and we surround whatever we take—material or otherwise—with semiotics, and then we give it to each other, and then we die.
Our only gifts are to ourselves, so what happens when there are no longer humans? We have ourselves convinced that by following the rules of physics and being nice to each other, we are contributing something to history that wasn’t there before. But on a grand scale, the “progression” of one unit to the next is based on categories that humans themselves came up with. The dinosaurs had no such fictions, and they ruled the Earth longer than we did.
Right? Yeah, I think that’s right.
For the large amount of damage a human can do relative the small amount of time they exist, a dead body left in the woods is the most productive thing a human can be.
Because at least a dead human body is food for other organisms.
My first bite of solid food is a baby carrot. I expected bliss. It went down like unfinished lumber and the spittle at the bottom of a drink. But I am not a child. I have learned how to love complicated, unpredictable things. I accepted the baby carrot and thanked god for its return, like an old friend who doesn’t smell like their parents’ house anymore.
Sorry can’t write today, I’m busy anointing my jaw with olive oil on a small family farm in Italy.
eggs benedict forever
turkey avacado sandwich forever
two rolls of bread with butter forever
pasta salad forever
chicken vindaloo forever
White Castle sliders forever
bacon egg gouda sandwich forever
Chicken Caesar salad forever
egg rolls forever
Singapore noodles forever
ice cream forever
blueberry scone forever
I am far removed from My Own Piss™. I realize I have been approaching self-help from the opposite direction of general wisdom. They say change cannot come from an external force; it has to be from within. What about the presence or absence of food? Food, technically, is an external object. Then again, it is not. Inside your stomach is the one of the most internal places you can get. If change cannot happen there, then the theory doesn’t hold. Right?
Suffice it to say, I have returned to a life of languid consumption of artisan donuts. I cannot afford these donuts, but in the tradition of women’s magazines and romantic comedies, I have hope that the passion and care required to compose their ingredients will somehow transfer to my own being. I would like the tattooed hands of a be-lipsticked hipster to massage my soul into balance, into focus, into place in a universe where bacon makes everything better.
These hopes only last so long. About the time it takes to consume a donut.
Again, I think of my grandfather, who died in 2009 of old age. Only one year was lost to him as a result of dementia, and the rest were full and amorous and present. Toward the end, I only saw him once or twice a year because I had moved away from Kansas. During these rare occasions, my father’s side of the family would meet in a restaurant in Manhattan, KS.
Harry’s is historical, the finest dining in downtown. We would reserve the back room where my grandfather sat at the head of the table. Whoever sat next to Grandpa knew the routine task: to read the menu in a loud, clear voice.
When the waitress came, he would order scotch and the chicken, and the whole restaurant would turn to see the source of this booming voice, this authority on simple desires, and the great resonating pleasure of thank you, young lady. Do you know, he would tell the waitress, that you have beautiful smile?
Towards the end of the meal, he would clear his throat.
“Just a minute,” he would say, and then louder. “Just a minute, everyone.”
His toast was always some variation of this: “If I had the choice, I wouldn’t ask for anything different than this night, or anyone different than the people that are with me right now. We are only missing one, my wife, Hazel, but she is with us wherever she is. So I wouldn’t ask for anything different. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
“Here, here,” we’d all say, and then I, for one, would go back to my own thoughts. They were thoughts of dissatisfaction and longing, thoughts that probably led me here, on the other end of heartbreak and deprivation, none of which I can go back and change.
After drinking My Own Piss™, everything feels the same, but I realize my grandfather knew what that was like. He had probably been ordering the same scotch and chicken for fifty years. The difference from one minute to the next was only in reverence for that particular minute, in which scotch and chicken were suddenly there, plate warm and glass full among people he loved. He appreciated a still minute without forgetting the minute before or fearing the next.
Making these conclusions, it would be hypocritical to then wish to be calmer, wiser, less indulgent, a woman who can appreciate years and years in a single moment. I am not that, and I won’t be that until I am.
Until then, I am sitting here, harried and broke and alone, but not so far gone that my grandfather in Harry’s couldn’t come to me. I’m happy he did.
So, here, here, grandpa: I have not done my laundry. I get to be a writer. I don’t spend enough time with my family. They love me anyway. I smoke cigarettes. I met some of the best friends I’ve ever had smoking at a table outside a bar. A lot about my love life has been difficult, and short-lived. I want that to change, but I don’t want the people to change. They are good people.
Here, here: I have the capacity for love. The heat wave has broken. I don’t feel all right. I can’t run away from that. I have a home for which I paid rent. I never have to drink My Own Piss™ again, if I don’t want to. I want things to be different, but I’m an idealist, a dreamer. That desire will always be with me. I won’t exaggerate it, nor will I push it away. I’m going to sit in the sun and read a novel and it won’t cost me any money. I am sad, but I can read. I don’t know what happened, or what’s next.
Here, here. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Front page image by Maria Morri.