My Doctor recently retired, I was under his care for 20+ years. I appreciated his demeanor and willingness to listen. After he would listen to me, out of mutual respect, it was my turn.
Right on cue, his facial expression turned to that of a muse. He would raise his finger and politely ask, “if I may share something” and then skillfully weave his medical guidance with relatable anecdotes and carefully selected metaphors.
He had seen me through years of anxiety management, from Zoloft, Paxil, therapy and today, happily, anxiety med free.
On the topic of alcohol he called it, “The Great Deceiver”. He mused, “alcohol may momentarily numb emotional pain, but it doesn’t address the source of the emotional distress..” I filed this away in my brain housing unit under the category: “Hmm, I might have to think about that”
Recently I read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Talking to Strangers “in which he presents the theory of Alcohol Myopia (short sidedness). My interpretation in layman’s terms was an alcohol induced “tunnel vision” where depending on YOUR individual state of mind(happy, depressed, angry, adventurous, etc..), as you enter “the tunnel”, will effect your alcohol induced experience.
I grew up around alcoholics and had a front row seat to a wide variety of drunks, kind, angry, racist,loving, deceitful, and the list goes on..I always wondered why alcohol effected people differently and to me, the “tunnel vision” theory makes perfect sense.
Not to limit my position as simply being a spectator, I can speak also from personal experience. I have drank my share of alcohol and can attest to many of the theoretical effects of alcohol myopia.
I look at it as if you are going on a ride at an amusement park. Step right up folks! What’s it going to be tonight?
Enter the Happy, Celebratory Ride: Enter the tunnel happy, excited. Who doesn’t love a good wedding or celebration. Next morning: man what a great time! Memories made for a lifetime.
The Cocky ride: Feeling cocky going into the ride and the beer muscles appear. You feel invincible. I still have a busted up nose as proof.
The Lonely Depressed Ride: Enter sad, lonely, perhaps self loathing.Next morning: Low self esteem is even worse than before. This can become an endless cycle, and the rider simply wants to numb the emotional pain..
The Anger Ride: Enter the ride mad at the world and watch out to whomever is in front of you. I saw this first hand as a kid. It was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
The Racist Ride: I had no idea that the person I was with had racist tendencies until he was drunk, and started shouting racist epitaphs at the middle eastern taxi driver.
The Empty Promises Ride: I experienced this as a kid, yeah yeah we will go fishing, next day, had no clue they even said it.
I am not condoning or discouraging alcohol use and any clinical psychologist’s out there please chime in.. After reading about alcohol myopia and the fact thatalcohol doesn’t change, it makes sense that a key factor of your alcohol experience depends on your state of mind and environment while consuming.
1979: Protest folk music was dying down and Disco had reached its peak.
“Begin the day with a friendly voice, a companion unobtrusive” blasted through the vibrating buzz alarm of the 1960s turquoise clock radio. (Time for school) “Spirit of Radio”by Progressive Rock band Rush Lyrics by Peart Neil Peart that is, aKa The Professor
“If you choose not to decide, you still have me a choice” “And the meek shall inherit the earth” “Conform or be cast out” Prophetic words to pubescent outcast teens, proclaiming Peart understood. It’s been a year since Neil’s passing, RIP Professor Sept1952-Jan 2020
Thank you Professor🤘🏼-Goroyboy
This was written for the photo prompt for Rochelle Wiscoff’s Friday Fictioneers 100 word story challenge . Although not a traditional short story. Given the photo prompt of an empty drum set along with the appreciation I have for the artist/poet/lyricist, Neil Peart I found a tribute was in order. additional stories based on the photo prompt can be found here
I often walk or bicycle around our small town’s neighborhoods with my wife. As the upcoming election nears, front yards are adorned with candidates names displayed on yard signs, banners, and even up flag poles at times in place of the American flag.
Perhaps 50+ %of the yards in town are garnished with political collateral and not inconspicuously, 99% of the endorsements represented one party.
As life would have it, I happen to NOT support the highly visible party on popular display.
So…I ordered my yard sign.. when we returned home today, there it was in the front yard.
As I pushed the sign’s wire supports deeper into the dry clay soil, I swear I heard it say something, “What am I doing here?” “Are you sure this is the correct address?”
“ I heard your last sign got stolen”
As the day faded toward dusk, I was on the my front porch with my back to the street, painting my front door.
“I like your sign a voice called out”, I turned to see a lady walking her two dogs stopped on the sidewalk in front of my yard. “Thank you. Kinda stands out from all the others in town, doesn’t it? “ I replied.
“Yes it does” she chuckled nervously..
I responded, “ there is probably more opposition support in our town than people want to let on to.”
“I totally agree, I was actually afraid to put out a sign” she nervously shared.
“If you are afraid to put out a sign in your own front yard, perhaps that says allot doesn’t it? “ I said.
“Yes it does, but I feel better now after talking to you. Thank you.” she said as she lead her two fluffy companions onward..
“I feel better as well, Thank You, have a good evening”
I returned to my painting but not before looking at my yard sign, Which seemed to stand up just a little straighter.
A sign can also be a “symptom” which conveys meaning. Vote!
Sitting quietly grinning, taking a well earned rest
The Elder watches the little ones, putting their youth to the test.
Not so long ago, she wore buckskin and tended pastoral sheep,
Cared for her babies, singing them softly off to sleep,
Off to war in a far off land protecting freedom, she never dreamed that she would find,
A barrel chested Austrian, handsome, brave, and kind.
They raised their kids Viktor, Linda and Cherry,
around the world and in Sydney BC where they often took the ferry.
Laughing was a common sound whenever her family was nearby,
Our Elder leaves a legacy and her passing brings a sigh.
Thank you Aunt Nellie, for your devotion, patience, love and carrying forward an example of a life well lived. Amen.
I was around 11 or so when I went to stay 2 weeks with Aunt Nellie, Uncle Vik and Cherry on Vancouver Island. The bellowing laugh of Uncle Vik, the kind sweet spirit of Aunt Nellie and Cherry’s welcoming smile, is forever embossed in my heart. ❤️