the life of richie

DANDELION TEA OR COFFEE

Posted in is, was by Rich on July 18, 2011

Mom says that every spring her mother would instruct her on the taking of dandelion tea: of fresh dandelion roots steeped in hot water.

“It helps to thin the blood. The blood gets thick in the winter and must be thinned out when the sunnier weather arrives.”

Now, in the spring/on the shelves of the Shoprite, mom searches for the same.

In the seventeenth century, it was believed that the overuse of hot caffeinated drinks, thought to soften the body, would lead to a “general feminization of the human race” (Foucault, Madness and Civilization 170). Foucault quotes: “Woe to the human race, if this prejudice extends its reign to the common people; there will be no more plowmen, artisans, soldiers, for they will soon be robbed of the strength and vigor necessary to their profession.”

So, too, I think, standing in line at the Starbucks for my iced, unsweetened green tea. Watching the hordes and hipsters sipping their foamy, creamy beverages. Their whipped cream delicacies. Do we realize how absurd we all look? Madness and civilization, indeed! I see Max, a former student, waiting for his order. “Working this summer, Max?” He says not. “Gotta be a functioning member of society,” I say. He knows, he knows –– so he’s been told. Yes; it is a thing to say. He carries his frothy load out and we bump elbows in parting.

Outside; through the glass I see there is an anabolic grandpa preening without his shirt on. It is a grotesque display in a way that –– one cannot look away. Every hair from his bloated, overworked-out, protein-wheyed torso plucked and polished to a state of the hyperreal. And he must be at least fifty. (My order is called.) What kind of a society?…

My hand closes around the sweating, cold tea. Without consideration, an errant pinky stretches itself outward ––

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