NEWS – She’s Got a Tic to Ride or The Trouble With Trembles

20190401_083503_2Life was good for the happy natives of the tropical island of New Greenpert who ordered their lives around the predictions, written on paper, found within the eggs of the Oogle Boid until, one day, the boid disappeared. In need of a new prognosticator, the islanders dispatched a raiding party to Frostbite Falls, Minnesota and there kidnapped the oracle of the weather-forecasting-bunion which resided on the hoof of one Bullwinkle J. Moose.

20190401_083537_2Bullwinkle was a mighty moose, bestowed with a hallux valgus of extraordinary talent and yet it is my strong belief that is a mere footnote in the annals of sentient protoplasm when compared to my Cognoscenting Leg.

Dramaturge, maestro, connoisseur of the temporal arts – when a performance starts to flag, when it’s narrative goes astray, when the orchestra’s sensitivity wanders or the drummer becomes somnolent, when the entertainment ceases to entertain, when the depth of the moment is less than dermal, the Cognoscenting Leg responds.

d1b5n41-79ca1f13-11e7-423f-8ea1-4d57b87ce28fAs every modern filmgoer knows, with great power comes an origin story and so it is with the CL.

Many a time I will be walking, chatting with some acquaintance and she, the acquaintance, will ask, “Do you hear a maraca?” and I will be compelled to explain that the rhythmic rattle noted is the sonic expression of my morning psychomedications in motion.

As the pharmacology of mood elevation and mental constriction has advanced, the purpose of each drug has become increasingly specific and obscure. For instance, a take a black and yellow capsule daily to buoy my self-esteem on those occasions when my dining partner has ordered something more delicious looking than the plate in front of me. I take a little blue pill that restrains me from buying music files that I can listen to as easily on a streaming service. I take a large white tablet to avoid obsessing over the antiquity of the leading Democratic presidential aspirants.


One med I take is Duloxetine, marketed as, among other names, Cymbalta. Here’s what has to say about it:


Duloxetine is used to treat depression and anxiety. In addition, duloxetine is used to help relieve nerve pain (peripheral neuropathy) in people with diabetes or ongoing pain due to medical conditions such as arthritis, chronic back pain, or fibromyalgia (a condition that causes widespread pain).

Duloxetine may improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level, and decrease nervousness. It can also decrease pain due to certain medical conditions. Duloxetine is known as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). This medication works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances (serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain.”



Wow! I didn’t know half of that. I’m diabetic! Can you believe it? What a drug! What a boon to mankind. Because of some confusion, I went without for six weeks or so but, Duloxetine, you know I can’t quit you. Life just lacked a certain pizzazz without you. The world was less bright, my step less springy.

Duloxetine, though, is a cruel, cruel mistress. She demands her price. What of value comes without a price?

“This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactionssection). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms: fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrheatwitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness.”


Gevalt! That’s one very attractive medicant. Imagine the blind date. “He seemed like a nice guy but he tripped walking to the table, he twitched and the red wine he was holding splashed all over me, he gave our order to an invisible waiter and then he puked on my cacio e pepi and yet he maintained a very positive mood throughout.”

Apparently I dodged a bullet. I got away with the sole affliction of a spastic leg and that manifests only on particular occasions.


Join me for an imaginary performance New York Philharmonic. We’re in seats N23 and N25, close to the doors for quick access to the liquor, the ladies and the exit. The program this evening will be Haydn’s Symphony No. 96, “The Miracle”. The first movement is a tricky Adagio, with two different themes played serially and then in counterpoint as a sonata with three key changes, all to engaging effect. The second movement begins, an Andante in G minor.



You’re out, you know? A night out, the tickets paid for, you’re in the middle of the goddam audience and you’re thinking to yourself, “It’s fine, a little slow but pretty enough. I love live music.” Well, the Cognescenting Leg is having none of that.

It begins as a kind of tickle under your thigh, a hypersensitivity localized at a mere spot initially, a delicate spot that begins to grow inside your leg along the length of your leg (The symphony is reduced to a minor annoyance in the back of your head. All your focus is on your knee and there aint no medication nowhere that will reduce the anxiety you are experiencing, anticipating and unable to prevent what is about to begin).

The elastic, electric rod in your thigh jumps. Your shin rises. Your ankle twists involuntarily. It lasts a very durable second and the electricity surging through your neurons is discharged for a moment but you can feel that sensitivity still, that little ball of energy which is not quite so little now, that little ball that will grow to a band shocked as if exposed to live wires, larger this time so your ankle doesn’t just jerk to the right but it jerks back to the left also.


Do you know what happens when I have to endure an endless kasekai that keeps you at the counter for hours? Nothing. Do you know what happens when I attend a three hour show at City Winery? Nothing. You know what happens in the second act of a costume drama concerning a king who falls in love with a castrato? Twitch, twitch, twitch, twitch, twitch.


Mexican nanny? Twitch. Einstein on the beach? Twitch. A former serial killer tells the story of a bee sting, a boy with a dog that died, and his experience with a woman? Twitch. A group of alcoholics waiting for a visit by a man named Hickey? No twitch. A couple of guys waiting for Godot? No twitch.


The Cognescenting Leg is discerning. It’s judgments are subtle. It will brook no meek acceptance of the mediocre. It will not let you justify an inferior piece of work. It will not let you go along in hopes the piece will improve. It cares not for the wattage of the star, the eminence of the creator, the huzzahs of the crowd. The Cognescenting Leg is never full of shit. There are no rationalizations.

I am cursed with no alternative to the truth.








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