Never buy a human body. Don’t sell them, either. You’ll never make a dime, because only a sucker would buy one.
This morning, while I was hanging upside down like a bat on my teeter totter back thingy, it struck me that being human isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. This is from a person whose cracks were up for a change and not in their regular spots. The regular spots are usually way below eye level.
To be accurate, spots and cracks remain where they were originally placed, but when your head is down, all bets are off. If you walk into a room and bump into someone who’s hanging upside down, you’re gonna get an eyeful.
When you’re upside down on your teeter totter, blood rushes into your head, which is probably why I was struck with the mundane thought that follows. My blood is mundane anyway, and that’s why I didn’t write Wuthering Heights while I was hanging there.
The thought that I thunk while I was hanging there took the form of a mental complaint to the Powers That Be: That it’s a lot of hard work being, and maintaining, a human machine.
(I told you it wasn’t an earthshaking thought.)
Just thinking about being human is exhausting. The reason I was in this position, with my head almost touching the floor, was because of my body. Namely, my back. I don’t know of any other species that requires being hung upside down. Except of course for bats.
As I hung, I began enumerating the many ways we’re obligated to love ourselves. How do I love me? Let me count just some of the ways:
I started with my hair as being the first place to start. I guess I could have started with my toes since they were up and my hair was down. But I didn’t. A woman’s mind is on her hair three quarters of her waking hours. If there’s anything above my hair, or below it in this case, I don’t know about it.
I might have a halo above my hair, but mine slipped awhile back and I haven’t been able to get it to to stay in place since I broke into the cookie jar when I was two.
I went to the beauty salon yesterday and got my hair cut, which always costs me bucks and some degree of angst as to the results and whether I even want to cut it. Besides that angst, hair requires the right shampoo and conditioner and brushes and nutrition and accessories and upkeep and style and color. It’d be easier to be bald, but try telling that to a woman and many men.
Under my hair, there’s scalp and that takes looking after. Can’t have the good looking hair without the good looking scalp.
Underneath those resides the brain. We are abjured to keep it youthful, perky, and constantly evolving. It’s the steering wheel and engine of everything else. It’s tiresome hauling it around with all its baggage, its headaches, its unbidden mundane thoughts, its ego, its memories. You can’t put it down, EVER, and you can’t check it on departure. If you could, your flight might be more pleasurable.
Just trying to open the hood of your brain engine and retrieve tidbits of information can be a formidable task.
For an instance, I tried to remember what I learned in first grade, since I had blood rushing to my head and should have been able to access the information. I used to hang upside down at school, too. My favorite thing was swinging around on one knee on that metal bar. We wore dresses then, and I had a permanent friction rash under one knee. Fortunately, back then, I wore underpants. I can remember being a swinger, but I haven’t got a clue what I learned inside the school building. What was the point of going, then? To come full circle and hang upside down in my sixties?
Not only that, but the longer you live, the more information has to be crammed into the brain, pushing out other stuff, like my phone number or what I learned in first grade, or my mother’s maiden name. What will I do if I ever forget my mother’s maiden name? I’m not sure they even let you pass St. Peter at the Pearly Gates if you forget your mother’s maiden name.
Learning new things at my age is like trying to fit a pair of sneakers into an overstuffed bag just so you can feel safe in thinking you have an extra pair of sneakers on your trip to Switzerland.
There are people who are always trying to learn new stuff. Why? Isn’t just remembering your hair stylist’s name enough for any one person?
This is why a good haircut is so important. If you can’t make your brain sleek and attractive, at least your hair looks good.
As we move further down ourselves, we reach the ears. They keep the brain from flying into space sideways. They’re also the brain’s wings.
Ears need to be coddled from all the noise the neighbors make, from the planes overhead to the motorcycles below, and from the booming classic rock I like to listen to when I work out. Ears get full of candle wax and tar bubbles and leftover residue from Oreos and Cheetos. When they’re old enough, they have to take audiology tests. If they fail the test, they go back to first grade. I think the audiology people ask if you can hear high pitched tones and if you can’t hear them, you’re in trouble.
In my opinion, hearing high pitched tones would be troublesome and annoying, not the other way around.
Moving down, we have the next most important thing for good mental health and youthful spirits: Skin. This takes up approximately 23 hours of my time each day making sure it stays youthful and dewy and full of collagen and a bunch of other expensive stuff. Who knew ‘dew’ could cost as much as a mortgage?
I saw some skin food made of fairy hair and seaweed. Here it is with the price attached. The military is required to protect shipments of this stuff to the department stores:
Skin, besides needing to be rubbed with the hindquarters of a unicorn, also requires scrubbing, cleansing, more ministrations by a professional, and protection from the sun, not to mention all the lotion that goes on the rest of it. It should look ‘sunkissed’ and smooth, and has to be shaved in places. Like Cleveland.
Without even leaving the face after all of this, we move to the eyes, the windows of our soul. Those windows get a little grungy after a few years and eventually have Cadillacs parked in them.
I’ve had to reschedule the family eye appointment three times already this year, and it’s getting harder to see every time I get behind the wheel of the car. Don’t worry, I don’t live near you.
Up above the eyes are the awnings that keep the rain out of them: the eyebrows. They require upkeep too, so you don’t look like an old man who doesn’t bother with upkeep anymore and so they ‘frame’ your eyes attractively. They have things now like ‘threading’ for eyebrows. I don’t know what that is, but I do know I don’t want needles near them.
Right under the eyes, there’s a sinus thing going on with the nose. The sinus doesn’t keep to it’s own territory, either. It has tunnels that run up and down, behind the eyes and then it sneaks peeks into the brain. Instead of reading tea leaves, psychics should read tissues.
Eww. I just grossed myself out.
The nose and its sinuses can give you fits depending on the time of year, and where you live. Mine is regularly stuffed after a night of sleeping with a dog and having the central heat on. The nose and sinuses require cleansing and maintenance and are pretty disgusting, if you think about it. So don’t think about it.
We have a couple of friends who are amped about their new sinus cleaning device and want to do a Show and Tell for us. We call this device The Snot Sucker in the privacy of our home. Remember the days when people got excited about their new car or house or shoes? I miss those days.
Next, we move into our mouths. Which, if you know what’s good for you, you won’t do. As real estate, it’s not the best investment, although maintaining a house can’t be that much harder or more expensive. The mouth and teeth require a minimum of twice daily cleaning and flossing. I don’t clean my house this much.
I’ve been pretty lucky, dental-wise, but if you aren’t as fortunate, you’re looking at some cash heavy expenses with root canals, cavities, straightening, implants, cleaning, and all the rest of the dentist woo woo stuff. Last time we went for the family dentist visit (we sound like a cult with all this ‘family visit’ stuff), the dentist wanted us to get something called a ‘deep’ cleaning, instead of just a cleaning.
This newfangled cleaning involves the use of a special dental tool called a Hundred Dollar Bill. The dentist uses several of them to deep clean your wallet.
The teeth are important for eating, gritting when you get your dental bill, and smiling, which you do if you have a good haircut. If you don’t have a good haircut, there is no joke in the world that will make you smile and show off your deep cleaned teeth.
Let’s move down to the neck. I have to stretch mine every morning. It gets hurt easily and can cause big problems. It has to hold up that overstuffed brain that keeps getting bigger. Plus, I have to do weird facial maneuvers every morning to ensure good neck and face appearance. This makes me appear as if I’m having a stroke.
I haven’t even gotten into the stretching. All the muscles that need it, and the joints that get stiff, and the aches and pains that accompany non-stretched muscles and immovable joints.
Fanning out to the arms and hands, we’ve got rotator cuff troubles, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis in the fingers, and tennis elbows, which can happen even if you’ve never lifted a racket. The nails require care, too. You don’t want an untrimmed cuticle messing up your chances of winning the Miss America crown.
Lungs are hung inside between the arms, and we know how valuable they are. They require daily exercise, too. My dog isn’t this much trouble.
The heart is shelved in there, resting on an internal mantle in pride of place.
The heart should be soft, but not too soft; hardened when needed; opened to let in love, and exhorted to let in strangers and forgive foes. We must close it to gigolos and players who would tromp all over it. But, the heart wants what it wants, say the sages, so don’t bother trying to rule over anyone’s heart who doesn’t want you to. It gets broken, healed, blocked, needs heavy duty exercise and the right food.
There’s blood pressure pushing and pulling at your heart, and is so dear to a doctor’s heart. I brag about mine all the time, because there are only two people on earth with perfect blood pressure and I’m one of them. I wish I had a bumper sticker saying so. Maybe other drivers would behave and learn to driver properly if they knew my blood pressure had to be protected as a national landmark.
Then there are some other vital organs stuffed under the heart that we have to worry about: the liver, the pancreas, the parcheesi board, and Monopoly.
Women also have some Fallopian tubes and a dozen eggs in storage, and a traffic circle at Cervix Pkwy and Placenta Way. Men have other things going on. Let them figure out their own stuff.
All of it leads to the stomach and the intestines and to all the things we have to do to keep THAT in order. I just wrote a grocery list that included things with roughage, protein, vitamins, and a few packing peanuts, so I wouldn’t get hungry and gain weight.
I think my point is clear by now. It’s a great deal of trouble being human and we deserve a lot of credit for putting up with it. I’m going to stop here, leaving out the abs, the knees, and the quads, except to add that the toes and feet should always be buffed and pink tipped and pointed and supported by the right shoes and kept free of fungus. Fungi?
So there you go. You can’t let this terrible machine called The Body ruin your life. Eat an Oreo, ASAP.