January 23, 2006

No News Could Sometimes Be S.A.D.D. News

A little imagination can go a long way sometimes.

Join me for another little session of psychotherapy with my pretend analyst. If not for this type of imaginary interaction, the post you’re now reading would be tabula rasa (a blank slate).

Pretend Therapist: Well good morning Hag. Long time no pretend!

WH: No kidding. I’ve had a couple of busy months. I came to you because it’s happening again and I could just scream. I vow to myself every single year that I will not allow this to consume me again, yet it continues to do so. I’m at my wit’s end.

PT: Wait, wait. You need to start at the beginning. I’m losing you already and that’s not going to be good for either of us.
WH: Oh, right. A number of years ago, I noticed an obvious change in my mindset following the holidays. It seems I go to this place – this dank head-place where my thoughts become jumbled and my fingers refuse to do what they want to do most, which is to write. It never affected me in such a way that I couldn’t function, yet lately it seems to have really grabbed hold.

PT: Hm. Sounds like you might be experiencing a touch of S.A.D.D. Are you familiar with this term?
WH: I’ve looked it up. Seasonal Affective something something, right? Yeah, I denied it for a long time … but now it’s become quite apparent. Last year I thought I had a pretty good grasp on it … but this year, even with all my celebrations and changes, it gotten the better of me. Cripes I hate this shit.

PT: You’re fortunate. For some, it’s quite debilitating.
WH: So what are you saying? For me, it’s nothing?
PT: Hold onto your hat, I never said that. I just mean that you are aware of it and you seem to take an active stand in combating it; a step in the right direction. Have you considered medication therapy?
WH: Keep your pills oh mighty sage. I take enough of those already. That’s all I need to do is add another PILL to my daily routine. Pull-eeze.

PT: Okay, then you’re here just to complain about it? I can listen to your complaints … it’s just that in my line of work, I’m accustomed to offering advice. You do understand this, yes?
WH: You can advise all you want, but I’ve probably tried it already. I guess I am here just to complain and to reaffirm that I’m not losing my little mind.
PT: Oh, you’re not losing your mind. You stand among many others who suffer from this seasonal disorder.

WH: Well it sucks. This year, I went through more than a couple of major changes and thought for certain I would escape its clutches, but no. That in itself is depressing.
PT: You know you can’t wish it away though, right? I mean, perhaps if you just embrace it … accept it … you might be better off.
WH: You know what I want to say about that, right?
PT: Yes … “Embrace this.” I know you too well. So talk to me about all these changes you’ve gone through.

WH: Well, I got married – now some may not think of this as a major change since we’ve lived together for six years already, but it is. I have an all-new status. I’m somebody’s wife for cripes sake. Big responsibility.
PT: Oh yes … and how’s that working for you?
WH: I’ve never been happier. I feel like I’ve got it all … everything is good and right and healthy in this marriage and I know how lucky I am.
PT: Wonderful. More changes?

WH: I cut my hair. I cannot remember the last time it was this short. I guess it’s been about 10 years. Maybe it’s the Samson-effect [chuckles out loud] … you know, lost my hair, lost my ability to write. Egad! You don’t think …
PT: STOP YOURSELF RIGHT NOW. You know better. Keep it in perspective. It’s a haircut.
WH: Right, right. Well I miss my hair. It was down to my ass you know. There was so much I could do with it … I could …
PT: Yes and you complained about it every single moment of every day there toward the end. It tangled when the wind blew and it pained you to brush it! It weighed so much that there was no body left in it. This was a good thing to do, Hag. Trust me.

WH: Speaking of weight, that’s another change. Well, a change-in-progress. I’ve joined a gym. Yuck. I’m willing to give this an honest-to-goodness try. I’ve needed to drop some weight for a long time now and I thought - what better motivation than to want to look and feel my best for Ed.
PT: WONDERFUL! Good for you. This will bring you even more satisfaction than anticipated! Besides, it was high time you got off the couch and computer chair. How often do you go?
WH: I’m starting out slowly. I go three days per week, and I’ve found that I really had to push myself on one occasion so far. BUT … after the workout, I felt like I could take on the world … at least for a short while. I guess I do enjoy it. I’ll like it even more if I start to see results.
PT: Keep at it. Nothing happens overnight. This is a good change … a very good change indeed. So what else is there?

WH: I quit smoking.
PT: OH MY GOD! I never thought I’d hear you say those words! How lovely for you!
WH: Well, I went back again. I only quit for about an hour the other day, but hey, it was a serious attempt. That has to count for something, right?
PT: (look of disgust) No. It counts for nothing.
WH: Well I say it does.
PT: Well you’re fooling yourself. You know it’s all or nothing with the smokes, baby. Either you stop or you don’t. And by “stop” I don’t mean for an hour or a day. You have to make up your mind to just do it, then get it done.
WH: I didn’t come here for a lecture.
PT: YOU brought it up!
WH: Oh.

PT: Okay so let’s take a look at this situation, because our time is almost up.
WH: Blah, blah, blah.
PT: Stop that. You know the rules. Nobody says you have to like them, just know them and follow them.
WH: Must be nice to have such power.
PT: [looking up to the sky] Can we continue?
WH: Sure.

PT: So you’ve gotten married, changed your name, changed your look and have “considered” giving up your smokes. Nothing earth shattering there, really.
WH: So you’re minimizing everything I’ve put on the table today. Great.
PT: Here we go again … every time we’re about to close the session you start to become irritable and argumentative.
WH: There’s much to be said for consistency.
PT: (audible sigh)

WH: Look, I’m just saying … I’m in the throes of this ucky Seasonal Asinine Dreaded Disorder thing and I can’t seem to focus on anything. I can’t seem to drag myself up to the computer to write or even to read. I can’t even enjoy the newspaper! My thoughts seem tangled and my writing has been a mass of disjointed words.
PT: Yet, you’re here today. You’re writing today. This could be a very good sign. I might suggest to take it slowly … one day at a time.
WH: That’s for alcoholics.
PT: No. That’s for anyone who is facing a huge challenge. I know it isn’t easy… but if you apply yourself using tiny steps, it just might come around for you.

WH: [taps finger on edge of chair … contemplates … looks around]
I’m impatient. I want things to happen immediately.
PT: That’s something else you need to work on. How about you begin with exercising a bit of patience within your own self?
WH: Then I have to admit that I just can’t cut it the way others do.
PT: Others?
WH: Other bloggers. They’re all out there. They write almost daily, they visit about and leave their footprint on others’ blogs, they all have so much to say and they’re all doing it… and I can’t. Not right now. I hate this about me. It’s only January. It could be months before I straighten up and fly right again. [lowers head into hands] I’m inferior.
PT: Stop it. You’re not inferior. You just have stuff going on; on the inside … stuff that perhaps some of them cannot relate to… which is a good thing, for them. Small steps. Don’t fight it … embrace it and carry on with your days like you’re in control, even if you’re not. Don’t think “It’s only January” … think “It’s January already!” Try this. It can be most motivating.

WH: [scrunching nose at this suggestion] … Okay, I’ll give it my best shot. But for now, I need to go get some tea. It appears my cup is half empty.

January 05, 2006

Whose Bright Idea Was This?

Christmas is over and people worldwide are left with bandaged fingers, twisted elbows and some, with chipped teeth because of it.

Think about it for a minute and you’ll figure out what I’m referring to.

Here. Imagine some wisenheimer sitting around a conference table saying to his dozing cohorts, “Hey, I have a great idea … let’s get into the lab and create the most impenetrable crap the world has ever known then package everything into it … from shavers to toys to desk sets to Mp3 players. It’ll drive them all nuts. He he he …”

Yeah. THAT stuff.

I can't recall exactly when it all started, but it had to be at least ten years ago. Some sadistic maniac invented that hard-plastic protective, security wrap that covers everything from headphones to cameras to batteries for Pete’s sake!

The problem is twofold ~

1. You cannot open the stuff by normal means, and
2. Once you have finally worked at it long enough to get a corner of it opened, it now becomes a deadly weapon ripping apart already sensitive fingers and gums. (Yes, I've tried using my teeth. DO NOT try using your teeth.)

Somehow, they take this plastic goop and mold it perfectly to surround every possible curve and groove of the item it is intended to protect. Then they heat it to some exorbitant temperature, suck much of the air from the package and probably freeze-dry it, thereby making it impenetrable.

I know I can't be the only one suffering in the wake of this invention.

Grown men have been brought to their knees in anguish trying to get through this stuff. I've seen the military uncover shrink-wrapped Blackhawks faster than I can get at my new hairdryer.

There is also no feminine way to open such packages. You’ve just finished thanking Aunt Greta for the lovely manicure kit she carefully picked out for you, and she is sitting across the room waiting for you to try it out. Within minutes you’re a stark-raving lunatic … swearing like a sailor and stomping on the thing with everything you’ve got. Finally you flail it back at her and fall into a heap, sobbing while you wipe your own blood off the floor.

The great irony here is that you can walk into a gun shop and buy a shiny new .45 or Safari 550, point the thing at the nearest wall ~ pull the trigger and create a new window ~ all within two minutes. But lucky for us, the dreaded and deadly iPod is safely tucked just out of our reach beneath a coating of what should be called “Eterna-Seal.”

I don’t know about you but I’d sure like a suit made from this stuff. No more laundering of clothes, no more fatal car accidents, no more broken bones, we couldn't drown, and hell, if we coat our own teeth with it, no more root canal or extraction!

I would also like to get my shredded fingers around the very neck of the bastard who came up with this whole idea. If you know who he is, have your people tell my people and we can settle this nonsense once and for all.

Next Christmas, the first two things I’m putting on my list are a jackhammer and a hacksaw. Then maybe I’ll have a chance to actually open other gifts without needing stitches!

NOTE: I wrote this in late December last year and posted it at that time. Now edited somewhat ~ I still feel exactly the same way about this crap and figured what good is a rant if you can’t wear it out?

I did say that I was going to ask for a jackhammer and hacksaw this year … but instead I asked for a husband so that he could open such packages for me. It worked.