An odd weekend: I made the mistake of reaching for a hairbrush on Saturday morning — I should know better — and was rewarded with a muscle spasm between left shoulderblade and spine. The initial sensation — think cattle prod — was bad enough, but worse was the knowledge (from too many previous experiences) that the next couple of hours would present a gradual stiffening into total immobility and an increasing sense that any movement would cause the ripping of muscle from bone. I tried the hot shower thing, which everyone recommends but which never ever works, and being failed by that, hopped in the car for a quick visit to the good folks at the Urgent Care division of my doctor’s office. I was briefly poked, presumably examined for the signs of jonesing, and given a big prescription for big muscle relaxers, with the express instructions to (a) take them on a full stomach, (b) only take 1/2 of one during the day, and (c) prepare the day’s food in advance of taking the first one.


Being me, I had plans that could not be disrupted. I did, responsibly, get someone else to drive. And I did warn my colleagues about my newly developed combination of stiffness and stonitude. But I went out nonetheless.

To see Derrida.

Oh, sure, those of you on the right coast have had this odd little biopic for weeks, but this far from the Yale English department, things take their time. So here I am, with a row of folks from my department and a host of other academics and intellectuals and people with very funky glasses frames, watching a documentary about a theorist that becomes a theory of the documentary impulse and of the relationship between documentation and theory. It’s not perfect — at moments, it’s downright annoying — but it’s nonetheless fascinating. Maybe it was the drugs, but I was spellbound. And maybe it was the muscle spasm, but I could not turn away.

In any event, I have a new piece of slang I’d like to promote:

skelaxin (skuh-LAK-sin) pres. part. of vi skelax 1. chillin, esp. in the company of scholastic acquaintances. Despite the intensity of the film’s discourse, I was pretty much —.

2 thoughts on “Deconstruction

  1. !!

    Although the production of a neologism is always a silver lining, that sounds like a rather rotten cloud. Hope things are better.

    As for the film in question, I fear that seeing it might undo a considerable amount of therapy. But I may have to do it anyway. Got any of that medication left over?

  2. Thanks for the sympathy, BT. Full mobility has been restored. I think the film is worth seeing — I think — but am unsure because I also now think that prescription drugs are indeed the key to the entire deconstructive enterprise. All was suddenly made clear, in a way that I’m now at a loss to explain.

    If no other enticements can persuade you to see the film, how’s this one: the repeated small shocks of recognition as the Man in Question attends the Biography conference at NYU in — what? 1996? Look for a cameo appearance by a certain Americanist who was shortly thereafter denied tenure…

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