Turning Into Patrick McGoohan

I’m irritated at not being able to complete posts I begin because “real life” intervenes, so I’m just going to write this one in real time, despite interruptions.  I’ll let whatever happens happen, and when I have to change channels, I will.

I have an odd perception of my body.  I don’t always feel that the physical part of me is me.  Sometimes I feel like if I could just… find… the door handle, I would step right out of this silly fleshmobile.  There are, and have been times when I could “turn off” physical sensation almost completely.  If I disliked myself as much today as I have at times in the past, I could cut myself or hold a match to my flesh without pain.  I could dissociate intentionally.  Thankfully, I am no longer as able to do that as I used to be.

Oops.  Damn!  I’m running late, and I’m hungry and thirsty.  I had to fast for at least 12 hours for a blood draw so we could get lipid levels and check current metabolic rates, but we also had early patients, so it turned into 16 hours.  My blood pressure average has gone up 20 points, and I’ve gained 20 pounds.  It could partly be stress and partly an unexpected physical reaction to going meatless, since my carb-to-protein ratio is vastly altered.  These things are complicated to balance when one is hypothyroid and slightly prone to diabetes.

What was I talking about?  Something important about dissociation having advantages and disadvantages.  Because of it I can work in surgery, and look at the open bodies as if they were cars being repaired.  There was a lot more but I forgot it while performing exams until I could get away to eat.

I have an ordinary laundry list of irritants, but they add up.  My wife is dependent on pain meds, and I don’t like communicating with her when she gets toward the outside of her dosage period.  I haven’t taken an actual vacation in seven years.  There are houses being built on two sides of ours, and crews begin making noise as early as 6am some days.  I like getting up early, but not to the sound of power tools and banging hammers.  My voice isn’t as good as it used to be.  I have a right-hand tremor that’s increasing in intensity.  It seriously impacts my ability to play guitar.  Singing and playing used to be my main stress relievers, and I’m unhappy having to accept that I can’t do either as well as I used to, and that those abilities are in decline.  The fact that all things must pass doesn’t help me to be happy about it.

(*Rringg*) What?  The fluorescent safelight in the darkroom is burned out.  I tried putting in a new bulb, but it appears the light fixture itself is kaput.  OK, the hardware store is 10 minutes away.  What??  This kind of light is unavailable except by special order, and the hardware store will have to add on a 100% mark-up?  Well, at least the salesman is nice and has been a patient at our clinic, so he tells me where they would order the light.  It’s 20 minutes in the opposite direction.  I go there and discover the light is obsolete, though it could be fixed for around $100, which is unacceptable to the Dr. (my boss).  The boss gives me the business card of a friend of his who does clinic upgrades.  I call, and he will send us another light for only the cost of shipping.  Hmm.  We could have called that guy first.

Now, where was I?  The news, wasn’t it?  We have this debt ceiling thing going on, at least I think we do.  It might be political theater, or just lies.  There are a lot of ideologues in Congress at the moment.  The management of high debt requires reasonable solutions, which demands compromise and consensus; two things ideologues aren’t good at.  So it’s possible that the debt ceiling won’t be raised, and the AAA credit rating of the U.S. Government will be downgraded.

I’m of two minds about the standoff between the Dems and Reps over this. If we (the nation in the form of our government) can’t act responsibly enough to stick to the contracts to pay for the wars and cars and mega-houses we’ve already bought, then perhaps we should have our national credit card cut up.  On the other hand, that would mean all adjustable-rate mortgages, credit card rates and the cost of servicing our government’s debt held by other countries would immediately go up, the result being an even greater disparity between those with the most and least money, and a huge anchor dragging on any possible economic recovery.  Is that a good thing?

Never mind.  I have more x-rays to take.  Oh, before I go, you were wondering about the title of the post? Patrick McGoohan (1928-2009) was one of my favorite dramatic actors.  Sometimes he played heroes, and sometimes villains.  He played both kinds of roles brilliantly, but there was one thing they all had in common.  Just below the surface they were smoldering, barely able to contain themselves from exploding.  Their fuses were lit.  They were such powerfully grumpy characters that I’m kind of glad I never met Pat in person.  But I feel like that today.


Filed under Emotions, Money, photos, Thinking about thinking

30 responses to “Turning Into Patrick McGoohan

  1. jgavinallan

    His series Secret Agent Man was big hit in Asia…I never realized it was 30 years or so old…

  2. It was big here too, though in the UK (where it was made) they called it Danger Man, and used a different opening title sequence. (Hi, Jaye.)

    • jgavinallan

      hi…have you been following my two soap operas…on my blog…lol
      one of them is suppose to be “torrid.” lol

      • I presume you mean “Beginning of her end”? Yes, it’s torrid, but I like pulp fiction! The Bru story is sweeter. I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting lately, though I’m still reading. I’m starting 3 long form writing projects, and the research involved is time-consuming. I deeply thank you for taking time to both read and comment.

  3. We need to get together and talk about blood pressure and heart attacks and Pat McGoohan (I knew him) w/o our Soul Mates. Name the time, place, and your poison.

    Your partner in dissociation,


  4. I’ve been feeling somewhat “off kilter” myself today. I have a theory that when lots of people are feeling the same way, it sets up a vibration that sensitive people can feel and resonate with. Kind of like the story of the “hundredth monkey.” Do you know the story?

  5. I do know about the hundredth monkey effect, but I don’t give it much credence toward this situation. I’m sure thousands of people feel just as I do at any given moment, simply because there are so many people, and a fairly limited range of possible emotional states.

    I went for a walk with my pal Larry, and we talked about everything and nothing, and I had a cup of chai, and my bad mood evaporated. Getting outside, and not tasking beyond our vague goal of walking from his house to downtown and back was all I needed. Hanging out with people you like is therapeutic.

  6. lifewith4cats

    Im glad your feeling better after your walk. I had not seen a post before, that you wrote while in one of these moods. Im so used to you being a ‘pillar and a rock’ As much as I personaly enjoy intentionaly disasociating, Im sure its much healthier not to be able to do it so easily.

    My sadness is with you becaus of the waning of some of your skills. Its a thing I too worry over.Even if it IS a part of the cyle of life.

    • Yeah, I normally write from an even place after some thought, but I need to learn to write more from everywhere and any time. Aside from the occasional memory glitch, most of my brain seems to be in good working order. I’ll focus more on producing work from there as the other muscles decline. Thanks for the sympathy.

  7. Hey Mikey, your life seems to be as hectic as everybody else’s at the moment. I love this post. It makes me feel less alone, if that makes any sense. Be brave. Stay strong. Love you.

    • Thank you, Butterfly. It does make sense. You write from everywhere, whatever emotional space you are in when you take the occasion to do it. I’ve learned so much about “textuality” from you. Love you, too.

  8. I loved Patrick! What was that show he was in? He was in some other sort of world, sort of a prison – I have vague recollections from my childhood – but I loved him!

    • You are probably recalling the highly unusual show he co-created called The Prisoner (1967-68). It only had 17 episodes and it took place in an idyllic resort village, which was a disguised prison for ex-intelligence personnel who attempt to resign. They all know too much, you see, so they can’t be allowed back in the world. Remote-controlled, white weather balloons that roar and can smother you guard the borders and escape routes. Everyone in ‘The Village” has a number instead of a name. Number 6 (Pat) refuses to explain why he resigned, no matter how many mind-games and methods of psychological torture “they” (we never find out who) try. It’s allegorical, surrealistic, and either one of the most frustrating or inspiring series in TV history, depending on whether you prefer your stories direct or subtle. McGoohan drove himself and everyone around him a bit bonkers making it, but the onscreen result is unique.

  9. Whew! Never a dull moment, huh? One suggestion…..meditation. Oh, and for the hand tremor…visualization. It really works!

    • I do meditate, and visualize, do hand yoga, and regular types of finger exercises, take supplements, and sometimes an anti-epileptic medication (prescribed), and even a shot of scotch at times. Everything works, but only to a certain depth of control. It makes it possible to use a pen properly and to do my job, but playing guitar (as I used to) requires subtle, precise finger movements. I can stop the shakes, but I can’t get back the fine motor coordination. That’s been deteriorating slowly for about 5-6 years. (I do thank you, though. I know you are well-versed in this kind of mind-over-flesh challenge, Debbie. It’s part of the simpatico we share.)

  10. I hope you aren’t sick. I’m sorry you aren’t very happy at the moment.But I love how this post was written.
    I’m a bit nervous about my disability, but surely they won’t stop paying out my dole.

    • Don’t worry, Lisa, all my illnesses are reversible or treatable except the ones related to aging – and those progress slowly, and every man has them if they survive long enough (osteoarthritis, prostate deterioration, blood pressure increase, bone density changes, water loss in vertebrae etc.) I’ve lost a couple of pounds since I wrote this just from diet tweaking.

      My main illness is impatience. So happy you liked this one. Aside from the topics, it was also a style experiment. I want to expand my ability to write different ways.

  11. We all have moments when we are Prisoners to our state of mind. That walk and talk with a good friend, priceless. Enjoy your fresh air!

  12. How dare normal life intervene with creative expression! Well, you managed to get one over normal life with this post. Sorry things are so eschew for you at the moment. Sometimes it helps just to get it off your chest. Those carbs can sure add padding. I’ve started experimenting with foods (all the wrong ones) and have packed on a few pounds too.

    Hope things have shifted!

    • They shifted by the evening of the same day I wrote this, thanks. I went wandering with a pal, and got back in touch with my cartooney nature. I upped the protein, and cut the carbs and sodium over the past week. I have dropped 4 lbs and 20 systolic points so far. My lab values are good now. I’ll be optimum-normal physically and back at the right weight within a couple of months. I’m not much interested in mental normalcy (zzzz), but I’m back in a better balance. I’ve been busy working, but I have an amusing post of no historical significance in the works.

  13. I guess we all feel like this at times. It’s impossible to get anything substantial done with so many demands on your attention.

    I never saw Patrick McGoohan in anything, but I wanted to because I know he was very close to being James Bond but I think he pulled out before it went to Connery.

    • The story on McGoohan and 007 is that he was approached for the role first because of the popularity of his TV spy show Danger Man. The problem was that McGoohan himself was too orthodox a person (lifelong Roman Catholic, never divorced etc.) and didn’t want to kiss any women onscreen. That would have put rather a crimp in the character of Bond, whose flaws MUST include an appetite for short-term liaisons with beautiful women.

  14. The description you have of Patrick McGoohan is spot on. I’ve seen him in many things (including Silver Streak, The Prisoner and at least two episodes of Columbo) and he has always scared me. I wouldn’t have liked to have met him, but I can appreciate his talent. I’ve never seen Danger Man, but I’ve heard the theme tune and love it.

    I’m glad you managed to move through your anger/melancholy and that you felt able to share your moods with us, but I’m sorry to hear about your body working against you. I guess we all have that to look forward to, if we’re lucky to live long enough. I send my best wishes to Mrs Invisible too.

    • I’m much better now, thanks. 5 pounds down, 15 more to go. My latest labs and vitals are improved, and I’m enjoying various local cultural events. The weather is pleasantly cool as well, rather Londony compared to the rest of the U.S. That helps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s