Nice Going, Einstein


Time For My Morning Face-Palm

Okay, this is apparently one of those Sundays where I wake up and everything is wrong.  My cat doesn’t want to get out of bed.  Neither do I.  I can’t seem to muster any energy today.  I’m a little bit queasy and I smell funny.  I’ve got a headache so bad that I can’t see straight.  I want nothing more than to forget about greeting this hot, humid and rainy day.


So I consider getting out of  bed, putting on a happy face, changing my lackluster attitude and changing the apparent trajectory of the day.  I think I’ll cook something, maybe sit down and spend some time editing material, or maybe I’ll just vegetate in front of the television watching old horror movies.

And then I think: nah, the hell with that.  I want to lie in my air-conditioned room with the shades down and not answer the phone.  Or my email, either.

It’s then that I realize what’s wrong: I don’t want to do a single thing today.  And I’m not doing anything today because today’s not the right day to do anything.  I have spoken.  Back under the covers with my cat and I don’t have to face the world.

How ridiculous is that train of thinking?

Surely I know better than to attempt the impossible when I’m in sloth mode.  Why not just pull the covers over my head and shut everything out?  I know that’s what I want.  But noooo.  I can’t do that.  Get up.  Do the things you’re supposed to do, James.  Just do the face-palm, groan “Oh, no, not again!” and get yourself moving.  Get that routine going.  Feed the cat, make the bed, take your meds, put on a happy face. 


How’s This For A Happy Face?

If there was anything that defined Phyllis Diller, it’s that crazy face.  And that ungodly laugh.  Let’s face facts: she had to put that face on for a living, and that laugh was her bread and butter.  She made other people laugh and that was her gift.  But I’d bet a dollar there were plenty of times when she totally did not want to get out of bed for another night of pleasing the drunks at Caesar’s Palace.

But she did it.  Beautifully, too.  She got that laugh started, dragged out some feather boas and did her stuff.  And in all the years of my growing up and watching her perfectly marvelous buffoonery, I never heard her complain about her performance schedule.

What most people don’t know is that Phyllis had another talent that was remarkable: she was a concert pianist of incredible ability who on several occasions played Carnegie Hall under the stage name Dame Illya Dillya.  Of course, everyone attending that concert knew who she was.  But as a trained musician of such remarkable stature she deserved to play that hall.  She demanded and received the respect due any pianist of that remarkable capability.

What does that have to do with me and why I’m complaining that I have to get out of bed?


Accentuate The Positive

Rather than acting on the desire stay in bed all day and eat bon bons, I know I have to get up and face the day no matter how much I dislike the prospect.  Being bipolar isn’t easy and facing challenges isn’t easy at times, but giving up and doing nothing is very easy.  And very counterproductive.

You see, staying in bed is very negative thing for me to do.  It may feel comfortable and nice to lay about and lounge but if I allow that then absolutely nothing gets done, and I have to take responsibility for nothing being done.  That in my book is a big fat negative attitude manifesting itself and I can’t have that.

Dame Illya Dillya certainly got her butt out of bed.  How else could she be a consummate musician and a consummate comic?  She worked non-stop toward her goals and I am fairly sure that sleeping all day wasn’t one of them.  She never hid from her work, she never stopped.  She got up to a grueling schedule.

I have to face it.  Sleeping isn’t doing a damn thing to help and hiding isn’t helping, either.

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Einstein Always Had Bed-Head Hair

Here’s the very best reason why staying in bed and letting the dark side take over the day is a very, very bad idea.  Einstein got up early.  Nearly every single day.  Before, during and after his breakfast he was thinking about all kinds of mathematical crazy stuff.  He was on the knife-edge of infinite sanity and infinite creativity.  And he frankly never really cared what hair-do he was sporting that day.  There were good reasons to get up, reasons like understanding concepts that went from fusion inside of stars to traveling on a train at the speed of light.  And let’s not forget how he came to understand space and time.  Busy guy.

I don’t believe that Einstein, who had problems of his own, was big on staying in bed being grumpy.  For example, he had Asperger’s Syndrome.  Oh, and a brain that had a massively bigger cerebral cortex than most other human brains ever studied.  He was a social misfit uncomfortable among the vast majority of the people around him and while working as a patent clerk wrote the most famous scientific paper of all time, The Theory Of Relativity.  And if he had stayed all the live-long day in bed doing nothing then we might not know what we know today.  All of science could have suffered because he didn’t want to get up and have a cup of coffee and head to the office.


So if I want to be like Einstein I have to put away any thought of hiding under the covers (and I have to grow a lot more brains and dude, you know that’s gonna hurt).

At times I am forced to do battle against my wants and my immediate (and might I say) extremely willful attitude that always seems to get in the way.  It’s bad enough for anyone, bipolar or not, but I know what I absolutely have to do:  reach out, turn off the alarm and get up or how am I going to be able to understand or contemplate the universe?  If I’m not mistaken there’s plenty of deeply important contemplation that I need to get done.

To neglect that effort would mean stagnation.  No forward momentum.  No understanding.  I’m no longer allowing myself to stagnate and besides, all I’d get out of staying in bed is a nasty, oozy red bedsore and not much else.


Hey, Einstein Made A Funny

Ha, ha.  Very funny, Einstein.  But he does have a point.  I matter.  And if I matter to myself then I’m going to do the things that make a difference, as much as I might hate it.

So today?  Changed my narrative.  Got up, made the beds, fed the cat, took my meds and wrote something.  I may not have written any  groundbreaking scientific papers but at least I did something.

I have some forward momentum.  I can truthfully say I got up and did something with my life that wasn’t sleeping all day and chastising myself for doing it.  At least I made an attempt to move forward and not lie there and be disgruntled and fill myself with self-loathing.  Sometimes my need to step away from everyone really gives me a hard time of it.  But I’m up and doing stuff.

And that’s a fairly good start.


[PS: Kudos to my Aunt Sandra who made the interesting observation that Phyllis Diller and Albert Einstein look somewhat alike.  How scary is that?]


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