You, Too, Can Avoid Burnout!

It’s getting close to a year since the world was ambushed by Covid-19 — and that dirty little bastard has disrupted all of our lives.  We’ve been kicked around, lied to, promised, herded, poked, prodded, lied to again, locked down, locked up, looked over, overlooked and generally screwed around.  And that all happened last summer!  Since then, most of us have learned how to cope.  Congratulations, us!  But there’s still a long way to go, so here are a few guidelines that may help us all survive the psychological strain we’re under.  And, once again — pulling together, we can make this the best pandemic ever

If you see the woman down the street walking with her husband more than twice a day, you should intervene.  In firm but kindly tones, explain that two walks a day is sufficient for any adult male.  It’s also a good idea to offer some positive alternatives — such as, perhaps, letting him off the leash so he can have a run in the park with the other husbands.

If the guy next door is in his front yard, shouting at the crows to “Just mind your own business!” it’s time to be a good neighbour and, at a safe social distance, enter into a conversation, empathize and calmly suggest that, smart as crows are, they probably don’t understand English.

If you’re having erotic thoughts about the Amazon delivery people, that’s perfectly normal.  They’re possibly the only human contact you’re getting these days.  However, you should confine your fantasies to just one or maybe two of the semi-regulars.  Being promiscuous can seriously damage your self-esteem.  And we all know how harmful slut shaming is — especially if you’re doing it to yourself.

If you’re starting to remember those godawful family gatherings at Christmas and Thanksgiving fondly, you need to take immediate action.  Open a bottle of wine and drink at least half of it.  Then set up a Zoom call with your sister-in-law (the bitchy one) your aunt (the religious one) Uncle Terry (who’s been stoned since 2005) and your cousin (who sells Mexican Time Share Condominiums.)  Tell them you’re thinking of having an affair with the Amazon delivery girl, and see how long it takes for your mother to join the conversation. 

If you look forward to Garbage Day, that’s a healthy way to break up the monotony of locked-in life.  However, you need to remember not everyone shares your commitment to the challenges of regular municipal sanitation.  Texting your neighbours – every week — to remind them what day it is can be annoying.  Also measuring, photographing and suggesting a detailed realignment of their bins — every week – can upset some people.  It’s best to consider garbage day a personal accomplishment, celebrated with a quiet glass of wine at the end of the day.

If you’ve forgotten where you put your pants, that’s okay. (Who hasn’t?)  However, if you’ve forgotten how to put them on, you need to stop, take three deep breaths and try to figure that shit out – it’s important.  Go to YouTube if you have to.

If, at some point, you just lose it and confront the clothes dryer, demanding the return of all the socks it’s stolen over the years, you need to take a step back.  The dryer is not going to respond to those hostile tones.  You need to think about this: perhaps the stolen socks were just a cry for help.  Is the lint filter clogged?  Perhaps, blowing hot air is not as fulfilling as it once was?  We all spin at a different speed, folks!  Maybe it’s time for you to take a time out, think about it, apologize and initiate a more meaningful dialogue.   

And finally:

If you’re discussing these issues with the refrigerator, do so openly and honestly.  Remember, we’re all in this together, and it’s up to you to let the things that are important to you know they’re not alone

Life Is Too Short…Not!

yolo2I’m going to tell you a secret that’s going to shake up your world if not actually change your life.  It’s one of those things that nobody thinks about until it’s too late, but because I’m a good guy, I’m going to give you the heads up.  Make of it what you will; but first, a little background.

Ever since the Stoned Age, all kinds of normally sensible people have been yipping about how short life is.  Used as an all-purpose excuse for juvenile behaviour, in the ensuing decades, “Carpe diem” was repeated so often it became the mantra of the second half of the 20th century — and beyond.  Here in 2013, it’s considered an irrefutable truth, bestriding our culture like the Colossus of Rhodes.

Crap!  The real truth is life is the longest thing you’re ever going to do.

I’m not going to argue the metaphysics of eternal consciousness.  That’s for sophomore philosophers with time on their hands.  My point is much simpler than that.  The reality is here you are, and until your bodily functions cease to function, here is where you’re going to stay.  Even though the length of your life is a tremor in the earthquake we call history, it’s all you’ve got, and you should treat it with some respect.

The problem is most contemporary people are so obsessed with their lack of time that they completely forget about the quality of life.  They’ve turned what should be a series of wonderful adventures into a putt and bounce game of off-handed actions and unintended consequences.  Metaphorically speaking, the result is we spend most of our lives trying to pay for the meal we never planned to have in the first place — because some idiot told us life’s too short to do otherwise.

For example, losing your virginity is one of the biggies.  It’s a magical moment that is literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience.yolo   One would think there would be some pomp and circumstance to it; at the very least, a drum roll.  However, for most of us, it was a fumble/stumble extended cuddle that got out of hand.  We definitely remember where and when and think fondly of our partner, from time to time, but most of us can’t accurately conjure up a face.  In general, people have more details about their 40th birthday party (and not just because they have photos) — they probably spent more time planning it.

It’s the same with the jobs we do.  I’m constantly struck by how many people spend their lives hating their careers or the lack there of.  The coulda/woulda/shoulda of gainful employment has almost become a cliché in contemporary society.  I understand that not every accountant can be a lion tamer.  However, just because you can’t tame the lion, that doesn’t mean you have to spend your life doing something completely different.  Join the circus, for God’s sake; at least you’ll get close.  After all, unless your dad’s name is Bill Gates, a job is going occupy a third of your life.  “Close” counts!   The formula for misery is the Monty Python approach to career management.

It’s the same with our homes, our friends, our families, the junk we eat for breakfast and on and on.  For the most part, we live off the top of our heads because we’re convinced “life is too short” to pause its relentless path for five seconds to think about what we’re doing.

Nobody goes to a travel agent, tosses a credit card on the desk and says, “Send me somewhere!”  We think about it, ask around, do some planning; not because life is too short to miss that fantastic destination but because our two week vacation is too precious to screw up.  Yet, for the other fifty weeks of the year, we mostly settle for mediocre when a modicum of planning would give marvelous results.

Life is not too short.  Actually, if we’d quit wasting time chasing, catching and suffering the consequences of instant gratification and spent more time dealing with the stuff that really matters, we’d all think it was just the right size.