10 Terrible Words that Shouldn’t Exist in Any Language

Digital text-illustration: 10 Terrible WordsOne person who hates is a Weapon of Mass Destruction. One who cares and shares? Perhaps the only antidote.

As I recently said to my friend Maryam: poverty—both of concrete, material resources like food and shelter, and of intellectual and ephemeral resources (education, spiritual enrichment, the arts, community engagement, etc)—seems to me to be perpetrated and perpetuated more by selfishness than by an actual shortage of any of those resources. The rich and powerful always want more riches and power, and what they do have makes them able to afford and acquire more and to keep their feet firmly on the backs of the have-nots. Plenty is never enough. The resulting imbalance is as old as history, and rotten as ever. Only those who will speak up and resist entrenched inequities and injustices will have any hope of making change.Photo montage: Wolverine & Badger

The badger and the wolverine have a reputation for being among the most tenaciously savage brutes of all the mammals. Yeah, Honey Badger even has his own meme to show for it. But let’s be honest: no beast of earth, air, or sea has a capacity for vile, rapacious cruelty rivaling that of the human animal. Even creatures of the natural enmity of predator and prey compete, fight, kill, and are sated. They have little apparent ideation of hatred and war to match people’s. A wolverine or badger will fight to defend, or to kill for food, but unlike the human, doesn’t seem inclined to attack indiscriminately outside of its primal needs for safety, shelter, and food; when the skirmish is done as efficiently as possible and the need assuaged, the sharpest of tooth and reddest of claw among them doesn’t do an end-zone dance to celebrate its pleasure in winning but will usually depart the scene or go to rest for the next time of need. The remaining food and shelter and other resources stay in place for whatever creature comes next, hunter or hunted, cousin or not.

Can we humans not learn from such a thing? I’m pretty sure that if we destroy each other and ourselves in our constant self-righteous, self-congratulatory belief that we deserve everything we can get our hands on, Honey Badger won’t be the only creature that doesn’t care.

Name that Malady!

Photo: Something in My Eye

Do I have Onchocerca volvulus, or is there just an eyelash stuck in my eye?

All Other Martyrdom is Naught before Mine

This harsh, persistent pain I have, O Doctor, tell me, please,
Can it be cured by some cheap salve, Or have I some disease
Beyond the scope of modern meds And pessaries and pills,
Like something Biblical in scope, One of those icky ills
You read about in magazines, See movies-of-the-week
About so frightful that you Realize that you’re a freak
To have such creepy plague, To be afflicted so, withal,
That even specialists will cringe And dash off down the hall
To hide behind their file Cabinets until you leave
Because they’re overwhelmed by the Bizarreness they perceive
Upon your person when they see Disturbingly displayed
Such malicious malady It makes them sore afraid.
What say, Sir Doctor? You detect My source of agony?
Who suffers worse than martyrs who Have papercuts, like me!

Photo: Open Wide!

Well, shut my mouth! Maybe that nasty odor wasn’t Trimethylaminuria, but don’t just give me the brush-off.