Sunday, January 2, 2011

Whack-A-Mole for the new year

It seems like when I pull back one of my addictions (ok, maybe we can say compulsions, just to sound nicer and maybe fool somebody), another one ramps up. Less drinking, more eating…buying less jewelry, buying more art. My mental image for this is the carnival game Whack-A-Mole. The bad stuff is gonna bubble up out of some hole! And I am not the most effective whacker…I don’t fear my own whacking and I avoid others who might whack at my behaviors, so the moles keep coming up.

I was shocked to read that some people who have gone through surgical stomach reductions and can no longer overeat turn to drinking, drugs…even (I don’t know why I said “even,” I’m not assigning degrees to this list!) gambling and sexual acting out. But on reflection that is not really so shocking…I guess other people have a Whack-A-Mole board in their head too.

I just Googled to check myself on the previous paragraph, and I must be correct because a blog came up quoting “gastric-bypass poster child Carnie Wilson” and terming the process “Addiction Transfer," which certainly sounds official and clinical.

My anxieties are like Whack-A-Mole too. Put one to rest (replace an ancient furnace) and another one (what if the water heater developed a leak while we’re at work?) is anxious!!! to take its place. My blood work comes back normal, then I start feeling a strong pulse in my fingertips. Now, what did the doctor tell me about that…he said some people feel their fingers pulse and others don’t. But what does that doctor know, really? Maybe my pulse is dangerously high…maybe my blood pressure has zoomed since it was last checked…

For the medical anxieties I pretty much need pharmaceuticals to whack down the worry moles.

While searching for images of the Whack game (and learning how to spell it – I think I started out with “waccamole,” which just got me guacamole recipes) I found an article by Bonnie Boots, Has Putting Your Head Up On the Internet Made You Feel Like Whack-A-Mole?

It was the leading image that drew me in – a freaky version of the photo at the top of this post – but when I looked further at the article I realized it was Sarah blog fuel too. Bonnie relates the negative emails some bloggers receive to the insults that get hurled at those whose have a public profile in any kind of media - the newspapers, TV, etc. I am not a big enough anything to have gotten hate mail, but even my degree of “fame” (had to put that word in quotes) sometimes feels like too much attention.

Relative strangers start out conversations with me by saying, “You have a REAL problem with buying art, don’t you…” (in scene settings ranging from a dirty-floor Mexican restaurant to Christmas dinner). My drinking and my job comments draw a lot of attention too. But just as I start to MAYBE question my let-it-all-hang-out web philosophy, I remember the baking comments from the 1990s…

In my 30s I loved to try out new cookie, bread and cake recipes and took my experiments into the office at least once a week. Coworkers complained about their diets but of course they inhaled the stuff. Every group-signed birthday card from those years had almost 100% comments about my baking. “Keep up the baking! Keep making me fat! Love your cooking!” etc. At first it was cute but by year 3 there was so much sameness to it that it felt impersonal. But…when I got busier with other things and stopped baking, the card comments got even more boring. What does anyone say when they sign an office card, after all? “HBD!” is about the best innovation even my creative self has come up with in decades of office work.

Yes, my head sticks up on the internet. But I have a big head, always have, was born with a large skull. And parts of my personality like attention. And nothing is really private these days, anyway…and writers want to be heard. Hell, women want to be heard! Although we get smacked down far too much!
When I came up with the idea for this post it was going to be doom & gloom, “I sure hope 2011 is not another whack-a-mole year like 2010 was”…going from one fear, one anxiety, one overspending category to the other…

But now that I have typed two pages of stuff, found 3 cool images online, and am having a little Chardonnay (not too much – a small mole, barely sticking its fuzzy head up) and listening to Buddy Guy wailing and banging in a live blues album from 1979…

At this brief point in time, I am feeling kind of good about moles coming up through holes.

If I think more about it, I will fear 2011's I will stop writing and click on Publish Post.

1 comment:

Showing up for the Muse said...

don't stop writing.It serves as a vent for more of us than you know!