Something Like a Junkie

Violence is on the upswing. Your chances of avoiding victimization are diminishing. What we need is a palliative for pain that insures a life without physical suffering, and it has come on the market.

I’m something like a junkie. The medicament I take is non-habit-forming, but I can’t get off it. There’s no sensation at all after taking it. You’re not more elated after having your shot than before having it. What it does is simply neutralize you to physical and spiritual pain. Not that it knocks you out or makes you groggy. Your nerves are simply put out of commission. Instead of feeling pain, there’s nothing but a slight tingling. This serves as a warning signal in order to prevent you from being burned while ironing or standing at the stove.

Here’s an example of how the medicament works: take a mugging with a kick in the head! The lights go out and when you wake up you’re minus your dough plus a lump on the noggin. But you don’t feel anything. The lump gradually deflates as it normally does, but it doesn’t ache, not even if you touch it. And you don’t worry about the loss of your money. That’s a mild example. But let’s say you’re garroted, gibbeted, hamstrung, put to the rack, or tied and quartered! Even if you’re pulled to pieces, there’s no sensation, nor does it faze you to see yourself fragmented.

It should be added, however, that the medicament can’t keep you alive. But if you die, it lets you bite the dust without any grinding of teeth. You just drift off with ease, no matter what the situation. And if a member of your family happens to have the bad luck of shuffling off this mortal coil, whether it be grandparents or offspring, your mourning is merely formal. You remain untouched by grief.

Constant crime and terror have made violence a daily occurrence. Maiming and murder are now an integral part of life. When you take the medicament, no matter what catastrophe befalls you or what holocaust swallows you up, you’re not fazed in the least.

It’s like viewing it on the evening news or as a neutral passer-by. You’ve simply become immune to pain.

Being immune to pain has become a necessity these days with beheadings implemented by a pairing knife and the renaissance of the crucifixion.

Unfortunately there’s a fly in the ointment: the medicament works for about ten days. It wears off if you don’t take another dosage. However, soon there’ll be a monthly shot and then an annual shot. And in the not-too-distant future, a dosage administered to an infant will insure a life without pain.

-Herbert Kuhner