Friday, November 27, 2009

The Corpse of Human Design

Think of the human body as an ancient fortress, each stone in its walls a building block of inherited DNA, the matter handed down through the generations, your grandmother’s poor circulation a treacherous ivy climbing the lookout tower, a reverse Rapunzel creeping into the throats of your archers as they sleep – their bows and arrows the Airborne and Emergen-C you take to fend off the chill of viral invaders.

Imagine the vaccinations swimming your moat, their pointed teeth glistening in the light of a germ-laden moon, fattening themselves upon one another, leaving a single surviving crocodile-shaped nemesis, a giant serpentine vise of ravenous fangs, ready to leap from its murky ring, pulling you and your doctor-recommended horse from the drawbridge settled across the divide between your inoculated home and the terrifying unknown – where the far reaches of the natural world fester with furtive demons mingling, rubbing their wicked haunches with the multiplying minutia carrying disease and pestilence, toxic misery lurking beneath the scales of their arched backs, between the bristles lining their milky throats, floating the pustules clouding their microscopic eyes, the evil pink blisters peppering their wrinkled hides.

Imagine every weakness blossoming on the horizon, the teeming unsanitary hordes, setting their eyeglasses on your guarded domain, plotting to rape and plunder the sanctity of your well being, the cherished robustness of a life so charmed, Charles Atlas coiled about Jack LaLanne, a vigor so reliant upon things so many of us do not understand.

Life sure is scary, eh?

Problem is, the legions massing at the bulwark of your prescribed health are already within your castle architecture, their invisible movements composing your mortal design, the armies parading your particulars fighting their own endless war, their struggle doing more to secure your position than the armored additions every grinning Willy Loman offers at the door.

The sad fact is, each shiny new medication luring you from your guard is a complication to the integrity of your stronghold, your natural agents of protection sent pouring from their armory to encounter the flu shot, the allergy medicine, the cough suppressant, the cholesterol drug, the heart pill.
     Even the anti-bacterial soap with which you wash your fortress hands – the Febreeze that scents the castle air – even these assault your precious ranks, each an occupation force demanding regular attention, putting your kingdom at risk of sneak attack – every vacated sentry post a vulnerable gap in your defenses, a Terry-Thomas smiling for the camera.

How is it that we have become so ignorant of our born securities – those that preserve us with their ambassadorial mingling among foreign bodies, signing treaties with viral commanders, shaking hands with growing concerns – that we allow the oily snake such easy entrance through the ramparts of our sovereignty, welcoming with our pocket books the lab-concocted minstrels of the closed-air drug market, the golden drops of each price-fixed cure set on waiting tongues by the technicians of the pharmaceutical age?

Can it be that we spend so much time lingering at the gates of a security sold on faith and promise, convinced of our fragility in the face of external invasion, that we neglect and erode our very structural confidence?
     Is the castle keep of the intelligent ape to be his casket too, its high barriers the lonely enclave of his self-inflicted suffocation?

Is it already too late to turn the mad chemist away?
     Is it possible to banish every penicillin-fueled Lon Chaney back to the dank depths of his dungeon laboratory?
     Or have we so compromised ourselves out of existence that the battlements of our retreat are filling with the corpses of human design?