I started going to the chiro when I was about 19 years of age, following a year or so of complete bollocks, which consisted of scrappy diagnosis, pain medication and unnecessary interventions, and eventually lead to a stomach ulcer, worsening back pain and muscle weakness, and plans for some fun times ahead in the orthopaedic surgery ward.
So when the specialist said, “Whatever you do, don’t ever go to a chiropractor,” I
immediately went to google and typed in: What is a chiropractor went to the Med Library at Melbourne Uni and flicked through the cards in the A-K section looking for “chiropractic” then searched the shelves for the one and only book: The Case Against Chiropractic. It was pure, hideous vitriol, and I loved every word. I’d never seen one profession unleash on another profession like that, and I was intrigued. My interest piqued to peaking point. Imagine asking a carpenter what they think of plumbers, and having the chippy then froth and spit and come over all rabid, as they extoll the evils of plumbing? It was like that car crash that you know you shouldn’t-mustn’t-won’t look at, and then do, first with a shifty side-eye, and then once you’ve looked, you really look, staring in horror, almost crashing into the car in front.
So it was with a mix of nervous excitement (what the evil geniuses around here call nervicitement) that I flicked through the Yellow Pages to find Dr. Gerard Christian, Chiropractor. I would like to say that I had a flash of prescience in choosing his name from the list, but to be honest, I chose the man who would change the path of my life forever because I liked the sound of his name.
The next few days are marked indelibly in my mind, perhaps because something wonderful was unfolding: not only healing of the body, but a salve to the mind, where I realised, possibly for the first time in my life, I was in the right place. Mostly though, it was because that slick, fast talking, energetic young fella challenged me in a way that I didn’t anticipate.
I went to him because I had intractable lower back pain that was slightly modulated by the wonder of the new drugs on the block: the non steroidal anti-inflammatories, but never fully went away. I went to him with hope of some short-term relief, to stave of the inevitable operation, and to find out why some GP in the 1970s hated chiropractors so much he’d penned and published an entire diatribe on someone else’s job.
When I asked Gerard about it, he exclaimed, “Philosophy,” as he ran out the door to his next person. (The dude was always running.)
I kind of knew what philosophy was, I was at uni after all: philosophy was something the stoner art students talked about at Naughton’s Hotel as they sipped Sherry, or whatever posturing, pretentious thing they were drinking, whilst getting in the way of my excellent dance moves (Who doesn’t love a half-cut 19 year old dancing in high waisted jeans, a bodysuit and with a spiral perm flicking and fluffing to Betty Boo just chewin’ the goo*?).
Philosophy. I asked around. Some of the Arts students were studying it, but they didn’t really know why. The Law students pretended they knew all about it, and proceeded to tell me why it wasn’t as important as Torts (Tauts? I still don’t know). The Engineering fellas (of whom I received the most animated attention when I sidled up next to them at the bar) had no idea. They said it sounded like a waste of time, and would I like a pot of Guiness, as philosophy might well be found buried in the creamy froth.
The next time Gerard burst into the room to check my spine, between the breathe in-breathe out- adjust- roll onto your left- roll onto your right, I asked him what he meant when he said the difference was about philosophy. He said something that sounded like the race-caller at Flemington over the final strait. I didn’t catch it all, but I heard: Ayn Rand, slogans, grab-bag of notions snatched at random, well-reasoned, well-thought out philosophy.
It was fast, but it was enough.
And I was caught.
I found Ayn Rand. And then Leonard Peikoff. They were hard work those two, but worth it in the end. And then came all of the others: BJ Palmer, Stevenson, Joe Strauss, Reggie Gold (bless), Sigafoose and on and on and on. A lifetime of reasoning and thought, there alone. Those fellas led me to others: Dawkins, Descartes, Hume, Plato, Wertheim, Damasio, Einstein. Each one tramping a little of the underbrush, to help me open up a new path. A different way forward.
And now, as we step forward into 2016, the year that people of astrological persuasion say is a year of endings, I look forward to the new beginnings that will follow straight after. I imagine cycles being completed and new ideas frothing forward, as the philosophy that Gerard spoke of becomes part of our vernacular. I get all nervicited as I imagine the reverberations throughout the world, as what is now my profession steps forward, pisiforms blazing, creating optimum function for anyone who wants it.
Just imagine what will happen.
Imagine the glow, as every child in our world shines with the bright light that is their birthright.
Imagine the potential. Imagine what they will do.
Crazy in a good way.
Philosophy? Yes please.
*If those are not the correct lyrics, then don’t.even.tell.me, I don’t want to know. My dancing matches those words, and those alone.
…From The Ashers