Kage Baker used to say that the cessation of pain is, in itself, a positive pleasure. She said she read it somewhere: maybe Kraft Ebbing, maybe Hints from Heloise. She said it was the justification behind hitting yourself with a hammer because it felt so good to stop. She said it was the best argument for masochism, and the worst for sadism. Or was it Democrats and Republicans?
Mostly she rolled her eyes and said it was load of vicious crap: because there was nothing, nothing, NOTHING! that was even remotely good about pain.
“It lets you know when you’re on fire,” I once suggested helpfully.
As I recall, Kage sniffed disdainfully. (She was one of those ivory-nostrilled ladies who could sniff without sounding as if they were on cocaine.)
“If I were on fire, I would notice without needing pain,” she said, and that the end of that argument.
But she was right. There really is nothing good about pain. If the human nervous system had indeed been Intelligently Designed – or even halfway deliberately – we would be alerted to broken bones and imminent immolation by a more elegant process than discomfort so intense we puke in our shoes or piss in our pants. Little silvery bells and bluebirds, maybe, as in old cartoons …
Kage would be relieved, and I am freaking delighted, to report that tonight my own pain is much, much better. I don’t know why. It’s probably that my usual inhumanly swift healing is happening. Though I suppose I may have had a stroke and developed hysterical numbness, but surely even my ill-luck is not that involved. It’s probably because – against all expectations – my doctor renewed my Narco prescription, and so now I don’t need it as much.
Whatever the cause, I do not care. I am just grateful. I still can’t lie down to sleep, or scratch my nose right-handed, or pull up my own pants unassisted. But trying and failing to do these and many other simple tasks no longer leaves me weeping in despair.
Maybe Kage called in a favour from beyond.
I’m simply happy to sleep in more comfort tonight. It really is a positive pleasure.