Sitting the other evening in Glastonbury’s Plan B Burger Bar (where the light fixtures charmingly shine from the bottom of industrial-size meat hooks suspended from the ceiling), my son and I were discussing one of the prominent and profound topics du jour, i.e., zombies.
I’m not much into zombies. They were around when I was younger, but we never got “into” them. (That is, advertising agencies hadn’t yet discovered their power.) But as you know, they’re pretty popular fodder now for the masses, and everyone thinks they’re an expert on a creature that doesn’t exist. No exception, my son. (He thinks he’s an expert on everything.)
We argued about the principle of the “undead”. Cam insisted that zombies are dead people brought to life who are really still dead, who like to eat or bite living people and turn them into zombies. I said, “You know that’s not really true, right? Although it would explain those last few awful Rockin’ New Year’s Eves with Dick Clark.” (“Who are all these people?”)
It was charming dinnertime conversation, as I sat under a large, antique, metal neon sign that continuously flashed “M E A T”. At some point (much to the dismay of the folks dining in close proximity), we discussed the ancient scientific viewpoint of the human body’s “humours” – the fluids within us, their impact on our general health, and whether they’d be considered protein or carbohydrate. Cam loudly insisted that phlegm had no nutritional value, after I suggested that it would probably be classified as a carb. I reminded Cam that carbs can certainly have zero nutritional value; just look at candy.
Cam quizzed me on some biology facts he’d learned in school, and he was surprised I knew most of the answers. I told him that’s the kind of stuff that sticks with you; real, practical facts. The kind that could win you money on Jeopardy.
As we discussed the miraculous functions of the (living) human body, I began to contemplate the different levels of “animation” that we see in living creatures. That is, why are some “beings” more energetic than others, and what makes a being “come alive” or “be alive” in the first place? Some folks are more naturally animated than others, we know this. But what’s the difference between a body that’s working and alive, and one that’s no longer got life in it? I told Cam it was fairy dust.
Some of us are way dustier than the rest.
(Actually, what I said to Cam was that the biology of the human body is a lot like basic mechanics, with some fairy dust thrown on top.
I know what some of you are thinking right now. Joanna, it’s the soul that animates human beings. And I’d say, OK, I agree with you, and stay tuned for the scintillating exchanges between my son and me about the human soul.)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to those with and without active fairy dust.