Diseases of despair – an Easter ramble.

Obesity is easy.

You are sad, empty, and you eat.

(Remember Atwood’s Edible Woman?)

You consume to fill the void.

You eat more than you should.

I remember as a little boy walking in town,

commenting to my mum;

She’s so fat

I said,

Or words to that effect

I think she might have been begging.

How can she be fat when she has no money?

I asked.

You can be fat eating jam sandwiches, mum replied.

Jam, being associated in my mind as an anti-luxury.

Although,

for some,

Preserved fruit can be a treat.

Obesity leads to diabetes and raised blood pressure and premature heart disease and arthritis and frailty and falls. You die young. Poverty kills. Insecurity kills. Anxiety and uncertainty raise your cortisol and throws your physiology out of kilter.

Smoking is another. Disease of despair. Let’s call it nicotine addiction.

To ease an individual’s feelings of hopelessness

They seek a fix.

A cigarette.

Nicotine straight to the brain.

As with alcohol and drugs, intravenous or prescription.

A person can spiral.

Bernie, in his recent book (It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism) describes the situation of a person not having enough money to afford a trip to the doctor; they become so very ill they present as an emergency – perhaps they are diabetic and insulin rationing (in the UK, some young people ration insulin to stay thin), Americans do this because the drug cost is prohibitive.

Banting, Best and their pancreatectomised dogs would not approve.

And the hospitalisation bill so far beyond a person’s ability to pay that they file for bankruptcy or take a loan and fall into a spiral of compound interest.

Debt which prevents the person with diabetes from obtaining the insulin that led to the acidosis that started the spiral. Despair.

It is Passover.

I think of Chad Gadya. (חד גדיא, See below).

In the UK we have despair.

The poor get poorer and the rich, well, we know what happens to them.

I suspect I would despair if I had to wait in line at a food bank.

Yesterday, in a last-minute attempt to acquire Easter Eggs I visited several local shops.

Gone. There wasn’t an egg left in any of the stores (one petrol station had a few dented Lindt rabbits (white-chocolate)).

I remember last year, there were lots left over.

I gather the cost of cocoa is soaring. What’s the harm in stockpiling?

I experienced a momentary despair.

How gauche.

How much a demonstration of the artifice of modern life.

And this despair nothing compared to the end of the rope.

The final pay check before there is not enough to meet the costs of the rent and food and healthcare (if you are an American in America).

It seems despair is worse in the USA than the UK as we have, albeit a very diminished social safety net (society? Thatcher’s fumes.) Not as robust as that in the Nordic Countries, yet still extant – if all else fails, you can always turn up at hospital and tell them you have chest pain; that won’t get you far in America. The land of the free.

And when I reflect on my life experiences, I realise how incredibly fortunate I am, for despair isn’t something I know.

I, for the most, have comfort. Even when, this winter, in environmental and economic solidarity, the house was 14 degrees and below.

Despair, desperado.

Makes me think of the song by the Eagles.

I am tired.

I will rest.

What a luxury.

Chad gadya. Chad gadya. (Each verse sung, faster and faster, each reptition a competion with siblings) (Listen here).

That Father bought for two zuzim, Chad gadya. Chad gadya.

Then came a cat and ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim, Chad gadya. Chad gadya. 

Then came a dog and bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim, Chad gadya. Chad gadya. 

Then came a stick and beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim, Chad gadya. Chad gadya. 

Then came fire and burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim, Chad gadya. Chad gadya. 

Then came water and quenched the fire, that burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim, Chad gadya. Chad gadya. 

Then came the ox and drank the water, that quenched the fire, that burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim, Chad gadya. Chad gadya. 

Then came the butcher and slaughtered the ox, that drank the water, that quenched the fire, that burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim, Chad gadya. Chad gadya. 

Then came the Angel of Death and killed the butcher, that slaughtered the ox, that drank the water, that quenched the fire, that burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim, Chad gadya. Chad gadya. 

Then came the Holy One, Blessed be He and slew the the Angel of Death, that killed the butcher, that slaughtered the ox, that drank the water, that quenched the fire, that burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim, Chad gadya. Chad gadya. 

Published by rodkersh1948

Trying to understand the world, one emotion at a time.

2 thoughts on “Diseases of despair – an Easter ramble.

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