Solving One Problem Only To Go Onto Another

Finally got over my injured back.  I can do everything now I once could.  Took almost a month of ice, ibuprofen, tylenol, and chiropractic treatment.  I’m so glad I didn’t have a job when this happened as I probably would have been fired or forced into burning all my sick leave.  I’m so glad those issues are gone.

Now I am on to other problems.  My pc crashed this morning. No doubt the warranty is already expired. Seriously folks, I don’t know why you’re worried about murderous and evil AI, Terminator robots, HAL, and Skynet. Just wait a few months and their software will inevitably crash, especially if they are running Windows. That’s how the humans will win the ‘war against the machines.’  Fortunately I also have a Mac.  I’ve had macs for years and had only one crash on me.  Yet it was under warranty and I didn’t pay a dime to get it fixed.

Naturally, my pc had to crash on a weekend and at the end of the month when I’m low on funds.  Rarely can you schedule this stuff to crash at 4pm on a Thursday afternoon, though that is when my car crash happened 🙂  Some people are probably thinking Murphy’s law: “If anything can go wrong, it will.”  Personally I’m also thinking Peter Diamandis and his take on this: “If anything can go wrong, fix it.  To hell with Murphy.”  Throwing a hissy fit simply isn’t going to make Monday come any sooner or reboot my dead in the water computer.  Sometimes you just got to roll with it.

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You Might Be A Nerdy Redneck If….

I’m taking a detour from my mental illness posts for this entry.  I readily admit to being a nerd.  I always have been and I always will be.  Since I grew up in a farming village in Nebraska and live in a smaller college town surrounded by corn fields and cattle ranches, I also could qualify as somewhat of a hillbilly or redneck.  Accordingly to Jeff Foxworthy a redneck is simply someone with an obvious absence of sophistication.  I admit I am not as sophisticated as my college friends from California or big foreign cities.  So I am often finding myself stradling the fence between unsophisticated country people and intellectual types.  I have both brainy and country interests.  I love reading.  I love fishing.  I have experimented with writing computer code.  I have also fired rifles.  I have watched the late summer meteor showers at my family’s acreage after days of helping my dad fix fences.  I often lift arm weights while watching Star Trek reruns.  I have gone to high school football games and art galleries on the same weekend.  But just for fun I thought I’d post a list of “You Might Be A Nerdy Redneck” in the same manner of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be A Redneck” jokes.  So here goes

You Might Be A Nerdy Redneck If……

 

Your working laptop computer sits on top on a nonworking one

You are afraid that Google’s self driving car will end NASCAR

You plan on using a 3D printer to make your next fishing pole

You have binge watched both Doctor Who and Duck Dynasty

You have a GPS on your John Deere tractor

You have both Stephen Hawking and William Faulkner on your bookshelf

You think the Gadsden Flag  and Hunter Orange look cool under a black light

You have ordered anything in camouflage on amazon

You have used a smart phone while riding a horse

You always carry a Swiss Army knife and a scientific calculator

You can write computer code and overhaul an engine

You have ever chewed tobacco in a university lecture hall

You played both Dungeons and Dragons and football in high school

You have ever sited Sun Tzu’s Art of War, plot lines from Star Trek,  country music, and Saber Metrics for baseball in the same conversation

You can easily recite Monty Python lines and George Patton quotes

You can build your own computer and do your own carpentry work

You are anxiously waiting for Tesla to build an electric pickup truck

You think ‘Smokey and The Bandit’ should be remade with a self driving 18 wheeler

You like both Japanese Anime and John Wayne

You have attended a Comic Con and a monster truck rally within two weeks of each other

You bought a piece of Ikea furniture, assembled it without reading the directions, and use left over parts in other home improvement projects

You know how to use both a slide rule and moonshine still

You want to be the first person you know to buy camping equipment and hunting supplies from Bass Pro Shops with Bitcoin

Drama Free, Socializing, and Confidence

It’s been quiet on my end for the last few days.  Haven’t had any real flare ups of schizophrenia or anxiety for several days.  First time in weeks I’ve gone more than a couple days without any kind of flare up.  It’s been strange not having drama in my life lately.  It’s just something I’ve gotten used to.  I’m actually amazed when I go through days when I don’t have to deal with some drama in my life or someone else’s overblown drama.

Even though it’s almost winter, I’ve been getting out of my apartment more.  I make it a point to not socialize much in my apartment complex.  I still have a few problem neighbors who like to keep the drama stirred.  I never understood why there are people who can’t live without drama or irritating others.  I was brought up that if I couldn’t get along with someone, it was best to leave them alone.  Makes it tough to trust some people when I have trust issues.

Oddly, some of my best socializing comes just from bantering and joking with cashiers and store clerks.  I didn’t do this in my twenties at all.  But as I have gained social skills and figured out that not everyone out there wants to take advantage of others, it has gotten easier and even fun. Found that the ones I get the best reactions out of our night shift clerks and cashiers in the 25 to 45 bracket.  The younger clerks take a little more priming before they’ll joke with me.  The older clerks usually won’t joke with me at all.  And this is even with my jokes not being of the unsafe for work categories.  I’m finding that many younger people just don’t seem that confident at work.  I certainly wasn’t when I worked in my twenties.  I never thought that others had that problem.  I didn’t gain any real confidence in myself or even appreciation for my abilities until I was thirty.  That was also the age when I came to the conclusion that I did not have to tolerate poor and uncivil behavior from others.  While I was still figuring my way through my delusions and irrational fears, I thought I was the only one who had these problems.  I just never knew that even those without mental illnesses had problems with not having confidence.  Unfortunately that’s stuff I couldn’t learn in any book.

 

 

Trying to Understand ‘Normal’ With Mental Illness

This is going to be an open letter from one schizophrenic man to chronically normal people at large.  Or, at least, to the handful of you who happen to read these passages.  It is not meant to be angry or ranting.  Instead, think of it as a few honest questions about why you do what you do.  As a mentally ill man, I want to try to understand you neurotypical people a little better.  Yes, much of this will be tongue and cheek.  But these are questions I have nonetheless.

Dear Mr. and Ms. Normal, If I may be honest with you, as a mentally ill man I do not understand you.  I do not understand how you think or why you act the ways you do.  I do not understand why you socialize the way you do.  I do not come even close to understanding your office politics.  I would love to have at least some insight into mysterious ways of the normal.

The way you think is somehting I don’t understand.  I consider myself relatively intelligent, at least above average.  But there are things about your thought process I don’t get.  I have a hard time understanding why you normals may know what is good for you yet don’t act on it.  It makes sense why I, as a schizophrenic, don’t always know what’s best as I have a few voices in my mind competing for my attention. These voices are often giving contradictory advice.  I have voices in my mind that don’t agree on anything that not only argue with me, but often with each other.  As far as I can tell, you neurotypicals don’t have this disadvantage.  So I can’t figure out why you don’t always act in ways that benefit you and those around you.  You don’t hold several different opinions at the same time, do you?  So what is your excuse for knowing what is good but not acting on it?  You have only one voice within your mind, right?  Or is cognitive dissonance a bigger problem with the chronic normal than with the mentally ill?  I’m hopelessly confused.  Somebody please help me 🙂

The word schizophrenia is derived from a word meaning ‘split mind.’  Not only does my mind have a hard time perceiving the difference between what others say and what they actually mean, but I also have an inability to accurately read and understand a person’s body language and voice inflection.  Body language I simply cannot read.  If someone tries to tell me something with their body language, they just as well be speaking ancient Egyptian.  I also have problems interpreting voice inflections in that my default mode of operation is to assume most people are not happy with me and are actually quite disgusted with me.  It is my experience that when my boss or any authority figure wants to talk with me one on one, they are doing it to tell me what I’m doing wrong and that I am in serious trouble.  I’ve had too many of these less than constructive criticism sessions to believe you have anything but malicious intent when you do call me onto your turf to chat.  It is never for small chit chat or for them to tell me how thrilled they are with my work.  As a result, I don’t trust authority figures of any kind.  I can only guess where they are coming from and what their motives are.

I am unable to get inside someone’s head and try to figure out what they are thinking.  Yet, I feel like my mind’s a completely open children’s picture book for all comers to pick apart and dissect.  So, please understand how paranoid this makes me feel.  I know this is just my mental illness distorted view of looking at things, but I really feel like I am at a severe disadvantage in any social situation because you chronic normals ‘know’ what I am thinking whereas I can only guess what you are thinking.  Imagine what it would be like for you to be interrogated by the police and the cops haven’t yet told you what they are accusing you of.  I feel exactly like this every time an authority figure or coworker wants to talk with me in private and they refuse to tell me what it’s about.  In short, I hate office politics.  My inability to understand the game of office politics  that you chronic normals know by heart is one of the reasons I don’t have a regular job anymore.  It may be just a game to you neurotypicals, but for most of us mentally ill it isn’t fun and games.  And it never will be because you normals are apparently born knowing these rules and we the mentally ill aren’t.

As little as I understand the games of office politics and social interaction, I don’t understand the games of dating at all.  I wasn’t born knowing these rules.  No one bothered to sit me down and explain the rules of dating.  Or maybe it was explained during one of the ten days or so I missed from school between the ages of six and eighteen.  I missed very few days during my school career, but I apparently missed some extremely important material during those days.  Why couldn’t I have missed the days of school when all we discussed was the difference between ameobas and diatoms or when we were discussing anti-trust laws in the gilded age?  I would much rather know how to tell if a woman wanted me to ask her out then who was president when the Standard Oil trust was busted up.  I really have had practically no success with dating.  And it wasn’t just getting a girl to go on a date and then she wouldn’t go on a second date.  If only it was that problem. My problem was getting a girl to say yes to even a first date.  I actually had a girl laugh at me my freshman year of college when I asked her out.  I was thinking ‘I was just asking you to hang out off campus some Friday night.  I didn’t realize it was amateur comedy night at the Apollo.’ That is just one of my stories.  I’ve been shot down by women more than the Luffwaffe got shot down by the Royal Air Force.  I knew my game stunk just from my results.  But I never got told by anyone what I was doing wrong.  Was it some knowledge that I simply wasn’t born with?  Is it my Shrek like physical appearance?  Are people intimidated by physically strong men who are quite intelligent?  I don’t know.  My disappointing failures in the dating game eventually led me to giving up entirely.  The last time I was on even a casual date, a Texan was taking up residence in the White House.  So I’m probably at a severe disadvantage in the dating game anymore I don’t even know where to start. I’m not even sure if I am meant to date, to tell you the truth.

In short, I am living the life of a mentally ill man who’s clueless in the ways of love, socializing, and office politics.  I often feel like I would be better off living as a medieval Catholic monk and I’m not even Catholic.  I already have the vows of poverty, service, and celibacy down pat.  I live those every day.  I don’t think I could do the vow of silence so well.  But I hope you now know a little better why I have problems socializing and dating with neurotypicals.  I hope this explains to you, Mr. and Ms. Normal, why we the mentally ill often seem a bit off socially.  Yours truly, your humble mentally ill correspondent.

Things I Didn’t Know As A Kid, Part 2

For this entry, I’m taking a break from my regular mental illness writings and writing on something more light hearted.  Growing up, we’ve all had mistaken impressions about what things were really like in the adult world or in popular culture.  I was no exception.

Here is another installment of the depth of my youthful ignorance.  It’s amazing, though.  I’ve been out on my own for ten years and I’m now less intelligent than I thought I was when I was eighteen.  Either the older I get the dumber I was or I just forget what I actually did know.

As a kid growing up in rural Nebraska, I not only had no idea that Minnesotans and Canadians spoke with accents BUT I was ignorant enough to believe that we in Nebraska did not as well.  Way wrong on that one.  Just ask anyone who has ever heard me talk.

Growing up as a hopeless college football junkie, I knew that the Wishbone formation was a football offense long before I knew it was a chicken bone.  Sad but true.  Yet I did know who The President was before I knew who Tom Osborne was.  

As a kid who was an avid reader, the old library in my hometown was a second home to me.  I read so much as a kid that I was well into college before I even imagine why other people just couldn’t get into reading.  Just a matter of practice makes perfect.

When I was in grade school, I found it laughable that kids from the big cities on the coasts thought that kids from the midwest rode horses to school or lived two miles from their nearest neighbors or didn’t have indoor plumbing or such other nonsense as if we were still in the late 1800s.  Yet it didn’t occur to me that the idea of there being drug dealers and pimps on every street corner, mobsters buying off entire state governments, and the ‘valley girl types’ were just as ridiculous.  But that’s stereotypes for you.

Even as a kid I didn’t like Mickey Mouse at all.  I was more partial to Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck.  And I used to have endless debates with my friends about who was the better cartoon character.  Think a grade school version of the deeper debates (i.e. Capitalism vs. Communism, Evolution vs. Creationism, Ford vs. Chevy) if you will.  Of course when I’d be losing my argument I’d bring out the heavy artillery and yell “Yeah, well Donald Duck is such a man that he doesn’t even wear pants!” or “Yeah, well how much money does Mickey Mouse have?  Scrooge McDuck can swim in his cash!” 

 The first time I saw ‘Braveheart’ as a teenager, I unintentionally spent the next 24 hours speaking a Scottish accent.  I’m just glad that I didn’t own a kilt or a massive sword.

 My biggest aspiration as an 8 year old child was to “Be rich enough that me and my friends can play Monopoly with real money.”  Of course I’m well short of this goal right now but I could probably start building houses on Baltic Avenue right now.  

 When I was 13 and first heard about the book ‘Anthem’ by Ayn Rand, I immediately thought it was about the writing of the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’  I was a bit off on that one.

When I was in college, I read an email forward titled ‘Jocks vs. Nerds.’  It described how much money Michael Jordan had and how fast he was earning his money and “at that rate it would take over 400 years to have the money Bill Gates has right now.  Nerds win.”  I was telling one of my friends this and he retorted, “Yeah, well how many women would want Bill Gates if it weren’t for his money?”  To which I responded, “Well, at least any paternity suits against him would be automatically false.  So there’s one advantage.”  And I say that typing with a computer program he made famous.