On the back of my left shoulder, I have this cyst which is about the size of a ping-pong ball. You would think it’s a tumor, probably a benign one. The cyst doesn’t bother nor worry me because men my age do just fine despite having similar cysts on their bodies. I’ve been seeing and touching the bodies of many men; not because I’m a doctor or a pervert, but because I’m a yoga teacher who touches persons’ bodies in a similar way to a veterinarian who touches horses.
One day last winter, I was sitting in a public sauna. From the upper bench behind me, a stranger told me with a tone of authority in her voice that she was a doctor and that I “should have it checked, it looks like it could be a problem”. When I heard her, and I was guessing that she spoke about the cyst, my first thought was your persona1 is coming out through the pores of your skin, lady, and you should have your self checked: get analyzed2.
But I’ve digressed; the reason I was telling you about the cyst is that I had noticed a peculiar thing about it: it gets smaller when I write. And, reversely, it gets bigger when I don’t write. Or, more precisely, it gets bigger when I walk around thinking about writing but I don’t (write).
A more observant reader who you are is probably noting at this point that I’m a disagreeable man in more ways than one, and that I am a man who tries to be funny in more ways than one—that must be true—but let me tell you a secret: when I sit down to write, it is to write about my grievances.
Did you know that grievances and jokes go together? I am indebted to Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), the Canadian philosopher and grandmaster of the study of media theory, for pointing out to me the details of how grievances and jokes constellate. See for yourself: make a quick recollection of a joke relating to, for instance, cars and driving, or marriage. Is there a relationship between what’s funny in the joke and drivers' grievances, or husband/wife grievances? You bet. Just in case you’re stuck, because, like many people, you haven’t heard any jokes lately, see if there’s a grievance hiding in this one:
—What’s the difference between an ISIS-K training camp and an Afghan wedding?
—I don’t know man, I just fly the drones.
The obvious conclusion for me to arrive at is that when I air my grievances out by writing, the cyst on my shoulder, the chip of my shoulder, gets smaller.
Consequently, the way I feel about all this is that in my case the act of writing is a cure for cancer. For a nobody like me, to come up with a cure for cancer is a big deal for two reasons: 1. I’m no longer a nobody but now I am a somebody; 2. I will die, but not from cancer. Therefore, the next time you visit my “Flying Fish” to read me more, I hope you will be able to sympathize—because you will know why I write and why I air my grievances like I was airing my dirty laundry in public.
Thanks for reading my stuff. I kiss you on the mouth.
17 October 2021
Persona, in Latin, was the mask of an actor, of him who played a role. In psychology, it is the personality that an individual projects on others. The persona may be excessive, that is, it may suggest a personality that has nothing natural about it but it is pure fiction. This is usually the case with politicians, doctors, teachers, mass-media stars, anyone who claims to have a special role to play in social life. The wise old man C. G. Jung wrote: “The persona . . . is the individual’s system of adaptation to, or the manner he assumes in dealing with, the world. Every calling or profession, for example, has its own characteristic persona . . . Only, the danger is that [people] become identical with their personas—the professor with his text-book, the tenor with his voice. . . . One could say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.” (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, CW 9, i, pp. 122)
Indeed, that was my first thought. I get disagreeable first-impression thoughts like that one often. I guess I can’t help it—that’s the way I am, I’ve learned to live with my disagreebleness. My second thought was to check myself (a habit of mine) if I was projecting. I couldn’t have had been, I answered to myself, as I remembered that I was a nobody—my persona isn’t strong.