Get Well Soon!


I’m sorry you’ve had trouble with whatever is ailing you, but hopefully, that will soon be behind you, which really is the best place for ailments as they seem to be such a pain-in-the-behind, anyway.  If I got all of my aches and pains behind me, I would have no front left at all to be noticed.  I’d spend all my time in the back yard, and would never go out front even to get the mail.  I avoid that restrictive lifestyle by taking a heavy dose of denial every day.  When that doesn’t work, I usually eat or drink something that I can blame it on later.  Here in America, the options are limitless.

Some folks seem to enjoy being sick, and their various maladies are all they want to talk about.  If that is your situation, I retract the well wishes from being forced upon you, for I don’t wish you to be unhappy.  But if you have resolved to seek an improvement, and cannot muster up the nerve and skills for self-treatment, take your infirmity, and show it to somebody.  Pick out a respectable doc medico sawbones, or some other kind of sympathetic specialty listener who owns a cash register, or billing department.  Some will look at your warts and moles; some will read your palm, or point out as to whether one leg is longer than the other, but all will read your ability to pay, and diagnose accordingly.

If you can’t afford a doctor, try listening to good music, or read something funny.  It may not heal a thing other than your attitude, but you’ll feel better in the meantime to some degree that is measurable.  But perhaps you’ve already mentioned your problems to a doctor of your choosing.  If you have, I will join you in wanting to trust your good physicians, as I’m sure you’ve chosen them with careful considerations in mind, if you’ve bothered to choose one at all.

Some folks don’t get to choose.  If you are so categorized, you may have to then render yourself prostrate (which rhymes with another problem) in front of whatever medicine man your tribal plan allows for.  If your problem is your shoulder, I do hope your healer is not a proctologist, unless your shoulder is imbedded that deeply.  If that is the case, you might want to cut back on the time spent worrying about politics, as that habit tends to inflame the condition.

Different folks go about various methods including seeking referrals when choosing a medicine man.  If you stand outside the offices of two competing quactitioners and are not sure which is better, a coin toss works just fine.  But no matter how you select the doctor, approach them all with some caution: they generally declare their business to be a “practice” of some kind, and it is probably so due to a law on the books somewhere that prohibits these “practitioners” from making any public claims to certainty.

Politicians face no such restriction, and can say whatever they please.  My doctors generally never actually cure anything, and I consider their fee to be a kind of cover charge for the entertainment.  The politicians don’t cure anything either, and I pay them too, just the same–but do so under duress.  They do offer up a kind of song and dance, but I’ve seen the show before, and am seldom entertained by it.

I always test my doctors: I throw out some corn, and if they make noises like a duck, I get a 2nd opinion, and sometimes a third.  Watch your pocketbook when around them!  They are a needy bunch, them doctors, and I’ve never made enough money to take one to raise outright.  To compensate for all those things doctors are just “practicing”, I set forth to attempt a cure of my own on your behalf.  It is a heavy and burdensome duty, but I will face it bravely.  Because of current custom and statute, I cannot charge you for what I’m about to do, but if your conscience presses unduly, make a charitable contribution in the direction of some recognized need.  I make mine at the liquor store.

I go now out into the driveway carrying a magic baton with a dead bird and a rattle attached to it while wearing animal skins, feathers, beads, a camouflage ball cap, a red rubber clown nose, bracelets with pouches of seeds boiled in an herbal potion cooked in a cauldron fired by burning old tennis shoes, and a necklace of bleached chicken bones.  Other than anklets made of kudzu vines and jingle bells, I wear little else below the waist other than a carpenter’s apron and some old leather motorcycle chaps as are the regular practices and customs of our denomination.

Attired thusly, I set out to perform the ritual aboriginal American shaman dance intended to drive away all evil spirits (except for the ones I keep in bottles down in the den).  I will chant the chant of the witchdoctor taken from the annals of folklore and mythology, a recipe for squash casserole, various reality television programs, a few classic Marx Brothers movies, and two old hymnals with enthusiasm in hopes of you feeling better soon.

The manner of my approach, which includes pulling my knees high up by my ears, pushes the envelop of modern deodorants and antiperspirants, so you will want to stand back.  Besides that, it is just good to take such precautions if you watch me dance.  The other day, the magical powers conjured some yellow jackets out of a hole in the ground.  My festive promenade got pretty intense resembling a pre-war or pre-hunt ceremony more than it did anything restorative or therapeutic.  An innocent bystander might have thought they were at a pep-rally.

From experience, I found that this dance regularly works as much as any wishful thinking, and sometimes better.  The reason is, that on Sunday mornings, the Deity is inundated with a great many prayerful requests that have been saved up all week to be presented during proper ceremony.  These numerous and wordy supplications are for food for the hungry (as long as the prayerful aren’t expected to suffer any from it); better paying jobs (excusing those who need to be fired first thing Monday morning), timely turns in the stock market, new cars, shorter sermons, peace at the expense of whoever is the enemy of the prayer-giver, various and sundry miracle cures for this and that, as well as for the well being and salvation of millions of heathens (or that they should all crawl under rocks and die), and with all of this gushing forth at the same time, making focus difficult and tedious, even for the all-hearing and all-knowing.

There are other prayers offered during the rest of the week, but they usually concentrate near major highways, and are often drowned out by the noise of big trucks.  All drivers (during the rush hours) are constantly asking for guidance to be given to all the other drivers so they each will be ushered to the nearest exit ramp in hopes of finding something plentiful and toxic to eat, and pray they eat heartily.

But early on a weekday afternoon between the rush hours, I have more of a captive audience, and I think the Supremacy finds my choreography to be entertaining.  Please get well soon, as I am sure to grow tired.  Besides, these sessions tend to get all the dogs in the neighborhood riled up, and they are likely to howl without a moment of recess all afternoon; all night, and into the wee hours dampening only with the coming of the morning vespers of rush hour.  Hopefully, you should feel somewhat better momentarily, but be patient: sometimes when I perform this dance, it just rains.


12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Robin on June 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    If your range extends to NM, we could use the rain, as there are major wildfires burning up about 350,000 acres, as of the local paper I read last week. If it doesn’t extend that far, that’s OK. As a professor of a course called “Transcultural Health”, I have learned a little about alternative and complementary medicine myself. I favor lighting candles to Gaia , while sitting on the ground (so as to connect with the Mother Earth) and listening to classic rock while drinking a little red wine for the stomach’s sake. It requires significantly less energy expenditure than your shamanic ritual, which may explain why you look like Grandpa C. and I rather favor the females on the other side of the family. Loved your “card”, by the way! Love you, too.


  2. Posted by Frances on June 25, 2011 at 3:30 am

    The buzz words in regard to “practicing medicine” today are “preventive medicine”. Have you practiced your brand of medicine long enough to know if reading this every day will prevent my becoming ill? Sounds a lot easier and a whole lot cheaper than going to a doctor. Not to mention less time consuming, at least for me. And next time I hear the neighbors dogs howling, I’ll say a little thanks, ‘Cause I’ll know you’re out there working hard to keep all us journal readers well.


  3. Posted by Helen on June 25, 2011 at 7:15 am

    A special thank you to vanbrown of Hotlanta and Environs for sharing his legendary dance prowess when it was needed in our home-

    ” You can also know that I will perform a ritual dance out in the driveway which should drive evil spirits away.”

    “A vibrant and spirit-charged dance today, if I do say so myself. Should see good results soon. Energy level was up – knocked a few tree limbs down, but they were over due to fall anyway. Reports that a lady over in South Carolina watched her mailbox blow out into the street, and three stray dogs turned themselves in to animal control. Had to dance extra-big for you especially with the jist of it having to travel trans-continental. For any tornadoes that may have been stirred up in Kentucky on the way, I do apologize. Brenda is lovely indeed, but she allows me to do the dance alone. When I drag out the feathers, animal skins, chicken bones and beads, she finds it necessary to attend other vespers.”

    A friend reports that vanbrown Facebooked her to let her know that the truly evil spirits were trapped in a lidded mason jar in his basement. So now that we know that all is well in the world tonight, I bid you sweet dreams and limited contact with chicken bones.


  4. Posted by little d on June 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm


    “its not the wine drank, but the wine poured forth, for a Medicine Mans greatest strength lies in his sacrifice, and he who sacrifices most, has the most to give”

    ps- really appreciated the MUCH NEEDED RAIN !!!!!

    little d


  5. Posted by David Alexander on August 1, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Just got around to reading this today. Now I know who to thank when a headcold goes away suddenly, or that pain in my hip mysteriously dissapears. I think you even cured my sick iguana (reptile disfunction). Just kidding. Thanks for the great installment!!


  6. Reblogged this on Island Breeze and commented:
    love this blog…


  7. Posted by WD Parris on January 1, 2013 at 1:38 am

    Thanks, Van. I truly have tried all of the above over the years. They have always been much like the practice of the licensed physician – sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. But of course the fees are cheaper. I am with the early Greek physician who said, “The doctor’s role is to entertain the patient while nature takes its course.”


  8. Great fun, reading this, Van. thank you for the link. I have been “under the weather” for the past couple of days, which is a good thing when the weather is as chilly as it has been here in NY! My solution? A good walk! Clears the head, of ‘evil spirits’ and congestion!


  9. Wonderfully creative and funny….. thanks for sharing, Van!


  10. Posted by kaylyn Cole on April 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Van… You are AWESOME!!! I really liked the: “peace at the expense of whoever is the prayer giver.”!!! I’m sure you are going to make Kudzu all the fashion rage!


  11. Posted by kaylyn Cole on April 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    “Enemy of the prayer giver… Opps.


  12. Posted by robin leonard on December 24, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Well, I still have the cold, but it is coming up a cloud; I expect it to rain any minute now. Good work!


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