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TRAVEL PORTRAIT: October 28, 2007
Velvet Shadow [listen]

Controlled Substance Culture

"What's this dah-dee?"

"This is what is known as the Multivitamin Shake, son," explained Ralph doing a Calypso-Meringue dance as he rattled a figurine tablet from the plastic jar.

"Mult-vi-min? What's that, dah-dee," inquired Sanford incredulously.

"A multivitamin is what you eat after a meal, but before desert. A vitamin, excuse me, multivitamin, gives you the necessary nutrients that you might not have ingested while eating dinner. Taking a multivitamin daily helps you grow. Body chemistry, son."

Ralph, subduing his shake, held out his hand with the tablet resting in his palm.

"This looks like kan-dee," exclaimed Sanford as he, with his pincerlike finger and thumb, inspected the figurine before placing the tablet into his mouth.

The dance stopped.

"Does the vitamin taste good?"

"Um, I don't know."

"Thought not. Well, chew up, then you'll have dessert. What would you like?'

"What are you having, dah-dee?"

"Dah-dee is having nothing, right now. So, do you, son, want to have nothing?"

"I think I want some ice cream," declared Sanford.

"What kind?"


"Bowl or cone?"

"Um, cone...with chocolate syrup. No! In a bowl!"

"Okay then, in a bowl," confirmed Ralph. "A bowl of chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup coming right up."

"Yes, dah-dee."

Ralph took out of the freezer the ice cream and out of the refrigerator the syrup. He obtained a bowl from the cabinet, and grabbed from the drawer an ice cream scoop, which was buried beneath a pile of gadgets. He scoped some slightly frost-encrusted ice cream into the bowl, and drizzled a pattern of liquid chocolate to complete the dessert presentation.

"Where's my spoon?"

"Yes, right. The spoon. Can't forget the spoon," said Ralph embarrassed as he grabbed the utensil from the dish rack. "All settled?"

"Uh-huh," smiled Sanford with satisfaction.

"Good. I'm going upstairs to take my medicine," stated Ralph as he walked away.

"But wait, dah-dee. Put on the DVD."

"You can handle that, son," retorted Ralph not conceding to Sanford's cute keenness. "That, or go read a book!"

"Okay," replied Sanford timidly.

Ralph went upstairs to his bedroom to take his medicine. His ailment, diabetes, type two. He loathed the pill-popping regimen designed for him due to his chronic disease. This loathsome attitude Ralph developed was a result of his leisurely smoking of marijuana during his youth, the casual intoxicant that foisted a craving for munchies upon him, thus forming within him an immoderate habit for chewy candy, crumb-topped pie, and pint-sized ice cream--orally fixating, sugary-textured treats. Now, as an adult, he had to neutralize his body three times a day with pills because of his munchy addiction, this in addition to the sugars that were already present in his breakfast, lunch and dinner. The pills, as medicine, regressed Ralph to his immoderate inclinations.

Ralph was reminded by the instructions on the prescription bottle that the medication should not be taken on an empty stomach, a stomach that needed to be filled with food, a food dense like bread to ease the drug's absorption into the body--bread--flour moisturized--bread--mealy starch raising saccharine havoc on the body--bread--the substantive sustenance shaping his harsh hardness for bread--chunky peanut butter and jelly on mushy bread.

Ralph found solace in the fact that he did not have to take insulin shots--needles, unlike his type one diabetic aunt and uncle (now since gone). Both were music lovers. His aunt injected jazz to the bee-bop percussive rhythms rhyming scat, while his uncle transfused classical to the baroque seductive aria sonata serenading enrichment--both fervid fertilizers. Morbid relations, indeed; however, Ralph did not possess his aunt and uncle's trait in genes, but he did in heritage. For they all were participants in the pharmaceutical progress as members of the Controlled Substance Culture.

Ralph did not shake for himself as he did for his son when he joggled each pill from his collection of bottles, which did include a multivitamin. Instead he shivered. He swallowed the pills washed down with a shot of mineral water. Again he shivered as he thought, "I have to control my sugar levels."

When Ralph was first diagnosed with diabetes three/four years ago, he started off with lite-medication, with the advisement of changing diet and trying to exercise more. He weighed a lot and had collected five belts over the years, another belt-size for every ten pounds his body increased. Aided by a nutritionist, encouraging wife, a healthy diet and rigorous exercise, Ralph was able to loose the fat. He could not pinch an inch anywhere on his body with exception to his occipital nape.

At present though, Ralph, a gaunt man, had gone as far as diet and exercise could go in terms of controlling his blood sugar. He knew that a no carbohydrate regimen keeps the glucose levels low, but does not provide enough fullness to adequately prepare him for taking his medicine. His body could no longer compensate by feeding off the fatty bones that once lay beneath his skin. His body could not find enough nutrients to harvest, even during the autumnal season change that now prompted him to stockpile, to prepare for the munchy stressors of the coming winter. This conundrum placed Ralph into a self-pitying wonderment that made him reconsider his situation. While he was concerned about his situation, there was not much he could complain about, he concluded after he saw yesterday during the news half-hour his ailment commercialized: an advertisement for a type two diabetes treatment.

"This is a velvet plague," he thought. "How plush!!!"

"If your numbers don't come down in the next three months," warned Ralph's primary care physician, "we'll have to increase your dosage. This is combat, you know." The doctor grinned with experience, making Ralph laugh maniacally as he recalled the conversation.

"Now, you can try to continue with diet and exercise, but when you see that your numbers aren't coming down and are prepared to take the next step, contact me and I'll phone in your prescription to the pharmacy."

Near emaciation, Ralph had to eat. He wanted to eat. He knew his physical will was loosing the battle against his body chemistry. He would have to rely more on Science than on Nature.

Just then he noticed the video he rented for Sanford resting on the countertop next to his pill bottles. "How foolish," thought Ralph beratingly. "The inordinate amount of time I spend arguing with myself trying to make a decision as to which DVD to rent for the next five days."

How foolish, indeed. Ralph realized that if he were looking for a challenging futility, he would be better off boxing his own shadow (in private, of course).


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Copyright © 2007 by Edward K. Brown II, All Rights Reserved