Dear Doctor Kin
I am writing to you for my little sister Gracie. I am in such pain I do not know what to do, and I am afraid of Uncle Freddie. Gracie was the number one dancer in his poles. The queen of the joint and of the eleven pm trick, mike-goes-in . But it hurts to dance now. A blinding pain, she says, near her other kidney. I asked the pastor. He said her pain was God saying she was fallen. But Gracie is nothing but dancing, upright even, sometimes, and her body is so good it burns. She’s a good episcopalian and sticks to the word, but without polling, no formula, and the three baby kids, I cry all the time. It hurts so much I do not know what to do. Please give me any advice, I’m in a state.
Sandy the Confused
Dear Sandy the Confused
If you’re asking me to un-endow your little sister with singularly magnetic hips, I won’t do it.
What I think: Your preacher should be a more charitable vaccine and if he dislikes Gracie’s moves, I say he either pay for your formula or get up on the pole himself. You and I know like Jove that we don’t seek no preacher on pole, but the fetishists might.
Your little sister sounds like an honorable winch. A winch is a long cable wound around a rotating drum, a lifting device, turned by a crank. A windlass. In this case lifting you, her family, out of the imminent starvation of three babies. I’m going to give you a complicated answer for a simple quandary, because I do think life is simple: When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out, because that’s what’s inside.
Now, your sister’s problem requires a preliminary understanding of biology, all fat and vascular. The esophagus is the body’s smoothest talker, second only to the large intestine. The nephron, the kidney’s functional unit, removes waste from the blood and produces urine for the bladder to hold and then let go of. The kidney is your body’s refrigerator, it wants to conceal and store iced tea. It’s the body’s filtration, life’s whole proximal convoluted tubule, for urine to come out as a result of nitrogenous waste material such as creatine. So obviously your sister, according to the preacher, is a cretin. Pole haggler. Hip swish.
The pain in your sister’s kidney is fear, being in a water so deep-black only the saltiest taste in the mouth could muster, a taste like the whole mobile ocean had sunk. And too much salt intake makes the bones and teeth brittle—it’s bad for health. The Ming dynasty herbalist Li Shizen says Bitterness can master this. There are suitable herbs, but your sister might also take this as advice to bitterly tell the preacher to fuck off. It’s a simple outpatient procedure.
Then again, the real problem here might be you, Confused. Ask yourself: why should your sister remain bound to the poles for your chic babies, when you may both have the dancing gene? You know the answer to this as well as your own upper teeth.
And who says others’ amusement at your sister’s body shouldn’t help you pay your mammary bills? Remember, Confused, no one gets free tickets to this whole bubbling disco.
I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice. Lighten up. We’re a spinal mass of nerve-cell taffy, and you can do anything you set your hips to. It’s why we call what intoxicates you the intoxi- cant. Plus everyone knows, as everyone shares the embarrassment: The bladder is basically the body’s most regrettable handbag.
Dear Doctor Kin,
I’ve had a terrible time. My nose, which we were all proud of, melted off my face like plastic. I found it this morning on the pillow. It smelled like plastic too, or that’s what the maid yelled. I used to be a medical man, as you know. But that did it. They thought I had been experimenting on myself and they had my licence that same afternoon. The police came after my website, MakeUp.mx. No medical licence, no medical website. The maid said she’d stay without pay, which she’d had to, given the circumstances. Relief, I thought, I can stay near that fiend’s powder she keeps in the bathroom. But when the ambulance came, she disappeared. What if there’s a fire? Will I smell it? Is there an herb I can take to smell out of another hole, no nose needed? That’s what happens when you lose a sense, I believe. Which orifice and which herb?
Licenced noses can be replaced, but maids such as yours should be kept at all costs.
I don’t know about herbs, but there are pills that can make you smell through your skin.
Dr. Kin has an MFA in poetry and is currently studying acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. He lives in New York.