SPEW ALLEY by Charles Plymell

(for uncle Bill)
By Charles Plymell
Some people just can't take the notion that millions of micro tadpole spitfire germs can swim into quiff and get only one hit on the egg, and that becomes us. That wham alone is enough to make one wonder just how come. The chance is as unfathomable as the lottery, the Big Bang, but these little holers make a person. That alone would be enough to spend a lifetime anguishing just how the easiest and most natural bit of stuff in the world turns into another body complete with its own mind.
And if we just thought of that little mouse hunt and what came from it, we might as well be taken to a padded cell and try to punch our way out of it like some Turet. But then to develop a language, the next most incomprehensible worthless discovery tha t can express a body! And then it forms itself in a society, learns to make change at the market and learns to compete against the million of other bodies out there, in order not to appear as random as some lone germ, for a germ without a purpose is jus t another germ, so a body has to pick and choose its social structure, if it's lucky, or be cast into some lot to task itself out to nether end. The best thing of course, is to invent, discover, be a rock star, make money to occupy one's time.
That would be quite enough for a body not to think about the basic reporters' questions too often as applied to the ultimate abstraction. It is distraction that we must have. Escape, anything to ease the pain of the awareness that swells up and won't go away sometimes, like asking what am I doing here, someday I won't be here, what was this, where will I be and what did I know, etc. It is not considered a real pain of course, like a broken bone, so it has to be considered a mental pain, and drugs that can help it are confused, so the whole reality of it becomes ever more convoluted and ends as everything, in the social body that prevents any attempt at understanding because usually it is not in economic demand. The drift is always to the physical, t he tangible, the salable, which uses up the body in disaster. This portends the future for the larger body as well.
Even if a body's purpose was pretty well programmed and adjusted to the selections (religious, political, social) confines of its time, there is the larger purpose that might seep through those confines and wrinkle the whole thing at any given moment. T hat is also not considered painful, but a condition of life.

Some think the body, oneself, the person next door, et. al. is a cancer that ultimately destroys its host. In this case, we have the planet earth which is showing signs of regurgitating, just like those bodies who took the time to reflect--prophesied. T here are ones who say this is just like all the rest of time and nothing happened before; these are usually the ones comfortable in their own social, religious, economic structures and have taken their fate the same as their nicely-mown lawn which my ne ighbor is doing now on his little tractor. He is making his own pollution as he goes, his pastime deadening his brain cells as he burns the products of a large cartel. He has a flag that symbolizes his freedom (and the cartels) hanging from his garage. He and his society would not see themselves as a cancer, and their pain is usually relieved by Advil or whatever is advertised on television to keep one of the largest financial cartels in business, serving the needs of the society ! of l awns.
People don't like to see themselves as a cancer, or a virus, even though if we condense history to repetition of specie activity, we come up with the same story, the same actions, usually in the form of religion and politics, to administer an over-purpo se, or medication in event the individual purpose goes awry. This isn't classified as pain, because it doesn't have the clinical appearance of eating one away. But there is no cure for it. In the religious worlds, it might be assigned to the devil, but in reality, the devil is just like the Ebola, which erupts all organs in blood and bile through all orifices. In the larger world, with all the ports of entry, such gruesomeness is not seen. And our thinking, our math, our best minds of a generation, if you will, gave us the end in a far less gruesome fashion. We don't see it happening, and all of industry, even the internal combustion engine adds to the whole demise.

The symptoms are decay, the individual's actions, daily, which show brain deterioration. More and more people wonder, and say there must be a reason for what's happening. Cumulatively, the state of affairs for the species has never before looked quite a s grim. And given the fact that we've recorded almost 50,000 wars, and our best minds came up with the weapon to "end all wars," sure, because it is THE end war (freak logic if I ever saw it) commensurate with the whole premise. Still, poetically, when the latex fills the pod under the hologram of the western sunset, the doctor will have legitimate patients to tend. And what if it does end in our lifetime? Sit at show window. It's academic. It is said when lightening strikes that one's hands become cl ammy, one's hair stands on end, and one has three seconds to lie on the ground in a fetal position; that's enough religion for me.

© 1996 by Charles Plymell
Original GRIST On-Line publication
This page edited by Robert Bové