Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Feeling kinda S.A.D.

by Rich Miles

Anyone who reads this blog even remotely regularly will notice that I haven't written much on it lately. There is a good reason for this: it's the weather.

I have been for a number of years now an acute sufferer of S.A.D., or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Which is, in short terms, a deep sense of melancholy that takes place in the worst of the winter. When sunlight is rare, and gray skies are the norm, and temperatures are too cold to allow for much outdoor activity, and generally, the otherwise pleasant activity of going outdoors doesn't help in perking up the spirits in the dead of winter.

It's a recognized and medically-documented syndrome, causing more than the occasional suicide, and while I've never tried to kill myself, there has been more than one occasion when I have been curious as to what it would be like to be dead. But I didn't do it, because if I think it's dark and cold now, I can't even imagine what it would be like to be buried 6 feet under in the dead of winter.

So anyway, cheery as all these thoughts may be, I have had to contend with them for at least the last 40 years or so. And it hasn't been a bundle of fun, I can tell you that for free.

But at any rate, my life has not, so far, turned out the way I hoped it would. I lack any meaningful work. I lack meaningful connections with other people. I feel like I have alienated an awful lot of people, though they've all been inadvertent. I've managed to drive off at least a half-dozen people who were once important to me, but who now want nothing whatever to do with me. All inadvertently. I really didn't mean to drive them off. But nonetheless, I have driven them away. Part of it was my brain disease. But part of it wasn't. Or at least not as far as I can tell.

But anyway, lest I sound even more self-pitying than I already do, I'll see if I can't come to some sort of point in this essay.

I think the point must be that one must have meaningful work in amongst all the other things we need to live. Air, food, a warm place to live out of the elements, friends, lovers perhaps, and -- meaningful work. What 'meaningful' means is a moving target, but -- each person knows what it means most of the time. Working in a plastic bottle-making factory, shifting cartons of empty bottles from one side of the factory to another -- that's not meaningful. Creating the 'Mona Lisa' -- that's probably pretty meaningful.

Doing nothing at all -- that's not even remotely meaningful.

So anyway. I tend to come out of the S.A.D. symptoms when the weather starts being consistently warm. And I am the first to admit that my variety of S.A.D. is by no means the worst there is. People really do kill themselves or others sometimes simply because the sky is overcast yet again today - for the 22nd day in a row.

But just because mine is not the worst variety doesn't mean that it's not bad. It is.

If you've had this happen to you, I recommend a visit to a psychiatrist. Sometimes medications can help the syndrome. Sometimes not, but just because not everyone can be cured doesn't mean you shouldn't seek medical help.

The upside is -- winter doesn't last forever.

Does it?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Teabaggers' Mistakes

From my friend Trebonska, via email:

Questions for the "Tea Party": What took you so long to get angry?

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when Dick Cheney allowed energy company officials to dictate energy policy and push us to invade Iraq.

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed for political reasons.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn't get mad when we invaded a country that posed no threat to us and spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said war.

You didn't get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn't get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn't get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend over a trillion dollars in taxbreaks..

You didn't get mad with the worst 8 years of job creation in several decades.

You didn't get mad when over 200,000 US citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance.

You didn't get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused US citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments, retirement and home values.

No . . . You finally got mad when a black man was elected President and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.. .