Extract from the diary of an ECG tragic.
On the Road - January 2016
My therapist would be proud of me; I'm off to Sandringham Beach, to get away from those seductive ECG websites that mess with your mind. I'll prove how wrong they are to say I suffer from laddergram addiction.
And crap to the notion that I have a anal fixation.
I have left "Nernst Equation for Dummies" at home, and have a new novel called "Heart of a Dog" to read at the beach.
As I drive the red Monaro (aka "The Vectormobile") to the beach the radio is playing one of my favourite songs: "Postcard from Elvis".
The song reaches its climax:
"But the closer I come to the heart of the matter
The farther away I get"
The song should be called "Postcard from Einthoven", I think (wittily).
On the Beach - January 2016
So here I am at Sandringham Beach sharing a beach towel with Renee, the Coronary Care Nurse I met at the debrief following that last disastrous cardiac arrest. As we talk she puts echocardiographic gel on her arms.
I show her a picture of the Frida Kahlo print I have donated to the Coronary Care Unit Waiting Room and tell her about my two pet goldfish Action and Potential.
Sand in the Face
Suddenly Renee's ex-boyfriend, the Cardiology Registrar from our hospital, runs past us
Renee Walks Away
Later that day........
On the Beach - Again
1. Between the 1940's and 1960's many comic books had a cartoon advertisment at the back of the comic for the Charles Atlas body building programme. This was the iconic "sand kicking in the face" cartoon that showed a scrawny young man ("97-pound weakling") on the beach having sand kicked in his face by a muscle-bound bully. The young man sends away for the Charles Atlas programme, builds up his muscles and self esteem, and returns to vanquish thebully.
The theme of the Charles Atlas cartoon was later incorporated into a comic book story called "Musclebound", with a hero called Flex Mentallo. This is discussed in the "blogintomystery" website, from which the cartoons in this article are derived. The website includes this compelling description of a certain personality that may be seen in some Gyms: a "preening gym-rat, like so many of the supplement-glutted narcissists I’ve seen grunting and openly checking themselves out in mirrors over at my local Gym". (Quote is from blogintomystery.com The Fabulous Copyright Infringing Origin of Flex Mentallo November14 2010)
2. "Heart of a Dog" is a novel published in 1925 by the Russian writer (and doctor) Mikhail Bulgakov. It is the story of a Russian scientist (Philip Philippovich Preobrezhensky) who transplants human seminal vesicles and pituitary glands into a stray dog to create a new human species. The dog (named Sharik) changes into a human (Sharikov) with the personality of the original human donor (who was a thief and a liar), and also develops into a vulgar apparatchick who wants to purge the city of cats.
3. The Two Fridas (1939) by Frida Kahlo. This painting was completed shortly after her divorce from the painter Diego Rivera. On the left we see Frida with a partially dissected ("broken") heart that is connected to the intact heart of the Frida on the right. A bleeding artery arises from the left heart, and the bleeding is not fully controlled by the surgical forceps in the hand of Frida.
4. Walk Away Renee
Written by Michael Brown in 1966
Recorded by many artists, including a definitive version in 1967 by the Four Tops
"And when I see the sign that points one way
The lot we used to pass by every day
Just walk away Renee
You won't see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You're not to blame
From deep inside the tears I'm forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide"
“Howl” is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in1956. It was Ginsberg’s first major work to be performed in public. The poem gained wide celebrity in the Beatnik culture of San Francisco.
The famous opening lines are:
"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angel headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night"
Ginsberg believed that a militaristic and materialistic American culture and society had turned on those who would not conform to the unthinking patriotism of the time
6. Post Card from Elvis
Lyrics by Don Watson
"I've been talkin' to some old friends of mine
Won't you hold a moment
While I get my other line
Got a message from Buddha
He left it on my machine
He said when you go
So fast that it's slow
You'll know what I mean
Said, he found a red Monaro
Said it runs pretty good
And most Saturday's, he's dreamin' away
Under the hood
He said, maybe it's a little bit stupid
Sometimes I forget
But closer I come to the heart of the matter
The farther away I get"