Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Talk Thursday: Natural Consequences

In case anybody's wondering, the little fish-o-gram has not been retired. He's making less than frequent appearances because I'm having, shall we say, a sucky couple of weeks as far as swimming goes. Oh, I'm still showing up, but I'm late or I'm leaving early or else I'm just incredibly slow, and some days I've been lucky to crack a thousand meters, much less log a 1200, which is the lowest notch on the fish-o-gram. (And also three-quarters of a mile, in case you can't calculate that in your head. I can't, either.) I have a choice here between lowering my standards, or just not using the fish-o-gram. So far the fish-o-gram is losing. Still, I'm kind of missing it, too. So we'll see what happens.

This segues perfectly into today's Talk Thursday topic. The natural consequences of eating sugar and oversleeping: Slowness in the water, minimal meterage and missing Mr. Fishy. I dunno what you think of when you hear the expression "natural consequences", but I immediately think of driver's ed. You know, that class in high school that you had to take if you ever wanted to get behind the wheel of a car, but that seemed to have all the practical application to piloting a vehicle that trigonometry did to balancing a checkbook. "Natural consequences" were the ones you couldn't avoid if you did something stupid with the aforementioned vehicle. Take a turn too fast, for example, and your wheels would come off the street, and if you did it exactly wrong, you might even roll over. Slam on the brakes too hard and not only wouldn't you stop, but you'd careen off one direction or another and possibly spin around a few times. It all had something to do with gravity and physics and vectors and thrust and things like that, and you couldn't talk your way out of it like you sometimes could a ticket. If X, Then Y. No unknowns to the equation.


Well, except that we're human beings, of course. And despite the clear and convincing evidence that If X, Then Y, we somehow think we can beat the odds, defy gravity, turn physics on its ear and tell the vectors to come back another day. Every time I take my life in my hands and get on the Suicide Highway (or the 75 Central Expressway, as it's known to Dallasites) I see people do amazing things with cars that are apparently supposed to defy the rule, but instead end up proving it over and over again. Sometimes I come across the wreckage of said cars after they've been proven wrong. So maybe natural consequences are the ones that people don't believe in, regardless of how right-in-front-of-your-face the evidence may be.

I can use myself as another example. I can't, or at least shouldn't, eat sugar in copious quantities. It's practically impossible not to eat sugar at all. Too many things have sugar in them, like ketchup, for God's sake, and peanut butter. I managed it for twenty days once, as an experiment, and boy did I get testy. But if I just avoid things that are supposed to be sweet, like cake and doughnuts and sweet rolls and ice cream and stuff like that, I'm generally okay. Which is to say, my blood glucose isn't zooming up and down, I'm not practically losing consciousness every time I stand up, my meds are working the way they're supposed to and I'm feeling, you know, pretty good. As opposed to that lovely half-dead, dragged-naked-through-wet-grass-and-then-stomped-on sort of feeling that I get when I'm coming down from a sugar high. (I went to a chocolate tasting once--yes, you may point out how incredibly dumb that was--and was sick for three days.)

So logic would dictate that, when a cake or something shows up in the kitchen at work, my brain would kick on and say, "Ahem. If X, Then Y." Especially if it's a white cake with white or cream cheese icing; that stuff is like cocaine. Sincerely. And not wanting to feel like I'm half-dead and dragged-naked-through...yeah, I'd simply stay away from the cake. And sometimes I do. But sometimes I don't. Sometimes I stand there with a fork in my hand, like a crack addict with a dime bag, and say to myself, "Just this once."

Yeah. This once. Natural consequences be damned. If X, Then Y doesn't apply to me. I defy gravity, I repeal the laws of physics. And then the next morning, I drag myself out of bed and contemplate calling in sick. Which I never do, because it was my idiot behavior that got me into this mess. If you're gonna howl all night with the big dogs, don't whine like a puppy in the morning, or something like that. And then, as I'm now back on sugar, I have to get back off sugar. Which--pardon all the drug references, but they're really fucking apt--is like trying to get off cocaine. It's really hard. And even though I know I'm going to have to do it, and that it will be really hard, and that I'll feel terrible for days while the sugar clears my system, I still do it. I still do it.

Which just goes to show something or other.

I read someplace that in the brains of real drug addicts, the "go" signals -- that is, the ones that tell your brain to "go" get drugs after they've been triggered by something--work three times as fast as the "no-go" signals, which are the logical ones that convince you to stop. If you act at all impulsively, you're screwed. You can only kick a habit like this if you're willing to stop and take a few deep breaths each and every time you start craving whatever-it-is, to give the "no-go" signals time to fire up. In short, engage the brain. Pay attention to the natural consequences. Remember that If X, Then Y. Which is, uh, really hard.

Why? Because we're human beings. Just ask those drivers on the 75.


wolfwhosings said...

Oh so very true - regardless of the drug in question. It could also be something as intangible as approval or affection. Something as destructive as rage.

Or something as simple as a plate of rice krispie treats.

Jen said...

Hmm, let's see, I think I had three Rice Krispie treats at Thanskgiving dinner? Or was it four?