My advice to you is to go over to my brother Kent’s site where, as a resident Iowan, he can tell you all about voting in those circus caucuses they had there yesterday. Iowa is famous for three things: it makes Quaker Oats, it birthed Grant Wood, and it gets to tell the country its presidential temperature. Just stick a thermometer in its ass, and it will give you a few surprises.
First of which is how poorly Dean fared, although his camp doesn’t seem too worried about it. Secondly, our North Carolinian boy John Edwards, roundly counted out by pundits weeks ago, has been given some serious blood doping. Who would have thought the Des Moines Register had that much power? For those of you playing at home, I used to deliver the Des Moines Register through 6-foot snow drifts throughout my neighborhood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. If memory serves, it used to be pink, which is probably what Republicans still think of it.
The day has raised again the ugly spectre of “electability,” something that may not faze Edwards
cows roam the desolate hill next door, all of them looked pretty depressed when I went up there (click for bigger)
sunsets are quick and easily extinguished at 6 degrees F
This post is not going to be about Iraq at all, but it starts in Iraq, namely the Nabil restaurant in Baghdad that was blown to smithereens on New Year’s Day by insurgents. It was a place frequented by many Western journalists, and in fact, my buddy Colin Soloway had been there several times just last month. I wonder if he feels what could be called “hypothetical dread,” a feeling as though you were teetering on the edge of some ghastly fate, but through your own innocence and insouciance, you just didn’t know.
I mention this because that’s the way I have come to view much of my past. 2001 was a massive turning point for me, a year after which nothing was going to be the same. It was the year I lost all of my confidence and had to painstakingly re-mortar it again; it was the year when I finally understood what an asshole I had been. I think back at the time before 2001, and feel dread just thinking how closely I came to destroying myself.
The blog I wrote a few days ago
We were sitting in a biopsychology seminar my junior year at Carolina discussing the various ways of treating depression. This was 1988, about five minutes before Prozac came out, so the methods were still pretty archaic. The professor started out with “tricyclics,” drugs that were effective, but had all sorts of bad side effects. If those didn’t work, you moved on to “MAO inhibitors,” which was another deeply clumsy way to make miserable people feel better.
Of course, tons of patients responded to neither, so the teacher trotted out electro-shock therapy, which had a better success rate than you might think (and, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” aside, was usually painless and used very little electricity). The bell rang, but the class was enrapt: “what happened if that didn’t work?” one of the girls asked. The professor smiled and said “then I guess you’re shit out of luck.”
That was a big moment for me, the revelation that science couldn’t fix everything. I always believed in a safety net underneath the safety net, you know, something that could be put in place in case things got too bad. But in 1988, this was as good as you got.
Then came Prozac, which took two years to gain foothold. Then Paxil and Zoloft and Welbutrin and all of the other drugs based on similar principles. After becoming a numb zombie on Prozac in 1998, I went on Celexa in April 2002 and seem to be doing fine. Even now, the molecular mirror image of Celexa
Too many hurt feelings, too many emails arising from today’s blog, so I got rid of it. I made a pact that this space would never be a source of frustration, anguish, negativity or mean-spiritedness, and I transgressed that pact myself. I live a very different life from the one I inhabited a few years ago, and sometimes looking backward can be not only hard, but damaging. Mea culpa.
On to bigger and brighter things.
I just walked from Prospect Heights to our place in Park Slope, and while a map says that ain’t very far, the blithering arctic air made it seem like the death march from Omsk. There is a pervading theory that global warming actually makes the East Coast colder – at least temporarily
My brother Kent reminded me of this dude in Minneapolis who thinks I’m a “self-involved fuck” so I decided to dedicate another blog to him. I call this entry Things That Are Currently Driving Me Crazy about My Body. I hope he sits back, cracks open a can of Schlitz (or whatever they drink in Minnesota), puts his ottoman in Full Recline, and enjoys today’s missive
Sean just wrote an interesting blog about weight gain/loss in which he says one of the worst days of his life was when he lost a bunch of weight that he was trying to lose, looked in the mirror, and realized he wasn’t any happier. I suppose I’m the experiment that botches the hypothesis, but when I lost 22 pounds in the spring of 1995, I looked in the mirror and said “HOLY FUCK YEAH!!!”
I did it in what was soon to be a terribly unfashionable way: Slim-Fast. I had one or two of those motherscratchers for breakfast and lunch, and then ate a large portion of something sensible for dinner. Oh yeah, I worked out every other day (almost) and gave up french fries for a year. It was amazing how quick it came off.
Then again, I had the determined dogma of the deeply depressed, and I was unemployed, making for plenty of free time to do all these workouts. We were living in a farmhouse for $117 a month, rendering a real job hardly worth it
I had a great blog topic tonight and Tessa made me forget it. So now she has to write the blog. I’m just taking dictation.
This is very much like Yeats’ later period. When he took dictation from his recently-awoken wife
Ah, the sights and sounds of the ass-crack of winter. Here’s a snapshots of the goings-on about Brooklyn!!!
always a sad sight – the Christmas trees abandoned by the families of Park Slope
always a happy sight – Tessa acts as bouncer at our local Food Co-op (she’s meaner than hell, don’t cross her)
Chopes like to get dolled up in his winter best – I told him he looks like a fruitcake, but whatever
I have begun growing my yearly Winter Mullet™, and it’s already taking shape!