So Very Cold

An allegory for the addicted

so coldYou’re cold.  And you look down at that radiator heater nearby.  It’s the one with the oil inside that heats up so nicely and puts out strong heat.  It’s on, but far away.  So you pull the radiator heater closer.  It doesn’t really help because it’s still too far away.  You could get up and run around to warm up or make something warm to drink or maybe even, you know, put on some more clothes.  Or heck, your family is upstairs with a cozy fire in the fireplace.  But you’re lazy.  And you’re still cold, so, even though that little voice in your head says it’s not a good idea, you pull that heater even closer.

That does feel better, now.  You’re warming up a bit.  But in time, you feel like it’s just not enough.  You can’t really get it any closer, but you need that heat because now you’re feeling colder than you were before, even though it’s obvious that the heater is warming you up more than ever.  But never mind that.  You’re cold.  So, you pull it even closer, ignoring that stupid voice.   The one saying how stupid you’re being and why don’t you just go upstairs and be with people near the fireplace.  You’re just going to end up even colder later, you know, when the heater stops working or you have to leave the room.  But you don’t care about that.

The heater is nearly touching your leg now and that little voice keeps chirping.  So annoying.  Who put that voice there?  And again, the heater works for a bit as you bring it perilously closer.  You were feeling ok for a moment. But now you’re cold again even though you could swear your leg is burning. So, you try to take the heat a different way thinking this will make all the difference.  You push the radiator heater away a few inches – there, that means I’m not being so irresponsible.  I’m thinking about this, controlling it.  But part of the new idea is that you’re going to pull a blanket over the heater and over your lap to trap more heat.  Ok, this is good.  This is working.  Now you’re getting the heat in a rapid, deep pipeline and you’re warm all over.  And you’re not letting the heat get too close to your leg!

This new rapid heat idea is brilliant.  You wonder, though, what’s going to happen when you have to get up and be away from the heater?  That little voice is telling you that you’re going to be even colder than before and you’ll probably have burns on your leg.  So silly, that voice.  And you hear other voices – that would be your family having a grand old time without you.  So, you pull the blanket away to think about maybe leaving the heater and joining your family.  But sure enough, you’re immediately freezing!  Colder than you were before you even looked at the heater.  Ok. So, you can’t take the blanket away or the heater, that much is established now.

And…you’re still not perfectly heated.  Your family looks in, sees you all alone, wrapped up in a blanket tented over a heater, and they look at you funny.  Jealous, no doubt.  And, of course, that stupid voice is saying, this is not such a good idea.  You’re going to overheat you dummy, or something’s going to catch fire. But screw that stupid voice.  This is what heaters are for!  I mean seriously.  Let’s use this heater, get warm, be happy.  So, you tent the blanket so the air can pool inside.  This is lovely.  Holy smokes…you’re hot now.

This is really working.  But wow, is it working too well?  Wait, what’s happening here?  You pull the blanket away and you get a little relief for a second.  But wow, now it’s really really cold.  You can’t believe how cold it is out there without the blanket and heater. So, you put the blanket back on and just turn the heat down a bit.  Maybe if you do a little bit less, you’ll be ok. But that doesn’t work either, because of course without the heater on constantly, you’re getting cold.  Ok, so screw it.  You turn the heat up and just pledge not to move.  At all.  If you move, you will get hot.  Of course, you’re getting really hot anyway.  So hot that you’re getting sleepy.  Well, maybe a little sleep won’t be such a bad thing.  It’s better than being cold.  And if you turn off the heater, you’re going to freeze.  You can’t live without that damn heater now.  Who the hell gave you this heater?  It’s going to be the death of you.  This is, of course, the last thing you really think as you pass out from your core body temperature climbing so fast.

The fire is what brought them to you.  It’s small, thankfully, and you had smoke detectors.  So, your family — who had wondered why you were isolating yourself with the heater and blanket when they had a perfectly warm fire burning in the fireplace upstairs with hot chocolate — find you on the ground, unconscious, with second degree burns from the heater on your leg and third degree burns from the oil that burst out when you fell on the heater.  And the fire, it’s just a little fire from the cord that you bent.  So, not a lot of damage.

But as you come to, you’re cold.  You’re so damn cold.  And the family tells you, no more heaters.  You can’t be trusted.  And that is terrifying.  But you know that with enough work, you can make it. But right now, it is so very cold.

Bananas about Bananas

I hate bananas.  I just hate them.  I hate spelling the word banana.  I hate having to spend time going over if I put one too many n’s in there.  I hate bananas so much that I might even loathe them, which is an even more intimate relationship than hate; and that’s kind of uncomfortable, which makes me even madder.

Bananas actually bring me pain.  Even writing this is an exercise in agony because I have to keep writing the stupid word banana.

Yet, I keep eating them.  And this is a mystery to me that I cannot unravel.  I just always gravitate to eating bananas even though I despise them!  It’s not that I just kind of don’t like them; I abhor them.  I hate the smell. the taste.  the texture, GOD the texture, kill me gag me ugh.  I hate peeling them (and YES, I know the “correct” way to peel them).  I hate knowing that after I eat one and throw the peel in the trash that I will have to smell its underlying insidious odor the entire day reminding  me that not only do bananas suck but that I have yet again succumbed to the banana cult.

But why?  Why do I reach for that banana as my daily snack or breakfast item when my head is saying “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO”???

As I ponder, I realize that I am always being told to do the thing I don’t want to do because it’s “good for you.”  Or to do the things that are hard because “it will make you stronger.” The drill seems to be in the case of the dreaded banana that:

bananas are good for you; you hate bananas; eating them is really hard for you; you should not avoid things that are hard for you because  avoiding hardship is worse for you; you should eat bananas.”

Where did this messed up crap come from and how do I stop it?

Is this because I’m a first born?

Honestly, I’m confused and now saddened by this whole mess.

To make matters worse, something also says to me that “everyone else seems to like bananas, why don’t you?  Why can’t you be like everyone else?  Look how happy they are eating the wonderful banana!”  And so I reach for that stupid banana.  I peel it, hating it all the time, and I eat it and smell it and nearly gag.

How many other things do I do in life because someone told me

  • It’s good for me
  • Do the thing you hate cause that must be the thing that will make you stronger
  • It’s what everyone is doing?

Why can’t I be critically minded about these banana times in my life where I follow the same prescriptions about any of a number of things that, well, that just really suck and are nominally good for me at best?  Countless, I assume.  And I’m going to spend some time looking around at what those things are.  Maybe I’ll report back here on it.  Maybe you could share the things you find you do mindlessly like I eat bananas.

In the meantime, the only admonition about bananas I’m going to follow from now on is that a fisherman should never ever bring a banana on board the boat.  It’s bad luck and you’ll never catch a damn fish.  Of course, a few years ago, prior to hearing this desperate warning, I brought a banana on my and my friend’s boat while salmon fishing in Oregon.  I took the hated banana out (I, of course, was cursing the banana out loud because I hate bananas so much) and peeled its nastiness and my friend literally yelped that I HAD TO GET RID OF THE BANANA!  It was bad luck. Well, I ate the damn thing anyway, despite the new bad luck rule and despite me hating that society shames me into eating it because it’s good for me.  And about five minutes later I caught the biggest salmon of my life.

You know what.  Screw the rules and what society says.  Bananas suck and I don’t have to eat them.  Except, of course, when I’m fishing.

Be true to thine own selves people.