On A Binge….

A binge by definition is an interval of time where one engages in an activity without limits. I think the corollary is probably ,”What the hell was I thinking?” or more appropriate to our current society,”Why didn’t you stop me?” This can be drinking, doing drugs, checking our I phones, gambling.  You name it.

Binges of any sort make you feel better, at least while they are happening. They trigger this neat little neurotransmitter that tells the brain you having a really good time. So good that it beats the ordinary way of life and ergo people keep wanting to go back to it. The only problem is that when you sober up in whatever fashion, you are right back where you started which for most people is not exactly what we were looking for. Then you either go straight or drop back into oblivion. Tough either way.

th-14I am intrigued by our opioid crisis in a strange way. If you are poor or abused the attraction is obvious. But why do people who supposedly have everything let themselves fall off a cliff to the point where whatever that good life is goes right out the window? You see execs, doctors, professors, moms or whatever following the road to ruin. It has been said that just one pop of fentanyl will bring you to a level of euphoria that doesn’t seem real. I have never had the pleasure and for that reason alone never want to try it. Because I would probably love it.

Maybe this all goes back to Adam and Eve if I can be somewhat religious for a moment. The oh so tempting forbidden fruit was too much to avoid. It was authority defying and of course mischievous.Undoubtedly this has to be where the phrase,”The Devil made me do it” made its first entrance.

It seems to me the operative word today is “over”. We want to go places we never have gone before. We want our kids to have everything. We can’t give them enough. There is always something in our lives that needs improving. Oh if only I had one more painting or a new bedspread or coffee maker. My car is three years old. I have to see what’s out there now even though I only drive a few hundred miles a month. Does this mean we are over achievers or unhappy deep down?

Put me in the lineup and snap my picture, Guilty as sin. I hit golf balls to the point of madness. I sit and think about this swing or grip and in the moment of Aha! jump in my golf cart to try it out. Ask Kathy and she will tell you I am sick beyond all hope. No argument here. I like to drink a scotch or two. Of course as the glass empties I become even more brilliant and scintillating…at least to myself. Am I unhappy? I sure hope not.

th-19The crazy part is that all of this is contrived in a sense. Every part of our lives is fraught with you need this or gotta have that. My lovely wife loves to shop and the weekly deluge of catalogs bespeaks her success. Yet there is always one piece here or there that she needs to finally complete her wardrobe. When she puts that perfect lamp or rug in place there is nirvana until the next issue of Pottery Barn or Ballard’s.

No matter what, there is always just one more whether it is a bucket of balls or cocktail or the perfect ensemble. And that is the crack we all shoot. Apple came under fire this week for creating a phone that was so addictive that it is completely screwing up our kids. Why didn’t they foresee this new type of binge? Tis true but how did those kids get the electronics in the first place? Of course mom and dad bought them but that is beside the point or is it?

I am going to step in way over my head by talking about our current sexual mores. At the Golden Globes the women were dressed in black. They decried harassment and well they should have. In a lot of cases it is horrific. But did I miss something at the previous awards galas and weren’t some of those same women wearing see through dresses or necklines plunging down to their navels? What about the current crop of music videos by females? Men and especially those in authority have no right to force a women to do anything against their will but should the women take any responsibility? In all forms of doling out punishment aren’t we all complicit to some degree? Would love your thoughts.

About 150,000 of our fellow citizens died from lung cancer. There were over 60,000 opioid deaths last year. There were over 10,000 DUI fatalities. Is it stretching too far to say this was the result of binging? Is it also too far out to say corporate America has a lot to do with it. Tobacco through Altria is one of the best investments you could have made over the last ten years. How many beer ads do we see at sports events of all sorts? Drug companies? Oh yeah, their intentions are pure in the pursuit of science .

We all want to say it is not our fault. You should have stopped me. You have no right to tempt me. I was duped and coerced. They played on my weaknesses. As a restaurant owner or barkeeper I had no idea he or she was drunk even though they occupy the same table or stool every night. Look, I just make the stuff I can’t be responsible if people abuse it.

th-23As in all binges the next day or month is not pretty. There are feelings of guilt, anger and humiliation. The first step is to realize the problem. The next is to do something about it. All of us.

 

 

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

McKesson, a major opioid maker was found to have shipped thousands of pills to small pharmacies without any oversight or investigation. There were fined and then fined again a year later for the same violation. The second levy was for $106 million Last year they made over $200 billion.

50% of our population in the US has a tablet. 75% have a smart phone and 88% have a pc or laptop. Americans use electronics of some sort over 11 hours a day.

th-15DUI arrests are predominantly white males with an average age of 30 As I was researching drunk driving on Google my search turned up numerous references to lawyers who could “help you beat your drunk driving “ arrest. I guess that is providing a service.

Creatures of Habit…

Our Christmas Day was pure Ted and Kathy. It seems our three children in Denver and their families bemoaned our lack of attendance at the annual festival of riches known as Xmas. We received Face Times from several of the reprobates with innocent children being well trained as shills in the fine art of guilt. Little did they know we already had something up our sleeve.

DIA-56a4bddc3df78cf7728415f4We departed our palm strewn enclave at 6:00 AM on Monday the 25th bound for Fort Lauderdale and then onto Denver International Airport. We weren’t telling anyone of our chicanery and properly shocked everyone as we walked in on the celebration.We then promptly departed at 9:20 PM the next day finally arriving home at 4:30 AM on 12/27. Some will say Bravo. Some will say we continue to prove a true lack of sanity in our lives. Both have a point.

Finally recovering from a case of massive jet lag I explored the grander meaning of our behavior. Mind you this was not a particularly crazy move to those of you who know us. Plane trips? Piece of cake. We can move at the drop of a hat ! I have always tried to be different. Not for any other particular reason than it is plain fun to confound naysayers and conformists. Kathy unfortunately or in my case fortunately has caught the disease.

Now this is not always easy. Like all my fellow earthlings there is something to be said about routines. It is actually a very simple and uncomplicated way to live. If you do everything more or less the same every day you don’t have to make decisions. It is automatic. You don’t have to concentrate it just comes naturally like an old pair of loafers.

th-6We get up at the same time. We make a head call and rub the sleep out of our eyes. We make coffee as if still in a coma. We catch the same train or bus or show up at the gym for you guessed it, our usual workout. We read the paper, usually sports or comics first. We check our emails and before you know it the morning is well underway. Throughout the day Point A leads to Point B and eventually we come home to our usual cocktail, turn on the news, eat dinner and then opt for bed after some more TV. It is very predictable and very calming.

The word routine comes from the French word for a rut in the road. A habit is an acquired pattern of behavior that has become almost involuntary. Without all those interruptions of flights of fancy we get so much more done. Throughout our lives we have seen zillions of situations and go back in our memory banks on how to respond with the least amount of difficulty and greatest efficiency.

Ask any athlete or successful performer in the arts or business world. Constantly repeating your routine will result in a consistently high performance. Armed forces thrive on rote and drill as a known quantity when confronted with a hostile confrontation. Some one said life is constantly a choice between boredom and anxiety. Ergo, who wants to sweat?

Why you ask, do I fight it? Good question. I might have ADD but at this point in time, I is what I is. I might be a hopeless romantic always looking for a different ending or at least an alternate way to the finish line. I am somewhat of an egalitarian in that I don’t like people telling me what to do and I do not try to force my way on anyone else. I will prod of course but it is up to you. If you think I am nuts, get in line.

th-10My mind does move rather rapid fire. I have thousands of thoughts a day. Kathy chuckles as we drive in the car and she can see me mouthing words in some sort of contrived conversation. I even have the hand gestures to go with it. At that time she knows I am a danger to us as well as our fellow motorists.

I love to participate in repartees via email. Each response is more off the wall the the previous. Too many friends have fallen prey to my shenanigans when I do parodies or become irreverent about this personality or situation. I try not to hurt anyone but just shake things up. Yes I do go too far at times but I do try to make amends.

My bottom line is that without training wheels I can let things rip in my mind. There are no taboos. I ask questions of myself and our world. I think the outrageous and maybe that becomes my routine. Creativity is like crack for me and I love to find solutions for problems but to a fault for I am really shitty at administration. Yet the world is abundant in things to discover even at my age. Hear a new note or riff in a song. Discover a new shade of green in that landscape you see very day. There is so much right in front of us.

I am not trying to get you to drink the Koolaid if you haven’t already. All I can tell you it is one boatload of fun…for me. Everyone has their style. I would love you to think of mine a bit and I will do the same of yours. People will say,”Don’t rock the boat and don’t fix what ain’t broke.” I get it. But maybe and I do mean maybe, you can shake things up from time to time. And that may just be the best time of your life. Think of it. Creatures of new habits.

Happy New Year

As always
Ted The Great .

Factoids

As the habit is forming, it can be analysed in three parts: the cue, the behavior, and the reward. What provokes us, how we act and what is the final result. Think of alcoholism, drug dependency, shopaholics or even being nice to people.

It takes at least 60 days to break a habit or to put it a differently it takes that long to learn a new one. Of course it depends on the depth of the habit and if there is a coincidental physical dependency a la drugs.

Conformity is action in accordance with some standard or authority. You go with the flow. That is until the action completely repels someone’s innermost feelings and beliefs and the result is rebellion. You have had enough.

th-7Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition, or a joke) or a physical object (such as an invention, a literary work, or a painting). The ground or atmosphere must be fertile and un to allow new concepts to grow.