Tuesday, December 8, 2015

ON BEING ME ...


TACTICAL

Nothing of any note has occurred lately.  Still looking for a copy of Sartre’ “Being And Nothingness”.  The Jackson Street Bookstore in the Old Market did not have a copy, as I hoped to make the purchase from and independent bookstore.  The lady there was friendly, as I came just after closing time.  She even suggested another indie bookstore out in West O (I have been here long enough to use local references to areas around here, right?), which does not sound like a fun late fall bike ride!  So I will likely go to Barnes & Nobles at the Crossroads Mall and see if I can find it there.

Right now, I am on the tail end of a minor gout flare… nothing really troubling as far as my dealings with gout goes.  Just a couple of observations:

First, I tend to get very sleepy when a gout flare begins to set in.  I mean, sleeping through alarms and getting out of bed groggy.  Second, there is the HEAT that comes with it!  This flare, in my left wrist, makes my forearm feel as though it is being boiled from the inside out.  Sometimes the sensation wakes me up and causes me to toss and turn in bed.  Finally, there is the general sense of malaise that is attached to every waking moment during a flare.  It is all-encompassing and constant aggravation.  My second observation is the timing of my flares.  As much as it troubles me to say, I think that the weather plays a VERY big factor in when my gout flares strike.  The literature is unclear about gout’s relationship with weather changes… and because of it being unclear, the room for weather to be a factor increases.  Finally, I think that the flare is just what it is, a small flare and not a raging brushfire thanks in part to my increased diligence in training and improving my diet.

And lastly… saying that my gout flare is a “minor” one is also something that should be up for debate.  I am not really good at objectively judging the intensity of the discomfort that I may actually be in.  When I was diagnosed with my condition, I made a change of how I act on my levels of discomfort and the observations of that discomfort… to wit-

A couple of years ago I had gout really bad in my left hand.  It had been around three weeks with NO improvement (though I was treating it homeopathically).  My then-manager happened to observe my swollen hand, asked how long had I been walking around with it swollen as it was, and then she conspired to get me to an hospital for treatment.  It has always been a quality of mine to take the advice of someone who can both be objective and have my best intentions at heart.  Unfortunately, I have not had many people who were willing to take  the additional steps to make “things happen”.  What I mean by that is, if you observe something that needs correction or demands attention, then you should take ownership of that situation.  I have no patience for the kind of people that are “Kitty Genovese bystander’s” to/and in my life.

AND WHY IT IS IN THE DETAILS …

...because you were off your guard.  And it is often the truth that when someone is not concentrating on the projection of who they want to be believed as to others, when their true character is shown.

I read “Counsels And Maxims” by Arthur Schopenhauer in junior high school.  One of the reasons that I was into philosophy as a kid is that by studying character and the thinking of men in large groups, that you gain critical insights into what shapes the behavior of the individual.  This is true whether the individual is conscious of the influence of outside forces on them or not.  They may believe that their thoughts are their own when the truth is that what they think is an amalgamation of societal and social mores that are in line with a behavior a certain culture.  Reading books and taking in information that was “above my pay grade” with regard to being able to command and own what I was reading, did not either dissuade me from trying to grasp the material nor did I think that it gave me any advantage, i.e., made me believe that I was smarter than anyone else.  Still, the thing that was annoying about being a reader was that “reading” was looked at with scorn and that knowledge that I had obtained was another way of being my being brainwashed by “the man”.  Schopenhauer changed that for me.

 ... {If one} is inconsiderate and seeks only what is advantageous or convenient to himself, to the prejudice of others’ rights; if he appropriates to himself that which belongs to all alike, you may be sure there is no justice in his heart, and that he would be a scoundrel on a wholesale scale, only that law and compulsion bind his hands. Do not trust him beyond your door. He who is not afraid to break the laws of his own private circle, will break those of the State when he can do so with impunity.

Whenever I look back at the moment I first read Schopenhauer's discussion on “the trifles of life”, my being grows lighter.  From that naive, adolescent perspective, I no longer had to ask myself “why” someone was being mean or rude to me.  The answer was evident; they were a d*ck!  Not only did this discovery free me from the typical social anguish of the adolescence, but as I grew older, my interpretation and understanding of those words became more refined, or “tighter”.  With my Aunt’s words bolstering my self-esteem and “Uncle Arthur’s” advice constantly in mind, I don’t have any compunction about “X-ing” people out of my life.  And using my most recent episode with gout in mind…

As I mentioned, the level at which I register discomfort has always seemed to have changed and adjusted to the upper limit of whatever pain episode I am enduring.  When I was an amateur boxer, I remember a match during which I broke my right hand and continued on with the bout, winning a decision.  Then in the service, there were many episodes where I pushed myself to a higher tolerance for injury, primary example being my last week of training to get my Air Assault tab.  It isn’t that I thought then, nor do I now, think of myself as being tough or anything.  It is just that I don’t have the “ouch” gene in me.  To remedy that, since I have been disabled, I have allowed for outside observations to carry more weight than before with regards to my health and well-being.  For instance, when my then-manager at the health club where I work conspired to get me to the hospital, that was an example of my letting an outside opinion mean more than my own judgment.

My thoughts, my cognitive abilities are impaired.  I have personally confirmed this through my pursuit of a degree, if there has been nothing else in my life to make the effects of my injury clear to me, it is my academic pursuits.  At any rate, since I know that my judgment is slightly skewed, so I do not rely upon the observations of “unqualified persons” in my life.  “What”, you may asked, “do you mean by an unqualified person?”  This is where the judgment I make on how a person approaches or behaves when dealing in one of life’s “trifles” comes into play.  Having heard enough through the regret of others about things that they should have “known better than” when it comes to relationships, because the behavior trait that has caused the upset usually is one that was already observed and noted.  There have only been two noteworthy exceptions to this concept, one during my marriage and the other coming when I decided to revisit a past relationship with Mookie Dee.

...and if anyone is wonder why I don’t entertain many people as friends, take these words and apply them to your relationships, familial as well as others, and ask yourself “Why are you with such people?”  And if you find yourself stretching to accommodate their presence in your life, then you will have your answer as to why I am so “Ok with that”, when it comes to having just anyone in my life...

2 comments:

Ken Riches said...

Glad the flareup is almost over. Take care of yourself friend!

abbiestreehouse said...

You have my sympathy on the gout. Mona takes a tablet of allopurinol (sp?) daily to keep it from flaring up. As a side effect, it's supposed to be good for your arteries.

I'm impressed by your reading list! I'll have to look some of these philosophers up!