Saturday, November 25, 2017

Xanax (Before I Wake Up Dead, Pt. 2)

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) -- the Stickies -- to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

[Bloggaramians: Blogarama renders the links in my columns useless. Please click on View original (above) to solve the problem/access lotsa columns.]

Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My sublime, drop-dead gorgeous muse (right shoulder) and back scratcher 
Iggy -- Designated Sticky
Dana -- Designated gentlereader (left shoulder)

"Old friends pass away, new friends appear. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful; a meaningful friend -- or a meaningful day." -Dalai Lama. I wonder if his mom or his friends call him Dalai?

Dear (eventual) Stickies & Great-Grandstickies,

OK class, let's review. In last week's column, after spending an embarrassing amount of time promoting my -- New and Improved! -- website and its new features such as my Come On and Safari With Me tab where I post interesting shtuff I've found while web surfing -- inhale -- I initiated a new series of columns based on the following notion, what would I want to make sure I've said to My Dear Stickies if I knew my deletion from meatspace was imminent.

The first thing I thought of was the importance of finding (positive) meaning in life/in your lives. " order to find positive meaning in your life, you need a goal that you find valuable." Having run out of time I left you with a video clip from a lecture by Dr. Jordan Peterson who is not only much smarter than me, he also explains things better than I do.

If you haven't seen it yet go ahead and watch it now, I'll wait till you get back. If you're a dead trees reader, fret not (but you really should get over your..., well, nevermind). Anyway, now you're stuck with dealing with only my bonkercockie, without Dr. P. to help you out.

All right class, if everyone's ready we'll...

[Yeah-yeah-yeah, whatever. What's the point of anything? Why bother getting out of bed in the morning? 'Scuse me, I gotta' go find my Xanax. SOUND OF DOOR SLAMMING

Keep spreading the sunshine, Dana! Sorry, geez, I hope I didn't trigger you.

Anyways... The very first thing that comes to mind concerning the very first thing that I'd like to make sure I tell you about, that is, the importance of finding (positive) meaning in your life/in your lives is -- without meaning/purpose/goals/etceterals -- you're sunk. You're doomed, Your fresh meat for pill popping/pill pushing shrinks.

Now, the thing is... excuse me, the phones ringing again, I've been ignoring it but repeated re-calls to my freakishly large household may indicate that one of the denizens of Casa de Chaos really needs help. I'll be right back.

This column in no way wishes to disparage licensed psychiatry, the practices of its licensed practitioners and/or patients that benefit from legally prescribed prescriptions. The author acknowledges that there are any number of legitimate psychiatric problems that require medication. In fact, personally knows many H. sapiens that might benefit from same. 

Sorry, it was some nameless, nervous, newly minted associate calling for my lawyers -- Dewey, Cheatham & Howell. They're always calling about something, claiming to be proactive. I think that they're just pro-billable hours.

As I was saying, the thing is, while of course there are no shortage of legitimate reasons for psych meds, if more H. sapiens consciously cultivated meaning/purpose/goals/etceterals it would make a considerable dent in the fortunes of Big Pharma.

[Enlighten us then oh Cranky one! (giggle). A glassy-eyed Dana speaks (with a slight but discernable slur). Where, pray tell, does one find said qualities in a world where everyone dies? Marie-Louise and Iggy each take an arm and gently escort him out of my consciousness.]

The answer to that question is the stuff books are made of, but I'm writing as if my deletion is imminent in case my deletion is imminent. Let me begin by pointing out that regardless of your feelings about any given traditional religion, automatically reject any claim that they're right and everyone else is wrong. God only knows what the truth is.

Big But

If the bulk of their dogma is primarily concerned with how to get along with the other kids on the playground in a civilized way without bullying anybody and leading a moral life more or less in line with the 6.5 commandments, well, judge not, lest you be judged.

Now, I'm not saying that in order for H. sapiens in general, or yinz guys in particular, to cultivate meaning/purpose/goals/etceterals that it's necessary to belong to a particular religious sect.

I am saying that regardless of the motivation of these folks -- to go to heaven, to stay out of hell, or just to cover their butts -- whatever, psychologically speaking the result is the same. I'm also saying that many people, not all but many, with a bit of effort, can get the same results -- or close enough. (However, I can't guarantee you'll get into heaven or even if it exists.)

What result? You'll keep getting out of bed and you'll keep trying, secure in the knowledge there may be a rainbow after the crapstorm passes.

The Bad News

If you've been around for more than a minute or two and paying attention, regardless of whether you're a glass-half-full, glass-half-empty, or a screw the glass gimme the bottle sort of person you know three things. 

Firstpaint rainbows all over your blues, crawl inside said bottle, or, seek moderation in all things -- life will sink its teeth into your cute ass at random intervals. Second, sooner or later, you're going to be deleted. 

Finally, when your response to the bad news is to declare the battle lost before it starts and pull the covers up over your head and go back to sleep and/or embrace despair/negativism/nihilism/postmodernism/etceterism the best you can hope for is stasis. That is, to be reliably miserable, and hope you don't get even worse. You know this.

The Good News

If you've been around for more than a minute or two and paying attention, regardless of whether you're a glass-half-full, glass-half-empty, or a screw the glass gimme the bottle sort of person you also know three other things.

First, as soon as you take a single step in the direction of reaching a defined goal -- be it cleaning up your room or the pursuit of enlightenment -- you'll feel good, or at least better than you were, and, you'll find life does have meaning, if only for a minute. When the meaning fades, set another goal. 

[If this doesn't work for you, then yes, you need to talk to someone. However, first look yourself in the eye and ask yourself if the reason you think life is meaningless is that it means you don't have to put away the chips, turn off the primary rectangle, and get a life. That it means you don't have to do anything besides feel sorry for yourself.]

Second, if you do get out of bed and try, there's at least a chance you, and your corner of the world, will get better/be better. If you don't, you, and it, definitely won't.

Finally, having taken the time and trouble to build/maintain a house with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and a storm cellar, when a reality snake sinks its fangs into your ass, you'll be ready. When the inevitable crap storm hits -- physical/psychological/financial/etceteralogical -- you'll be ready. You know this too.

There might even be a rainbow -- eventually. Poppa loves you.

[Since this already longish column has inadvertently turned into an hommage (pronounce with a French accent, oo' - maa... never mind, stop laughing Marie-Louise) of sorts to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a potential savior of Western Civilization (let's hope so), here's some tough love for ya, eh?

Have an OK day.

[P.S. Gentlereaders, for 25¢ a week, no, seriously, for 25¢ a week you can become a Patron of this weekly column and help to prevent an old crank from running the streets at night in search of cheap thrills and ill-gotten gains.

If there are some readers out there that think my shtuff is worth a buck or three a month, color me honored, and grateful. Regardless, if you like it, could you please share it? There are buttons at the end of every column.]

©2017 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

If you're reading this on my website (where there are tons of older columns, a glossary, and other goodies) and if you wish to react (way cooler than liking) -- please scroll down.