Pain is based on sympathy. The more people hear you cry, the louder you cry and the more pain you’re in. That’s why cats make that meow sound. They’re trying to sound like babies. This is also why you should never apologize to the Perpetually Offended. The more you beg for forgiveness, the more you justify their pain and the more pain they feel.
I first noticed this phenomenon while tree planting in Northern Canada. You’re alone in the middle of nowhere for 12 hours a day and pain eventually becomes about as consequential as a fart. You inevitably realize that an “Ow!” in the forest doesn’t make a sound if no one is around to hear it.
STAGE 1: NORMAL PAIN
At first, you’re just like anyone else. When a branch comes back and whips you in the eye, you scream GODDAMNIT! and fall backwards. Then you yell FUUUUCK! at the sky and hear back “Fuuuck” and “Fuck” and one more quiet “fuck” echoing back from the trees. The pain is overwhelming and your heart is pounding with indignation but who cares?
STAGE 2: THE RAGE STAGE
After about a week, you give up on screaming for attention and direct your anger to the perp. Instead of screaming when a branch whips you in the leg, you break off the twig and fold it into infinitely smaller pieces in front of all his brothers and sisters. They don’t show any fear but you can tell they’re trembling inside. You also know word is going to get out you’re not to be fucked with and branches will think twice about messing with you.
With insects it’s much easier to be sure your message is getting out there. When you catch a horse-fly or a deer fly, you stick him to the double-sided duct tape on the front of your hat. Now all the bugs can see what happens when they don’t fear the reaper. To scare black flies and mosquitoes you just cover yourself in oil so they stick there and drown. Imagine the horror of flying up to a human for a quick snack and discovering his entire torso is a mass grave. Who’s buzzing now motherfuckers?
STAGE 3: THE ANT
It seems far-fetched that you were traumatizing branches and the idea of scaring deer flies is fun but very unlikely. I don’t even think a deer would give a shit if your property was lined with impaled doe heads. He’d probably be all, “Sucks to be you” and then walk past them to go eat your garden. As Herzog put it, “Nature is vile and base.”
By week two you accept that pain is just electronic signals sent to the brain in order to ensure this doesn’t happen again. I heard leprosy is just nerve damage and the reason they looked so fucked up is they can’t feel anything when they bang their hand on a desk and therefore don’t do anything to fix it. Next thing you know, you’re a pile of infected cuts and weeping sores with strange lumps on your neck.
By this time, the pain you get from cutting your leg on a stump reads like an email from your body. It’s not even that uncomfortable. It feels like very cold water being splashed on your leg. All you do is look down at the cut and think, “Is this worthy of stitches? No. Will the bleeding cauterize shortly? Yes. Therefore, there is nothing to see here and I shall move along.” A dog would be whining like a bitch at this point but you have gone beyond dog and are now in insect territory. Pain is just a series of binary information you are free to take or leave at will.
The same applies to the Politically Correct. They are rookie tree planters who haven’t suffered enough, crying for attention like cats. Being offended is the same as hollering, “OW I STUBBED MY TOE” on a crowded street. Apologizing for offending them is the same as running over to this person and yelling, “OH MY GOD. ARE YOU OKAY? WHAT SHOULD WE DO? DO YOU NEED AN AMBULANCE?” Don’t give them any sympathy and they’ll cease to feel pain.