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External pathogens…

April 19, 2010

Art, like morality…

consists of drawing a line…

somewhere…

— C. K. Chesterton

I don’t sweat much…

unless I’m hiking in a jungle in Java…

or rollerblading twenty kilometres up and down hills in the Seymour Demonstration Forest…

But during Sunday morning’s strata meeting something happened that took me some time to figure out 10% of what went on…

I was sitting there cool as a cucumber while knitting a golf cardigan with some Rowan bamboo tape beside Mr. Superhighanxietyneighbour…

and when I called him on how the group had been listening and responding to his needs with support…

and now some of the women in the group were asking for some recognition for the things that worry us…

like men high up on ladders scrubbing away at sky lights without proper safety equipment…

and how he was dismissing us left right and centre,

my body became like a funnel…

and my armpits like a firehose…

as I amplified his wife’s bottled emotion through my own loudspeaker…

It was rather extraordinary…

and phenomenal…

It reminded me of staff meetings…

and sitting at the dinner table with my family of origin…

Exercising all of the air traffic control skills required to get through a meal without someone getting sucked into the eye of a storm…

Hanging round the ceiling half the time...

I knew the question was coming…

and last night as Little Gem, Starshine and I were watching Stanley Cup series post-game reviews at CBCsports.ca, I heard it…

Mama, What’s Viagra???

And are the Canucks going to need it to bring home the Stanley Cup???

Before I answer questions I make sure I ask a few of my own first…

I started with,

Where did you hear that word???

She said, as she counted the number of times they appeared on the screen,

It’s there…

and there…

and there…

See???

Viagra.ca…

Starshine said,

I’m going to my room…

This feels like the time when you started to explain something at the dinner table…

using our Barbies…

and Ken…

I tried to skirt the subject…

as I struggled in my mind to find words for something that I don’t understand myself…

I’ve tried doing the research in preparation for this moment…

even though it really isn’t my problem…

or my department…

because I knew that one day I’d be called to the question…

The last time I was at the doctor I was waiting…

and waiting…

so I took the time to flip through the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals that was in the examining room…

I was doing research on anti-seizure medication…

and meds used for managing A.D.D….

Then I closed my eyes and turned the pages…

opening them on Viagra…

I ripped out the information for my files…

and microscopic investigation…

Cialis is a bit more subtle in advertising…

The only comments I’ve heard so far are,

That man looks like he’s going for a nice ride on that scaffolding cart…

I don’t really know what they’re trying to sell with that commercial but his wife seems to be good at taking care of her garden…

so Cialis must be right for them…

Little Gem wouldn’t let it rest…

Mama, WHAT IS Viagra???

I asked her,

Are you really sure that you want to have this conversation???

She looked at me…

emphatically…

leaving me nowhere to move…

but forward…

I began an explanation…

Each word out of my mouth opened the floor for more questions…

and some of them got very personal…

Like…

Did Papa need Viagra when you made me???

I’m going to go clean my windows with the back pages of the Georgia Straight…

Before my children get home from school…

and I get asked the question,

Why are there the words Kneel and Beg in the picture of that lady holding a stick???

And why are those two men wearing harnesses and pretending to lick each other???

By the time I was nineteen I’d figured out that if I needed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs to do something I probably shouldn’t be doing it…

but it took until I was twenty-one to listen to what I knew…

That was back in the time when cocktails were as simple as a Paralyzer and a Long Island Iced Tea…

and coke was cut pure…

The substances that people are willing to ingest in this day and age will leave you tits up before you even swallow…

and by that time the only place left to go is six feet under…

What's love got to do with it???

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