I’m A Germ

The flue season of early 2013 has been big news but will be soon forgotten. For now, there are endless warnings of how to avoid germs. The only solution seems to be to avoid people. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman tells us that we should all stay at least 6 feet apart from each other until April.

Nancy Snyderman

“Get away from me!” warns Dr. Nancy Snyderman.

Fact Alert: Microbiology pioneer, Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek, is generally credited with being the first human to see germs using his 17th century microscope.  (He reportedly became romantically involved with several germs.)

Antoine van Leeuwenhoek

Antoine van Leeuwenhoek

But what about germs? They have lives too. And they enjoy a good frolic. And once you get to know them, they’re a lot like we are. They just want a good piece of cheese.

Illustration by Plastic Crimewave

Illustration by Plastic Crimewave

Have a listen to the song below. From the collection, My Mailman Has a Tail.

(copr. R. Bain, 2010)

Golden Arm

The Man With The Golden Arm

We all are within each other.

That’s the line that gets to me in Nelson Algren’s  “The Man With The Golden Arm.”

You could start a religion based upon this sentence. Or a political movement. You could sum up life with this sentence.

Golden Arm is one of those books I’d been meaning to read for years and I finally marched to the library and checked it out. Not an easy book. Surreal. You’re not sure exactly what’s going on but when you stand back you can see it take shape. (Like when you open your eyes inches from  an expressionist painting and then slowly step back. Same effect.)

Compassion—but not glorification—of the addict is another theme. The addict is not evil, not heroic. A common man, lost.

Art Shay photo of Algren playing cards.

Frankie Machine is the ex-soldier, addict who is also a card dealer in the neighborhood game—Chicago’s gritty, post-war Division Street. 1946 or so. The precinct Captain Bednar  is the one whose interior monologue espresses that we all are within each other.

I felt no color while reading. The book is written in black and white and gray. Brought tears.