Reading round up – testicles and unanswerable questions

Two things I have read last week have rattled around my head a little.

Firstly, a line in the last few pages of Paul Auster’s ‘City of Glass’ of the ‘The New York Trilogy’,

Food itself could never answer the question of food: it only delayed the moment the question would have to answered in earnest.

Truth, right there. And it got me thinking about how many other things in our life that do not answer their own questions, such as love, success, etc. However, those things can be forgone, we do not have to enter their cycle if we don’t wish to. It is perfectly possible to live alone, in poverty. But we have to do this dance with food, whether we like it or not, making us unbearably mortal.

Secondly, I’ve recently finished Gavin Francis’ ‘Adventures in Human Being’. I have a lot of work-related medical and anatomy texts, but this book was recommended to me as not only is the case study for Bell’s Palsy like myself, someone who doesn’t recover the same as most people do, but Francis’ view of the body as a landscape, and a home, feels similar to mine, in that I’ve moved so many times, and know I will move many more, I don’t feel at home geographically, it’s physically, here in this again, unbearably mortal shell, that I am home. And he also mentioned how the word ‘testify’ is believed from testicles, and I cannot believe I never made that connection before, as I was aware that Romans used to swear oaths whilst holding onto each other’s testicles, so it makes sense. And some think that the testicles were a witness to a man’s virility, hence the association with testifying the facts of a matter.

But my problem is, this means I cannot testify, not really. And I couldn’t have sworn oaths in ancient Rome. Most men don’t know where the ovaries are, a large amount of women don’t either, so to ‘ovafy’ would be a guess, and probably look more like patting down pockets for keys than locating organs. ‘Breastify’ makes more sense, and also a nice, rhyming feminine version, although it would be more fun to ‘boobify’ to the facts of the case, when I presented my ‘boobimony’ to the court, m’ laud.

Etymology is a hole that if I don’t watch out, I will fall into and never be seen again, as this stuff is just fascinating.

Put the 'Please wash your hands' sign up over there, thanks.

Put the ‘Please wash your hands’ sign up over there, thanks.