As flies to wanton boys…

marcusWhen I was married, I used to say that the greatest risk in my life was my beloved wife running off with the milkman. I did not think it would really happen of course. It was just the worst thing I could possibly imagine.

Well, she did run off, and will shortly be marrying her lover, who is (I understand) not a milkman but an architect.

My way of coping with pain is a sort of Marcus Aurelius thing. You just work on the basis that you are already dead, and you look back down on yourself, from as much spiritual distance as you can muster. This creature which bears your name, suffering on earth, is just a sort of avatar. Obviously, it is better if your avatar is comfortable and happy. But if not, that is not (according to Marcus Aurelius) such a big deal. Just direct your avatar to keep marching, keep fighting and (if you can manage it) look cheerful and do your duty as an officer (I think Marcus assumed that all of his readers would be officers).

There is an interesting thing about pain to be learned from teeth, in the days before decent dentists. What happened to those many people whose teeth were rotting, causing them immense pain? It seems the answer is that the pain just levels out after a while. Pain is a useful thing if it is telling you to stop doing something bad, right now. But once the bad has settled in, and is not to be budged, pain stops being quite so insistent.

There may be better strategies. But since I have no idea what they might be, that is all a bit academic.

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