A Just Recompense

Someone asked me if “A Just Recompense,” the title of this blog, was a quote from something or the title of a novel or story. Not exactly. It’s a quote from me. A very crazy me. More crazy than usual, even.

In the summer of 2009, I was quite sick with high calcium and low potassium – the dreaded electrolyte disturbance, due to taking too much over-the-counter pain medication for a ruptured disc in my neck. One of the things most sensitive to electrolyte disruption is the nervous system (the other is the heart, though mine never missed a beat). I went crazy for a few days, lived in a universe where the hospital had an art gallery and performance theatre on the first floor, where I travelled to block shows nightly, where I was gang-raped and hidden in the basement to keep me away from reporters interested in President Obama’s impending visit. Apparently I kept trying to get out of bed, something that rang alarms and required a great deal of paperwork. One of the nurses was quite angry with me after I recovered enough (though not completely) to stay put, and I wrote her this apology:

“I apologise for the trouble I caused and whatever I said and did earlier this week. I offer my apology, not to obtain any sort of merit for it, and certainly not to earn your forgiveness for what must have been horrible offence, but so you may have the just recompense of telling me to stuff it where the sun don’t shine, and in the hopes that that you will find comfort in knowing it wasn’t much of a picnic for me, either.”

I still have the scribbled copy of this. It was so 19th century, so male, so ridiculously phrased, I just had to keep it, and the phrase “a just recompense” became the working title for the written account of this period. I have not worked on it for some time; it’s very difficult to work on since I still don’t know what was real and what wasn’t (other than the events above which I’m almost certain were not real).

Addendum: Turns out, the phrase “a just recompense” does occur in the Bible – of course, where else? KJV, Hebrews, Chapter 2, verses 1 – 4: 

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”

It’s been a while since I studied the Bible, but I think this means hellfire and brimstone to those who don’t believe. I must’ve encountered this at some point in my misspent youth as a Southern Baptist, so I’ll have to stop claiming it’s my original phrase.

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2 responses to “A Just Recompense

  1. Glad to hear where just recompense comes from. Putting those pieces together is quite an adventure. I wish I had saved your voice message on my phone: something like, I’m in a hospital. I don’t know the name of it. I’m worried about my cat. . .

    • Some time I’ll show you the notes I have, very sparse, just this happened then that, pieces I remember. At the time I called you, my hospital bed had been moved (for the second time) to a private home and was at the top of a long spiral staircase so I couldn’t get out of bed without falling down the stairs… at least, in the universe I inhabited. It took me a good half hour to get the call made. For some reason I couldn’t get the phone to work (I was probably holding it upside down in my armpit or something) and I was afraid to give them your name to have them call, because I didn’t know what they’d do to you…

      All’s well that ends well.

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