I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but yes, it is possible to put too much cream cheese on a bagel. Had to scrape some off this morning. First time for everything.
As I've been eating toasted bagels, it reminded me of an old cartoon PSA that has always stuck in my mind. Strongly. At the end of every Inspector Gadget episode, there was a mini Public Service Announcement, usually reminding children to not do things like dive into the shallow end of the pool or get into cars with strangers.
This one was about getting electrocuted. Inspector Gadget was trying to get a stuck piece of toast out of his toaster and because he has the world's most inconveniently placed Swiss Knife on his head, he attempted to use this gadget. Because that gadget is made of metal, he of course gets shocked and falls over.
That's when Penny steps up to the camera and tells us to never, ever
use anything metal in the toaster. Since then, I have always kept a plastic utensil, a fork, a knife, sitting right next to the toaster. And every time I have to use that plastic utensil to dig out a tilted piece of bread, I hear Penny's voice, congratulating me on doing the right thing. It is so strange, the childhood PSA'S, that stick with us.
It is part of why I like iZombie so much. At the end of each episode, there is usually a fourth-wall-breaking revelation or thought that the character shares directly with the audience. While it'd get annoying for EVERY show to do that, a show with some heart works it very well.( Adventures in Cat Burglars: Or, how I accidentally used a cat to perform a break-in yesterday )
I signed up for some service work with AA. Once a year, we will go to four high schools to talk about alcoholism. While most of the kids will have no experience with alcoholism itself, some of them will be going home to alcoholics. A few more of those kids will have temporary but painful drinking binges.
But a few of them, the smallest percentage of them all, will either already be or will become alcoholics themselves. It's kind of like a pre-emptive 12th step, or at least a chance for education.
It's usually done by old-timers. Real old-timers. Old white guys in their 40's, 50's, or older. And that experience is not at all to be discounted. But I know as a teenager, it's hard as hell to listen to people "that old."
I got sober at 19. I'm thinking this might give the kids a slightly different perspective on the whole deal. Or at least the idea that (1) you don't have to be old to have this problem and (2) you don't have to be old to work on this problem.
I remember how frustrating it was to even convince anyone that I had
a problem at that age. I knew it 17, knew it in the back of my head that all alcoholics know the first time we take a drink. But all of the grown ups - my teachers, foster parents, social workers, etc - thought I was just partying it up like a normal kid. Only one of my friends had any experience with alcoholism, a friend's mother, and while a few other classmates tried to reach out, all I could get from other people was "Just don't drink so much. Slow down. Just have a few shots. You're young, you're just rebelling.
It was, like, the LEAST helpful thing I could hear, and for the most part, that's what I heard. If I had heard a speech, a story, a goddamn PSA from someone near my age at that time, it would have saved ME a lot of time from the constant, internally tormented questioning of whether or not they were right.
I knew they weren't right. I knew they were dead wrong. But when the world tells you one thing, and you know another, it's easy enough to go along with the crowd. And the crowd told me I didn't have a problem.
It's funny how that stuck. The whole "you don't really have a problem, so you don't really need the help"
thing. Because I was so young, a part of me worried that I was just reaching for attention, and so I drank harder and harder in an attempt to show that something was really off. That didn't get me the help I needed, so aside from the basic biological workings of addiction (that we just keep going and going and going), I fell into other drugs.
Hell, there was a time when, even when I had needles sticking out of my arms, I questioned whether or not I was acting out of sheer drama-making. Like I wasn't "worthy" of help. Like I'd be taking away help from someone who REALLY needed it.
Turns out that help from addiction is not finite resource, nor does one have to hit the bottom of an OD to deserve help. There's a reason why we (at least officially) limit our definition of who belongs in AA as "those who have a desire to stop drinking.
" Doesn't say anything about what you have to lose to get there.
Not that I desired to quit drinking at 17. I just wanted some confirmation that yes, I had a problem. Some kind of reassurance that I wasn't crazy, that I had some kind of self-awareness worthy of note.
I think everyone needs that last one.