February fluff is everywhere.
And by fluff, I don’t mean snow. I’m talking holiday detritus. Red and pink displays adorn shop windows, enticing the eye with come-hither missives. Blooming roses sit in cellophane cylinders, fragrant reminders from flower shops and grocery stores. Jewelry counters make monumental efforts to display baubles so brilliant, you risk corneal damage if proper eye protection isn’t worn when touring the facilities. And the manufactures of chocolate—an all occasion offering—achieve epic kudos for creativity and artifice by showing up in everything from pasta to toothpaste, face masks to band aids and candles to play dough.
I’ve even come across chocolate flavored chocolate.
The holiday of luv is upon us. Its mascot … an organ.
Raising children in a household with a physician, the first rule of order was to address bodily components by their proper names and “know thy functions.”
Before we securely settled on the order of the alphabet or techniques of shoe tying, I began overhearing snippets of conversation not uncommon within the lecture halls of an anatomy class.
“The human body contains an array of biological systems, and within those systems are assorted organs, which consist of tissues that are made up of cells. Those cells essentially are comprised of water in company with a soup of molecules, which primarily contain carbohydrates, proteins and lipids.”
“Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom.”
“Generally speaking, the excretory system is in charge of eliminating metabolic wastes generated by homeostasis. It regulates the chemical composition of your body’s fluids, maintaining the correct balance of water, salts and other necessary nutrients.”
“Daddy, my tummy hurts.”
“Your body does not contain a tummy, it contains a stomach. Now lie down flat with your hands at your side and allow me to palpate your abdomen for rebound tenderness.”
And even though for many years I made a living making music, I endlessly struggled in an attempt to pen catchy lyrics about the endocrine system or compose a convincing cardio march.
That just wasn’t my bailiwick.
I came to realize I was more about emotion than embryology—more gut than gizzards—spirit not spleen.
And it’s not that I didn’t appreciate the enlightening science. But I found that once words bypassed the three syllable mark, I began focusing on other things, like the physical feats of the human tongue, or categorizing just how many sounds I could hear at that precise moment, or what type of consumer would be moved to purchase chocolate flavored chocolate.
I ponder the great mysteries of the universe. Not the great leap forward of methodology in modern medicine.
I see a sash of colors cross the sky in an arc, ending somewhere misty and amorphous, and I’m told how the various parts of the eye labor together, converting light rays that travel through the pupil into interpretable data for my brain.
I hear my rumbling belly and sink my teeth into a sizzling mound of juicy beef, tangy ketchup, sour pickles and sweet brioche bun, and I find out hunger is the brain’s message to the body, announcing the necessity for nutrients.
I roll in the grass with a four-legged ball of fur and embrace all the licking, panting, growling and nuzzling that accompanies the act, and feel an exhilarating zing rush up my spine and pulse with each heartbeat. This mood “comes from the Greek word euphoria which means ‘power of enduring easily,’ or from euphoros, which literally means ‘bearing well.’”
Apparently, my day was a lot more complicated than seeing a rainbow, chowing down a burger and falling in puppy love.
And yet, I feel an overwhelming surge of relief whenever I’m presented with the string of indecipherable digits that represents the results of blood tests, and after a quick glance from Sir Sackier, find comfort that everything is within allowable range.
That same release of stress occurs when a family member mails an envelope stuffed with black, coated films revealing shadowy, white forms and vague and blurry shapes, because what usually follows is a snap of the fingers and a phrase beginning with, “That’s a classic case of blah, blah blah.”
And how many times have I sat in an examining room with a fractious child, fretting over the sudden switch from English to Latin, trying to read faces, examine body language and deduce a diagnosis when my husband turns to me with the reassuring translation, “It’s just a tummy ache.”
Yes, we all have a heart that both pumps and pleasures, we’ve all grown a spine that both supports and resolves and we each possess vision through which we filter belief. But this doesn’t make us identical, just unique components in the mass of a larger working, searching, yearning entity trying to make sense of it all. In all these beautiful tongues.
Laugh with the poetry.
Smell the roses.
Sparkle with trinkets.
Just make a wide berth of the chocolate flavored chocolate.
Don’t forget to check out what was cookin’ in the Scullery (here) and what we all talked about down in the pub (here). And to see more of Robin Gott’s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone, click here.