For those of you that think all is well right now with our culture, please
return to your People Magazine, The View, and MSNBC. For the rest of you, its okay. You’re not alone watching the lunatics take over the asylum. Here are a few options that can give life, as we used to know it, a little room to breathe and the energy to pitch back into the fight after recovering some energy (totally self indulgent fighter pilot lingo).
More than a few of BasicMan’s readers have expressed some concern about my mental health. The implication is that my writing has taken a critical and depressing turn. I swear the doctor said the Zoloft would work. Apparently I need to step up the dosage. Each day however seems to bring a new headline that is too big to believe, another business deemed too big to fail demonstrates failing, more promises given that are too big to keep and all this stuff is funded by a demographic and checkbook that are too small to cope. Add this to the governmental, economic, and political idiocy and you have a shovel ready American soap opera reality show.
Sometimes you just need a place to hide for a few hours to regain a sense of perspective, turn your mind off, or simply provide a diversion.
What to do?
For those of you that think all is well right now with our culture, please return to your People Magazine, The View, and MSNBC. For the rest of you, its okay. You’re not alone watching the lunatics take over the asylum. Here are a few options that can give life, as we used to know it, a little room to breathe and the energy to pitch back into the fight after recovering some energy (totally self indulgent fighter pilot lingo).
1.) Turn off the radio or TV and pick up a good crossword puzzle. Those with vocabulary issues; a Sudoku will suffice. Will Shortz gets all the props for being the Zen master as editor of the New York Times puzzle but he isn’t the best; just the most prolific (actually he’s the best that is also prolific). My recommendation is to go with the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal where Mike Shenk edits this device of cleverly devious masochism. It’s a 2 hour, put down-pick up three times puzzle that at first glance you mutter to yourself, “there’s no way I can do this”. Then, Voila. Two hours later you quietly (smugly, if the shoe fits….) fold the paper in half and leave it on the counter so as to allow others to ooh and ahh at the mastery of your work.
2.) Netflix or Blockbuster any movie that Guy Ritchie has written or directed, except Revolver (everybody is capable of at least one dog). The three that I recommend are Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1995), Snatch (2000), and RocknRolla (2008). Each are heist films with an edge of dark British humor. In a typical Richie storyline he interweaves multiple characters into complex, converging plots that in one way or another impact each other in the end and tie the story up so that the underdog unknowingly ends up on top. If you get wrapped up in the characters and don’t pay close attention to all the plot nuances you’ll be lost inside of 15 minutes.
3.) Turn the TV back on and watch Friday Night Lights or find back episodes on the web. The only network show (NBC, no less) I look forward to watching, its actually good TV. It languished for a few seasons as NBC exercised and on again, off again attitude toward the show while switching it’s night on a whim. It’s now hit its stride as they have settled on a night to consistently air it, Friday Night > duh. Great characters, simple plots that anyone who remembers high school can identify with (either from a student or parent perspective, it hasn’t changed all that much), and over the top directing from one of the best in his craft, Peter Berg . Each of the characters is someone from your past, all of them digging themselves out of the same holes you got yourself into when you were that age, and the coach is the one grownup you worshipped. It’s about making mistakes, owning up to them, and the redemption of recovery.
4.) Yo Yo Ma playing Gabriel’s Oboe. I need not say anything more. Get it on iTunes and you’ll understand.
5.) Read a good book. The obvious choice is the Bible, of which I don’t read enough of. It never fails to satisfy. The next obvious choice would normally be the essential classic, Atlas Shrugged. I do not recommend it for at this juncture for two reasons; it’ll depress the heck out of you when you connect the dots between the plot and current events (kind of negates the diversion this essay is trying to suggest) and by the time you finish the book we would be out of the recession (if the Fed stops printing money). I’d normally suggest something (probably non-fiction) but this is such a subjective area, figure it out for yourself. Ever construct a playlist of your favorite music only to find out nobody shares your taste?
6.) Build a stone wall. You people in the city, you’re out of luck. Better stick with options 1-5. For everyone else, each yard needs a rock wall somewhere. I think Martha Stewart said that. It doesn’t have to be big or elaborate, and it doesn’t take an Italian stone mason with a hod of mortar to get the job done. Buy yourself a pallet of dictionary sized stones and get to work. Unless you’re a total knucklehead you don’t even need DIY directions. Just follow the principles of gravity you learned in kindergarten.
Why a stone wall? a.) You can’t screw it up, b.) it’s a ‘basicman’ thing to do, c.) it’s enjoyable, like toy building blocks only permanent, and d.) it’s a diversion from the lunacy that’s going on daily and the most basic form of therapy which is the reason we need options 1-6.
Now; pick an option and give your mind a healthy activity to burn off the stress of the day. Then come out swinging, our culture needs sane, rested, and healthy minds to save us from ourselves.