Off to Battle

 Off to Battle

By Sean McVeigh

It’s always on the nights you need it the most. You make the responsible decision to skip that last glass of wine or deliciously named digestif because you have things to do tomorrow – lots. You lay down and expect to drift off, but it seems that tonight is not going to be so simple. The clock ticks at a record pace and yet you lay there wide awake. Was it that afternoon cup of coffee, or am I just plagued by the thoughts running through my head. Suddenly you realize it is neither. This wasn’t your fault but that does not mean you will make it out of this unscathed.

Evolution has developed some amazing defense mechanisms. Some not only get the job done but they look really cool, too. Who doesn’t love watching nature shows where you see the lizard’s camouflage or the flower that disguises itself as a large bug to ward off predators. Humans have not had to worry too much about that sort of thing in recent history (thank goodness!). In the macro-universe, we are the top dog and have been for a while. No, that is not the worry of the human body. Where our body has developed an amazing defense system is against the micro-universe. Continually advancing over the years, with millennia spent honing in on perfection, our bodies are incredible in the battles they wage not on the outside but on the inside. We are all familiar. Whether you know it or not, we have all been on that battlefield. Let me set the scene: Dinner is great but there is just something a little off. Afterwards you feel the beginning of a bodily process that we experience multiple times a day – there’s nothing to worry about… Or is there?

When you eat something, and your body decides that it does not want it there, it puts on an evolutionary masterclass on how to get rid of it. All other bodily functions shut down and it knows only one goal. There is no Sean, only Zuul! A bodily fire drill takes place except everyone is an Olympic sprinter and the exits are very clearly marked for them. You won’t be sleeping tonight, no sir, you will be stuck contemplating the meaning of life because to you this is it. This is the end. There is no hope. You and your new best friend/worst enemy, the toilet, are in this together now. No gentle knock at the door accompanied by a soft, “are you OK?” is going to help you. The only way is through but, unfortunately, the devil already knows you’re there, the commotion woke him up. The night is long and there is little sleep to be had. Occasionally, you find yourself dozing off but are quickly reminded of the situation. To the body, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

The next morning, the sun rises. Defeated, sore and tired, you rise with it. You made it through the night. The fact that you didn’t get much sleep doesn’t bother you too much. What matters is that you survived. These nights serve as a reminder. A reminder that you are indeed human and while we might be top dog in some arenas of life, we are still very much mortal. You get up, clean yourself off and go about your big day that had so much to be done. Afterall, these Rockaway Times columns aren’t going to write themselves.  

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