The Muscle of My Brain

Mitchell Grabois

How I love those little blue pills, oblong, with rounded edges, elegant, as if designed by an ancient Greek sculptor. They selectively inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, the substance in my brain that, if depleted, makes me consider which of the many ways of killing myself I should pursue, and realize, even in my deepest misery, that none of them is foolproof. Then I revere those skillful bastards who have succeeded.

            But if the reuptake is blocked and my brain is rich with that brilliant lava, I can be nearly giddy with love of life and find pleasure in something as simple as driving my old car or drinking a bottle of water. I love the way the holes in the muffler collectively give voice to the engine and make the car seem more than it is. The lime-green metal bottle of spring water refrigerated in my GE is a distillate of ozone, a remnant of the pure world we have sullied so badly.

            The muscle of my brain is pumped, as if I’d been doing bench presses with it. Humankind rushes toward annihilation, but in my heart, I’m not overly concerned.

            While placebo may be just as good in mild to moderate cases, in really severe cases of depression, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors really kick ass. Their effectiveness is beyond question. I am giddy with equanimity. I am whole.

            This is me flying over Scotland, my naked body through the damp air, and clouds like sheep’s wool. It’s a new type of cloud, a message from God, a warning, as always. He speaks through my father’s voice.

            I’m warning you, He says. I’m warning you, Mitchell. But I fly past.

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