Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Stress

My eye is twitching.  Not even the simple hiccup of an animated Jafar from any number of Disney “Aladin” movies.  No, this thing is full-on ‘seizure on the dance floor’.  The shimmies and shakes it does would put Pinkamena Diane Pie to shame.  It does this every few months for no known reason.  I used to think it was spring pollens and such – I mean, I did have my head cracked at one point.  Then it was the coffee, or rather, my roughly four shots of espresso a day – more, if during the holidays.  Maybe it’s the stress.

I blame the Dutch for most things.  Being an American mutt, I may very well be blaming myself.  In fairness, it’s a comedic blame to defer from the traditional prejudiced or stereotypical reflex I was raised with in the blaming department.  Hell, being raised in a multi-racial household with a proud Panther step-father helped mitigate anything BUT that from ever being a response.  It was always a little weird when he expected me to do the Panther salute in 1994.  My only familiarity with the Panthers as an eleven year old boy in the backwoods of southwest New York State was from ‘Forest Gump.’  To say that’s lacking in adequacy would be to draw similarities to the modern American public educational standard.

As far as I know, we have only one person who is part Dutch (that we know of) in the family, and he married in.


Point being, I don’t know if I can blame the Dutch for my eye twitch.  Stress is the easiest culprit, so let me give you a better story.  No, we’ll blame this on the great dragonbeast of Bismuth, Azurath of Malachite, the flaming beast of Meriol and T’edrialle.  It was foretold that his return would occur on the final moon of the Mayan calendar, and I fear his return deeply.

And if you just bought that, let me sell you some headlight fluid – it will protect you in the coming days of darkness!

What is causing it really doesn’t matter (unless it’s drain bamage, in which case it might matter a little).  But thinking on stress made me think of what stresses me out.  Butterflies that knowingly cross busy thruways; for that matter, sparrows that dive bomb the same roadways as if playing ‘chicken’ with the speeding cars.  Driving country roads at night for fear of having deer viscera and excrement smashed into the fine aluminum folds of my car’s exterior, should I unwittingly hit one.  Number two pencils.  Seriously, when have you ever had a plain, old, number two pencil?  And for that matter, if they’re not made with lead, how do the still work for those scantron tests?

These are all things well within my control, so why does it stress me out?  Everybody has stress.  That’s like saying you have had the urge to poop at least once before in your life.  Humour me as we look at something for a moment: we can only be effected by what we let affect us.  The understanding I had been traveling under was to simply be hard and rigid to things that I didn’t want in my life, but I’m finding that it’s not like that at all.  Not, “It’s not that easy;” not like that at all.  ‘Stress’ (of the variety I’m dealing with here) is very simply defined: put under physical or mental pressure.  There are scientific measurements of nominal standards for most humans and fish, but it is a most interesting concept because we – as a society – define its limits however we want.  My new boss is stressing me, my car is stressing me out, these tacos are causing some emotional stress (alright, we can all agree on the last one). 

We tell ourselves- and those around us- what it is that’s bothering us; what it is that’s stressing us.  Couldn’t it be said that we allow ourselves to set these benchmarks for what makes us stressed?   Are we, yet again, defining the limits to which we want to acclimate to a social norm of compliance? Or is this an easy out?  Do we typify all these things within a comfort zone, and anything breaching it is simply a stressor, rather than adapting our ability to grow so that these are included?

Looking at myself and this twitchy-as-fuck eye, I can say I am setting my own standard for what is my personal stress.  As a personal example from work – both recent and in a decade’s past - I'm starting to realize the reason people can drive me nuts with how moronic they sound, is because they're giving me back the same half-cooked explanations of everything that I don't understand.  That is to say, they irritate me, because they show me what I am doing wrong.

I am getting ‘stressed’ because I’m communicating concepts I don’t grasp firmly, and that’s causing people to come back to me, stressed, and asking for clarification.  And if you’re wondering how this applied to selling video games and running a video game store, all I have to say is: RETAIL.  Seriously, that job may come with a big old manual of what to do, but not HOW to do it.  And for selling, let’s be real for a moment: over 120 games come out from October to January annually.  Are you really so damn thick to think I’ve played every one of those, worked 60 hours a week to pay for my food and rent, spent at least 5 hours a week with my wife (while she’s conscious, thanks to alternating schedules), and then juggled the 9 hours of calls during holidays from my stores on my personal time off, all to have played these games THE DAY they came out?  Seriously: I could have had a colonic and not had more shit come out of me after the way I would make that stuff sell. 

In effect, I am my own worst enemy with stress.  I accept that there’s a limit to when I will be susceptible to it, and I allow myself the comfort of its blame, rather than expanding my own boundaries.  So for me, all ‘stress’ I encounter is simply a self-imposed inability to process or cope with aspects of my daily life.

Easy enough, right?  Understanding that, I can affect change.

Now, let’s talk about my recent endeavor to stop using Prilosec after a fifteen year prescribed stint (docs started me YOUNG).  Just thought to myself, is this something I need?  No, but I have to re-learn what in the hell food agrees with me now.  Speaking of, let’s also talk about how I’m not drinking coffee anymore…

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