Friday, March 27, 2015

High on life

The English Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge famously wrote his trippiest poem, Kubla Khan, after its verses came to him, fully formed, in an opium dream.

Nothing like that ever happened to me.  Oh, except for that one time:

It was the winter of 2007, around Valentine's Day.  I was spending my days at home with the baby and cat.  Not much was going on.  Twice a day, I took a tab of the painkiller Vicodin, prescribed by my doctor.  It did not affect me at all.

(By the way:  If anyone currently is making their Birth Plan and would like the experience to resemble being pushed out of a helicopter, may I recommend the Emergency C-Section?  Basically, you will undergo major surgery, on ten minutes' notice, while fully conscious, and the first words out of your mouth will be: "Is the baby okay?"  As an introduction to motherhood, it is perhaps the most direct.)

The only difference from my usual self was that I was quite emotional at times.  And that -- move over, W. S. Gilbert, Cole Porter, and Howard Ashman of Little Mermaid fame -- I was suddenly the best musical lyricist in the world. 

My songs were clever, with interesting rhyme schemes, and took a variety of forms:  the Sousa march.  The jazz improvisation.  The country-western ballad.  In the "nursery rhyme sing-song" category was a winsome number called "Sweetie-Cake."  If I so much as warble a few bars today, both children will beg me to stop.  ("His little nose is as cute as a button / I wouldn't trade him for no one or nuttin' - what?")  Honestly, it was a really good baby song.  A classic!

Months later, I documented our early weeks:

"Scene 3:  Propped up in bed with two-week-old on my lap.  This was the setting of my most fantastic and amazing song, a ditty about all the animals he would have as pets when he got older.  . . . Perhaps the wittiest thing about this song, in my view, was how the small-boy narrator enthused over his pets against the backdrop of a skeptical and humorless presence called 'my mom':

"I'll have an elephant, an ocelot, a parakeet who talks a lot,
A spider and a leopard too, a monkey with a golden shoe,
A dog, a frog, a wildebeest, a hundred goldfish at the least . . .

"Etc., for twenty or so verses.  The chorus:

"They'll make a mess!  But I digress --
  They'll be the very best of friends!"

Ah, those were the days.

But for the fact that it is a Schedule II narcotic, has unpleasant side effects, is medically unnecessary, would make me a terrible mother, and would likely result in my arrest, a part of me can't help but wish I was on Vicodin right now.

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