Back about 20 years ago, Anna went to see a Chinese herbalist. Why not? It was worth a shot.
She came home with a small, brown, paper bag full of what looked like twigs and pebbles and dried leaves and dirt.
The Chinese herbalist said she was suffering from “liver wind.” Too much wind in her liver. His prescription was a special tea. That’s what was in the bag.
So Anna boiled up a pot. So I tried some, too, in solidarity, even though I didn’t have liver wind. Or maybe I did. Only a Chinese herbalist could tell me for sure.
The tea was as black as shoe polish. And it smelled like shoe polish as it boiled up. And it tasted like shoe polish—shoe polish infused with cigar ashes and dirt. It was unforgettably hideous. Not even dumping in large quantities of honey helped. All that did was make it taste like shoe polish infused with cigar ashes and dirt and large quantities of honey.
And the tea didn’t do any good either. Or at least it didn’t make either one of us jump up out of our wheelchairs and do a leaping Russian dance. We were just as crippled the next morning.
But what if the tea had worked? What if the reason I was crippled all these years really was just because I had too much liver wind and the instant, miracle cure was to drink three cups a day of that tea?
That would have sucked big time! Because then I would’ve faced this big dilemma. Was it really worth not being crippled anymore if it meant drinking another drop of that putrid tea? I don’t think I could’ve done it. That was a too heavy of a price to pay.
I’ve never been a good “compliant” cripple. That’s what doctors and therapists call them. Compliant. Those are the cripples who spend eight hours a day in a physical therapy gym for years and years, hoping they’ll be cured. They get hooked up to a body harness that hangs from the ceiling above a treadmill. The harness hoists them up out of their wheelchair into a standing position and holds them upright as they lumber on the treadmill. After that they lift weights and play catch with a medicine ball.
And after all that they’re still crippled. But even if it did work, I still couldn’t do it. If I had to spend all day suspended above a treadmill in order to spend the rest of the day not being crippled, screw it. I’d rather be crippled all day.
The whole compliant cripple routine looks so damn tedious. No fun at all. The daily routine of a regular old cripple can be tedious enough as it is. Why would I want tedious free time?
And being a compliant cripple is expensive, too. How about Lourdes, huh? People save up for years so they can travel to Lourdes and drink the water and come back just as crippled. If I had enough money to take a trip to Lourdes, I sure as hell wouldn’t spend it on a trip to Lourdes. I’d buy my own island or something.
Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I’m too much into instant gratification. Whatever. I’m having fun.