Monthly Archives: April 2015

the unforgettable pappagallo

It’s been a while but I am back!
I just finished reading an amazing book which so happened to be written by an (English) author who has lived in Italy for a long time, decades, perhaps 30 years. The book isn’t about Italy, its subject is the author’s recovery from a chronic pelvic condition and his trials and discoveries along the way. however because he undergoes a lot of medical tests in Italian hospitals it meant that I learned a new Italian word, Pappagallo meaning ‘parrot’ in a rather unforgettable context.
There is a darkly hilarious passage where the author is required to produce a urine sample, and is given a small plastic urinal (referred to by the medical staff as a “pappagallo”!!) into which he is supposed to pass his sample. the mental image which I now have associated with this word ensures I will never forget it!!
anyway, it was one of the best non-fiction books I have read in a long time. the author is a professor of English, so there are also lots of brilliant references to diverse literature : Coleridge, Moby Dick, Beckett and DH Lawrence’s ‘Women in Love’ to name a few. I urge you to read it for yourself, but only after you have read ‘Move your DNA’ by Katy Bowman (!!!)
I also learned il bersaglio which means target – as in ‘la prostata : bersaglio difficile’ (the prostate : tricky target!)
and ‘molla’ which means ‘let go’.
In leave you with one of my favourite quotes from the book to think about (from the part where he goes to consult with an Ayurvedic healer in India20150417_130057). He asks the healer if he thinks his symptoms are entirely psychosomatic and the healer replies that psychosomatic isn’t a word he has much use for. “You only say ‘psychosomatic’ if you think that mind and body are ever separate.” INDEED.