I lived in Paris for five months in 1987, the year Mad Cow Disease (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) ravaged the UK and Europe. I returned to Canada in the summer of the same year and was told that I would not be allowed to donate blood because I was deemed a risk.
I returned to the blood donor clinic every year or so to be told the same thing again and again. My school frequently had blood donor clinics which I joined, to no avail, decade after decade, until I received an email a few weeks ago: Following updated guidance from the Food and Drug Administration, New York Blood Center announced revised eligibility regarding Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (also known as Mad Cow disease, CJD or vCJD).
And so, yes, it took the United States government 35 years to allow me to give blood again. Is there really anybody in charge of anything?
As much as everyone likes to moan about the Trumps or Kim Jong-Uns of the world, it is more about those who allowed them in, not the bullies as it were but the crowd that watches. In other words, our essential malaise is not the jowly hate-filled monsters but the chubby ones who do what they’re told so they can rule their sector.
Franz Kafka, best know for elucidating what is to be trapped in this all-too-real dystopia, put it like this in The Trial:It’s no use. The Examining Magistrate has sent for me. What are you thinking of? It would be the ruin of me. Let him alone. He’s only obeying orders of the Examining Magistrate and carrying me to him.
I have begun the outline for my auto-biography on my days as a teacher, Fuck Pedagogy, which has a similar grim focus. Although lacking Kafka’s literary acumen, it does focus on the same ilk in the education racket, the ones who love the seminars and hate the kids, whose lives are ruled by machinations and maneuvers and who are quietly destroying our world. And like Kafka, it’s supposed to be a comedy. Ha ha.
I went to get that new enhanced driver’s license today – something which requires two proofs of address, passport, green card and social insurance card, to say nothing of the undisclosed number of unmarked bills, blood and Stem cell samples. This was my third attempt. A guy stood wavering at the entrance and then puked on the sidewalk. It didn’t seem like a big deal to him, more like he was spitting. The woman at the front door was very nice and upbeat and steered me to Counter 30. I thought that I might actually get my enhanced license, and the counterperson made me even more confident. She accepted my unopened utility bill and asked for my Social Insurance Card. I had forgotten that. I would return. That’s what I told myself as I sat down at my desk and realized I had forgot my glasses on the counter.