Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gonna Have to Face it.........

Crack cocaine. Scourge of the inner cities of our nation in the 80s and 90s. A highly addictive derivative of the more expensive cocaine, that led to the addiction of millions of men and women because of the intense high and the cheap accessibility of these "rocks".
Spawning the term "crack whore" named for the women who would prostitute themselves just to get that next high they were so badly jonesin' to get. Ultimately producing the "crack baby" who was born addicted to this substance through the in-vitro transfer to the child.
Soon crack was replaced by an even cheaper and more addictive drug methamphetamine which produced a similar high that lasted longer and was cheaper and easier to obtain. Meth continues to plague our great nation, taking it's toll on families because of it's highly addictive properties.

Now I did not decide to write this blog to educate people on substance abuse, rather a much different, yet just as addictive activity as doing drugs. I am referring to the ever popular, cue music; dum dum duuuummm; Facebook.
Yes my friends Facebook has now become the crack and meth of this generation. I speak of this through my own experience and the experiences of those around me. They know who they are. Just like a meth user can spot another meth user from a mile away, so too can the Facebook addict, affectionately called amongst it's constituents as "Crackbook". Add to it the fact that if you own a "Crackberry" device, you can access your Crackbook account any place any time with the push of a button. This becomes one powerful speedball that will keep you coming back time and time again.

Crackbook has penetrated deep into the nooks and crannies of urban as well as suburban, hell, even rural areas of the world. This is a pandemic unequaled by any other plague in history. An unstoppable force that just keeps growing and dragging unwitting victims into the depths of addiction with no respite. It has no discretion as to age, sex, socioeconomic status. It preys on any and all who heed it's call to "reconnect" with old friends and acquaintances. Social networkers looking to in turn prey upon the imprisoned masses looking for the next high, have found this forum to be highly lucrative and an excellent platform to gain their own real world riches. Like big tobacco, disregarding the harmful effects of their products, only seeking to gain from the misfortune of those gullible enough to take that first puff, that first hit.

Become a mob boss, a gangster. Accumulate untold wealth in a world of crime and adventure. Taking pleasure from the notion that you just whacked another mobster and gained more power and status. Prefer a slower paced life? Become a farmer, planting crops, harvesting them and selling them for a small profit just so you can get your next fix of whatever fruit or vegetable you can afford to plant. Don't have enough money? Go to the market and whore yourself out like the crack whores of old, begging for the job that will allow you to satiate your craving for more land, bigger homes, and infamy; as people praise what you have built as a Farm Empire from just a few patches of potatoes.

Crackbook has caused great minds such as myself to actually calculate whether it was more profitable to plant carrots vs. pumpkins. Even as I write this I am a slave to this cyberspace master, being beckoned by a friend to come harvest their crops for them. I can't say no, and quite frankly I don't know that I want to.

You see people get addicted to things because they receive some benefits from the addiction, although in the end it most usually ends poorly. Me, I just earned several thousands of dollars in a very short period of time. Like Pavlov's dogs, a bell rings, they get fed, they eventually learn to salivate at the sound of a bell. For the Crackbook addict as in real life, the pursuit of possessions helps feed the monster, I want that Farm Town Mansion, and I won't stop until I obtain the elusive prize. What then? Who can say for sure. One thing is for certain, you can find me on the Crackbook most everyday, searching for that elusive high, that next hit of whatever it may be to keep me coming back for more and more.

Monday, August 3, 2009

One for the ages

I have to confess that I have been guilty of a heinous crime against well, myself. For the last lets say 5 or so years I have been professing that I am a fat, old, man. Perhaps it was turning 40, perhaps it was the seemingly never ending travail of aches and pains that have assaulted me more frequently, regardless, I felt old.
I say it all the time. I'm old. My beard is salt and pepper....more salt than pepper. My hair has shades of silver throughout, of course at least I still have a full head of hair. I have started to require reading glasses to read, I can't even see the date on my watch without them. Let's face it, I have reason to say that I am old.

The cherry on top of this proverbial sundae we call life came a week and a half ago when I started noticing that my heartbeat was extremely accelerated. I was helping a good friend install some sod at his home and I'll be damned if I was getting outdone by his wife which again made me feel ancient. She was hauling that sod around like it was some rag doll she was carrying around, meanwhile I would lift one piece and about pass out from exertion.

My feelings of inadequacy continued to worsen. My friends gave me their left over sod, enough to do our front yard, all I had to do was till up the weeds, rake it out, and haul the sod from his house to mine. I was on a tight time line as the temperature was in the 100's and the sod was going to die if we didn't get it down quickly. So here is the kicker, I ask my father, a 70 year old man, to come help me out since he has a big truck, and wouldn't you know it, the old man out did me as well. This is the man that had a heart attack 5 or so years ago and he is kicking my ass up and down the front yard. Granted my heart beat was going nuts and it was 107 degrees outside, and I had been working the whole day before, but still, embarrassing none the less. I am happy to say we got it all done and neither of us died, but I sure felt like I was going to.

So the next day I am taking it easy, feeling sorry for myself and much older than the 44 years that I have been in existence, and notice my heart racing, despite doing absolutely nothing. My wife takes my pulse and it hits 120 beats a minute. Resting heart rate should be in the 70's and mine is nearly double that. I make a determination that despite how much I hate going to the doctor, this seemed serious enough for me to consent to getting things checked out.

This happened over the weekend, fast forward to mid week. My doc sends me to a cardiologist to get a Holter Monitor which is a bunch of electrodes that will measure your heart activity over a 24 hour period, as the EKG he had done didn't show anything abnormal. So I am sitting in the waiting room at this cardiologist's office and begin to look around the room. Something just seemed out of place there, and that something was me. I glanced at the faces of the clientele in the office and noticed that I was surrounded by a room full of overweight septa-, and octogenarian men. No women, no middle aged men, just men that appeared to be much older than I.
It was like I had been awaken by the ghost of Christmas Future and he was showing me what my life was going to be like. I was in a circle of waiting room chairs, a kind of intimate setting really, surrounded by four other men, some with their wives some with their daughters who by appearance seemed to be older than me, but all these men were significantly older than myself. This experience was surreal to me. I sat there nodding as I listened to their conversations with each other, talking about what procedure they had done or were about to be getting done. Occasionally I would drop a witty quip so as to feel as if I were part of the discussion, however it opened my eyes to just how NOT old I really am.

People always point to life altering experiences and say how they are going to change or how it has actually changed their life. I have had a few in mine, but none that had this kind of impact on me. Have I run out and changed my eating habits, or even run anywhere in a feeble attempt to exercise? No. Do I believe that I will? At the moment I say yes, but the reality of it all is, I haven't made any attempts thus far so who knows. The main thing I will take from this is that I am indeed not old. I have only lived maybe half of my life. They say how old you are is a function of how old you think that you are. Chronologically I am 44 years old, mentally I have been acting like I am 70. That is what I can change. That is what I will change. Baby steps to the door, baby steps to the elevator, before you know it I could be tied the the mast of a sail boat exclaiming that "I'm sailing" just like Bob!