Red tide and Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) :
a hilarious humbling anecdote
"Ah, the mighty ego, the arrogating hubris, the inimical pride; these tenacious lampreys ride along beside their victim, parasitically sucking out the energy of the host. The untethered ego will betray the spirit and imprison it in the context of the world, because the ego wants to be imprisoned there, for that is where it receives affirmation, which is the only thing the ego wants. Pride will run the spirit around and around as the donkey chases after the carrot, and the only way this will change is if you ask for the spankings which correct it.
I asked, and that meant I was in for it.
The ego is a wise and cunning sleuth, always creeping in and messing up a good thing, and so the overself, when called in to correct it, must take on the roll of the punishing parent and grief giver, if the wild child is to be reeled in.
One such spanking came to me in Alaska, when I had taken ten days or so off of work so as to ferry northward and meet up with a young Parisian tart whom I had been lucky enough to trade caresses in the wilderness with some weeks earlier in Sitka. We rendezvoused again a brief while later up in Haines, gathered together some food and supplies, and hiked half a day down the coast to the end of a peninsula, arriving at a wonderful bit of paradise called, interestingly enough, Seduction Point.
There we stayed for a number of days, cooing and whinnying, drinking red wine, and watching humpback whales feed and play in the bay. On or about the third day I, the great white hunter, thought it would be both delicious and impressive to my European mistress if I was to gather some sustenance from the land for our dinner, and so I went down into the inter-tidal zone and plundered a handful of baby blue mussels from the rocks, knowing full well the whole time that during the summer months there is a coast-wide red-tide alert, and that it’s best to stick to an austere diet of brie, patē, olives, and French loaf. But an oaf is an oaf and the great white hunter scoffed at the ridiculous warning, cooked up the bounty, and polished the entire plate off, while the unimpressed maiden chose, as it were, to decline the knight’s offering and stick to her vegetarian fare.
So it goes that sometime in the middle of the night I awoke and my hands, feet, and face were as numb as if a troupe of maleficent dentists had snuck down to our camp and injected me all over with heaping doses of Novocain. Only it wasn’t Novocain, it was PSP- paralytic shellfish poisoning. Not such a good thing to have happen to you when you’re a five hour hike from the nearest town, a hike which could only be done at low tide and I had no idea when that was, and so I lay there totally deflated and not so full of gusto and heroism anymore- just a wiry white-man who’d found a way to humiliate himself while falling to his doom.
Paralytic shellfish poisoning kills you by eventually paralyzing your whole body, including your lungs, and therefore suffocating you, and there were areas of the Alaskan panhandle which were renowned for the numbers of natives who had suffered this horrible fate. Place names like Poison Cove came to mind as I lay there wondering how much further the process of immobilization would go.
Well, as I said, the ego gets knocked down if we invite the flagellator- whom I had invited, sometime back, when I was full of oomph and piety- and I was shrunk down to my appropriate size that night with a little bit of distress and worry, but after my humbling was complete the flogging was called off and I didn’t die nor suffer too grievously, and most of the toxin left my body within forty-eight hours. I recall one finger remaining completely numb for a couple of weeks after that episode as a gentle reminder of my infantility. ..."
What the critics have said about Jack Haas' books:
"...very strongly recommended reading..." Midwest Book Review
"The Kerouac of the new millennium." Frank Wolf (author of Blind Bay)
"...inspires us to rediscover the mystery of ourselves..." Judine Slaughter (Express Yourself Books)
"...Read in awe." Benjamin Tucker (author of Roadeye)
"...groundbreaking..." Joanne Turner (The Messenger)
"...an embarrassment of riches..." George Fisk (author of A New Sense of Destiny)
"...poetic and stunning..." Nancy Jackson (Dog-Eared Book Reviews)
Books by Jack Haas
to see more about the books, click on any image.
THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves
by Jack Haas ISBN: 0-9731007-0-2, ©2002
A groundbreaking exploration of the mystery of existence, assimilating many divergent paths and showing how these proceed toward the same hallowed destination- wonder. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, this is a book devoted to the miracle, awe, and beauty in all life. It is a book about the rapture of unknowing.
IN, AND OF : memoirs of a mystic journey along Canada’s wild west coast
by Jack Haas ISBN: 0-9731007-1-0, ©2002
The autobiographical account of Haas’ journey into the primitive wilderness of coastal British Columbia, and into the uncharted regions of the soul. A true tale of adventure, misadventure, alchemy, mysticism, wonder, and miracles. This is a prose masterpiece.
ROOTS AND WINGS: adventures of a spirit on earth
by Jack Haas ISBN: 0-9731007-4-5, ©2003
An autobiographical narrative of Haas’ journeys in spirit, and sojourns on earth. This is a rapturous saga, relating the author’s inimitable experiences while out and about in “this crazy, beautiful, impossible world”, as he describes it. His travels encompass a wide variety of places such as India, New Zealand, Nepal, Hawaii,
Europe, Israel, and Iceland. Largely, however, this is a tale of the author’s acceptance, love, and alchemical union with the spirit and earth itself.
THE DREAM OF BEING: aphorisms, ideograms, and aislings by Jack Haas ISBN: 0-9731007-5-3, ©2003
An idiosyncratic compendium of poetic aphorisms, transformational drawings, and esoteric insights, subtly conveying the dream nature of all reality. Contains eighteen drawings by the author.
To look for other books, click below for North American customers.
Customers in the UK and Europe, use the links below.