Friday, August 28, 2009

A Stone By Any Other Name

Well here we are, come full circle to Thursday again, and I am still suffering the slings and arrows of these outrageous kidney stones. My ignorance of this particular malady was formerly complete--and I wish it had remained so.

It is often the case in life that people will work and strive and suffer and endure in hopes of producing something big, of such personal worthiness that the cost in effort, whether it be in sweat, in blood, in faith, or in fatigue, will ultimately pale at the bounty gained.

Kidney stones--to include my particular kidney stones and, I think, all other kidney stones in the world--fall woefully, ridiculously short when it comes to justifying the labor by which they have been produced. It seems to me that a man's pain--in a moral universe anyway--ought to be acknowledged in the form of some sort of tangible honorific. Which is to say that the kidney stone itself ought to at least try to have the common decency to appear worthy of the pain it has extracted.

A baby, after all--and I mean a baby of any kind, be it human or horse or dog or lamb--comes out pretty nicely, pretty impressively. Here it is at last, arms and legs, eyes and ears, hooves, snouts, tails--you name it. The product in short is sufficiently impressive to erase the bitterness by which it came.

But here, on the other hand, is your kidney stone, an object of mention hardly worth mentioning. Is it even a stone, or is this in itself too lofty a term for this mere grain, this mere speck which lies barely perceivable in the bottom of the toilet bowl? No, it is not a stone. A stone is something you find in a riverbed, or a driveway. A stone is something that can be picked up and thrown. It has weight, it has substance. This bit of sand is no stone at all, but a mere pretender to substance via the generosity of language.

And it ought to be ashamed of itself.

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