Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.
Pain is a weird thing. I know people who suffer from serious, never-ending pain, and they never complain about it. I've been told many times by doctors that I have a high tolerance for pain. I've always sort of attributed that to having a high tolerance for hangovers, but that might be a chicken and an egg thing.
At any rate, a month or so ago, I had a new hand surgery for Dupuytren's Contracture. I've written about this before so I don't want to bore regular readers, but it's a genetic thing that mostly bothers people of northern European descent. Basically, the fascia on the palms of my hands collects bands of collagen that pulls my pinkies in until they're useless for typing a's or apostrophes. So the surgeon cuts them open and removes the diseased flesh. Hurts like hell with a months-long recovery time. I'm not complaining about the pain; in fact, I only took the hydrocodone at night.
It's what pain does to my mind that's interesting. During the last few weeks of the semester, my short- and long-term memory was shot. I think this has a sensible evolutionary imperative. If we could remember the pain as distinctly as we feel it at the time, we'd probably never leave the house—“Daaanngg, stubbed my toe. That's never going to happen again.”
And the emotional stuff. Can you remember what it was like the last time you had your heart broken? Of course you can't, that's my point, but I'll bet you can remember from a bird's eye view that it was horrible. Made you think you'd never want to look at another human being again.
Think about it. Anything that's really worth experiencing—the highest highs, the lowest lows—they fade. And yet there are some things, I'm looking for commonality among them, maybe environmental—are there like they just happened yesterday.
Anyway, just thought I'd share. I think there may be a flaw in the logic that we learn best through pain.