I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous — everyone hasn't met me yet. ~Rodney Dangerfield

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part IX

1) After spending an amount of time researching Jack the Ripper, I will describe only as "too much," I've concluded his identity: Aaron Kosminski. You're welcome. Now, can someone give my therapist Dr. T. Bear a ring?

2) Is this the way to Amarillo

3) The three most common types of poker are stud, draw and community card. Texas hold 'em is the most popular of the community card versions, owing its popularity to the highly televised, internet sensation World Series of Poker Lady Gaga.
4) I end each day with a gentle Guided Meditation by Lilen Eden to meet my Spirit Guides. They haven't offered much as far as guidance, and sure Greg still owes me $50 but the benefits of mediation has been shown to reduce stress, restore memory, and increase cognitive function. He had this bank thing happen, it was weird, but he gets paid next Friday and he'll get me then. 

5) Swiss Guard, Italian Guardia Svizzera, corps of Swiss soldiers are responsible for the safety of the pope. Historically, new recruits had to have been unmarried Roman Catholic males with Swiss citizenship, between 19 and 30 years of age, at least 5 feet 8 inches and able to dress faaaabulous!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mental Health Mullet

Having a mental illness sucks. It sucks so badly, I'm literally forced to pay people [psychiatrist, therapist] to talk to me about it. Everyone else is four sentences away from realizing they have something less uncomfortable to do. 

As a society we've broken through any number of gender, racial and religious barriers, and yet when it comes to the the stigma of mental illness, we're still a slave to the rubber stamp and it's arbitrary "crazy" or "sane" label. 

For example, my mother responds to all things bipolar by compulsively listing everyone she knows with a non-mental health condition. "Well remember, Cathy has lyme disease and Jennifer has Cerebral palsy and Amanda has Multiple sclerosis and Charles has lupus," just so everyone is sure she's aware how unlikable mental illness is compared to traditional illness, the least "People Magazine" of any sickness.

Can you imagine telling someone with cancer that "Hey guy, it could be way worse, you could be bipolar or have schizophrenia. You could struggle with depression or experience persistent anxiety. So stop fucking complaining, I have to pay someone to shave my head." 

But tell someone you're bipolar, and you not only relinquish any sympathy and/or basic empathy you could normally garner from having an illness, you also give strangers the green light to say weird things to you: 

"So, do you have multiple personalities?"

"Aren't you like really good in bed?"

"Can you fly?"

No, yes, and sometimes.     

For some reason, mental health issues still weirds people out, which frankly, pisses me off, because thanks to the combined efforts of three different mood stabilizers it's easier to make sense of the non-stop, unending insanity fog surrounding me. And let me tell you, the average person wears a mental health mullet: normal in the front, fucking cuckoo bananas crazy lunatic in the back.

They don't know they're crazy
A mental illness label changes the lens through which you view someone. Or through which you yourself are viewed. And although 99% of the population would never pass a roadside sanity test, absent a mental illness label, they're allowed to just wander free reeking chaos and mayhem. It's like Godzilla. What's the difference between good Godzilla and bad Godzilla? Perceived mental illness. Imagine Godzilla with schizophrenia and he's a one-dimensional destructive reptile—who didn't get it from my side of the family by the way—out to terrorize humanity. But a mental illness-free Godzilla is just a good natured lizard trying to resolve various long standing feuds with colossal insects while protecting the Japanese.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part VIII

1) The final scene from The Pursuit of Happyness. I'm not crying, I'm just allergic to heart warming inspiration.
To "show your butt" is a Southern idiom meaning to figuratively show one's backside by acting rudely, crassly, or inappropriately. To do so literally, is still just called Title 25 § 11.408.
3) On April 18, 1924, Francis Leavy, a firefighter, was cleaning a window when he suddenly announced that he might die that day. Moments later the fire department responded to a raging fire that claimed the lives of nine fireman including Leavy. Soon after, a handprint appeared on the very window Leavy had been washing the day of his death.
4) Shave and a Haircut....

5)  How many Freudian analysts does it take to change a light bulb?
Two. One to change it, and the other to hold the penis. LADDER. I MEANT LADDER!! (I didn't mean ladder.)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sicilian Defense

I used to play online chess. Don't judge me. I got pretty good at it too. I said no judgement!! Really good actually. At least...according to my computer. The trick, was to master each game, step by step, move by move. But if there was any deviation in the sequence, I'd either lose or have to start the game again. 

Looking back, I actually wasn't good—as defined by the USCF—at chess at all, I'd merely developed the appearance of aptitude through a combination of classical conditioning and memory. And compared to what other members of the animal kingdom have accomplished with similar memorization based skill-sets, my chess game has been found wanting.   

But it made me think about the various skills we acquire and master throughout the years. Just how do we differentiate which skills we consider to be valid or successful from those that, like my chess ranking, are simply illusory?

You could point to commercial or financial achievement as indicators of success if history weren't full of artists and inventors whose astonishing talent went unappreciated in their time. Vincent van Gogh committed suicide a penniless hack at thirty-seven, while there have been three separate installments of the Sharknado franchise.

So in my search for the definition of success, I poured myself a glass of wine, downloaded the old chess program and committed to mastering the Sicilian Defense, a counter move that Chess Grandmaster John Nunn praises for "its combative nature; in many lines Black is playing not just for equality, but for the advantage...."  

I learned a lot that night. That black begins every chess game at a disadvantage. A perpetual underdog, who must play smarter, think further ahead, make fewer mistakes, just to level the playing field. That I can drink a full bottle of wine before I blackout. 

And finally the elusive true measure of success: "Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started." ~Steve Prefontaine

Monday, March 2, 2015

Delphic Maxim

When I turned 30 and received my key to the kingdom of relationship insightsyou'll know more when you get there, I'm not really supposed to talk about itI finally understood why so many people spend their twenties in relationships where they're less liked than Gwyneth Paltrow.

Our twenties are quite possibly the worst time to seek out a romantic partner. When we're in our twenties, we are actually terrible judges of our own character. But ask any twenty-something and they'll tell you how they're smarter than the average person. And harder working. More mature and pragmatic. Less likely to panic in a crisis. And a better driver.

But by thirty, both you and your potential mate, will have had a few real world experiences under your belt to give you a better sense of the person you truly are. By thirty, it's likely you've dealt with a profound personal or professional setback; or the death of a loved one; or a serious health issue; or been dishonorably discharged from your position as office safety monitor because following 
the 2011 earthquake rather than lead a group of lawyers to safety, you ran for the hills to save yourself while shouting, "I'll see the rest of you in hell!"

Once you've established this heightened sense of self, your dating sensor becomes equally honed and highly sophisticated. Sorta like that computer screen lens thing the Terminator used. 

You're able to instantly analyze the data received from a potential dating partner and calculate the likelihood of a successful union. For example:

Hipster skinny jeans + PBR + misuse of irony

Popped collar polo shirt + hair gel + douchey sense of entitlement

Suit and tie + piercing blue eyes + aura of education + demonstrates basic empathy towards others 

*Wham Wham* Sorry about that.

It will still occasionally malfunction. Which I tried to explain to that judge, but he went ahead and charged me with eleven counts of lewd conduct anyway.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part VIII

1) The Third Man factor or Third Man syndrome refers to reported situations where an unseen presence such as a "spirit" or guide provides comfort or support during traumatic experiences. Famous experiencesors include Charles Lindbergh.
2) A house of cards is 
a structure or argument built on a shaky foundation or one that will collapse if a necessary (but possibly overlooked or unappreciated) element is removed.
3) Forget the Hatfields and McCoys this is the greatest family feud of all time:

4) "You know what family means to me Lemon? Resentment. Guilt. Anger. Easter egg hunts that turn into knife fights." ~ Jack Donaghy, '30 Rock'
5) To be "crazy as a fox" is to b
ehave in a foolish, frivolous, or uncomprehending manner as a ruse for concealing clever deeds or deeper intentions. But it turns out that fox I tired to adopt, actually just had rabies after all.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Goat Soap Lover

Hands down, the best pick up line I've ever received in DC. Not the typical reaction I receive when I mention I grew up on a goat farm in Western North Carolina that my parents still operate and make, among, other things, goat soap, but it's always refreshing to come across someone who appreciates natural products that are great for the skin. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part VII

1) Albert Einstein didn't receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his Theory of Relativity, but rather for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.
2) Eugène-François Vidocq was a French criminalist known as "The Sherlock Holmes of Paris." The Vidocq Society is a members-only crime-solving club that meets on the third Thursday of every month in Philadelphia, PA. But I've said to much already...
3) Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet-diplomat and politician Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. In 1971 Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

4) The Guinness Family are mad as hatters.
5) There is no known explanation for why we laugh. At least that's what I say when people don't get my jokes.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Doctor Is In

My parents must have thought that with three grown children they'd surely would have at least one grandchild by now. Or so they tell us every family get together. But whether it's a sign of the changing times, or that gypsy my dad hit with his car, continuance of the family lineage has been in a holding pattern.

But for once, my family finds itself on the normal side of a social trend. As the status quo shows, humankind is responsible for both a steadily climbing average age of marriage as well as sky-high national divorce rate. Considering there are at least eleven other species who mate for life, one can't help but wonder, if swans are able to establish and maintain lifelong committed relationships, what makes it so difficult for people to determine how to successfully pair off?

According to its website,
eHarmony founder Dr. Neil Clark Warren has the answer to this very question. He spent three years developing his hypothesis on the key concepts to a successful relationship. What is this groundbreaking theory? That, for relationship purposes, it's better to match up people who are more alike than it is to match up people who are less alike. Now personally, I'm inclined to believe a clinical psychologist could have put a quarter decade's worth of his time to better use. Has our ability to find and facilitate successful relationships deteriorated to the point that we need doctors, clinical studies, and website memberships to point us towards people who share our values and away from ones who don't?

And while my initial reaction is that it's likely Dr. Warren has contributed to long-term relationship success about as much as Dr. Pepper has contributed to long-term relationship success, I must admit that relationship dynamics are a complex tapestry and analysis of such is probably best left to the experts.

Buuuuut, for the sake of argument, I'll try my hand at resolving the below couple's quarrel to see if intuition, reason, and basic logic can reconcile a routine relationship issue:

"DEAR ABBY: My husband has ice water with every meal. During breakfast and dinner he loudly crunches all of the ice in his glass throughout the meal. I have asked him not to do it at the dinner table, but he thinks I'm being unreasonable. At breakfast, I usually eat in another room and wear noise reduction headphones. I'm deaf in one ear and have only about 60 percent hearing in the other. We have been married for more than 30 years and he claims he has "always" done it and it's part of his enjoying his meal. Am I selfish to ask that he not crunch while I'm sitting next to him?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Love the Run You're With

In October of 2000 or 14 years ago, I started running. That's right, my running career is now a teenager. And just like any relationship with a teenager, we have all the same misunderstandings, petty squabbles, and elaborate power struggles.

I'm currently training for the 2015 Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon. With almost a decade and a half of running experience on my resume, training should be relativity obstacle free, right? Enter the dreaded Runner's Slump. Just what is a Runner's Slump and why does it make getting up at 5:30am to run 5 miles in 30 degree temperatures seem less than appealing? 

I can't help but compare this Half Marathon's training to previous Marathon training and find it lacking. When I was 23, 25, 27, and 28 I was bounding out of bed at 6:00am ready to hit the pavement for a 5 miler with my girlfriends. At 33, my morning run feels more like I'm trying to convince an overweight house dog to go out during a rain storm. "Stop growling at me, you need to go outside! Oh God, how did you get stuck under the bed?"  

So how do you beat a Runner's Slump? There are endless articles suggesting every imaginable technique from varying your routine to mental breaks to increased training but I'm going to propose a drastically different theory: you don't.

I'm simply not going to run the same way now as I did in my twenties. In all likelihood, going forward, 75% of my runs will just really really suck. And I'm okay with that. Accepting my worst running, no matter what slow, plodding, awkward gait it takes, is the only way through my Runner's career and any slump I encounter along the way. Because once I stripped back the demands, the expectations, the competition, it's just me running. And that's all I ever came to do.     

Still, I'll always have affection for the twenty-something runner I was for ten years. After all, she was my ride here. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part VI

1) In 2013, Guinness World Records named Breaking Bad the highest-rated TV series of all time, largely due to Bryan Cranston's powerful portrayal of protagonist Walter White. But for me, his greatest role will always be Hal.

2) How does 2015 look for your finances? Grim, according to eleven different economists, financial markets will plummet. 
3) Hy-Brasil is one of history's more famous phantom islandsIn Irish myths, it's said to be cloaked in mist, except for one day every seven years. Unlike most phantom islands, it regularly appeared on maps for nearly 200 years. 
4) A snipe hunt is a type of practical joke that involves experienced people making fun of credulous newcomers by giving them an impossible or imaginary task.
5) The Specious Present is the time duration wherein one's perceptions are considered to be in the present. Time perception studies the sense of time, which differs from other senses since time cannot be directly perceived but must be reconstructed by the brain. Other explanations include: 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Southern Comfort

I'm not saying there's a shortage of southern gentlemen in DC, but I've lived in the area for seven years now and the last man to open a door for me was a locksmith. 

Southern gentleman in the Washington Metro Area come around as rarely as a blue moon or a Republican who doesn't sound like he's acting on orders from the planet Unetav. 

The trouble is, the area is teeming with the Southern Gentleman's natural enemy: the bro.

Bro outbreak? Try "Bro Bomb" by the makers of "Bro Be Gone"
Bros can be identified by their pastel hues, gelled hair, and of course, douchey sense of entitlement. Spotting a bro is also often accompanied by the overwhelming desire to punch him in the face until your hand breaks. If there's still confusion, please refer to the below test to assist in categorizing your specimen:

Subject holds his liquor like a:

(a) Gentleman. 
(b) Sixteen year girl.

Subject has taken a picture of himself using his own cell phone, then posted said picture onto his Twitter account:
(a) Good Lord no. A man would rather kill himself.
(b) Yes, five time since the start of this question.
Subject can drive a manual car:
(a) Yes. Never driven anything else.
(b) Like, you mean on Grand Theft Auto? 

Subject has discharged a firearm:
(a) Of course. But only in a safe, responsible manner as the Second Amendment allows.
(b) That's what SHE said!

If subject answers (b) to even one of the above questions immediately commence with punching him in the face until your hand breaks.
However,  if subject answered straight (a)s, Congratulations, you've found yourself a genuine, slow-drawled, rough-handed cowboy! Other signs include: increased tolerance of whiskey, him guiding you through crowds with his hand on the small of your back, and bra beginning to unhook itself.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part V

1) What's in store for 2015?
2) Heterochromia iridum, or having two different color eyes, occurs in approximately six out of 1,000.

3) Heautoscopy is the psychiatric term for the reduplicative hallucination of "seeing one's own body at a distance." It's also considered a possible explanation for doppelgängers.
4) In 1969, President Jimmy Carter reported seeing an unidentified flying object in Leary, Georgia. The event, dubbed the Jimmy Carter UFO Incident, is known for being about as significant to UFO history as Jimmy Carter's presidency has been to traditional history
5) How good
or bad is your
intuition? Not that it matters. According to Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, authors of The Invisible Gorilla, when it comes to effective decision making, intuition is about as useful as fairy dust.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Strange Loop

A 2007 study showed that a whopping 88% of people who set New Year's Resolutions fail. That means when you start your diet, commit to stop smoking, or vow to finally organize that closet, inevitably you're just going to wind up back in bed with my ex-boyfriend.

In theory, we would be constantly improving our New Year's Resolution making abilities. Each year's respective successes and failures should build on the proceedings year's experience until we've amassed a giant bank of New Year's Resolution wisdom and insight. Instead, January 1st slinks by like a guilty ex-boyfriend trying to sneak out of my apartment unnoticed, but for the unmistakable sense of déjà vu left behind.

A 12% success
rate is a pretty poor showing. To put that in perspective, 12% is the same ranking Batman and Robin received on Rotten Tomatoes. Why do we struggle to maintain our Resolutions each year? And if doing so only sets ourselves up for failure, why do we make them at all? Like the old saying goes: watch Megashark versus Crocosaurus once, shame on Netflix, watch Megashark versus Crocosaurus twice, shame on you.

strange loop is a phenomenon in which, whenever movement is made upwards or downwards through the levels of some hierarchical system, the system unexpectedly arrives back where it started.
Just when it seems like we're all trapped in a fruitless, unending cycle of self-defeat, just when it seems like we're all trapped in a fruitless, unending cycle of self-defeat, just when it seems like we're all trapped in a fruitless, unending cycle of self-defeat—the Greek philosopher Heraclitus reminds us that "you could not step twice into the same river." Because the river is continually flowing, it's no longer the same river you'd stepped into before. Likewise one's self is similarly evolving, so you're no longer the same person who'd previously done the stepping.

As we work our ways through the levels of our respective hierarchical systems each year, it's important to remember that. Despite our failures, despite our setbacks
—New Year's and otherwise—none of our attempts at self-improvement, self-reflection, self-understanding, are in vain. That effort alone makes it impossible for any of us to truly find ourselves back where we started.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part IV

1) Currently unsolved or open problems or conjectures exist in various fields including neuroscience, linguistics and philosophy. We really do have 99 problems. 
2) The raven's paradox arises from the question of what constitutes evidence. The problem was proposed by the logician Carl Gustav Hempel in the 1940s to illustrate a contradiction between inductive logic and intuition. Similar idioms include a "red herring." 
3) Maybe I'm just like my father too bold.
4) In 1941, Danish physicist Niels Bohr and German physicist Werner Heisenberg met in Copenhagen to discuss the emerging role of scientists in the development of atomic weapons. The specifics of the meeting have been the subject of great speculation, notably Michael Frayn's 1998 play Copenhagen.

5) It's not that Japan was asking for all those Godzilla attacks, alls I'm saying is, it just doesn't seem to be that much of a problem for other countries.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Biglaw is Dead - Part III

Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. This 19th Century quotation on the power of innovation is attributed to  Ralph Waldo Emerson. Modern Biglaw, however, adheres to a different ideology: "Build a better mousetrap, and we'll sue your ass for copyright infringement."

$100,000 in law school student loans?
Today's legal world has changed dramatically and irreversibly. It's an age where the average 12-year old has a greater technical capacity than the entirety of a law firm's IT department; where the average 16-year old has a more established and reputable social media presence than a law firm's marketing department (and is also doing freelance work for their advertising group). 

Since the 2008 recession, doomsday prophets have been voicing their Dewey Bingham, Hogan & Hartson, Howrey, Heller Ehrman concerns over Biglaw's reluctance to deviate from an outdated business model, namly billable hours, an argument, which, frankly, rings true to anyone not actively profiting from it. 

But let's say you're a struggling start-up and you need to retain counsel to deal with a troublesome fly situation. To handle "Project Airborne Winged Trajectory," would you choose—work quality being very nearly equal—a rolled up magazine that offers reasonable and flexible fee arrangements or a tank that charges by the hour?

The recession saw legal titans with century old empires figuratively, no wait, literally vanish from the ABA stratosphere. But as far as Biglaw was concerned, it don't make no nevermind and they pointedly, arrogantly, stayed the course. 

But if you're feeling untouchable, cocky, or maybe even just comfortable in your current Biglaw profession, take a quick peak at this list of now obsolete occupations, and remember the words of David L. Calhoun who warned: "You need to be absolutely paranoid about the currency of your knowledge." 

Or at least Aaron Sorkin:

Aaron Sorkin: Listen, lady—a gender I write extremely well if the story calls for it—this is serious. We make horse buggies. The first Model T just rolled into town.

Liz Lemon: We're dinosaurs.

Aaron Sorkin: We don't need two metaphors. That's bad writing. Not that it matters.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Cadillac of Cacti

How long does a relationship with a younger guy last? Roughly as long as he does in bed. I thought I was pretty clever when I started casually seeing a younger guy. Simple, relaxed, easy. A welcome break from the sometimes stressful DC dating circuit.

DC is teeming with urban Alphas. When dating these career-driven capitalists or political heavy hitters there's an underlying pressure to be constantly on your "A Game." To be engaging, outgoing, smart, to know the right people, and the right things to say. And it should all come in a vogue, pilate-toned package.

Being with a baby-faced Beta was refreshing at first, like caring for a low maintenance houseplant. It didn't need much water, specific periods of daylight, or fancy plant food. It was the cactus of relationships. Completely content—arguably happier—with my "B Game." But freedom from a more demanding relationship comes at a price: the realization that even the Cadillac of Cacti, is ultimately still a cactus. Flora and dating's lowest performing stock.

Younger men can teach you things about dating you didn't know you didn't know. For example, watching him play video games is a date. Drunken 3:00am phone calls asking for a ride to Virginia so he can play lasertag, also a date. Explaining to him how a 401k works for the fifth time—"So, you're telling me there's like no running in it at all. Cause Babe, I'm not trying to disagree, but my ultimate frisbee team had some pretty good points."—not a date, but no one's allowed to judge you if you sleep with someone after helping to secure their financial future.

Limited relationship longevity aside, my Cactus did help me reach an epiphany—which can be harder to have as you get older—dating in DC is tough and it's tempting to slack, settle or end up with someone who's not right for you out of loneliness, convenience, or various social pressures. But did you know there are 2,000 types of Cacti in world? I find that comforting when facing the daunting task of DC dating. Some day, I'll find that one special prick that's meant for me.   

Saturday, November 15, 2014

20 Things My Little Brother Has Learned About The District

My little brother is celebrating his second anniversary in our great Nation's Capital (or as our parents' refer to it, the fast-paced city-life he's chosen over settling down and giving them grandchildren.) 

The following twenty items are nuggets of wisdom he's collected over the past two years of Washington, D.C. residency:

20.  Happy Hour is kind of a big deal 

19.  Non-stop construction, business growth, and corruption

18.  The weather is nice for about 3 weeks in October

17.  People love complaining about how long their commute is. Monday morning is like a contest on who drives the farthest

16.  "I'm from DC" "Oh really, where?" "Bethesda"

15.  Everyone has a friend who works for the CIA, who doesn't actually work for the CIA 

14.  Karaoke here is full of nepotism 

13.  Everyone is hiring, just not you

12.  People name drop like elsewhere, but it's way more esoteric: "So I was talking to the Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce H. Andrews and he loved my Tariff Proposal"

11.  Taxation without representation

10.  The Non-Profit industry surprisingly employees thousands of people 

9.  Food desserts 

8.  Never cross the Anacostia 

7.  In terms of travel, Virginia might as well be the moon

6.  Brunch makes Sunday morning Binge Drinking feel responsible

5.  "$1,300/month for a converted sunroom? That's an amazing deal!"

4.  I can look up your salary. And I will 

3.  DC Metro, "Expect delays in all directions due to single tracking"

2.  Rush hour is every hour

1.  Everyone has a fictitious, but completely reasonable sounding explanation on building height restrictions

Friday, November 14, 2014

Behind the Curtain

The best way to describe anxiety to someone who's never experienced it, is that anxiety is like a drunk in a bar. Irrational, nonsensical, and impossible to ignore.

"L-listen, that boyfriend of yours. He's cheatin' on you."

"K-know what your p-problem at work is? You need to be a bird. A-an jus' fly."

"You s-should have kids by now. That uterus is going to fall out soon, you know." 

"Y-yeaaaaaaaaaah turn this up! This is my jam!"

Both anxiety and drunks are belligerent loudmouths who rely on a realty that's entirely fictional. And while we're able to immediately identify drunks as unreliable assholes, living in a fantasy world of woo-girls, topless laser tag, and midmorning blackouts, for whatever reason, it takes years of therapy and self reflection to come to the same realization that anxiety's perceptive is equally distorted.

When the Greek philosopher Plato explored the concept of reality in his philosophical model The Allegory of the Cave, he envisioned a cave in which a group of people had lived for the entirety of their lives. They live chained to the wall of the cave and can only see another blank wall across from them and the images that occasionally pass along it. The wall and these images make up the prisoner's reality, but they are not real at all, only shadows projected onto the wall cast from an unseen fire behind them.

Now, Plato’s penchant for S&M metaphor caves aside, he illustrates the tactic to which his cave, anxiety, and drunks all owe their sloppy success: smoke and mirrors. When you take the drunk out of the bar or Plato's prisoners above ground you remove the confusion and distortion that smoke and mirrors create allowing you to pull
back the curtain on the truth of your situation.

And as it turns out, without smoke and secrecy, the Great and Powerful Oz you once feared is nothing m
ore than a shadowy creeper with a Mutchkin fetish and a drinking problem.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Bermuda Triangle

Modern romance is riddled with causal flings, on-again/off-agains, and half-hearted commitments. Call me old-fashioned, but I'd always thought that a monogamous relationship meant that one man, one women, and their sex dungeon were ready to settle down and spend the rest of their lives together. But ask the average couple a question about their relationship and......

These days, couples are charting a far more perverse new territory of relationships: the Bermuda Triangle. Just what is the Bermuda Triangle? And why does it doom so many relationships to its murky depths? 

Studies have shown that when choosing a paint color if given five color options to select from, people tend to make the decision faster and more confidently than people who are given twenty color choices. The theory is that an overabundance of choice leads to fear of "missed opportunities and unrealistically high expectations". It's the worry that we're settling, that we could do better, or that we’re missing out. By allowing a relationship to remain undefined, we avoid choice (e.g. "the talk") as a way to prevent ourselves from experiencing regret. 

While Gulf Streams, Violent Weather, and Methane hydrates will seal a mariner's fate in the actual Bermuda Triangle, interpersonal instability poses the greatest threat to otherwise seaworthy relationships. 

So is there any hope for a couple who has navigated into this watery relationship graveyard?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Don't Stand So Close To Me

What's the difference between being an introvert and being an extrovert

Introversion and extraversion have zero to do with shyness, outgoingness, sociability and the like, and everything to do with how you recharge your batteries. Introverts get off from solitude and personal down time while extroverts are energized by groups and interactions.  

As an 
introvert, it's sometimes easy to forget that when an extrovert engages me in what I'd consider to be a needless conversation—which is anything more personal than 'Sinkhole swallowed up Metro Center' or 'Hey watch out for that chemical spill over there'—they aren't being needy weirdos out to drain my time, energy, or patience, they're simply conducting their energetic equivalent of stopping at the gas station.

Me: Oh god, here comes Carol. Time for another two hour conversation about her awful life. Dear Lord, let her skin rash have cleared up. "Carol, Hi."

Carol: I'm a terrible person! You're strange for not wanting to hang out with me! "Hey, does this rash look weird to you?" 

And in fairness to Carol, for someone who not only needs, but also truly enjoys socially engaging, talking to a cranky introvert would be like torture.  
Deby: I hate people. I can't use my words. "Carol, Hi."

Carol: Oh god, there's Deby. I have to talk to her we work together, and I hear she's getting promoted. Shit, what do I say to her, she barely responds. Fuck, it's not like talking to me for ten minutes will kill her. Should I mention my rash? Why would I even think that? Don't mention your rash! "Hey, does this rash look weird to you?" 

But, as Susan Cain notes, it's an extrovert's world. So with the deck stacked against us, introverts shouldn't feel ashamed if they need to use The Police's immoral words, don't stand so close to me.