My Body and I Are Not Getting Along

My body and I are not getting along. Part of it is due to the aging process, I know, but there is so much more contributing, it would be impossible to list in a 600-word essay. However, all the problems point to a sole source: our bodies are stupid.

Consider the complexity of our bodies; in a single organ alone – such as the eye – there are scores of individually specialized cells working together to perform a function. There are clusters of different organs working together to keep the body functioning. Millions of cells, constantly being nourished, regenerating themselves when necessary, and wham! One foreign single-celled microorganism, and my stupid body is sick, coughing and sneezing and expelling head and chest gunk for a week.

Muscles are amazing in their strength; they have allowed men to climb the highest mountains, swim across miles of water, lift loads in excess of one’s own body weight. Yet, with one errant twist, my stupid body requires walking on crutches, getting cortisone shots to eliminate shoulder pain, or is laid out flat nursing a back injury. Men can run marathons, yet my stupid feet feel like they have been scorched by hot coals after walking half a block.

Our bodies can consume an enormous variety of different plant and animal matter without damage, particularly if done in moderation. We can mix foodstuffs together, forming them into breads, stews, and souffles, we can eat things baked, fried, simmered, boiled, and raw. Yet, I down a couple handfuls of peanuts, or three slices of pickled jalapenos, and my stupid body is doubled over with raging kittens clawing the inside of my stomach, followed by a day filled with my body’s silliest, stinkiest noises.

Then, with the onset of aging, the memory goes. I can’t tell if new information is pushing out old stuff, but it doesn’t matter, our stupid brains should be big enough to hold everything we need to know. At minimum it should push out the old information we don’t want or use, not the things we want to keep. I can remember the horrors of life, but I can’t remember the lunch I ate yesterday. I can remember events from my childhood – the first day of school, my first pet, the first time I rode a bicycle – but I cannot remember where I placed my keys last evening. I can’t remember people’s names, even after beating my neurons with mnemonic devices and memory aids that I cannot seem to remember. What was the name of that girl I dated? I seem to recall her name rhymed with some other word, and began with a P. Or a T. Or a D or a B or a G. Or an L.

Finally, our stupid bodies begin to wear out. Muscles don’t do exactly what the brain tells them to do. Bodies have knee problems and bowel issues. They have electrolyte imbalances and vitamin deficiencies. They require medicines to keep sugar levels and blood pressures under control. As if, after seventy-odd years of surviving, our stupid bodies have not yet figured out how to keep the machinery properly going.

Then we become intolerant and curmudgeonly. The littlest things set off our tempers. I suspect it is not because we are rebelling against a society of bothersome people or their irritating actions, but because we are protesting against our collectively stupid bodies, because we know that every minute, every body on this planet is getting progressively stupider.