"That which is overdesigned, too highly specific, anticipates outcome; the anticipation of outcome guarantees, if not failure, the absence of grace."
-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
Pieces of Nothing (I)

This needs to be much tighter, but I don't think it's awful.

It's easy to forget how the body is just this machine. How ligaments and muscles are just pistons and levers covered in wet meat pulsing to the subconscious rhythm of the heart. Your blood just another lubricant coating an engine. How everything in you is just part of a well-engineered construct, wrapped up around itself and painstakingly designed to operate within certain specified tolerances. How it's easy to seduce yourself into thinking you're special, protected, and that as that as long as you want something enough, you'll be able to get it. If you just work hard enough. Put in enough hours. Suck enough dick or turn enough palms green. If you fuck over everyone else and make your play.

Easy to hide behind this television facade and forget sometimes it's just going to always to be out of reach. Sometimes that thing is just for the engine to keep running, the pistons to keep firing.

The early prototypes of you, maybe they'd wish this against the odds of big cats or bears or dinosaurs or just each other with some poor bastards thigh bone raised over their head. And they'd wish and they'd become just another statistic.

Maybe they'd wish against some accident, running and getting their foot stuck in a sinkhole, twisting and coming down all wrong. Didn't really matter too much at that point if they'd been running to or from something, the end result was pretty well researched by a dedicated team of everyone who'd gone before.

These days, it's maybe a bit better. You take a header off a curb and break your arm, you aren't going to get sacrificed by the rest of the pack because you'll just slow them down with winter coming on and food becoming scarce. These days you just go to the hospital. You eat too much fat and your heart clogs up, so they pull part o fit out and replace it (irony dripping like grease off a double with extra everything) with part of a pig.

But there are still predators out there, making sure to remind you of what you are. Wrapped in your six hundred dollar suit and wraparound shades, carefully closeted behind your expensive haircut and manicured nails. Leather shoes that wouldn't last an hour running from something with more teeth than your Egyptian sheets' thread-count.

Monsters simply providing the public service of reminding you of your vulnerability, your mortality.

How when it comes down to it at the end of the day you're nothing but an uncured sack full of water and Happy Meals for something bigger than you.

Harder to miss with it splayed open and spread out in front of you, a road map to the subway system everyone carries around inside them.

October 5, 2004 11:12 PM

I think that's quite interesting and enjoyable. My only concern is in regards to physiology: your muscles and tendons may be regarded as pistons for purposes of simile/metaphor, etc...But if you say that, then it's more likely that your bones are your levers. In fact, when you look at most joints in terms of primary movement and muscle-strengthening, most of the body's joints are 3rd class levers in working against a force (where the bone is the lever, the joint is the fulcrum, the resistance is ... the weight or whatever, and the applied force comes from the shortening - or concentric movement - of the muscle). And because of the way blood works in the body, in terms of the pumping of the heart and the circulatory system, your aorta, arteries, arterioles, venules, veins and venae cavae tend to be the only pulsing bits, moving in conjunction with the heart. (although you might argue that capillaries pulse, as well, but that's kind of hard to say) Of course, that's nit-picky, and probably most people wouldn't read it with physiology at the forefront of their minds.

Posted by: calliope at October 6, 2004 7:56 AM

I agree... I should have done a few minutes research, or even just thought about it for a minute or more.

Sometimes I just get words stuck in my head, though, regardless of whether or not it makes any actual sense whatsoever.

Gracias. :)

Posted by: bda at October 6, 2004 12:47 PM

Even with less research on the forces exerted on the body, it's still a great piece. I agree that once the words start coming it's best to just let it happen. Thank you for posting it.

Posted by: daniel at October 12, 2004 4:54 PM

Thanks for commenting on it. I think I'm going to get more in the habit of posting the random throw-off stuff I come up with, if only to prove that when I say I'm writing I'm not actually chewing on the walls.

Posted by: bda at October 13, 2004 7:38 PM
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