Sunday, November 28, 2004

breathing mercury


ever since I discovered, several years ago, the overwhelmingly convincing evidence linking the incidence of dental amalgams containing mercury with monopolar depressive disorders, I've wondered how different my life might have turned out if I'd been less addicted to sugar and better educated in brushing and flossing. a non-melancholy rhino. hmmm.
certainly, I've become more of a miseryguts as the years have passed, but that seems to be par for the course, regardless of the amount of mercury leaking from the fillings in your mouth. ageing has no compensations whatsoever - you'd better believe it. anyone below the age of thirty-five reading this - make the most of it! I'll say no more on that subject.
there is, actually, a jolly me, a funny fellow who makes people laugh and leave dinner-parties clutching their sides and exchanging notes on which of my entertaining post-prandial anecdotes they found the funniest, a life-and-soul of the party rhino who will be remembered as the only redeeming feature of a dozen dreary social functions. this me is camouflaged, however, behind a mask of grumbling severity and tends only to emerge when everyone has gone home, rehearsing what he would have said, with what pithy bullets of acid wit he would have reduced that asinine asshole with the bad breath and philistine attitude to cowering respectful silence, if only he had so chosen.
I hate, actually, the idea that I've been nursing this toxic tooth-leakage for a good number of years, and that it might well account, at least in part, for some of the darker episodes in this melancholy life. on the other hand, I seem to align myself quite happily with other melancholics whose creativity seems not to have suffered, indeed seems to have been defined and enhanced by their melancholia. would curing Kafka of his existential gloom not have deprived us of some of the finest aper├žus on the nightmare of unbridled bureaucracies in existence, for instance? would Buster Keaton's genius have been enhanced by his adopting a toothy grin and a tickling stick? would a timely dose of Prozac in Kurt Cobain's night-time cocoa have transformed Nirvana into a cheery boy band? and would this have been a Good Thing? is not melancholia a more preferable condition to the kind of fake jolly-chapiness that oozes from celebrity abominations like Ant and Dec?
chronic depression must be an utterly debilitating condition - I'm not about to decry those poor sufferers who seem unable to do anything at all about that terrible black cloud. a touch of melancholy, on the other hand, seems no particularly bad thing. unless it's the fault of those demon dentists, of course, in which case damn them all to hell with a blunt drill up their mendacious backsides.

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