KEEP your sense of HUMOR
Keep your sense of humor and other Survival Tips
It’s easy to always talk serious about the damage we’re doing to the planet, and the humongous problems we face.
I confess, I’ve resembled that statement many times.
Heck, it’s understandable.
EVERY single THING we do and touch EVERY DAY is contributing in some fashion to the damage to humans or to Earth.
Jez, it’s enough to make you want to
A. Scream at the top of your lungs to everyone you meet
B. Reach for a bottle of Prozac
C. Grab for a razor blade
D. All of the above
Those are bad, bad ideas.
Bag the anti-depressants, save your lungs, and leave your razor in the medicine cabinet.
For a reasonable fee I will provide
The point is,
Getting NEG’d Out is Not An Option
I learned this in my early days as a rock climber, long, long ago.
Long before Gen X and Extreme Sports.
When you’re on the sharp end of the rope, 10 feet above your last piece of protection, 80 feet above the ground, and
you’re not sure if you can make the next move,
every cell in your body wants to panic.
But getting Neg’d out will not do any good.
In fact, it will increase the odds that you’ll fall.
It was at the end of my 1st Full-On year of climbing.
I was on my first climbing trip out to Colorado when I really understood Neg’d out.
I was feeling strong – I’d gone though the Boston AMC training, and had lead some multi-pitch climbs. Now I was just hanging out for a few days until my partner from Boston showed up. I had vowed not climb with anyone I did not know. It was too dangerous.
I was buying a climbing guide. The guy who sold me the book said,
“What are you doing tomorrow? Wanna go climbing, up in Estes Park?”
“You mean up in the real mountains, like 10 pitch climbs?”
All my rules went out the window in a heartbeat.
The next morning I was on a tiny ledge, some 200 feet above the ground.
The valley floor dropped another thousand feet.
Off in the distance was the three thousand foot ‘Diamond”.
We were about 250 feet from the top.
Luke, Luke Lukedemyer, he’d lead every pitch until now.
When we came upon a 50 foot long traverse that ended in cave, Luke sez,
“It’s pretty easy, why don’t you lead it.”
Next thing I know, I’m balancing on a one-inch ledge, which was plenty big.
Except that the only cracks to place Pro were down around my ankles.
No way in hell was I going to crouch down to put a piece in – not with a 40 pound crag pack full of gear on my back.
Some 15 feet below me was 3-foot wide ledge. If I fell, I’d twist an ankle for sure, maybe roll off the edge.
I had no choice but to keep inching slowly forward with no Pro.
Finally making it to the cave, I set up my belay anchors and Luke climbed across.
He looked at my glazed eyes and said with a twinkle in his voice,
“Say Bob, are you getting Neg’d Out??”
“No, No, of course not” I mumbled.
He continued on up over the roof and got to the end of the pitch..
I was shaking as I grunted up out of the cave and onto the face, cursing him out –
“…Damn RIGHT I’m Neg’d Out!”
So sure, everyone who understands the situation civilization faces has a good reason to get Neg’d out. But wait until you set your ankors.
A Little Perspective Helps Keep You Sane
We’ve been 200+ years of the Industrial Revolutions getting ourselves into this mess.
It was less than 50 years ago that laws were made to start to reduce pollution.
It’s going to be a long, long Journey.
Way past your Children’s Children’s Children - [smile all you Moody Blues fans]
Heck, we’ve barely started.
See the diagram of the 4 stages of Environmentalism, by Carl Frankel. Great stuff.
The Organization as an Adolescent model
Except for the relatively few organizations that ‘get it’ and are steadily inwardly learning and growing,
most organizations – not just businesses –
are like teenagers going through adolescence. And they are all at different levels of maturity.
Some are barely into puberty – refusing to clean up their rooms and fighting against any and all restrictions you put on them.
Dad sez, “Be home by 11.”
The kid comes home at 18 minutes after.
Mom yells “Clean your room, it’s a pig-stye. I can’t even open the door!”
The kid whines and whines about how unfair you are, and you don’t have the right to tell ‘em what to do and yadda yadda yadda.
Some are like kids that have finally figured out that if they don’t clean up their room before their girlfriend comes over, she’ll think he’s a jerk.
Some are teenagers that are a schitzy mixture of both. It’s like you’re dealing with different people.
Maybe they now clean up their room on their own. They do try a little harder at getting good grades. But still always fight and fight to stay out later and later.
And some places are like the teenager who gives you a blank stare when you ask,
“what are you doing to improve your grades?”
As if to say “ Improve my grades? Huh?”
Like Working with Chronically Mentally Ill
Back in 1980 – 83, I worked in long term residential house for chronically mentally ill.
These were folks who’d been in State Mental Institutions, but could live out in staffed half way type houses. [part of the nation-wide de institute program]
Schizophrenics, Alcoholics, Manic Depression, schizophrenic alcoholics.
Ya got used to greeting a resident with “Hi, how are your voices today?”
“Oh, not too bad.”
They were in incredible psychological pain, most of them sexually or physically abused as children.
Most of us were just out of college, and wanted to ‘cure’ them.
Einngh. Wrong Answer.
Wrong measuring stick.
Success was them being able to live here, with minimal regressions requiring hospitalization.
They’d been in pain for a long, long time, and the best we could do was our small piece of compassion and leave it at that.
So, after years of distaining escapist type movies as opium for the masses, I wanted them. Superman, Star Wars, etc.
Like Working in Corporate America
In the mid 80’s I sold my soul to the Devil and became a computer programmer.
Huge complex IBM mainframe applications with spaghetti code, and the culprits long gone or were in upper management.
And the pressure impression was like, we’re supposed to fix these humongous Systems overnight.
Then it hit me – Holy bleep, – it’s just like working with schizophrenics!
It had taken t 15 + years to get this screwed up, and they were going to be screwed up for a long time after I left
We could work night and day for years and we wouldn’t be able to fix ‘these Systems.
Take Care of Yourself
Beware of the Black Hole of Activism.
Do what you can. As best you can. Then let it go at that.
Remember to take care of yourself, your family, your finances.
Like the flight attendants say,
“…put on your oxygen mask before you help small children around you..”
I consider myself a Pragmatic Optimistic
It’s not worth energy banging your head against the brick walls of
Nihilistic Negative Nellie
Yank’in your Chain Charlie
[these are psychiatric clinical diagnosis. You can look them up in the
Like I said, I’ve learned this stuff the hard way.
Get out in Nature and enjoy the very thing you’re trying to protect.
And, at least sometimes for cry’in out loud,
do it when you aren’t counting the miles, peak bagging, racing the clock or listing all the names of every species of blah-blah.
Splash in a mud puddle
Give a Whoop, Holler and a Ye-Ha! out in the woods every now and then - just for the ‘hell of it
Skip stones over the water.
Be politically incorrect every once in awhile
“It’s so neat to beat your feet in the Mississippi mud”
– some old song a Conservation professor quoted.
“be-tend” you’re out in the wilds when you’re really just in the local forest preserve.
If you’re of the inclination, Pray hard for the pain People and Mother Earth are in.
Throw a Party for no particular reason.
Get together with other concerned folk when you AREN’T raising $$$$ for a cause or solving some world problem.
Why hearing The Blues makes you feel good
Why do people Like to hear the Blues? It seemed to make about as much sense as taking Downers to make you feel good.
This question occurred to me after the 1st time I heard live Blues.
It was in the late 1970’s. My show biz famous cousin was in from LA, so my older brother and I took her up to hear some Blues. This is Chicago, after all.
I was living in Boston, just out of college a few years when the lighting bolt struck.
It was when I was in a world of hurt.
My cat got run over by my neighbor’s car.
After months and months of trying, I finally gave up on the gal that I’d been hoping do the “friends turn into Romance” thing.
I forget else was screwed up.
I got so annoying bad some buddies took me out to hear some live music.
To ‘cheer me up.” Ya, Right.
Of course it wasn’t helping.
But at the end of the last set, he said,
“I’m gonna play some Blues riffs, and anybody can come up and sing a song.”
They didn’t have to twist my arm to get me up there to sing my favorite Steve Goodman song.
My baby came to me this morning.
She said, “I’m kinda confused. If me and BB King were both drown’ in, which one, which one would you chose?
I looked at my Baby and said, Whoa Baby.
I said Whoa-a Woe Bab-by. Whoa-a Wo a wo-wo Baaayy Beee,
Babe, I ain’t never heard you, play the Blues”
Song over, I’m walking away when he sez, “And so how did your Baby love ya?”
Without skipping a beat I turned to him and said, “My Baby didn’t love me, that’s why I got the Blues.”
I proceeded to sing about my relationship with her, with many details, including using her name. By the time I left the stage my buddies were on the floor laughing hysterically and I had an ear-to-ear grin.
Ahh….So that’s why the Blues makes people feel good.
I think it has something to do with what psychologists call Cognitive Dissonance.
But it’s really quite simple.
You feel bad and your friends take you to a party to ‘cheer you up.”
So now you’re around a bunch of people who are feeling good.
Now you feel bad about feeling bad.
Then you go into a Blues club.
The guy up on stage is singing about how his girlfriend dumped him and
“no body loves me but my Mama,
and she might be jive’n too.”
If you got up and started wailing about how much you hurt, they’d put you in the looney bin.
But here this guy’s doing exactly what you’d like to do, the crowd is digging it,
AND he’s getting paid. How cool is that.
Plus, the riffs are shooting into you, massaging the place deep inside where you hurt the most.
So now you feel Good about feeling Bad.
And you feel Good.
So, the next time you’re about to get Neg’d Out, crank on some B.B. King or Koko Taylor.
See, isn’t this much better than Prozac?
And, it’s way cheaper than a Shrink.
I use a sliding scale.
Credit Card only, via PayPal