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Pain in the face

Posted by on July 14, 2005

Last night I dreamed I was shot in the tongue. Then the doctor who fixed me up tried to molest me. In both cases, a question of speaking out or not.

There was no pain in the dream when I was tongue-shot, but then I don’t remember much pain in real life when I pierced my tongue. Just a sensation akin to the soft give-and-pop of a pencil through taut paper. If we don’t remember physical pain once it’s over with, then why are we so afraid of it? If it doesn’t live in memory, does it count as an experience at all? As with any abstract question, I turn to Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a concrete answer. When Angel had to reverse time to make Buffy forget they’d ever been together, was it easier for her, afterwards? Did it nullify her suffering? (Or use Superman and Lois if you are a classicist, it’s the same thing.) Pain creates a vacuum in our experience, a hole we learn to shy away from. But it cannot be said to hurt once it’s done hurting–the memory or, let us say, the shadow or the echo is gone–so as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t exist. All of which is to say, shouldn’t I stop being such a baby and just pierce my belly button already?

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