Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Oct 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Town With No Pity

sven_davis2This past winter was a big one for the flu; lots of people seemed to get hit who are usually resistant, including me. Fever, aching, fatigue, a cough ... it sucked, and I went through two rounds of it. Then a co-worker said she was starting to feel kind of sick, I started telling her what she should expect, and how much she should rest, and what she should take for it, and ... and then I recognized the look on her face, because it was one I’d been sporting myself.

What she wanted, and what I wanted when I was sick, was a little sympathy. But you don’t get that in this town, you get advice. In much of the world, it's accepted that bad things just happen sometimes, and we should give comfort to one another through the hard times and hope for better. But we're a problem-solving people. And in Santa Cruz, we’ve got more solutions to choose from than anywhere else.

I had an issue with minor headaches recently, and most everybody I told about it gave me some advice based on their own personal care prejudices. To only slightly exaggerate, the yoga friends had a couple poses that were reputed to help, the herbal supplement and vitamin types each suggested a different regime of capsules, I was issued phone numbers for acupuncturists and massage therapists and chiropractors and psychologists, a meat-free diet was advocated (as if), and the tough-love physical trainer suggested a precautionary round of chemo. Of course, there are those who will tell you that there’s nothing a little marijuana can’t make better; sometimes I think those folks look forward to getting sick.

The worst part of dumping on that poor woman was I didn’t bother to assume she had her own path to health all mapped out, her own tried and true way of dealing with it based on decades of taking care of herself. What she could really use was a “Sorry to hear that,” with a sympathetic look that said: “Oh no, colds are the worst. There is something wrong in the universe when somebody as awesome as you coughs herself awake while Donald Trump and the inventors of pop-up ads slumber on with drooling grins, dreaming of new ways to annoy people. You deserve much better. You are incredibly brave and I can only hope that should such a fate befall me, I’ll have half the composure and class you’ve shown through this calamity. If you’d like me to help you get through this with a neck massage (dinner, babysitting, house cleaning, sexual favor), just ask.”

Regarding my headaches, I took some ibuprofen until they went away on their own. Good thing too, because if you stay sick long enough for people to follow up on you, things get worse.

“Still hurts? Did you do that incantation every hour like I told you?”

“No, I tried it for a while and it seemed to make it worse.”

“Well then ...” they shrug, annoyed. Because clearly if you’re not willing to follow their advice, it’s your own damn fault if you’re not better. And even if you do submit to their plan, a failure to recuperate can only mean one thing.

“You must have done it wrong. It totally worked for my cousin. Did you bring your arms out like this? POM YOR IKK LUM SOO FOR MUN LAW SHA ...”

Some people, I don’t even tell them I’m sick. It’s bad enough to take the blame for a slow recovery, but it’s even worse to get blamed for the problem in the first place.  I once told a friend in New Leaf about some shoulder pain I was dealing with, and a nearby butt-inski said, “Do you eat gluten?”

Turns out the guy didn’t eat gluten, and his shoulder was fine, so there you are. Santa Cruz science. The fact is we’ve got a real tendency to blame the victim around here. We’re a bunch of armchair diagnosticians, happy to believe people brought their troubles on themselves. It’s easy to blame this guy’s knee problems on his weight, and that woman’s stomach problem on her diet of cigarettes and coffee. Brain cancer? I hear he let PG&E put in one of those smart meters.

As for treatments, I’ve long thought there are some reasons to be wary about mainstream western medicine. I also feel fine with poo-pooing a good number of alternative treatments. Any smart consumer must do some research to separate the demonstrably effective from the snake oil salesmen getting rich off our fears and suspicions and prejudices. I’m especially annoyed by those that seek to take credit for the work done by the most amazing healing source around: our own bodies. It’s impossible to not be impressed by how bones and tissues repair themselves, and how the immune system fights, and usually wins, grand epic battles we’re often totally unaware of. Even well-known unhealthy factors like excessive drinking, obesity, smoking, bad food, and a lack of exercise are endured by the body for a long time, decades even, before they lay you out. It’s all enough to make a person either amazed by or skeptical of natural selection as a means of engineering the complex machines we are.

Here’s where I’m going with that: Just because you were sucking on a rock twice daily when you got over your cold, don’t credit the rock. The world wants to sell you a lot of rocks.

To your health. Tink!

Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by pandora charms shop, August 30, 2012
People deserve very good life time and mortgage loans or sba loan would make it much better. Just because people's freedom is grounded on money state. ,http://www.pandoracharmsshop.net
Thank you Sven
written by Vern, May 13, 2011
Thanks, Sven. You've captured a salient feature of the Santa Cruz personality. Is it the small town attitude, is it the progressive social-engineering watchdog activities, is it the "health" consciousness that changes with the newest berry sensation? Why are people here so in your face about conforming to a certain mind and body set?


Quick story: I was in the old Staff around Christmas time and the checkouts were backed up in long lines except for the closed express. There was a sign at the register saying to let cashier know if you want the express opened. I did so in an even-voiced, non-harassed manner. The person behind me started giving me breathing advice on how to calm down. I gave her a statement that stopped her short, became speechless, and cringed away from me. If she wanted to observe anti-social behavior, she got it.

People, learn that not everyone wants to hear your wacko remedies or latest guru advice. Learn how to read the signs that sometimes your intrusive behavior is not wanted or not to project your problems onto others. Especially, please learn how to listen when someone says, "I'm not interested, I don't want to sign your petition, No, I don't want to buy into your MLM because I cannot digest Blue Green Algae regardless what pristine lake it's from."

Thanks, again Sven. I'll put a rack of ribs on the barbie for you!

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Jawing

Monterey Bay scientists are working to crack the mysteries of—and dispel the myths about—great whites. But in the highly contentious world of shark experts, there’s a fin line between love and hate

 

Altars of Remembrance, Forgiveness & Rapprochement

We’re in Scorpio now—things mysterious, ageless, hidden, sometimes scary. Friday is Halloween; Saturday, All Saints Day; Sunday, All Soul’s Day. Sunday morning at 2 a.m. (after midnight), Daylight Savings Time ends. Clocks are turned back. Tuesday is the General Election. Our vote is our voice. Each vote matters. Applying freedom of choice—Libra’s teachings. It’s time to build Halloween, All Saints and All Souls altars—with marigolds, pumpkins, sugar skeletons, copal (incense), pomegranates, persimmons, candy corn and cookies, orange and black. It’s so Saturn (now in Scorpio). Saturn is the dweller on the threshold (like St. Peter at the gates of heaven). Saturn can look like a Halloween creature—a gargoyle—a fantastic dragon-like creature protecting sacred sites. The dweller (Saturn) stands at the door or threshold of sacred mysteries, wisdom temples, inner sanctums of churches, offering protection, scaring evil away. The last day of October and first two days of November, when veils between worlds thin and spirits roam about, are times of remembrance, forgiveness, reconciliation and rapprochement. These actions liberate us. At death, when reviewing our lives and the consequences of our actions if we have forgiven, then we are free, less encumbered with grief and sadness. We place forgiveness on our altars. Happy Halloween, everyone! It’s good to dress up as what we’re afraid of. Or whom we would mentor. Then we become one with them. Note to readers: by Thanksgiving I will need a place to live (with purpose). Please contact me if you know of a place where I can rest for awhile. Teach and build community. [email protected] I will be leaving my mother’s home for the last time.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Not Cool

Even Bill Murray’s hipster cred can’t elevate ‘St. Vincent’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Back Nine Grill & Bar

The secrets of remodeling and juicy steak

 

What is Santa Cruz’s biggest eyesore?

David Finn, Santa Cruz, Graduate Student

 

Alberti Vineyards

Looking for some blood-red wine for your Halloween party? Then I have a recommendation for a new brew.

 

Turning Point

New revolving restaurant on the wharf, plus Cafe Ivéta and the last great Jack cheese