Shatter Thy Calm

paranoiaIt’s Saturday afternoon. I have just finished teaching and have treated myself to a dangerous amount of sausage and an omelet the size of a Frisbee. I put on some music and lie on the couch with a book. And then I pause in a moment of clarity.

Is it possible?

Yes, it is.

I am happy and content.

I review everything in my mind: great friends, good social life, sex life which involves no monetary transfer, a good book, developing professionally, pants loose, Dr. Who downloading for Sunday marathon.

All is, actually, well.

It’s times like this that one can sit back, take in a deep breath and just be. Yes, simply be in this beautiful – all too rare – moment of happiness and content that life offers.

So, naturally distrustful of this happiness, I go out of my way to blow it out of the water like the Lusitania.

I start by looking for problems in my life. They’re hiding at the moment behind happiness and a big Xanax made of omelet. I make lists. The first is a list of people who probably hate me, a good long list. It involves Facebook, colleagues, trudging up bad memories, and a lot of physical wincing.

Once I am certain that most of my friends, past acquaintances, or the guy from the local shop have all ordered hit men, I make more lists. There is a list of unfulfilled dreams, a list of personality flaws (big, big list. big), and a list of things I should have accomplished by this point in life and just haven’t.

My content is compromised, but not enough. No, time to focus on body and health.

As a hypochondriac, I only have to start looking at things more closely. I notice a mole, pinpoint it. Was it there before? Has it grown? Is it growing now? I follow this line of questioning until the mole is manhole cover sized and talks trash about my momma. After mole inspection, I move on to the left-side right-side comparison game.

This is a game any hypochondriac knows, in which he acts as a sort of anatomical topographer. There’s a small lump on the left side of my larynx (aka: a bone) that is less pronounced on the right side. One of my kidneys seems rounder than the other and my right armpit is like a radish garden. Let me tell you, closely inspecting the sides of your tongue will send you screaming into the night. (Seriously, don’t do it)

I make a list of questions, blemishes, conditions, hair patterns, moles, and lumps, and then I go to Google and prepare to become one with paranoia.

Though does scare my soul out through my ears, it doesn’t fully do the trick. In the end there’s one thing nagging me: I feel great. It’s true. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since I was twenty, I feel good, look good.


Back to the drawing board.

The drawing board is the Internet. I make an active drive for discomfort and unease, and there is no place better than attaining these feelings than a traipse through Internetland.

There’s the normal stuff. Hundreds are dying daily at the hands of maniacs utilizing every conceivable dogma. The Kardashians dominate the news. Where they aren’t is covered by fools like Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Stupidity is as rampant as loose joints at a Dead Show. Ignorance is celebrated. Sensibility and intelligence mocked. And the Philadelphia Eagles suck.

Though I start to feel tired from these heavy loads, I still see a sliver of content.

I bring on the big guns. I Google facts that will scare you.

I have reached flavor country. I learn that babies are born without kneecaps, that it sometimes rains spiders. Rains. Spiders. I learn that the average person walks by 30 murderers in their lifetime and I learn that psychopaths don’t instinctively yawn. I have closed my curtains and glare at those on the street wondering who the killer is and watching for the non-yawners.

At the end, I am victorious. But victorious like a guy whose goal was to get really drunk and who suddenly finds himself sitting in a puddle of his own urine and incapable of speech. I’m tired so I head into bed. I try to sleep, but can’t. My eye is itchy, then my knee, then my calf.

If I’m still alive in the morning, I’ll Google it.

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