High G

So, when classic fighter pilots were about to do a high g-force maneuverer , they learned to squeeze their abdominal muscles and grunt to drive blood to their head so they wouldn’t black out in the turn. Today the G-Suit does this for you, bladders squeezing the legs and torso to drive blood to the head, but in the early days, it was manual.

My father, you see, is getting fed up with me lying on the floor of the basement. He wants me to do things to help him.

He can’t ask for help, though. He can just tell me that “if you want to you can” edit my paper, go to pump gas and buy hardware, get my sister’s kayak rudder for repair, mow the lawn, fill out web forms and so on.

If I don’t want to? I just get more pressure.

I shouldn’t do this stuff. They need to learn to take care of themselves. But it makes life easier if I just do it.

And so I stop sobbing and do my grunt, forcing blood into my duty brain. When no one can hear, I start singing my little ditties about death — today’s is titled “My Death,” and sung to the tune “Brazil” — and keep the constriction enough to get through the task.

I suspect that this grunt drives my blood pressure up — I feel it in my ear drums — and I know it compresses sickness which will come later, but it is the only technique I know.

OK, now, everybody, together,

grunt.

Duty

England Confides That Every Man Will Do His Duty.
Nelson’s message to the fleet before the Battle Of Trafalgar

I’m listening to Adam Nicolson’s Seize the Fire: Heroism, Duty, and the Battle of Trafalgar

The duty of those who stood and fought as those around them were blasted to human pulp with cannon shot, a duty enforced by stories, by love and by the lash, well, that’s some intense duty.

And it makes me think about how I have taken on duty in my obligations to my parents, performing with honor in the face of challenges that require denial of self.

It’s a romantic notion, of course.

And I need to honor that.