11.21.2006,8:42 AM
Cure for the Common Heartache

I fell for the oldest game in the world: catch and release. Like a pursued prize fish, I took the bait and was caught despite swimming at a distance to avoid it. I took the risk, got too close, bit the bait and fell in love, only to be released and thrown back into the big lake. The hook left a wound and I swam under a rock to let it heal.

This fish is too old for these games. I'm angry at myself for allowing it to happen. And now I have a heartache.

We all know the symptoms: tight chest, constricted throat, bouts of the blues, upset stomach. As a scientist I pondered what exactly triggers these psychosomatic symptoms. What is heartache? Nothing’s wrong with the organ that pumps blood around inside my body. If there was, I would have some serious physical ailments. But I don’t think I need a transplant yet.

Is it a case of hormones gone rampant, a cascade of disrupted neurotransmitters that make my head ache and chase hormones around the rest of my body? Could it be a remnant evolutionary trait buried deep in my lizard brain? This is what poets and singers lament about over the eons of our civilization? Do they revel in this aching malady?

It’s like a bad case of indigestion or of the common cold. It aches.

“Doctor, Doctor, give me the news. What’s ailing me?”

Is there a cure? Will Advil work? Nyquil? Can I sleep it off?

Despite the plethora of peer-reviewed evidence – poems, songs, laments, plays, paintings - for the phenomenon in the Journal of Human Condition, I succumbed to testing the theory of falling in love again. As if direct observation weren’t enough, I tested it with empirical experience. And will try to avoid any more replicated trials.

The sage advice of an old friend (all my best friends are male), “Welcome to the human race. Go mingle with a group of other people. Get out there amongst your own kind.”

“But I like being alone.”

“Then suffer,” he replied.

So I took his advice and was surrounded by people for most of the weekend that share common interests: bikes and riding. And I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I smiled and laughed readily and willingly.

But I need a dose of something for the secondary infection. Like a dose of penicillin for the bacterial infection that rides on the tails of a virus. Or soothing ointment to put on the wound from which the scar was ripped off.

This upcoming holiday offers me time to do a run of cure: a long bike ride and adventure. A cure for the common heartache.

I’m taking heart for a joy ride into the canyons. Get on my bike and ride.


posted by Macrobe
Permalink ¤