Do you know what I’ve discovered? I can turn anything into an addiction. I once had an addiction to Jelly Belly’s (Sours only). Every time I ate one, I’d pride myself on how they were keeping my diet in check while giving me a “little treat” because each Jelly Belly is only four calories. Three hundred Jelly Belly beans later, I could hardly open my lips because the sour and the sweet had practically glued them shut, and I peed rainbow urine for a week. My addiction got really out of control during the political season with the advent of the insane Tea Party and their hatred for the Black man in the White House. By the time President Obama was reelected for a second term my nerves were practically shot, and I was up to an 800 bean habit a day.
I tried housing my Jelly Belly beans in one of those globe-like bank dispensers that no matter if you put a penny or a quarter in it, you get the same amount of goodies every time: four freakin’ jelly beans—just enough to taunt a real bean addict! That self-control lasted for two days, until the presidential debates in Denver where my buddy, my pal, Barack Obama “fell asleep” on national TV, and my husband found my container smashed open the next morning with a hammer and all the beans were missing.
I eventually went into jelly bean rehab and kicked the habit because my addiction had cost me a dress size. I weaned myself from the bean habit by chewing on diet gum, but even that had to be abandoned because I had a reaction to the sorbitol (form of artificial sugar) in the gum, and it gave me irritable bowel syndrome. Of course the problem may have been that for every Jelly Belly I craved, I was chewing two sticks of diet bubble gum. Besides sounding like a cow chewing its cud, I was always in search of a toilet.
After discussing my problem with my husband (WW), we agreed that overwhelming stress was a motivating factor in my bean addiction. Now that I was under another type of stress as a writer trying to finish my first book, WW felt it would behoove me to cut out as much external stress as possible (a.k.a. cut out the news).
“Maybe you should stop watching so much news,” said WW. “It might be a good idea to try to meditate and turn your attention to some other medium since TV news tends to get you so riled up. Besides most of the narrative on TV news is not factual—it is mostly opinion.”
So I pretty much stopped watching the pundits in the morning at WW’s encouragement. Anyway, Morning Joe was beginning to get on my ever-loving nerves with his arrogance and Mika Brzezinski was turning into a real shrew with her crusade against sugar. (I may be wrong, but I could have sworn that I heard her make a nasty-ass crack against jelly beans one morning while I was on the tread mill, which instantly made me “so over her.”)
Used by permission: Eric Allie, Caglecartoons.com
But in WW’s attempt to heal me, he forgot to ban the Internet news. At first I was doing fine and reading in moderation until I accidentally saw two stories online about “Crazy Ants” and the potential government shutdown by the Tea Party Repubs and that gonad-impaired Speaker of the House, John Boehner. Apparently, there is a new form of ant on the move in Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana and they have arrived in Georgia. They are super high in numbers, have several queens, can eat everything, including wildlife, birds, and lizards, and are attracted to the electrical circuits in our houses because of the warmth. They are Hell-bent on destruction, and they can short-circuit your house, destroy your computer, take out every iThingie you own in a heartbeat, and then turn and devour you for lunch. WTF? When I scanned the latest news about the Republican-controlled Congress trying to shut down the government any day now and realized that their endgame was pretty much the same as the Crazy Ants (destruction), I fell into another addiction to escape the madness: Binge TV watching.
Used by permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
I should have seen this addiction coming. It started with Downton Abbey. I came to the highbrow British soap opera rather late. Everyone was hooked on it, and I got all sorts of emails and texts urging me to join the club. So I ordered the DVDs from England and before I knew it, I had watched two seasons in three days. I felt like I was stoned after it was over. I started speaking in a British accent and commanded WW to serve me “Elevenses” and 4:00 tea. To the manor born was I!
I got over the effects of Downton Abbey because WW refused to play the butler (at least not in the kitchen). Then one of my children kept nagging me about joining Netflix and watching a show she was obsessed with (“Orange is the New Black”). I ignored her for the longest time until one day I decided to take her up on her offer. A gazillion episodes later, spaced over two nights, under the guise that I needed a blog topic, I was barely able to sit still due to sensory overload—not to mention that I can no longer stand the color orange. Jelly beans, popcorn, and champagne littered the landscape in WW’s man cave. He left me there while he went to bed like a normal human being, but I got to write a great blog about “Orange” from all the binge watching. It took me a week to recover from the sleep deprivation.
But nothing prepared me for the Binge TV watching that I embarked upon (pulling WW along with me) when I watched both seasons (29 episodes) of Scandal over a ten-day period. I would have watched them in a five-day period, but WW wouldn’t let me. When the final episode ended (just in time for the Season 3 premiere), both WW (hooked into Binge Watching Scandal by me) and I screamed: “Nooooooo, we can’t wait until Oct. 3rd to find out how and why a certain person is Olivia’s father and if Fitz (the Republican President) will return to Olivia’s arms (his black mistress)!
Scandal TV Show||Pinterest pin by Kimberly Ann|| Actors: Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn
Oh, God, what was I doing? I abhor the concept of adultery and here I was Binge Watching a TV series about infidelity and cheering for the adulterers! I’d lost all perspective. My addiction had caused me to come undone! Oy!
At that very moment of Binge TV sink-hole numbness, another Binge addict called and said, “Breaking Bad is the best thing on TV in ten years. The final episode is on Sunday, and if you don’t watch it with everyone else, someone will spoil the ending. But you’re not prepared. You’ve got five seasons to catch up on a story about an “everyman” character gone bad. If you start now and don’t sleep, eat all your meals in front of the TV, don’t answer any phone calls, wear a catheter, and tell your hubby that you’ll see him after the premiere on Sunday but until then he needs to fend for himself, you should be good to go.”
“But . . . I don’t want my brain and spirit awash with a heartless story about a chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-cook.”
“There’s no ‘buts’ about it, Chicketta. You either catch up or get left behind. Everybody’s doin’ it. Just turn on your Netflix and take a little peek—you’ll be instantly hooked! You know you want to—just think how you’ll be able to forget about your own stress as you free-fall into Walter’s world. You’ll feel so much better—I promise.”
Used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star
I am discovering that an addiction can happen to anyone over anything and at any time, and in real life it is no joke. Although my addictive responses in this satirical story were done tongue in cheek, I know that but by the grace of God go I. When it comes to real addictions, I could free-fall into at least a half-dozen things in a heartbeat. All it takes in life is too many disappointments, too many stressors, not enough money, and too much murder and mayhem in our lives, and something as benign as exercise can become an obsession—an addiction. Every day is a lesson in keeping a delicate balance between the things that keep us from having the life we think we deserve and the way things are.
I hate to admit this but I need to run by the cleaners before it closes. It is situated next door to the biggest Jelly Belly collection in my town—wall-to-wall glass jelly bean containers. I’m on the final chapter of my book, and I’m so stressed, I’m about ready to go screaming into the night because I have to wait until Oct. 3rd before I can watch Scandal as my stress release valve. I’m really feeling a craving for some Sours, but I mustn’t go back into the abyss. I know all too well what will happen: four beans might as well be 2000. If I give in, before you know it I’ll be sprawled out on the floor in a bean-induced coma. I must stay strong . . . I must not give in!
Used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star
“Watching TV can become malignantly addictive. TV may become malignantly addictive only once a certain threshold of quantity is habitually passed, but then the same is true of whiskey. And by “malignant” and “addictive” I again do not mean evil or coercive. An activity is addictive if one’s relationship to it lies on that downward-sloping continuum between liking it a little too much and downright needing it. Many addictions, from exercise to letter-writing, are pretty benign. But something is malignantly addictive if (1) it causes real problems for the addict, and (2) it offers itself as relief from the very problems it causes.”― David Foster Wallace, “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction”
“Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your home.” —David Frost
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