Funny Gross Sad

IMG_1257I am (still) reading Eileen Myles, which encourages verbal reaction.

Reading her blog post “Dog Craft,” about the caring for her dog through her dying indignities, I simultaneously wanted a dog and remembered the loss of every dog I’ve ever loved.

Then, I had to think about poop. Even the words for it, feces, shit, crap, excrement, are too silly or too serious. Why is it that our excrement is the funniest thing when we are six (and for many older) and the saddest thing when we see people dying? Are these opposites intrinsically linked in the grosser materiality of our bodies? Is that what Bakhtin was getting at? What is so hilariously sinister? I’ve never been one for gross-out humor.

I think about a conversation between twin six year olds I know and their parents’ attempts to redirect the lunch conversation.

Father: “You know where poop comes from? If you eat your lunch.”

Mother: “Some things are not appropriate table conversation.”

Twins:  “And the green poop…giggle…slimed you. In the toilet. And you ate it.”

And I think about Romeo Castellucci and the Societas Rafaello Sanzio’s hauntingly devastatingly mundane first segment of his tryptic On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God, when the father character loses control of his bowels. And I think of the scandalized reactions I sensed around me when I saw it at Montclair. People laughed awkwardly. Others got up, offended. I wept.

Somewhere in the mire, perhaps in some attempt to relate to shame/relief/digestion/glee we give a shit.