So many days come and pass / and in each just as the last;
the days go by, houred twenty-four / to pass and be lost, forevermore . . .
And what is today? Well, today is an important day, October Eighteen. On this day in 1984, Jon-Erik Hexum accidentally shot himself on the set of the tv series Cover Up, while playing with a gun loaded with blank cartridges. This day in 1977 saw Hans Martin Schleyer murdered and several members of the Red Army Faction committing collective suicide, ending the “German Autumn”. On this day in 2007, 139 people were killed and 450 more were injured during the Karachi Bombings. And on the 18th of October 1991, I was born.
For he’s a jolly good fellow; for he’s a jolly . . . -well, I’m a fellow, at least.
One year closer to death, I year further down the bittersweet trail of life; and despite all evidence to the contrary, I am not yet dead, I've merely been preparing for this day. More than a year, 365 days, each counted down. See, countdowns are so often a morbid affair. There's something deliciously finite about a countdown. If you count up you go from 1 to 2 and on to 3 . . . forever onward, as numbers can always increase. But with a countdown, there's no going back once you reach one. It's over. And why do they count down? Whether it be a missile launch or a ticking time bomb, countdowns often lead down to zero, It is, then it was, now it's nothing.
The same could, perhaps, be true of death. According to www.death-clock.org, I have got exactly left to live; to die on Monday, the 1st of April, 2075; 83 years, 5 months and 14 days old. That's not all that fun, to be honest, there's no coming back from that. So, to celebrate, this somber affair and add a bit more life to it, I thought I might once again try to treat you all to a bit of fun. Just as the years count down, so too will I. As I did last year, I’m going to count down the thirteen days after my birthday, leading up to Halloween. Does that sound like fun, dear reader?
A count of the days, counting down from thirteen,
From today, thirteen nights till we see Halloween.
So, let's have some fun. But how to start? Just like last year, I plan on counting down with words as well as numbers. Last time, we talked about how I was a monster. Well, this time, why not talk about something else? Something a little more . . . bloodthirsty. The Word of the Day is: 'BLOODY'
Bloody /'bludee/ adj. 1. Stained with blood: bloody handkerchief. 2. Causing bloodshed: bloody battle. 3. Of the nature of, or relating to, blood. 4. Colloquial (a word indicating approval or disapproval): bloody miracle; bloody idiot. ♦v.t. 5. Stained with blood. ♦adv.6. Colloquial Very; extremely: bloody awful.So, why "bloody"? Well, for one thing, I'm an Australian, and a bloody proud one at that. Referring to something positively as a "bloody ripper" is a part of Australian culture, like redback spiders & killing hitch-hikers.
For another, I find the term fascinating. After all, blood is blood, it's life-giving, but why would we use it in this colloquial way? There are a few theories. One particular theory says that the term "bloody" is sacrilegious; because they believe the term to be a "minced oath" (that is, a blasphemous term which has been modified to make it less so), just like strewth, came from an alteration of "God's Truth" or Gee Willikers came from the alteration of "God's Will"; some believe that bloody comes from "By Our Lady", shortened to By'r Lady/B'lady and became Bloody.
So, to say the word is to defy God's will and speak blasphemously. At least, that's what some people say, the etymology of this profanity is still being contested.
But there's more to it than that, there's another reason I wanted to talk about Bloody, blood & bloodiness; and that is because I've found myself to be a little bit put off, of late, when it comes to blood. I've seen blood before, real blood from real wounds dripping on the floor while someone asks for help. I've been in these situations and I am fine, I don't mind seeing blood.
Rather, it's just when I think about it, even as I write these very words, I weaken in my limbs. I call it feeling "icky", but it's this slight faintness when I talk about it, that makes me want to curl up in a ball, hug my knees and wait for the bad feeling to go away.
It might seem strange, at first, that the sight of blood doesn't bother me while the thought does, but it makes sense to me. Because, you see, it's not the gory, gritty, macabre side of blood that disturbs me. Rather, it's the lively part. The living, life-giving lifeblood, that is constantly moving under your skin.
People talk about hearing your heartbeat, and how that can be unsettling. For me, a heartbeat is beautiful, either the thrill of fear or the warmth of an impassioned heart. But feeling blood? Feeling those strings that twist through your body, those threads of veins that knot through you. With each beat of your heart, every millilitre of your blood jolts and streams through your limbs, organs, heart and brain. As it leaves your heart, blood travels at a metre per second, and it takes approximately a minute for all six to eight litres of your blood to cycle through your body and return to your heart to flow again.
Your body, every second of every day of your life, beats and beats, non-stop, like a highway of haemoglobin; each beat like the ticking hand of a clock, counting down. But more than that, your blood under your skin is so alive, so precious and yet so vulnerable. To me, when I remind myself not only that I have six litres, and only six litres of blood; but also that I can lose it all in a minute, if I were cut in the right place. I remember that those little impulses I feel from the beat of my heart are what keeps me feeling so alive, and it makes me feel less like a strong man, but more like a delicate machine of meat, being held together by bones and blood-filled string.
If you ask me, the human body is such a precise mechanism, that it's a miracle that we don't all fall to pieces . . . and, when you think about it, that would be a most unfortunate, bloody mess.
I'm the Absurd Word Nerd - the writer of this nightly website fright - and until next time, if it wasn't bleeding obvious already, this is just the first post of many. I'll see you tomorrow night for another ripping good time.