Sunday, September 04, 2011

Lemons and Lemonade

Cowboy boot
Heidegger never mentioned this in Being and Time. [Photo credit: cpj79]

Well, friends of me, I write this to say that August is the cruelest month. Though it did bring my fair city some welcome relief from our weather, which had resembled that of the planet Venus for the past year, it also brought a lot of sadness and worry at a time when I felt as though I was at my limit for handling both. About the only thing that I think can go wrong at this point would be for a complete stranger to find me on the street and kick me square in the testicles, for no other reason than that the winds of fate had blown me across the path of his testicle-kicking at precisely the right moment to receive the unwelcome gift.

Like my inevitable death, this suffering belongs to me and I understand that it is a part of my destiny as a being in the world. In fact, from its location in my own future it pulses, like a beacon, so that even in the present moment I understand how it will happen. Someday—when exactly is the only detail I cannot determine—I will be walking briskly up a busy sidewalk, dodging pedestrians and panhandlers in a desperate effort to deliver an important parcel to the post office before it closes. My focus will be shattered by a breathless feeling of dread. Even in my coat, a chill is inescapable. I will feel claustrophobic within my own skin. The edges of my vision will darken and converge. I will turn around a split second before the fatal foot plunges deep into my perineum in a parody of childbirth, cleaving and crushing my scrotum. Waves of nausea ripple throughout my midsection. My kidneys explode with the pain of a thousand kidney stones. I don’t know if I am screaming because the blow has momentarily deafened me.

Falling to my knees, I glance upwards and our eyes lock. His glare is steely; determined. He has found his man and together we have each helped the other fulfill his purpose, understanding each other in a way that only antagonists can. In his eyes I see my own agony reflected and it’s there that I watch myself involuntarily expurgate a dinner I ate twelve years prior at a going-away party for a dear friend, pieces of congratulatory words from the cake still clinging to bits of frosting. I am aware of a hollowness, an ambiguous sense of loss seemingly without object yet suffused with an understanding of the universe and my place within it that I could not have attained without taking his boot into my taint. Wordlessly, he will break away from my gaze and walk his path unimpeded. We will never see each other again.

My friends, do not ask for whom the boot kicks. The boot kicks for thee.