This afternoon, in the rain, I had a chance to test (for the first time) my "walk to work under a cloudy sky, but it's raining like crazy when it's finally time to walk back home so grab a cab plan". It works. What a guy. Six bucks plus a two dollar tip allows me to walk into work under a cloudy sky without worrying how I'm going to get home if it's raining. Very nice. I'm dry. I knew you all needed to know this. All this excitement and it's only Thursday.
I've been doing this long enough to know better when I think I'm completely out of ideas or gas or hot air or whatever it is that drives one of these journals. Every now and then I'll carp about it or complain I don't like the writing and I'll get an email saying knock it off, nobody's complaining, keep at it and shut up. I'm that way with other journals. Somebody goes on about being out of ideas and I'm reading right along and thinking, OK, I understand what they're saying, but the writing is nice and I'm having a good time so what's the beef? You reading this, Nancy? You're better out of gas than most of us running on a full tank! (Isn't that really awful? Out of gas? Full tank? I have no shame. Of course, the less shame the better, but that's another subject.) Tonight is one of those nights.
The Public television station has a news cast running as I'm writing this about Attention
Deficit Disorder and the administration of drugs, primarily Ritalin, to children. In some areas of the United States as many as 17% of school age children are diagnosed with the disorder. Attention Deficit Disorder (just the sound of it gives me the New Speak - Big Brother creeps) wasn't something we thought about until recently and now it's such a hot topic I'm wondering if I'm not suffering from it myself. If, in fact, it tends to be an affliction suffered by techies and similarly driven people. I'm trying to think if it applied to the folks I knew when I hung out with the underground cartoonists. Were they all hyperactive? Was I? They might have been, had it not been for all the booze. Laid back was the attitude you tried to affect. You sat in a bar and you drank beer and you talked about art and life and you did your best not to fall off the stool, you didn't worry about toe tapping and talking out of turn. And when I was younger? I can't remember. A teacher made me sit in the corner once for talking. I was talking, all right, but I'm not sure I was fidgeting. I might have been. Maybe I was distracted.
Let's see, the Attention Deficit stuff is over and now they're talking about Stonehenge and I need a cup of tea so maybe I'll get up and make one and see if the cat's OK out on the balcony on the way to the kitchen, except the kitchen's in the opposite direction, but what the hell, it's a small apartment, so I'll go out and check the cat and then, maybe, I'll take a look at this lens that's sitting on the desk to be sure it isn't going to roll off onto the floor and then, well, what was that again? Tea? Right. The cat. The balcony. The kitchen.
There's a thought that's occurred to me in listening, all these afflictions of the heart, the mind,
the body, and that's as you get older they don't mean very much because if it takes years for the doctors to understand Ritalin was not their very best idea because they learned later that after thirty years it made your feet turn blue, well, you don't have to worry because in thirty years you'll be dead and blue feet won't be very upsetting, so you may as well take the Ritalin and the food additives and the biologically modified corn and the partially hydrogenated semi-discombobulated animal products, make whoopie, and get on with it. Your mind may be leaving as you age because of the drugs and the green house gasses, but if it's not leaving you all that quickly, well then, what the hell, by the time it's gone you'll be dead and you won't notice, so have another pill. If you start smoking when you're sixty do you have to worry about lung cancer and a painful death after thirty or forty years? At sixty? I don't know, maybe.
So let's think about pesticides and herbicides and weird food additives. If they're not altogether good for you are they not altogether good for you in forty years when you would have been a hundred? Global warming? The oceans inundating the coastal plains and submerging your second story bedroom? In fifty years? Do you worry? Do I?
Ah, well. I'm not sure I care about any of that, but the sentences run along all right (OK, they could use more work) and that's what counts. Until the doctor sits you down, I guess, and tells you why you shouldn't have developed that Coca Cola habit at the age of twelve. And the peanut butter. Best you had never learned about peanut butter. Or jelly.