My uncle, when he was a teenager, took over a corner of my grandparents’ basement to practice his hobby of taxidermy. They lived on a farm and he would spend large chunks of his free time gutting, stuffing and mounting various animals. He grew up to be a surgeon of some renown.
I’ve never had an interest in taxidermy per se, although I can be pretty handy with a needle. Nevertheless I think there is some gene floating around the pool which I share with him. I am fascinated–literally fascinated–by things many other people would find gross. I’ll spare you the descriptions of some of the nasty things that have captivated me. Suffice to say that if there is some sort of disease or wound, I’m more likely to stare at it and ponder how it got that way and how we could fix it.
I’ve always been drawn to the breakage in things. My main theory in life is that the best way to learn about how something works is to deal with that thing when it is broken. Fixing a non-working clock, computer, ailing body…whatever your object of study, you do better to look at the broken version, I think. I suppose that’s just part of my dry and stubborn INTJ nature. Folks like me are the ones who are driven to fix objects and refine processes. It’s a personality asset that has gotten me in trouble many times in this life; several times here on this blog. Because to the outside world it appears merely contrarian or complaining. And it must be very frustrating to those who aren’t afflicted with the sense of meddlesome fix-yness to have a person like me take apart something they’ve worked hard (or at least worked) on for the sake of ‘process improvement.’
But I confess, while I am drawn to fix anything what draws me most is the inherently nasty. That is why I found myself standing in front of the sunniest window in my house holding a white cardboard tray and examining my latest delivery in the brightest light possible. [Warning: From here on out it might get mildly gross-ish. So feel free to skip over this.]
Saturday morning around 11:30 I interrupted my husband’s pressure-washing with the plantive cry of “I have to go to the hospital.” I then spent the rest of the day passing the largest and most painful stone I’ve had in awhile. Most of the stones I pass are small enough to be handled at home and the colic can be handled with the drugs I have onhand for breakthrough Endo and RA pain. But this fella could not be tamed. Even the maximum dose of Dilaudid/Toridol cocktail in the ER was just enough to kinda-sorta take the edge off.
I tell all of this merely to say that this stone was big enough to be examined with the naked eye once passed. And I can hardly stop from staring at the thing. In its own way it’s sort of, well, not ‘beautiful’. But it is intricately put together, looking more like a crystal than a stone. There isn’t a smooth edge to be seen, rather it’s comprised of countless sharp shards fused together in a jagged constellation. Frankly, I’m impressed that there is a bit of beauty inside the ugliness.