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@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Pleasure Spiked With Pain
One note from the song she wrote
Could fuck me where I lay
— ‘Aeroplane,’ Red Hot Chili Peppers
There I was, sitting in a pain management office across from my doctor, reliving the moments of the accident… again. I walked away from the accident with a souvenir— three herniated discs in my neck. The pain, I suppose, is perpetual albeit I don’t always notice it’s there. My active lifestyle affects it, of course. And there are plenty of options to make the pain go away.
But masking symptoms isn’t a cure.
Behind the doctor, is this painting:
My attention is focused on it. He notices and comments, “you’re looking at my painting?”
“Well, it’s kind of hard to ignore.”
“Yes. I suppose it’s a bit morbid and I’ve considered taking it down. But I’m a big fan of art. It’s of early medicine, a doctor teaching students in an autopsy.”
“I like it,” I say, and I do, “it’s better than a poster of a kitten hanging from a branch that says, ‘hang in there.’”
He pauses, then laughs.
The pain in my neck radiates into my shoulder blade. There are pills for that. There are injections for that. There are stretches and alignments and a never ending cycle of treatments for that. But this your pain now. This is what you carry.
The feeling of being incapable or weak, the thought of not being able to surf, waking up stiff, adding more pills to my daily intake; it doesn’t sit right with me. As it would anyone. And I hate to complain. I really do. Sixteen years of catholic church going riddled me with the shame that pain is inferior to others, that I should be grateful. Yes, always grateful. Blessed. I am so blessed.
We’re all pleasure seekers, are we not? From a young age, adrenaline was my addiction. As well as sweets. And they said marijuana was the gateway drug. Was it? Was marijuana the gateway drug? Weren’t we fiends for physical pleasure the moment we had sugar? Didn’t our eyes dilate with the taste of an Oreo? I felt it then as I see it now with my nephew and niece. How their whole demeanor changes. How you could bribe then with chocolate. These are Willy Wonka fiends.
Drugs, of course, were my main source of physical pleasure long before sex. And to this day, I’m unsure touch could ever outweigh all the times booze or pot relieved both physical and mental pain, given they had such a head start. Put all three together at a proper dose for maximum pleasure. But be careful. Remedies can cause pain too.
“You sound happy,” a friend said to me on the phone. How many times, I wondered, did I not sound happy? How many times, I wondered, did I sound stoic?
“I’m doing pretty good, all things considered. I feel pretty good,” and it’s the truth. There’s no point in lying. The wake of 2020 wasn’t far behind but I was on the up and up. And I wanted to continue to go up. Because fuck the bottom. Fuck that place.
A couple weeks ago I had a set back with my neck. The type of pain that shoots all the way down to your toes. It’s jarring that type of pain like a bolt of lightning. For a moment there is nothing else. There is nothing besides that pain. Not a single other thought exists. It’s the very opposite of an orgasm.
Get another injection. Take another pill. Stretch. Rinse and repeat. Repeat and rinse. A heating pad and cooling gel. Whatever brings a sense of relief. And besides this, besides all the pain you caused. And despite the pain I caused myself. Carrying a TNT stick in one hand and matches in the other. It’s not as noticeable as it once used to be. How, I think, just how. Do I keep it that way. Do I keep my head. What god do I fall on my knees and pray to. What human can save me? Anyone besides myself? I think not. To keep this head straight on my crooked neck. It’s playing a chess game against yourself. Fortunately for me, I like chess.