A True Arcadian Acorn-Eater

Last night, or well about two this morning, I realized I had left my flank open in another part of the Internet (a long story; I needed to unfollow a certain Twitter account before local parties connected me with past subversive mischief). On top of that my left iliacus was swearing, shouting and throbbing, not from anything I did in the gym but from extreme housecleaning, leaving me without a single pain-free sleeping position, so as long as I was going to lie there sucking in a sharp breath every time I shifted my weight I decided to get up and solve the Twitter problem. It would give a speedball of aspirin, calcium citrate and Zyrtec time to kick in. Try this sometime for cruel muscle pain, as long as you don’t mind being a little stoned.

My chiropractor, Dr. Bill, tipped me off to the gimmick of using a little straight distilled spirits to rush a mix like this into your system — oddly, as he is an abstainer, but he is usually on the money. I took down a liqueur glass and instead of the brandy he likes to recommend, poured up the prescribed two tablespoons of Ouzo, which I had bought to make a traditional holiday salad dressing cherished by my engineer’s family.

Sicilian olive oil
Lemon juice
Mustard powder
salt, pepper

Shake together in proportions that make sense to you and drizzle onto a salad garnished with pomegranate seeds and Feta.

I fired up the computer, thinking of Robert Graves:

Here is ouzo (she said) to try you,
Better not drowned in water,
Better not chilled with ice,
Not sipped at thoughtfully,
Nor toped in secret.
Drink it down (she said) unclouded
At a blow, this tall glass full,
But keep your eyes on mine
Like a true Arcadian acorn-eater.

You will never get some things across to people who think poetry is an affectation or a frill: there in my damp nightshirt (it hurt enough to make me sweat, at moments) I could think, not of the nerve being squeezed till my breath was shallow, but of Graves and Greece and acorn-flour and the oaks of Dodona, so that when I threw the glass back I was a true Arcadian too, at least for a lightning moment. And now I have written this so that nothing was toped in secret, just for symmetry’s sake.

I took care of business on line, then leafed through Graves’ New Collected Poems till the gong checked in, and went back to bed.


10 thoughts on “A True Arcadian Acorn-Eater

  1. What does the Zyrtec do for muscle pain? Or does it just knock you out so you don’t care as much anymore?

    Glad to hear from the criminally underrated Robert Graves. And the salad dressing sounds incredible.

    • Histamine has about 40 functions in the body, one of which is as an inflammatory chemical in muscle tissue. And it holds water in soft tissues (think of the bump of an insect bite), which stretches pain receptors. So antihistamines are mild muscle relaxants and pain pills, especially if you’re weather sensitive and hold water when the pressure drops.

      Grave is one of the few poets who sings in my head at unexpected times. And it’s a song that makes the world bigger, subtler, more mysterious and more grand. Isn’t that what poets are meant to do?

  2. Sicilian olive oil used to be inferior to Tuscan oil (in the 60’s-70’s for example). Now in the South of Italy, as far as olive oil (and wine) they are catching up. In my opinion they are both very good.

    • The Sicilian I’ve been slurping up (it’s marketed by the Trader Joe’s chain) says it’s made from Biancolilla, Ogghianeda and Cerusuola olives and it was the first bulk olive oil I ever tasted that didn’t exhibit even a whiff of bitter rancidity when I dipped bread in it. I’m very sensitive to fats and oils being just the tiniest bit off but I could roll in this stuff.

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