MTI2014级李雪芸翻译作品(一)
发布时间: 2015-01-12   浏览次数: 159

 原文:

My Back Story

Recently, I was trying to remember my wedding vows. I don’t recall much other than that my wife looked prettier than Grace Kelly (a disturbing thought since women who look like Grace Kelly generally do not stay married to men who look like me, unless we own small aircraft). Yet I do recall our uttering something about sickness and health. These were my thoughts, nine years later, as I lay on the couch and took abuse from my wife.

“You’re not sick,” Princess Grace said.

“I am,” I said. “I might die.”

“Your back hurts,” she said. “It’s not like you have cancer.”

“You promised to tend my infirmities.”

I don’t know how it happened: I woke one morning and was unable to stand fully upright. It felt as though the brisket of my lower back had been broiled too long in a still-warm oven.

I cataloged my most ambitious movements of the day before. There was the small box (lifted), the flight of stairs (climbed), and the BMX bike that I appropriated from a neighborhood boy, in order to demonstrate for the crowd of curious children how legends are made (ramped). Sensations rushed back of that moment when I launched from the homemade ramp’s zenith amid dropped jaws and willed my body and the bike into flight. Yet just as my rear wheel left the earth, I recall

receiving a message from my lower back that indicated caution and horror, a neural communiqué

hushed by the endorphins of ramp glory and the cheers of neighborhood children—until now, the

following morning, when I received a new message from my back, in the form of a letter of resignation.

I pulled myself to a hunchbacked position and dressed in great agony, the way I imagine Yoda must do. I then hobbled off to work, where a colleague sidled up to me, smiling, as though possessing a secret.

“I’ve got two words for you,” he said. “Horse liniment.”

I thanked him and made a mental note to start bringing a handgun to work. I limped on, until bad led to worse. It happened during my afternoon lecture while I rhapsodized to a class about Aristotle’s use of the topography metaphor in Rhetoric.

“Think of the human mind as a map,” I said, arms outstretched. Then something snapped, as though a distant bridge gave way, and it struck me that the bridge was nearby and that it was the meat and bones and cartilaginous substances of my back.

“Oh, no,” I said, falling to my knees in a dramatic, Game of Thrones-ian flourish. But nobody came to my aid, as they were all resting, studying the insides of their eyelid skin.

“What seems to be the problem?” my internist asked.

He has the build and disposition of a gentle, unassuming superhero: the broad shoulders, thick arms, and trim waist of a man who would probably look entirely normal driving a Jeep without a shirt.

“It’s my back,” I said.

“Disrobe,” he said.

The next few minutes progressed like many of my best high school dates, with a great deal of touching, bending, and whimpering.

“What’s wrong with me?” I said.

I hoped it was something debilitating. A simple back injury would be emasculating, but there could be great glory and riches in a disease requiring a wheelchair. Something permanent, but not terminal, a malady that might lead to a career in motivational speechmaking and the lucrative field of disease memoirs.

He explained, as gently as he could, that my only malady was frailty. “You need to work out,” he

said. “Nothing too rigorous. I’m going to give you some exercises.”

He handed me a printout of an illustrated elderly man in various postures, mostly on his back and

mostly looking dead.

“What’d he say?” my wife asked.

“It’s my muscles,” I said.

“What’s wrong with them?”

“Apparently I don’t have any.”

You could tell she did not think this was very serious, because she rolled her eyes. Princess Grace has elevated eye rolling to an art that can be practiced by only the demon-possessed and various dark wizards of irony. The iris goes up and all but disappears under a lid that flutters like a

windblown sheet of paper under the burden of a commemorative paperweight. I have tried to imitate this maneuver—to show her how attractive it makes her look—and came near to severing my optic nerve.

“I have a prescription,” I said, holding it up as evidence.

“That’s Aleve,” she said.

Later, I positioned myself on all fours on our bed, attempting to practice one of the therapeutic poses suggested by Dr. America. The wrinkled man in the picture appeared to be imitating a male dog in the act of urination, and I could not get it right.

Princess Grace, who gave no quarter to any of my disease-based fantasies, demanded to know why I was acting like a dog about to urinate on her bed.

“I’m strengthening my core,” I said.

In time, after I suggested having her bathe me, she assented that yes, I might be in some pain. She did her duty, opening my beers for me, assisting me into the rocking chair, as though I were a tribal elder, carrying out the bag of garbage I can no longer carry. The woman has looked 20 years old since she was 15 and still does. I have always seemed much too old for her, with my premature

baldness and high Gold Toe socks and love of pudding. And now, as in all May-September marriages that last, she has become my nurse.

It’s difficult to know how long this will go on, whether my core will ever be strengthened by the Congress of the Urinating Dog. But I care not. It is pleasing to watch my child bride make

good on her promises. I wanted to ask her if she would fetch me a bottle of horse liniment, but I didn’t want her thinking me feeble of body and mind.

“Tell me you love me,” I said.

“You love me,” she said.

“I do, I do.”

 

 

 

 

 译文:

背的故事

最近,我试着回忆我的婚礼誓言。我没有回忆起太多东西,但记得我的妻子当时看起来比影片明星格蕾丝·凯利更美(我的脑海里有个令人不安的想法,就是像格蕾丝·凯利这样的女士通常不会嫁给像我这样的人,除非大家有架小飞机)。不过我还是记得大家当时说过一些生老病死之类的话。这些是我之前的想法,九年后,我躺在沙发上,听妻子的奚落。

“你没病,”格蕾丝公主说。

“我病了,”我说。“我可能会死。”

“你不过是背痛,”她说。“又不是得了癌症。”

“你答应我要照顾我。”

我也不知道怎么回事:有一天早上醒来,发现站不直了。感觉就像是我腰后背的肌肉在恒温的烤箱里烤了太久。

我梳理了前一天最大的一些运动。我搬过一个小箱子,爬过楼梯台阶,占用了邻家男孩的越野自行车,为的就是在一群充满好奇心的小孩面前显摆传奇是怎样缔造的。退回那一刻的感觉,当时我从自制的斜坡顶端为起点,骑自行车冲向空中,期间下巴几乎掉下来,用意志力控制着身体。但就在我的车后轮离开地面的时候,我的腰后背向我发出小心与恐惧的讯号,但直到现在,相比坡道表演的光环以及孩子们的喝彩声,神经系统的警告还是显得无声。第二天早晨起来,我的背以辞呈的形式向我发出新的讯息。

我根据想象中尤达大师的样子,弯成驼背的姿势,作痛苦状。一瘸一拐地去上班,一个同事静静地从我身边走过,微笑着,仿佛是在为我保守秘密。

“我送你两个词,”他说。“马搽剂。”

我谢了他,并在心里记下来,要带枪上班。苟延残喘,每况愈下。在一个下午的讲座中身体出了状况,当时我正狂热地说着亚里士多德在《修辞术》中运用的地形隐喻。

“把人的思想看作地图。”我张开双臂说道。然后突然一闪,就像一座长桥坍了,突然我感觉到这座桥就在附近,正是我背上的肉,骨头和软骨质。

“噢,不。”说着我便跪倒了,如王座游戏的辉煌一般戏剧性。但是没人上前帮我,好像他们都在休息,因为学习让他们的眼皮打架。

“有什么问题吗?”我的内科医生问道。

他的性情温和,谦逊,体格好,有宽大的肩膀,粗壮的手臂,苗条的腰,如果他不穿衬衫开着吉普车看起来也完全正常。

“我的背。”我说。

“把衣服脱了。”他说。

接下来的几分钟就像最美好的高中约会一样,伴随着一阵抚摸,弯曲和啜泣。

“我出了什么问题?”我说。

我希翼只是身体虚弱。一个简单的背部伤痛还问题不大,要是得了重病,需要坐轮椅,那就要兴师动众了。有些疾病是永久性的,但不致命,可能会指引人去发表鼓舞人心的演说,关于和疾病作斗争的回忆。

他尽可能以最温顺的方式说明说我的病是因为虚弱引起的。他对我说:“你需要锻炼,没什么要紧的,我给你一些锻炼建议。”

他给了我一份印刷资料,上面是老年人摆各种姿势的插画,多为背部运动,而且看起来非常呆板。

妻子问我:“医生怎么说?”

我回答:“肌肉的问题。”

“显然我没有肌肉。”

可以说她并没有当回事儿,因为她揉了揉眼睛。格蕾丝公主抬眼向一幅艺术品望去,那作品充满了鬼魂附身和各种各样的黑暗巫术。鸢尾属植物开了又消失在眼皮底下,如风中飘动的纸一般。我试着去模仿,去向她证明她是多么美丽,差一点用上了我的视神经。

我说:“我有药方。”一边举起来作为证据。

她说:“那是萘普生消炎药。”

后来,我躺在床上,伸展开四肢,试着去练习医生建议的治疗性姿势。图片中长了皱纹的男人似乎在模仿公狗撒尿的动作,我是做不好这个动作。

格蕾丝公主不给我任何空间去进行基于疾病的幻想,质问我为什么像一只狗一样要在她的床上撒尿似的。

我说:“我在锻炼我的体格。”

在我建议她帮我洗澡时,她立即答应了,说我可能会感到一些疼痛。她尽到了她的职责,帮我开了啤酒,扶着我做到安乐椅上,仿佛我是一个部落长老,背着我无法承受的垃圾。我的妻子看起来老了20岁,尽管那年她才15岁,现在依然是那个年纪的人。我一向看起来比她老很多,过早的秃发,穿着高筒袜,喜欢布丁。而现在,和所有持久的老少恋一样,她成了我的护士。

很难知道目前的情形会持续多久,也不知道我的体格能否可以通过撒尿狗的会议方式得到加强。但是我不介意。我很高兴看到我的童养媳兑现了她的承诺。我想问她,她是否帮我拿一瓶马搽剂,但是也不想让她觉得我身体和心智都太脆弱。

我说:“告诉我,你爱我。”

她说:“你爱我。”

我爱你,我爱你。

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