Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fish Heads

Of course there are many, many different kinds of headaches -- certainly, if you had to think about what kind of headache you were having at a given moment, it would be enough to give you another one. My take on it? Let's see... judging from the fish that's been swimming around in my head this past week, I would say that my most recent headache has dorsal fins and a truncated tail: good for maneuverability and short bursts of speed. At the moment, this precocious fish that is my headache whips its tail right behind my left eye and, if it wasn't for the swelling of my lid (from lack of sleep), you might notice the almost imperceptible twitching going on.

In my lifetime, I have had a variety of headaches, from little guppy ones that seem to be breeding and birthing at breakneck speed, to larger, more ferocious hammerhead-types. It's no surprise then that I consider my head a vast ecological habitat for fish in a state of semi-hibernation, that is until something like the flu or my mother-in-law rouses one of the creatures enough to agitate me in the process.

I suppose the most common headache I have is the catfish one. I'm not just talking about its typical burrowing through the muck that is my head, but when the catfish strikes, my senses are heightened, and suddenly I'm ravenous. (Did you know that catfish have over 250,000 taste buds in its entire body?) Yes, the catfish is what an ordinary person might call the "hunger headache." I get this a lot, perhaps because I'm on a perpetual diet and the little kitty just won't have it! It sends me on the prowl for something -- anything! -- to satisfy. Most days, an aspirin will do... at least until dinner time.

Another headache of note is the goldfish. This is the active, I-go-my-way-you-go-yours type of headache. Mainly, the goldfish catches me unawares upon waking after a night of unspeakable acts (and maybe some heavy-duty retching in the drunkard's confessional: Father Toilet Bowl). It's irritating because I go about my day with my head sloshing about two steps behind me. But, like all good fish who know that their sliminess helps them move through water faster, I find that the quickest way to put the goldfish back in hibernation is a plate of grease with a side of something greasier.

Still, there are those days when the stress is so overwhelming, and the medication so ineffective, that the piranhas in my head rise up with their razor-sharp teeth and go on a feeding frenzy! This is the headache that tortures and grips you from all sides. The kind of headache that makes you shun both light and people, prefering to be left alone while your head is turned to mush and you wallow in misery. Yes, it's true: the piranhas nibble unrelentlessly at all those happy thoughts you once had and, for good measure, regurgitate them into unrecognizable bits as if yours were the nastiest tasting happy thoughts they've ever ingested and how dare you think those thoughts were happy to begin with!

I'm happy to report though that most days, the fishies are in delightful hibernation, dreaming of pleasant streams, vast oceans and even flight! I try to keep them that way with a sound diet, a sound mind, and -- you guessed it -- happy thoughts!

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