Hello, I’m writing to you from the place where I sit atop Eric’s kidneys. I am Eric’s adrenal gland, and I account for the stimulation of certain hormones and neurotransmitters in his body.
I’m addressing you directly because I sometimes feel like my function and my role in Eric’s life is misunderstood. Sometimes, I’d even say people are trying to talk to Eric when I’m pretty sure they are talking to me, and vice versa. This gets to be pretty confusing, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to clear the air while Eric is sleeping.
I’m a fight-or-flight kind of gland. I make no bones. Eric might like to sit down with you and have a nice discussion—debate with you about aesthetics and politics over a brandy cordial or a cheese flight—but I, the adrenal gland, have nothing to do with that. I’m really a very simple kind of organism. All I pretty much ever want to do with you is have a fight or run away.
You see, I respond to stress. There are a whole lot of funny sounding chemicals involved in this, but suffice it to say that whenever there’s a real threat, I take over. I’m kind of like Kevin Costner in that movie The Bodyguard. Eric may think he’s in charge, but that’s just arrogance, mainly because of certain other organs in his body, and I won’t say them name. I don’t brag about what I do. I’m a gland of few words, and when it’s time to fight or flee the scene, I’m the guy you want to talk to, not Eric or his hypothalamus.
Sure, you say, Eric often writes about philosophy, the arts, finance and politics, and sometimes what he writes is nuanced and refined and involves logic and counter-intuitive arguments. Again, I’ve got no time for that. I’m a straight talker and don’t enjoy hobnobbing with a bunch of effete ponces.
The other day, for example, somebody came up and asked me, “Hey, adrenal gland, don’t you think that this bill in the U.S. Senate is necessary to give more people health insurance?”
“You mother fucker!” I screamed, “I’m going to bash your head in with a baseball bat.”
So I guess you’d say my view of life is simple, right? But let’s look at another example.
The other day a woman came up to me and said, “Look, Obama’s tax plan will harm small businesses, the ones who really drive this country’s economy.”
Now this was a very different case, because this woman knew karate. So after she made her point about economic stimulus, I quickly turned on my heel.
“Fuck you, you castrating devil bitch harpy!” I screamed as I ran away down the street toward the river. “You can’t catch me.”
Now as far as I know, this woman was making an excellent point. But the bottom line was, she represented a direct threat and source of stress that would impair Eric’s ability to store energy and recuperate and repair. It’s nothing personal. It’s just my function.
I even have moments where I can’t make up my mind.
“We need to tax the rich more,” someone told me recently.
“I’m going to kick your mother fucking ass,” I said. “No, wait … I’m going to run away! No! No! … I’m going to kick your ass.”
Of course, there are lots of times when I have nothing to say at all. Like when someone is admiring my shirt or asking me to go see a Fassbinder movie. Like I said, I’m a steak-and-potatoes kind of gland, and if I’m not fighting or running away, I’m really at a loss.
There is a proverb that says a fox knows many tricks and a hedgehog only one. But I am an adrenal gland, and I know exactly two: throw down or bug out. Fist city or Splitsville.
I’m not into arguments about right or wrong, what’s fair, who did what to whom, or how much money you owe me. I’ve got a very simple view of life. Like Ronald Reagan. Also, I am much bigger relative to body weight than I should be for evolutionary reasons, which not only means that I’m important to you, but also that you’re likely going to be doing what I want quite a bit of the time. You might not know this, but I swell up in the resistance stage, and even if you got rid of one half of me, the other half would blow up, like in The Blob, and take over. This is called hypertrophy, and I don’t want to bore you with the science, but it basically means I’m one star-shaped endocrine gland with whom a person should not ever fuck.
Sometimes Eric tells me, “Adrenal gland, don’t you see how the world couldn’t work if everybody were like you all the time?”
Of course, it’s like he’s talking to a wall. Sure, call it obstinacy on my part. But I know in his heart, Eric wouldn’t have me any other way. One day he’ll be running from muggers screaming like a little girl to protect himself, and he’ll thank me. Or maybe, for reasons I can’t fathom, he’ll be engaging in hand-to-hand mortal combat with a Mexican drug lord in Tijuana. He’ll thank me then, too. Some days, I know Eric better than he knows himself. That’s just the life of a gland.
I hope this has helped all of you clear up some of the confusion.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to run away from you because you represent a direct threat to my security and other bodily housekeeping functions.
Eric’s Adrenal Gland
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