two short pieces from the forthcoming book The Slightly Mad Rantings of a Body Intellectual Part One, by Phil Porter, to be published by WING IT! Press, the publishing arm of Body Wisdom, Inc.

knives, forks, and spoons

Knives, steak knives, butter knives, serrated knives, plastic so you can’t hijack the plane knives, forks, salad forks, dessert forks, silverware drawerpoke a lobster forks, shuck an oyster forks, teaspoons, tablespoons, soup spoons, grapefruit spoons, chinese plastic flat on the bottom spoons, slotted spoons, filbert scooping instead of sticking your whole germy hand in the bowl spoons, cute little decorative collectible spoons that say “Graceland” or “London” on the ends, plastic spoons, and then there are the chopsticks.

And you thought life was simple! Silly you.

silverware drawer

I wasn‘t all that interested in silverware until it became a metaphor for all of existence. Well, maybe not ALL of existence, but that part of existence where we divide our experiences into different categories. I decided that our system for chopping up our lives into a boxed set—“mind,” “body,” “heart,” and “spirit” being the boxes—was sort of like trying to fit all of our kitchen utensils into those little the kitchen drawer that has all the scary utensils in itcompartments in the silverware drawer for the knives, forks, and spoons. Some of the utensils fit neatly and nicely into those slots but so many don’t.Thank god we have the drawers down below the silverware drawer where we keep all the miscellaneous but highly useful specialized tools, as well as a bunch of other scary stuff.

So here’s how it is with our experience—we need more places to store the square peg round hole bits of experience that don’t fit so easily in the categories. And we even need to let some of the more common experiences float a bit because they may slide into more than one category. (“Love” may fit in the heart category, but isn’t it also a physical, spiritual, intellectual experience as well?)

As complicated as life can be, however, it is comforting to know that SO MANY people have one of those divider thingies, even if the Australians have a different name for the stuff that goes in that essential drawer (see main title above left).