08 March 2007

Happiness, Pt. 6: Gettin' My Dawdle On

Meet my new role model. Droopy Dog is the pace car in my rat


I sent an email to that guy you asked me about - Max Hong, the guy who was relocating to Seattle. I said yeah sure I can show you where to score fat, gnarly buds with big red hairs, captain! I've been hooking foreigners up with ganja since '87 and I've got the t-shirt to prove it. Just say the word! I hope this did not offend his Korean sensibilities.

PSYCHE! I did no such thing. Actually, all I told him was that I've lived here for 20 years and had no plans of leaving my White Supremacist compound on Whidbey Island.

PSYCHE AGAIN! Good God man, you are so easy! Freakin' just look at you! You're all wigging out because you think I probably told this guy about how your strange affection for your tuba (and proclivity for having sex in barns while the brass section of the London Philharmonic watches) made you the model for the main character in Peter Shaffer's gritty psychological drama Greguus. Look, if he knows about that it's because he reads the paper. I didn't say anything. So chill. Eat a donut. Carbohydrates are a calming food. Or that's what Dr. Max Hong tells me.

Speaking of chill, this happiness experiment that I've been doing on my brain since November has caused me to chill in the most delightful ways. Here's an update. Doing the "three things" exercise really does work incredibly well for something that seems like such an insignificant gesture. However it does work a whole lot better if you do it right before you go to sleep. I know this because I was having a hard time staying awake and writing in my journal each night while I was in a state of repose on my TempurPedic Coma-Tron 3000, especially if I'd just eaten dinner not long before. As you know I get up at 4AM every day, so laying on the world's most comfortable mattress with a gutful of pasta at 9PM was proving to be a knockout combination. Even trying to avoid premature narcolation by writing while sitting upright at the dinner table didn't work so well. Half the time I was doing a full on neck-wilt followed by a face-plant right between the pages of my Moleskine. Most of my journal entries started to look like "1. Getting a check fro~~ #20a;slkjd ~~~~~~~~~. Snnrrrrrrrrrrfff." And then there'd be a stain on the page that looked like the Shroud of Turin would look if Jesus had been wearing glasses. So I started to do the exercise first thing in the morning which is just about the only time my brain works anyway. I have to admit, it's a great way to start the day, but the persistent mood-elevating effect from it began to ebb after a couple of weeks, so I decided I oughtta go back and do the exercise the way it was prescribed. I figure if I don't eat anything after 2PM, I should be able to stay awake long enough in the evening to get it done. I'll let you know how that turns out. Since I have a tendency to obsess on pudding at about 2:30PM every day, I believe accomplishing that will take a great deal of fortitude that I may in no way possess. We'll see.

I've continued doing the other exercise, the one I created to do in the morning, that one about "Three Things To Look Forward To Today". That one has been working out really well and works exponentially better than any "to do" list I ever wrote in my life. Stuff that I write in this list actually get done. Who'd'a thunk?

But the best side effect (or is it direct effect?) of this whole experiment is the across-the-board deceleration of my life in general. To wit, I have begun to dawdle, to dawdle well, and to dawdle often. Example: usually when I go hiking or snowshoeing on the weekends, I like to be the first person on the trail so I can enjoy the silence unperturbed by dogs, children, adulterers, fastpackers, sullen teens, Fat Grannies, Ozzie fans, and other representatives of the various phylums, classes or species tributary to the H. fartknocker evolutionary branch that might be found in the deep woods of the great northwest. I'm usually making everyone's life a living, shrieking hell by prying them out of bed at an UnGawdly hour on a weekend morning and making them rush to the trailhead. Not so anymore. Last weekend I was content to let the group gather at its own speed, then meander its way to the trailhead at a pleasant - dare I say floaty - pace. It was so much more relaxing than my usual way of doing things. The general texture and pace of the day reminded me of a rather pleasant week I spent in a Canadian hospital smacked out of my gourd on morphine. Everything had the languid, beautiful tempo of a still, warm autumn day, or...say...Hempfest. But this time I didn't have to have my appendix removed to enjoy it. What's more interesting is that this deceleration took place apparently without my volition. I didn't plan it. I just woke up one day, stopped giving a rat's ass, and started moving at a more organic pace...say the speed of a carrot...or perhaps even dirt.

Now I'm assuming, mind you, that this is the result of the exercises that I've been doing and not the result of the gradual evaporation of my precious life-giving fluids as I approach and overtake middle age. I'm convinced it's the former because of the proximity between the initiation of the exercise and gradual entanglement of my limbs in the giddy molasses of sloth. The fact that I can bench three times what I could when I was twenty, not to mention the vexing new growth of insolent black hairs on my chest where there were formerly none, both indicate that the bung and stopcock on my hormone barrel is getting - if anything - more leaky with age. At this rate I should be the strongest, slowest, most hirsute 80-year-old you've ever seen.

And speaking of geriatrics, I was surprised to find that not only is Jack LaLanne still alive and jumping at age 92, but another pugancious nonegenarian desperately wants to kick his ass. I thought that guy had stopped pissing people off and jumping-jacked his ass right into Forest Lawn decades ago. Apparently not. Well if he's still around when I'm 92 (which would make him 140), I'd probably like to take a crack at slapping the gums out of his mouth, too. I can see it now. I'll throw one punch and it'll take half a day to land.