Sean Brijbasi, My Collection of Large Nurses

[English Wednesdays]

A pre-publication of Sean Brijbasi’s book “ the dictionary of coincidences volume I (hi)s{e}an?”

An elephant is large but not compared to the universe. So when I say I have a collection of large nurses I mean large compared to a stick of dynamite. A small nurse is good but a nurse larger than a stick of dynamite is also good.
     Harald, my first large nurse, specialized in nutrition. He tried to cure me of eating food with my hands. While this had societal benefits I didn’t feel that it benefited me in any way. I still continued to eat food with my hands when it suited me. Harald really wasn’t of any use to me but I found that I couldn’t part with him.
It wasn’t that I had become emotionally attached to him; it was just that the thought of letting him go overwhelmed me with the feeling that to let him go would trigger some existential crisis that presaged the start of my ontological unraveling. So I kept him.
     The second nurse I collected (Philomena) was larger than Harald but she was very light on her feet. I could hardly hear her around the house, which pleased me. She prescribed dill weed to me for my bouts of breath-shortness. We also watched films together while Harald studied his music. Philomena’s favorite film was Invasion of the Body Snatchers, although we watched the occasional sports film from time to time. She didn’t mind crying and sometimes bawled effusively at the slightest perceived sadness. But she never laughed even when I used my greatest jokes on her.
     I continued collecting large nurses—sometimes two at a time—whenever and wherever I could find them. I had a large nurse in my collection who was an expert gardener (fresher dill weed). I had another large nurse who could spackle like a born handyman (useful but ultimately uninspiring).
    It wasn’t until I found Maria that my craving for large nurses ended. Maria was the 23rd large nurse I had collected—the large nurse that was the pinnacle of large nurses. The sui generis, the Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb, the Queen Regent…

My collection of large nurses can walk single file between the spaces of parked cars. 

    Maria was a pediatric nurse—meaning she nursed small children. She wasn’t sure what to do about me as I wasn’t a small child so instead of nursing me she read to me before I fell asleep. After the second night of her reading to me I realized that what I had really been looking for while I was collecting large nurses was a dictionary. I asked Maria if she had a dictionary that she could read to me (she didn’t). Or if she knew someone who had a dictionary that she could read to me (again she didn’t). She listed the alphabet out for me randomly instead and advised me to doodle words that correlated to each letter. That was her prescription? I asked for a diagnosis (things had started to proceed quickly) and she diagnosed inertia.


    Should I doodle inertia? Was that her way of dialectically medicating me? But I didn’t doodle inertia.  Instead I doodled industrial-machinery. I asked her if this was her doing but she said that I alone was responsible for my response to inertia and for the first time in months I didn’t think about watching sports films and/or Philomena.

    I went on a doodle frenzy. I doodled ableberry. Zebra-horse. Chromosome. Hide-you-place. I was ebullient (whatever that means). Burble. Jespertine. I was all powerful (I was overcome by a feeling of power). I foreheard the country foghorn before the deep muuuuuur came and emptied all thought from my brain.

    When the foghorn waned my thoughts came back to me and I asked Maria to record my words exactly as I said them to her in some manner that she was good at. She was good at italics.
    “I’m a jingle writer…

© Sean Brijbasi
Photo: 19th cent. royalty free – Rectified by


Discarded moments. Unfinished gestures. Lived [not lived] in London. Resident of Sweden [no more]. Lives in Washington DC [near]. In East Berlin before the wall fell. In Russia before glasnost. Jazz in Copenhagen. Switchblade in Paris. Lost in Helsinki. Bar fight in Auckland. Awake for 3 straight days in Reykjavik. Bored in Brussels. Green light in Amsterdam. Red light in Hamburg. And more…