I used to really enjoy going to the kind of tiny circuses that tour the small towns in rural areas. Much of my adult life has been as a wandering gypsy doctor through such areas and it seems that many of the little towns had little to offer and went wild when the circus came to town – no matter how modest the offerings were.
Of course I had experience with the really big shows. When I was a kid my folks took me once to the Greatest Show On Earth — Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey — where I think now the plethora of amusements in three rings is probably best suited for those who really enjoy their attention deficit disorder.
But it was in a tiny field in France by a beach on the English Channel that I saw a lovely one ring circus. I was most impressed with the lion tamer — a person of African descent, large and muscled and handsome — but I was close enough to see each time he put his head in the lion’s mouth, and he did it multiple times.
The old, indifferent lion had no teeth, but the effect was still thrilling.
The image was vivid, and I have not thought of it for many years.
I think of it when I hear talk about the Food and Drug administration (FDA).
The FDA has no teeth, and as you can tell from the interview below, is simply
I don’t care if Dylan Thomas was drinking himself to death while that was being written. It is a sentiment close to my heart, and undoubtedly the stanza of poetry I quote most often.
I will not accept the allegedly inevitable “cognitive loss of age.”
I suppose my mother did me a service at age 10, when she dragged me fairly close to the oversized window of an oversized ladies room, and told me never to linger trying to make myself attractive, for it would be a waste of time. I was – in the opinion of my parents – destined for brains, not beauty.
Time lost in fixing my appearance would be noted sardonically by my father, and bother him, as we wasted his time.
But my strong suit was my brains, and even I agreed that I should work on them — working very hard in school — and that way I could win in life. I actually took my mother seriously, for a very long time. It was not until my late fifties that I started to be anywhere near a fashionable woman’s size, finding to my amazement that people found me attractive, and taking more notice myself than ever in my life.
But even now, I don’t give a damn if they call it “cognitive loss for age” or “dementia,” I want nothing of it.
Nothing at all.
On A Cat Aging
by Sir Alexander Gray
He blinks upon the hearth-rug
And yawns in deep content,
Accepting all the comforts
That Providence has sent.
Louder he purrs and louder,
In one glad hymn of praise
For all the night’s adventures,
For quiet, restful days.
Life will go on forever,
With all that cat can wish;
Warmth, and the glad procession
Of fish and milk and fish.
Only – the thought disturbs him -
He’s noticed once or twice,
That times are somehow breeding
A nimbler race of mice.
I loved Merlin – King Arthur’s court wizard — when I was a kid and that was just about the time that Disney came out with “The Sword in the Stone.”
WOW – nearly 50 years ago!
Later I was to love the Arthurian legend in many deep and symbolic ways — love it so much that for a long time I kept a light-up, plug-in sword which was (actually, fairly easily) removed from a plastic pseudo-crystalline rainbow light-shooting stone. Doing so didn’t make me a queen of anything, though.
It is almost impossible, I think, to be human and anything more than partially literate without knowing the splendor of the Arthurian legend.
Fast forward to the present, and I am a wizard in my own way – a doctor. I wanted every patient to have the smiling sense of the Arthurian splendor that I had when I pulled that ersatz sword from the ersatz stone. Most of them did, until that piece, like many dear to me, was lost in a series of moves.
I was with my husband and a friendly couple, admiring the natural beauty of a mountain pass with snow capped peaks in the distance, when the other gentleman told us that a major natural food chain was removing all of the krill oil from its shelves, because the harvesting of krill was not a bio-sustainable practice.
Now I am usually pretty cool about science; looking at data, revising opinions. I have never really considered myself an ecologist, since the politics are often richer than the data. (Ask someone if they actually think the globe is getting warmer and it is not usually necessary to inquire about their political affiliation.)
I just looked him right in the eye and said “No way, this is nuts!” Read more on Don’t Worry — We Won’t Run Out Of Krill…