21 August 2016

The Author Reveals that he Feels Great Today then there is a Longer Bit about Young People and Sociopaths

Come on and dance, come on and dance
Let's make some romance
You know the night is fallin' and the music's callin'
And we've got to get down to Swingtown
We've been workin' so hard
We've been workin' so hard
Come on baby, come on baby, let's dance
- From Swingtown by The Steve Miller Band

I ran ten miles this morning and now I feel terrific. Endorphins, ya know.
Here’s what they said on Web MD: “Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as ‘euphoric.’ That feeling, known as a ‘runner's high,’ can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.”

So I’ve got a reprieve from depression for a few hours. It’s like I’m on vacation but I know it will end soon. Enjoy it while you can. It’s hard to remember how good life can feel when you’re in the midst of the blues. There seems no way out of the misery, hopelessness and despair. Sadness is the new normal. But now I feel alert, energized and positive. I want to watch ten movies and listen to ten albums and read ten books and write two novels three poems and 45 blog posts. I want to jump off the Golden Gate Bride and fly over the ocean, soar among the clouds. Pick daises and kiss Rihanna and make love to my wife and dance the tango and teach three classes and solve 67 problems — all at once. 

I’m fairly glowing with joy and this is so much better than what booze or dogs did to me because, far from being addictive or unhealthy, the run is a positive boon to the body, mind and soul. I feel great. Don’t you? Doesn’t everybody?

As the character of Arthur said in the movie of the same name, "isn't fun the best thing to have?" Yes it is. Good work, good fun, good family, lots of love and culture and health. Boffo stuff.

Below you’ll find something I wrote over the preceding two days, not bad given how psychologically miserable I was at the time.

There was a teenage girl on the bus one morning, probably middle school, she was stretched out taking two seats. Bus was half full so it was no biggie.  The two seats in question were at the front of the bus, the section set aside for the old, pregnant, disabled. It’s cool to sit in those seats as long as none of the folks they’re intended for need em.

It wasn’t long before we came to a busy stop where a few people get off and hordes get on. Among those getting on were old geezers of either gender, some with canes, some barely ambulatory. The girl didn’t move. You could say that she sat there like she owned the damn bus. Finally a Chinese woman, who looked to be an octogenarian, indicated to the miss that she’d like one of the two seats. Reluctantly, slowly the princess sat up straight thus freeing a seat. All was well in the world.

The old woman only rode for two stops before getting off. In her stead many more came on, the bus was packed. But as the woman left, our teenaged friend resumed her supine position occupying two seats. As the bus drove off, there she sat while people who have walked this planet since before World War II, were standing. Finally one woman had enough and angrily indicated that there was a particularly old man in need of a seat. Again with great pains and as if being put upon, the teen yielded a seat. The fossil sat. All was well again.

This latest old timer only rode a short distance before exiting and predictably our young friend stretched out. A third time someone had to request that she yield a seat or two, in this case the elderly woman was practically pleading.  A few stops later the bus disgorged a large percentage of its passengers including the pleading woman so once again the brat stretched out as she remained until I got off. The nerve of some people.

I used to teach middle school and it shouldn’t surprise you to know that this young “lady” reminded me of some of my previous charges. One of those young people who will do whatever they can get away either oblivious to how their actions impact others or simply not giving a rat’s ass. It was a sad chore to compel young people to be polite, considerate and in compliance with rules, laws and accepted norms. Many in our society do what’s right only because of the cost of doing what’s wrong and if they think they can get away with it, then all bets are off.

As a middle school teacher I was not only responsible for providing an education in history,  but in behavior management. It was a sad state of affairs that so many of my charges were blind to, if not contemptuous of, conventions of good behavior. Profanity was spewed; people were tripped, punched and had flying objects directed toward them; unnecessary interruptions were constant; those suffering a misfortunate were mocked; litter was scattered; rules were flaunted; personal insults and homophobic remarks were regularly employed; and tempers were lost control of at inopportune times.

Fun fact: I liked almost all of those kids. Many of them quickly grew out of their belligerent phase. Some didn’t and are in jail now or are terminal victims of violence. I feel for those kids. I guarantee you that while they were in public schools teachers, counselors, safety officers, administrators and others tried to effect the big turnaround. That’s how it goes, you do as much as you can.

Earlier I said that I liked “almost all of those kids.” There were a few and I mean like about five, who were sociopaths and totally unlikable. You could not believe a word they said. Whatever came out of their mouths was calculated and said for effect. They had not a sincere bone in their bodies. They felt no remorse for misdeeds. Their loyalty and love was extended to those who they could benefit from. They had absolutely no concern for anyone else’s feelings beyond how those feelings might impact them.

They were, I believe, born sociopaths and came from well-to-do, middle class and poor families alike. Some, of course, went on the become criminals. But others were good enough students and developed skills, if not talents, that would keep them within the boundaries of the law, if not the boundaries of morality. A sociopath can insinuate his or herself into society and have a marriage and even children. It’s hard to imagine a sociopath being a good mate or parent. It's easy to imagine one seeking and gaining public office.

But I probably had bout 2,000 students so the sociopaths in my classes totaled less than half a per cent. Much more common were the whippersnappers, the rascals, the brats, the ne'er-do-wells, the enfant terrible, the slackers, the class clowns, the mischief-makers, the scoundrels, the scamps, miscreants, the rowdies and the goofballs. Those kids I liked. Oh and they were vastly outnumbered by the sweetie pies. So there's that.

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