Lindsay Daigle  








Today I needed to look up the word “balkanized.” It sounded right in my head when I said,

“balkanized metal.” Then I said, “No, it’s something else. It’s ‘galvanized metal.’” I didn’t know

what that meant either. “Balkanized” is another way of saying “compartmentalized,” “broken up”

into pieces. It’s used more often to talk about countries and global fragmentation. (The Balkan

peninsula was once ruled by the Ottoman Empire. Then someone in a red and interesting hat said,

“Hey, let’s balkanize it! Because, well, that would make sense, right?” [That’s not quite what

happened.]) So “balkanized metal,” then, would be metal that’s been taken apart. Stripped? …I’m

still learning these things. What happens to metal when it’s galvanized, since that is a thing people

say? The process involves applying a layer of protective zinc usually over steel or iron to prevent

rust. They do this to cars, I’d imagine. I once had a car named Doris who showed signs of rust near

her rear fender. Her steel had probably already been galvanized during manufacturing. The zinc

wore off, I guess. I’m taking zinc supplements currently to fend off a cold. It’s said to contain

antioxidants that charge my immune system. It also keeps my skin tight, my muscles young, and fills

in some crevices that depression might hide in. So, it’s good to galvanize ourselves, huh. Was Doris

trying to tell me she needed more zinc? Did she have a cold? Was she in need of a solid yoga retreat,

complete with blended green drinks and a zero technology policy? Was she depressed? My rust

appears as migraines, sometimes as a sore throat, sometimes purely as anger and cynicism. (I wonder

how many lozenges it would take to shift my perspective on the U.S. government, or salaries in

academia, or the level of photogenic qualities I may or may not possess.) (Hey, let’s balkanize it.)



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