The morning after I helped my neighbor shear his sheep, I could hardly get out of bed. All I asked is that my muscles spend a few hours wrestling mutton. They said it was too much and I ignored them. Now they were getting back at me.
“Take an Ibuprofen,” my wife suggested.
I didn’t say a word. I was too engrossed with watching her shuttle about the kitchen.
She hovered like a bee among flowers, buzzing between the counter and the refrigerator. She removed the lid from the blender then visited the refrigerator for milk and yogurt. She poured the milk and ladled the yogurt into the blender then returned to the vegetables drawer for spinach.
I couldn’t help myself.
“What are you putting in there?” I asked.
“Broccoli, spinach, carrots, milk, yogurt and protein powder.”
“It looks awful.’
“…good for you,” I guessed.
She finished filling the blender and fired it up. It whirled, gargled and churned, reducing the ingredients into a concoction as green as moldy bread.
“My God!” I exclaimed, “it’s the color of Mr. Yuk!”
“But it’s yummy,” she insisted.
“You need to listen to Mother Nature.” I told her, “she invented yucky as a way of telling you that something is not good for you.”
“What do you know about what is good for you?” she asked, “you are the one who can barely get out of bed.”
She had me there.
“Are you going to do something about it?” she asked.
“Nope,” I said, “pain is Mother Nature’s way of talking to you and when she speaks, you give her your full attention.”
“So you are not going to take an Ibuprofen?”
“That would be rude,” I said, “masking pain is like using ear-plugs to ignore what she is saying.”
My wife rolled her eyes. She does that a lot.
It’s our existential conflict. She believes life can be made happier and healthier simply by taking something. I prefer to nurture my misery.
She puts faith in things like pills and potions. We have an entire cupboard devoted to weight-loss remedies, vitamins and orange vials with child-proof caps.
We have bins of bottles whose labels boldly promise things like Vitality, Renewal and Replenishment. All we need is a big bottle of Redemption.
But mostly, these things are just placebos.
I look at it this way, if Mother Nature wanted us to take pills, she would provide us with a pill-tree or maybe a pill bush. Come to think of it, she did. It’s called apples and blue-berries. A little fresh fruit is a whole lot better than a cupboard full of potions.
But why argue about it?
“I’m taking Scooter for a long walk,” I told her, pulling on my boots.
“I thought you were sore.”
“I am. Really sore.”
“Then why don’t you take it easy? Listen to Mother Nature.”
“Just because I am listening,” I told her, “doesn’t mean I have to do what she says.”