health food is supposed to be good for me
like regular exercise
regular sleep
and regular bowels

like a committed relationship
a steady job
and a 401k

good for me…

like taking vitamins
drinking plenty of water
and practicing yoga

like driving a hybrid
avoiding second-hand smoke
and always practicing safe sex

me?
i’ve been developing the art of alchemy
transforming a cigarette
into a bonding agent between friends
transforming a glass of wine
into a moment of heart-opening ecstasy
and transforming a hit of pot
into a year of therapy

i can turn the giddy sugar-rush of a banana split
into precious mindless innocence
i can time travel on good whiff of gas
to the back seat of my dad’s ’59 impala wagon
and i can be instantly teleported to the streets of athens
by the smell of diesel exhaust

i have had one-night stands
that opened my heart forever
and the self-satisfied lethargy of a 3/4 pound filet?
well, that just feels good

i don’t use sunblock
‘cuz i like occasionally peeling skin off my shoulders
and i have to mention that i met a 106 year-old man
who chained smoked with tobacco-stained fingers
and who’s children had all died of old age

so, is it really size that matters?
is the value of a life measured by its length?
or its girth?

and what are the implications of this occasional recklessness?
well, perhaps it’s an affirmation
that non-guilty pleasure is not a crime punishable by death
that options exist in life to be enjoyed and appreciated
that joy and gratitude are pre-existing conditions for miracles to occur
that a magician can turn poison into medicine
sickness into vitality, and authenticity into divinity.

and that a punishing belief system will kill you much faster than a cigarette.

©2006 chris spheeris