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Ole Worm's cabinet of curiosities, from Museum Wormianum, 1655
" … a cure for the curious urge to go seeking cures."

Being human apparently roughly equates to being passingly or chronically ill, with about half of humanity dedicated to somehow healing the other half during normal times. Pandemic times lower an already fairly low bar, with virtually all of humanity suddenly in increasingly desperate need for a cure which nobody possesses yet. This condition flushes out the alchemists and their claims. A self-proclaimed church in Florida insists that they've discovered The Cure, the mother load of all cures, the one that they claim can cure pretty nearly anything, though the FDA counters that it seems an effective cure for life, in that it just might kill you. An industry thrives along society's bottomland, hawking poison and placebo with equal zeal. The deal always seems to be the same: send money and we'll disappear into the ether. Word of desperate mouths spreads the story. Innocents and charlatans seem equally vulnerable. The Cure, sometimes producing worse than whatever the disease threatened to leave.

Up until two years ago, I'd lived prescription-free for two decades.
I watch my diet, or so I told myself, and carefully fostered my disbelief that I might be prone to any of the more popular diseases of our time. I cleverly sealed my convictions by steadfastly refusing to consult with a physician under the questionable aegis of my own obvious wellness. I never felt sick enough to seriously call myself ill. I told myself that unless and until I actually felt ill, I'd swerve around any even well-intended attempts to cure me. Pre-cataract surgery, a nurse hooked me up to one of those damned machines and I very nearly busted its dashboard, or so they told me. Blood pressure almost off the charts. I unsuccessfully explained that anticipating eye surgery might not produce the most representative reading, but to no avail. Since, I've been swallowing spurious cures which, on odd Tuesdays, seem to almost produce a nearly normal reading, though I seem to revert backwards the following day. I seem to suffer from the perfect disease, one which produces no physical sensations, only sporadically responds to even the most sophisticated medications, and seems likely to never surrender to any actual cure. I'm a never-ending work in progress.

I still mostly remember to take those pills, now a handful which I've added to my morning and late afternoon rituals. I take them not for myself, but for The Muse, whose hen-pecking drove me to the doctor in the first place. She claims to actually want to grow old together and expects me to hold up my part of the bargain. My nurse practitioner changes the chemical mix every six months or so, and I figure with sincere dedication, in thirty years, I might
almost be cured. I don't intend to sound cynical, but I find it personally difficult to maintain any sincere belief in cures. I submit to my vaccinations, almost as a thumb in the eye for all those who refuse them on spurious grounds. I want to be counted as standing on the side of reason, even when my reasons for so doing sort of transcend rationality. I swallow my prescriptions not be cured, but to demonstrate my fealty to The Muse and to earn a credible excuse to be left the you-know-what alone.

The sense that I might require a cure seems the more insidious sensation. Should I admit to any such a shortcoming, I might become slave to some seen-as-necessary change. My life flips from living to seeking, from experiencing to pursuing, from stability to somehow out of whack. Then I might safely defer any engagement until I'm cured, finding The Cure elbowing out purpose to become a primary focus. I do not want to live like that rat desperately trying to escape a sinking ship. So, I'm perennially okay, thank you, suffering from nothing more threatening than the odd bout of the normals. I do not aspire to any cure. As my father said three months before his death, "I never expected to live this long in the first place."

Once, while suffering from a lengthy bout of perfectly reasonable depression, I talked myself into a prescription for Prozac®, a pill the purpose of which, as near as I could tell, was to maintain a manic mindlessness while my depression cured itself. It seemed a distraction as cure, which might qualify as the very most insightful kind. Of course I'm blessed with a generally robust countenance, never prey to any of the more obvious chronic diseases. My condition could change at any time and I could become another desperate pilgrim booking a flight to Lourdes. I intend to submit to the Corona virus vaccine once it's widely available, and give my sincere thanks to all those whose work resulted in producing it, but I will not be sending in box tops to any self-proclaimed church that claims to have found the cure for everything. I don't want a cure for anything I have except for a cure for the curious urge to go seeking cures.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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