Groan all you want…but then thank me for deciding not to go with “Zen and the Art of Moto Maintenance”.
So all the Greek islands are a lot larger than I somehow realized – like 40 and 50 miles across. And in the off-season, the public transportation doesn’t run efficiently, if it runs at all. As a result, if you want to see something beyond your hotel and its immediate surroundings, you need to rent a 4-wheeler, a car, or a scooter. After three days on a scooter (moto), I have learned a few things:
It gets cold on the Greek islands after the sun goes down. On a moto, it gets damn cold. Like, “Excuse me while I go into hypothermic shock” cold.
The gas mileage is amazing. If it didn’t get so cold in Washington, I would seriously consider getting a Vespa. And if they’d throw in a sidecar for Dozer, we’d be quite the sight. Maybe I should write Vespa and pitch this as an ad idea along with some crude crayon renderings? My modeling services in exchange for a powder blue Vespa with all the trimmings. I suggest they’d be getting the long end of the stick on that trade.
If you let your mouth relax in the wind, your lips flap all over the place and you look something like a large mouth bass.
I like being outside. I like smelling pine forests and cow stink and wood fires burning. I like the air in my face and even freezing my @ss off. I think I may have a place in the Hell’s Angels yet.
Otherwise, I did a little exploring the last few days. The island of Kos is the home of Hippocrates. There’s a willow tree that they claimed he ‘learned beneath’, but considering that the tree would have to be 2500 years old and it ain’t really that big, it’s probably more colorful legend than fact. However, it is widely accepted that Hippocrates was probably trained at the asklepioion here in Kos, the ruins of which you can still visit today. What’s weirdly amazing about these copious Kos ruins is how there are pieces of sculptures and carvings and things that probably belong in museums lying around everywhere. I picked up an intricate carving of a lion’s head and wondered, “Is this REAL!? Is this really 2500 years old, and lying around like a discarded Coke bottle!?”
My dad tells me that Carl Sagan postulated that if the Greek civilization had continued to flourish, technologically we’d be 3000 years ahead of where we are today. So basically we’d all live underground and our days would be occupied with fighting The Machines and Skynet would rule the world. Anyway, case in point, when I was at the archaeological museum in Athens, they had an exhibit of Greek medical devices from thousands of years ago, and I’ll be damned if the antique speculum didn’t look exactly the same as the one my gynecologist uses (sorry about that graphic, Dad). And they were cauterizing and doing internal medicine and the whole nine yards back then, too. It was both impressive and kind of freaky. Like what will look barbaric to the people of the future that we take for granted right now? Certainly all the C-sections and open heart surgery scars for starters. And how about boob jobs? “Wow. ANOTHER skeleton with two silicon sacks buried with it. It’s how the people of the past prepared for a heaven full of water balloon fights!”
At any rate, as a result of the museum, being here in the old stomping grounds of Hippocrates has that much more meaning. What granted him his place in history was that he was the first the first physician to reject superstitions and beliefs that credited supernatural or divine forces with causing illness. He founded a school of thought that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods, but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and lifestyle.
Admittedly, it wasn’t all advanced thinking. He was a fan of the four humours theory – sarcasm, irony, slapstick, and dark. Hardy har har. Not really. I’m just applying a little of my own attempt at humor there. They were blood, yellow bile, black bile, and (who can forget?) phlegm, and a person was healthy if all four were all in balance. For those that were ill, Hippocratic therapy was directed towards restoring the balance, with a focus on natural remedies.
I have this vague memory that I once got the results of a personality test, and in with some other things I was classified as “Yellow Bile”. I am familiar with yellow bile both from learning about Hippocrates and the Four Humours a billion years ago, and from a couple outrageously terrible bouts with food poisoning. I think I felt kind of offended, although it’s still better than Black Bile. I say you see Black Bile, and it’s time to get yourself to the hospital (and preferably one with a guy like ‘House’ on staff) immediatemente.