I made chicken soup today. I took
the writhing, wailing, whining, flesh-
aggrieved, chicken carcass and boiled it
for an hour in my big pot while I thought
about the Christian martyrs who were
boiled alive. Some of them were
boiled alive, right? I know that
one saint was flayed alive, another
was roasted. The nuns told us
that he said to his torturers, "I'm done
on this side, turn me over."
Which reminds me -- the first purchase
my wife and I made was a dual controlled
electric blanket. We first slept together
in July, 1971, in Denver, Colorado.
It was 90 degrees outside, she had the AC
on and turned her electric blanket up to Nuke.
I had dreams of going to hell -- unsettling
for this former Catholic boy after
some terrific sweaty sex. So, even
before we married, we bought a dual
controlled electric blanket. We've
been married for 47 years. I guess
it worked. It just shows what
capitalism is capable of -- something
for which I'm plenty grateful.
While I'm at it I'd like to thank Sartre
for upbraiding Heidegger for his outlandish
contention that "death is my ownmost possibility."
I can see Sartre guffaw through all that Gauloises smoke,
lean over to Simone, and whisper, "My death
isn't my possibility at all. I'll be dead.
I won't have any possibilities, but you will,
mon chéri. You'll have to deal with
my nauseating corpse, en sois, and arrange
my huge-ass funeral" (which she did).
I'd also like to thank Saul Bellow for
having his deranged scrivener, Herzog,
ask Heidegger just where Dasein landed
when he fell into the quotidian. It's good
to get concrete, even if it hurts.
Finally, a big shout-out to Nietzsche
who taught me that an existentialist
is a tightrope walker.
But what about the chicken carcass?
The little chicken carcass'
screams were horribly loud --
well they would have been loud
if the chicken had been a Christian saint.
Oh and the smell. What does boiled saint
smell like? What did the guy they roasted
smell like? Pretty bad, I bet. They didn't
have teriyaki sauce in those days.
If you roasted a saint today, he'd
be marinated in teriyaki sauce
and he'd smell pretty tasty during
the whole process. Teriyaki sauce --
now that's progress! You'd still have
to put up with the screaming, the nuns,
and, of course, The Lives of the Saints.