Saturday, November 27, 2010


It seems like everybody these days is into some kind of therapy.  They go to a shrink or seek out a guru, priest, numerologist, palm reader or insightful auto mechanic who missed his calling. Either that or they're medicated with anything from endorphines to Captain Morgan to antidepressants.  Most of these solutions entail some monetary cost on the levels to put other people's kids through university.  I prefer to save up for my own sons' useless overpriced degrees thank you very much. So where is the solution?
Having been a basket case myself lately on a fairly regular basis, I have come up with three absolutely free (well....mostly...) attacks against the woes of modern living.  They won't work for everyone, but they work for me (well...mostly...). I have discovered what should have been obvious to any reasonably intelligent 40 year old:  you don't have to be a shrink to be able to sooth and give good advice.  One friend in particular has been a great source of knowledge. She's a  veteran of the same war I'm in, and she always makes it better, even if it's just by sharing a laugh.
  Music is an invaluable outlet.  It's spiritual and physical, as well as a healthy translation of anger and hurt into creativity.  I'm singing more and better than I have in years.  You've gotta know pain to really sing the blues, or anything else, for that matter .
My third coping mechanism is a little's buckets of weird, but I find it very therapeutic.  I like to sharpen things. See, told ya, weird. I think what it is is the rapid accomplishment of a definable task.  Dull, ten minutes later, sharp with lots of care and concentration, but no real thinking in the middle.  The only problem is that every tool in the shed, knife in the kitchen,  pair of scissors, and vegetable peeler in the house is already ant-sweat-shaving-hair-popping-nick-your-bum-if-you-look-at-it-too-long sharp.  I'm out of stuff to sharpen. I'm afraid to send away for more on ebay; I'm sure there must be some kind of limit I'm approaching. All that aside, I find any work that requires concentration, physical strength and skill but that still lets you switch off your brain, to be very cathartic.  Have an imaginary conversation with whoever is causing you grief while splitting wood if you ever have a chance.  You'll win the argument every time:)


  1. I always enjoyed Silviculture therapy -- go out to the nearest batch of woods and knock over any standing dead trees by brute force, beat any deadfalls into pieces the same way. Have you heard Billy Idol's "Yellin' at the Christmas Tree"? It was inspired by him venting his frustrations with his manager at a Christmas tree that happened to be the same height.
    If you feel like doing brute force stuff you could come over & help me fix some of the shit that needs doing here...

  2. The sharpening thing isn't that weird. Part of it is a control thing.

    The biggest stresses are caused when we feel there are large parts of our lives out of our control. Sharpening or similar activities, give us an immediate sense of control over the environment we're in.

    Blethering with good friends is the best thing of all though :)

  3. Xavi, I'm thinking that when I'm in these moods, I'd best not be turned loose trying to fix things. I'd be far more apt to break them.

    Kim, thanks for the reassurance that I'm not a complete psycho... You're right of course, the sharpening thing has a predicable and controllable outcome that is within my grasp while everything else seems to be spinning out of it. Without friends like Kate with whom I've reconnected, Xavi, who follows the blog, and Chris, I would have lost it. They offered advice, a listening ear, and remarkable patience in the face of my single minded distress at times. True friends all.