6/15/07

Slugs, Thugs & Drugs

I woke up talking to myself today. Not out loud although that's not necessarily uncommon. No, I was having all these monologues in my head. Anomalistic thoughts, ideas and proto-essays were beginning to form a union and picket to be let out.

It's as though they were on vacation or a long season's slumber or something because I have not even had barely a moment since mid-May to think let alone unleash these unconscious, proletariat anarchists outside my cerebral confines.

So then I looked at my last blog post date and I nodded my head. Ten days since my last post. It's enough to make me want to gesture a sign of the cross. I can only have the theme song for all's quiet on the western front on the auto-loop for so long before I begin to go stir-crazy. There you have it and here I am. And it's raining. Which is just lovely and I mean that in the most puritan sense of the word. It smells divine. And rain and blogging go hand in hand. Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory, falling on my head like a new emotion.

And with rain, comes slugs.

An entire row of slugs are knocking at the back door, begging to be let in. As if. I've been wondering about this lately. Why do slugs slither up to my door(s) in the early morning hours and plaster their pathetic little faces against the glass, pressing their gooeyness to the glass in hopes of eliciting human sympathy? Yet they seem to completely disappear at night. Where do slugs go at night? I ponder this sometimes. I think it's a book dying to be written. If Jamie Lee Curtis can write a bestselling children's book, Where Do Balloons Go?, then I'm quite sure Where Do Slugs Go? could be equally as popular amongst those of us who have dormant gastropod-voyeuristic tendencies.

Where do slugs go when you ply them with salt? Do they melt into liquid yet still keep slug gestalt?

Or even call it A Slug's Life. I could follow Mr. Banana Slug (Mr. BS for short) around my yard, documenting his meanderings. Slugs actually move much quicker than we think. Now you see them, now you don't. I'm convinced they only pretend to be sluggish and slow when we're looking at them. But then the minute you turn your head and then look back, they're gone. They may even have magic properties we don't know about. Certainly, their chemistry when mixed with sodium might suggest so.

So yeah, I could maybe follow Mr. BS around and then post it on YouTube. Somebody somewhere would watch the entire documentary. This I know for sure. In fact, I'm betting quite a few somebodies and nobodies who don't even know how to spell entomology might easily entertain themselves in this fashion.

But here's the thing about such slug documentation which is at the crux of everything for me. I would if I could but I can't so I won't. Did you ever used to say that as a kid? I did. All the time. I used to trick myself into thinking it was an empowering statement about choice. It felt powerful when I said it, especially since I was given to emphasizing every auxiliary verb with iambic rhythm, full stop pause and a whole lot of attitude. And then I'd do an accompanying hip check, hand on the hip, chin up, hair tossed over the shoulder, lip curled action thereafter so that there could be no disputing that such a statement was all about choice.

Did you notice my little segue from slugs to choice-based propositions? Suffice to say, when it comes to choices, I am a slug. Because I've since come to realize that whenever I'm confronted with a good idea or in the case of my slug epiphany, a novel idea, I then must admit to myself that OK, it's not so much about choice as self-limitation. Enter sluggish, slithery behavior, stage left.

How do I limit me? Let me count the ways. My slug idea is a rather good example, I think. My first stopping place is to ask myself, hmmm, has this ever been done before? And so then I research my original idea, only to find out it's been done before. Google "a slug's life," for example, and you will see what I see, a star, a star, fizzling in the night. An Amazon link for A Slug's Life by John Himmelman. It makes me think that Himmelman must also have glass doors and live on a greenbelt amongst slugs too. Don't we all though?

So in most cases, I don't even need to go beyond this stage because this is where most of my so-called great new ideas, which I thought were so a priori and brilliant, die their awful death like slugs in a pool of kosher salt. Someone else has already been there, done that. Hence, why reinvent a perfectly functional wheel? It's much easier to say I would if I could, but I can't so I won't. The 'won't' or 'will not' denotes a kind of deliberate choice as though I've thought the whole thing through and know I could do it, but alas, I choose not to. So I won't. Aren't I clever?

That's a rhetorical question, fair readers.

Speaking of slugs (a word whose meaning now switches from harmless gastropod to slimy, worm-like creature more closely resembling a thug) I've been up to my ass...ets in alligators with securing mortgage financing, undergoing additional property inspections, dealing with a realtor who suffers from frequent elevator malfunctions, sourcing money changers and securing insurance, security and related-house deal expense quotes, on account of the fact that we've bought a house and the deal closes in 3 shy weeks. These are all the necessary evils of buying a home in this great nation, where debt is revered above all else (give us your debt as you daily deliverance, and we'll forgive that you're a foreign trespasser, they chant, to which we are then asked to bend over in anti-genuflective response).

But Hay zeus H. Christos, it's bloody exhausting. Add to that boy scout outings and Brownie meetings and school field trips and baseball and soccer and concert and dance recitals and my looming Canadian tax deadline in two weeks and the little matter of needing to get all final paperwork and medical exams done for our green card paperwork due at the end of the month, to say nothing of the packing and purging that still needs to be done, and I'm ready to admit my true properties right about now: if you poured salt on me at this instant, I, too, would reduce to a pool of boiled banana-looking fluid.

So I'm just trying to make it through each day and handle only what's in front of me. Much like the slug outside my son's window who taunts same son with his very existence. I mention my son because this is the kid who won't let us kill spiders in the house since to do so is to harm one of God's great creatures (I point out the oxymoron but he hears only moron and then starts to call me names in response, at which point the conversation is at an impasse until such time as he turns his head and I secretly squish the spider). And yet this same son thinks nothing of taking the salt shaker out to torture one of God's greater creatures: the forest decomposer.

It's enough to make me want to turn on, tune in, drop out. Can you believe it's been 40 years since the Summer of Love? Like wow, man....check it out, man. What goes around, comes around. This donned on me as I looked in the mirror on Tuesday and happened to spot my tie-dye and paisley floral 60s style smock complete with brown sparkly headband holding back a near-boufant, retro-housewifey-looking do reflection. All I needed was a martini (something I never have nor ever intend to try - I discovered in grade six that gin gets in my mouth and more to the point, my bloodstream which then causes me to crawl down back alleys pretending I'm a wild creature. I have no intention of replicating that experience - been there, done that aka I would if I could but I can't so I won't).

I should note here that the only reason I'm permitted this retro-look is because I did not experience it the first time around. I was a babette in the late-60s and not a very fashionable one at that.So I suspect that's why they've decided to do the anniversary celebration up big this year to say nothing of the fact that many of the hippy doper freaks may not make it another ten years, on account of their psychedelic youth and all.

And here we are, after all, smack dab or should I say crack dab in the middle of another counter-cultural era. We're anti-war, anti-Paris Hilton, anti-religion, anti-agnosticism, anti-Democrat, anti-Republican, anti-consumerism, anti-socialism, anti-everything. There's always someone, somewhere upping the anti and arguing semantics over evolution versus revolution, even while my guitar gently weeps. So I think it's the perfect time to ressurect the human potential movement that was so much a part of the social mileau of the mid to late 60s. We're still firmly entrenched in a me versus we worldview; far more than ever, in fact.

Michael Moore speaks to this headspace in his new documentary, Sicko, scheduled for release in a couple of weeks. And along this same head up 'me' butt syndrome, I happened to catch a clip of him on Oprah last week, in which she was exclaiming a newfound enlightenment and light-bulb moment because of the ideas he expresses in his film about the notion of how snafu health care is in this nation. Her reaction reminded me exactly of how a sheltered, battered and neglected child might react, upon stepping outside their unsafe haven and discovering that being starved, punished and physically abused by one's parents is not the norm. My response to Oprah? Hellllllooo? Earth to Oprah, come in Oprah.

Of course she is not with the program precisely because she happens to be totally with the program - her top-notch HMO program, that is. And/or she has her good health, personal trainer and frequent full body scans. And/or access to the best of the best that her wealth can buy. But check in with Jane and Joe Schoe American who aren't exactly living the American Dream and they'd clue her in. Health care in this nation sucks. Everything about it - from the corporate, for-profit structure to the power that pharmaceutical lobbyists wield in Washington to the supreme dysfunction of the insurance agencies.

I first learned how rotten the state of Medland was back in the late-80s and early 90s, when I first began working in hotel sales for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, booking large incentive travel groups, most of which were medical insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Incentive travel is the most lucrative of niche-market segments for the convention industry, because no expense is spared and every luxury lavished on ensuring an unforgettable champagne wishes and caviar dreams travel experience. Guess who ultimately pays for those trips?

So naturally, Moore travels outside the US to investigate how other countries structure their health care systems. What a novel concept. And of course, he discovers that yes Virginia, it is possible to have a universal health care system without having to become a card-carrying socialist party member. He glamorizes Canada's system just a tad too much but then it's easy to don rose-colored glasses when anything looks better than the current American medical crisis.

Sure it's "free" north of the border, but there ain't nothing free, honey. Income tax is astronomical and good luck ever getting in to get that emergency hip surgery done. It's like Robots meets Tim Burton....everyone is walking around north of the border praying they don't have to end up near dead in an emergency room looking for some spare parts. Wait times are double-digit hours, at best, and all the good nurses and doctors flew south on the wings of the geese long-ago in search of more lucrative wages.

But it's time someone let the dogs out on this issue. We need to put the care back in health and stand up for this, the most basic of human rights. And more importantly, we need to go back to the roots of the word and reclaim the holy and sacred heart of the issue.

health ~ O.E. hælþ "wholeness, a being whole, sound or well," from PIE *kailo- "whole, uninjured, of good omen" (cf. O.E. hal "hale, whole;" O.N. heill "healthy;" O.E. halig, O.N. helge "holy, sacred;" O.E. hælan "to heal"). Healthy is first
attested 1552.

The industry is terminally ill and in need of a holistic burial and by that I mean a wholly integrated and participatory vigil. We all need to wake up from the anesthetic fog, if only to stop those annoying pharmaceutical ads. I even saw an ED ad on tv last week (a metaphor for an industry out to stiff us if ever I saw one), and it actually flashed a subliminal image of a you know what. Couldn't believe my eyes. I'm being cryptic but you get my point without the explicit I'm sure (I don't need to attract more sluggos, thuggos and druggos into my life through weird and wonky search engine strings).

Anyways, that's my sex and drugs and rock and roll cautionary tale of the day. Moral of the story? Whether it's sprinkled on a slug, paired with a tequila shot and left to fester bitterly on your tongue, or poured in embalming fluid, salt is the quintessential spice of life. That's my story and I'm sticking to it like a slug to a glass door.


When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.

Herophilos, Greek physician (335-280 BC)

14 comments:

Natalie said...

Whew! Man, that was one big purge-o-rama. It almost sounded like one of my long-ass posts that meander on, in, around, and through at least six subjects before landing upon some Wiki-quote.
You go girl.
Feel better?
I think that slug-thing is a Capricorn trait. I kept nodding my head and "mmhmmm"'ing 'cause it sounded so familiar.
I saw Michael Moore on Oprah, too. I had the exact same thoughts about her... "HELLO!" Benefits aka health insurance are the exact reason why I am going to work where I'm going to work... I need 'em, S needs 'em, and, well, that's worth more than an additional $10k to me. I can't let Saint Christopher (Anthony, Francis, you name 'em) be my only insurance these days.
Speaking of pharmacu.. um.. pharmac.. um... criminy... pharmaceutical (damn!)companies...
I've recently had two of them send me auto-responses to my resume'.
I want to write back and say, "No thank you. I'll be self-medicating with caffeine soon enough."
:)
I hope things smooth with your bank dealings.
*big hugs*

Jeri said...

That was fun! Can I go on that ride again?

My MIL hates slugs and wanders around her garden in the morning with garden shears, vengefully snipping them in half. I personally would prefer not to get that close to 'em.

I hate the messy little crust a salted slug leaves, so I do Sluggo every two weeks in my yard and garden to keep them out of my nice plants.

On health care, it's ironic that in a nation that is among the richest in the world, we have the most dysfunctional health care system... go figure. I don't watch Oprah - how do you find time?? - but am aware of Moore's doc and am intereste to watch it, even if I do find his work a tad sensationalist.

Your money stuff sounds like a royal pain in the expat behind... I don't envy you. Do you have to file and pay both US and Canadian tax? Or just Canadian? I'd be SOOO tempted to just pile it in the middle of the desk and toss a lighted match in the middle. (Down, evil girl!)

Anyway, I wish you the best with it, and hope you can find some rays of sunshine in the house purchase to guide you through.

As always, thanks for the truly stellar, wild, erudite carnival attraction of a post. :D

SAAM said...

Wow, you go girl.
Well, I'm a good nurse and I haven't flown South although I did for a few years but that doesn't count as I'm back in the land of ice and snow and still working in health care. Mind you, I do homecare so I don't have to deal with all the hospital crap that goes on. Do you want to wait a day to be seen? Or go bankrupt? What a choice.
You said it.
I like salt

HOLY said...

Nat: your conjunction junction, what's your junction blog comment with seven million topics (as per usual)quasi-inspired me....that was like the first thing I loved about getting cable tv....

Health insurance will be my first motivation for getting out there and getting a job-ola next year (10 more months til the green card!). You have some great benefits - especially the triple venti non-fat dry-ish caps....have one for me, K? Dry-ish is a magic weight - not too foamy, not too wet...just right...and if it sounds like an erotic experience it's cuz it is. :)

Jeri: We have so many slugs here because we live on a greenbelt - I expect we'll see a few in the new pad but we don't have quite the same deck and yard scenario. I don't watch Oprah - I tape it and selectively decide weeks later what I feel like fast forwarding through. This Moore doc is not as sensational as the others - case in point, Fox News has nothing but praise for it. That's kinda scary actually but I'll watch it anyways.

SAAM: Yahoo, a good health care worker that stayed home! It is very frightening here....I miss Alberta Health Care and I almost even miss getting a pap smear (how bad is that?!) compared to now, where I'm waiting on pins and needles until we have more than an emergency plan as coverage ...yikes....

I like salt too!

Tanya said...

Congrats on the house - can't wait to hear about it on the trip!

As for slugs, I don't miss them at all. I used to go out in the morning with my salt shaker and watch them foam as I dumped it on them. Gross, gross, gross!

Becca said...

Good blog entry today. Love all points made!

Becca

Jorge said...

Well said, and I happen to be in violent agreement with most of what you have to say. Having worked in health care in the States, England, as well as SouthEast Asia, I can say no system is great, and the more bureaucratic you make the system, the less health care gets dispensed. as you rightly pointed out, there is no free lunch. and as long as we insist on supersizing everything, driving in our gas guzzlers instead of walking a few miles, and ignoring the health care prescriptions given to us, we are doing little to improve that what is already in our power to make better. Hope you have a happy Father's Day at your house tomorrow.
J.

cas said...

OMG... what a l.o.n.g... entry. I don't know that many words.

Kept my interest to the bitter end, though, as usual.

You are always worth the effort.

Lynn said...

I love you, Holy. I am dazzled and have whiplash and feel a little dizzy.

Yay about the house...I know what you mean about lenders, closers, fees, costs, deals and the like. We dealt with the homeowners and that in some ways was easier, and then worse. We have *shudder* attorneys to palaver with too.

Libby wants to save all the spiders and ants in the world but kills all the flies and bees. Saviors of God's Creatures are a capricious bunch, aren't they?

Health care...Hell Scare is what we call it here. I'm looking forward to Moore's documentary, but I'll be taking it with...LOL...a grain of salt. He does have his own agenda, don't he though? Bless his heart.

And Oprah? *Sigh* She's become "The Man". I just don't like her much any more. She's forgotten who she was and that makes me kind of sad. Who she was why I liked her to begin with.

Pharmaslugical...*giggle*

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I read a quick guide to hockey this morning. I know what the lines mean, what a slap shot is, and the definition of "icing."

So what? Shouldn't somebody who grew up withing spitting distance of Ottawa know all about hocky?

I should have. All my uncles were mad-dog hockey fans and I saw my first game on CBC in b&w on CKWS, Channel 11 out of Ottawa in the late 50's. I showed up for the cheese, horseradish, pizza and the occasional stolen sip of Labatt's Blue. I never caught onto the game.

I still don't care for it. At least from today on I know what they're trying to do...

Anonymous said...
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KC said...

My head is spinning from one topic to another and have no clue where to start commenting.

Good luck with the war waged on moving - I am not 100% completed with mine but I have my apt til the end of June so that's my saving grace. Long 4-day weekends help out in finalizing the process. I'm glad its almost over and now comes the process of taking a house and making it a home. But there's no hurry for me, I got time.

Sicko was filmed largely in my town and I made a blog entry on it as well. Canadian Health Care is NOT free - but I also know that I don't need to decide between life and possible death or poor quality of life because I don't have health care. I do. Its not perfect but I still get treated. London ON is one of the best places to be if you get sick being the mecca for Canadian health care and research. But... again... it has its flaws... ones that I am willing to live with at the moment. Moore did glamourize our health care system without talking about its problems... and that can be problematic as well. Time will tell what impact his newest documentary will have on the world.

Good luck hon with everything... have a fantastic summer!

Ciao bella,
KC

Natalie said...

Isn't it time for another ten day purge?
I hope things are going well.
:)