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My bliss point? It’s at the intersection of Borderlands and Halloween.

People are fascinating.  They are jam-packed with stories and ideas and opinions.  Makes it real easy to make friends with them.

But keeping those friendships alive is a lot harder.  At least for me.  I still haven’t figured it out.  What am I doing wrong?  And how to figure out what’s going wrong?

I’ve consulted a couple psychiatrists on this very issue.  Surprised?  Don’t be.  I lived many years in LA, remember?  And I was a business consultant.  Surely that indicates I’m predisposed to at least some faith in the professional expertise of others, right?

Only kidding about that last thing.

What I can tell you is that the field of psychiatry hasn’t matured to the point where a practioner is going to be able to examine a patient, identify the proper evidence, develop a logical  diagnosis and, finally and most importantly imo, produce a remedy and/or workaround that can effect any kind of reliable, positive outcome.   That’s been my experience anyway.

Not that it’s a waste of time.  To be fair, the field seems to have reached the point where a practioner can examine a patient and then make a set of speculations about the nature of the problem and what kinds of things might have caused the problem.  What I mean to say is that they can give you a list of the Likely Suspects … provided they’ve accurately identified the problem in the first place, of course.

In my case, the Likely Suspects turn out to be the Usual Suspects.

I’m assured that (again, in my case only) the Primary Suspect, the cause of the problem, is my peripatetic upbringing … my Dad in the Army and all the moving around this entails.  I know, I know:  did I really need to pay upwards of $200 an hour to someone with it an MD and a PhD to make this very obvious discovery?   But, seriously, there is the fact that, even after I left my parents’ home at age 18, I continued to live my life like a refugee.  Since college I’ve had at least 15 different addresses.  I’ve lived in 7 US states.  Five countries.  Four continents.

That’s a lot of moving around.  A lot of being the new kid.  The outsider.  And a lot of goodbyes to a lot of friends.

Nevertheless, if you ask me, I’ll tell you all that moving around was great.  Fun.  Interesting.  Liberating.  I loved it.

The Professionals, on the other hand, aren’t so sure I’m telling the truth.  They see all the moving and change as symptomatic of a Bigger Problem.

So here we go.  What’s the Problem?

Wait.  Hold on.  Not so fast.  Before revealing the Problem, the professional need to identify what caused the Problem in the first place — the Problem’s source.

The Source?  Well, for me, that’s another easy one.  I’ve got Usual Suspect #2 right here.  Matter of fact, I carry it around with me every day, sort of like Marley and that heavy clanking chain of iron money-boxes.

Marley’s chain … well, you know all about that.  He explained the whole thing quite nicely all by himself, didn’t he?, when he unwrapped that handkerchief and let loose the jaw and the tale of his miserable afterlife.   Marley, we learn, is the one who forged the chain.  He created it, albeit subconsciously, in his own misspent lifetime and is, therefore, damned to carry the thing for all of God’s eternity.

Lucky for us readers, film and TV viewers, radio listeners and theatre-goers, Dickens had sufficient insight to de-code Marley’s Big Problem and the Cause all by himself; they didn’t have psychiatrists or phonebooks in 1843.

Unlike Marley, however, I don’t see My Own Personal Chain as an actual punishment.   Well, okay, maybe MOPC does produce a type of emotional pain that could be described a punishing to the person (me) who’s experiencing them.  So it’s similar.  Maybe.

In any case, I think we can all agree that Marley’s afterlife is pretty bad.  Torturous.  If memory serves, I think he cannot rest and must carry that thing for ever.

But you wanna know the truth?  At the end of the day, in my opinion, Marley’s situation ain’t so bad.  He did what he did, then dies and receives Judgment.  Along with this (and an ironic punishment), he gets a thorough understanding of his transgressions.   Hell, he even gets the opportunity to do some community service via the whole warn-Scrooge thing.  I’m pretty sure this is the author’s indication that Marley’s punishment won’t be so eternal after all.

For me, the situation is a lot less clear.

Sure, I’ve got MOPC.  But it’s not clear to me that mine is  punishment for transgressions.  There can’t be a righteous punishment without an actual transgression, right?  Well, I don’t know (yet) what my transgressions were.  I’m pretty sure they weren’t deliberate; they were just random episodes of very bad luck.

Like the hapless passerby who gets hit by a piece of falling masonry, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  (Hmmm, wrong time and place 3 or 4 times?  I’m just saying….)

Okay, just hear me out on this.

The world is a complicated place, right?, and at any moment there’s something awful happening somewhere.  Just look at the news.  Or those forensic TV shows.  Not the CSI-Miami crap, I’m talking about the documentary crap.  Well, this bad luck has got to happen to someone, right?  So why not me?  Because I know that it’s nothing personal.  God couldn’t possibly be singling me out for this stuff, right?  What am I, Job?  Of course not.  I’m just the guy on the sidewalk, whistling a happy tune and thinking about the sandwich that’s waiting for me in that deli over there.  One minute I’m thinking about roast beef, and the next minute I am the roast beef — sandwiched between an errant air conditioner and a piece of gum-stained pavement.

So here’s the question — did God hit me with that metaphorical air conditioner?  Deliberately?  And, if it was a deliberate action on God’s part, what could a person possibly do that would merit this particular ironic punishment?

Btw, this is usually the point at which my mind wanders completely off-topic and into an elaborate speculation about possible pre-air conditioner backstories.  I’m doing my best atm to resist this tasty lure, but as always, there are no guarantees.

So I’ve been hit by a few metaphorical air conditioners.  I didn’t get hit by any RL ones, did I?  Of course not.  Then what’s the big deal?   Is it wrong for me to crawl out from under my air conditioner, send heartfelt thanks up to God and then get on with living the life that’s left to me?

Because that’s pretty much how I’ve handled these things.  Is there any alternative?

Well, in the expert opinion of the Professionals, my handling of the air conditioners is highly problematic.  By getting up and moving forward, I haven’t worked through my trauma.

Just one of these things, or so they tell me, is usually enough to send a person right over The Edge.  And a person who gets 3 or 4 of them?  Holy moly, am I sure I’m not a serial killer? Because that’s the usual outcome.  Or so they tell me.

Personally, I think the world is full of people like me.  It’s got to be full of people like me, right?  People crawling from the wreckage then buying their sandwiches and taking them back to the office.

It’s what makes people so interesting.  And why it makes me so sad when I have to say goodbye to them.

All of which brings me back around to the subject of today’s blog-post.

I’ve been reunited with an old friend.  Borderlands.  Me and Ting are running through it again, on Level 2 with different toons.  GearBox is coming out with a new release (woohoo!) and we wanted to see if it was as great as we remembered.  And it is.  If you haven’t played it, there’s a real treat waiting for you.

And, speaking of treats, here’s my pick for Halloween — a Borderlands craft paper mask.

Brb.  Have to get some good quality paper for my printer….

Xgirlfriend lives on WoW's Tichondrius server.


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