I like to watch reruns of Comedy Central’s episodes of Colbert and Jon Stewart. Last night, like every night, I ate dinner and curled up on the couch to watch an episode of what I call the Colbert/Stewart hour. No matter what kind of day I’ve had, they make it better.
In this Colbert episode they spoofed the theft and black market of Canadian maple syrup comparing it to a Mexican drug smuggling cartel. The reporter, a staunch maple syrup virgin, continued refusing offers to taste the luscious, feel good Canadian maple syrup. He knew if he had just one sip, it would be his demise into a life of addiction, seedy living, underworld crime sprees and the loss of all he claimed as good.
Finally, temptation was too much and as suspected, he couldn’t stop at just one taste. The result, pancakes, lots of pancakes rolled just right in order to deliver the sweet, dripping, tantalizing, golden liquid into his mouth. Life as he knew it ceased and was replaced by the horrific decline one can only find in syrup addiction.
It happened all at once. The cravings, forgetting to go to work, forgetting to bath, secret meetings in dark streets to get more syrup, brushes with police, arrests and attempts at all cost to get more syrup. As Star Trek actor George Takei would say in a way only he can say it, “Oh my!” That is what I felt and wondered if I too had a syrup addiction. Nonsense, whoever heard of such malarkey? But what was that feeling I just couldn’t shake?
I turned to my hubby who was seated on the opposite couch and said, “Damn, I wouldn’t mind having some pancakes with syrup. Do we have anymore King Syrup?”
King Syrup is rich, thick and teases you as it emerges from the bottle. It is almost tantalizing to watch. Taste buds go into overdrive.
You can’t buy King Syrup in Florida where my retired parents now live. When I go visit, my father’s first request is always – make sure you smuggle some of that King Syrup. My dad knows and so do I.
I didn’t give into the desire for pancakes and syrup. I had a piece of toast with peanut butter and a blue Solo cup of milk. I spent some time writing and then went to bed. Only sleep would not come. I got up. Keeping the house lights low, I fired up my Kindle and played a couple rounds of Bubble Mania, a game where the object is to free little kittens from bubbles and hear them yell, “Wee!” It’s usually very gratifying.
The bubbles weren’t popping in the right order because my brain was not thinking about kittens stuck in bubbles. It was thinking about the two-third empty bottle of King Syrup sitting in the kitchen, waiting, longing to be consumed. I start to sweat. Mark and change that to perspire. I think it sounds more feminine. Anyway, I tell myself, I don’t have to give into a syrup temptation. I’m above that.
I’m out of kitty-freeing bubbles so I returned to the bedroom and listened to my hubby snore and the rumble of the air conditioner. Sleep is slow in coming and very fitful.
At 8:00 am, I awakened violently and the first thing slinking around in my brain is the thought, PANCAKES!
I yanked my sorry arse out of bed and grabbed the Aunt Jemima box. You just add water. Instant pancakes! There they sat, three golden brown, almost perfectly round discs, dabbled with just the right amount of butter. I set the plate on the table pushing aside the work flow for the day and all their distractions.
Pancakes had my full attention. With a smile on my face I picked up the ¾ full of King Syrup and wondered if it was the good stuff from Canada. The label said it’s from Fredonia, NY. Is that close to Canada?
I watched the syrup slowly leave the safety of the bottle to flow onto the golden discs in patterns of my design. I let it soak into the pancakes a little bit, but not too much. It cheapens it when the pancakes are soggy and all that remains of the original syrup is horribly mutated.
I consumed my pancakes slowly, rolling my eyes and trying to convince my mind I was experiencing what the reporter in Colbert experienced last night. It didn’t work.
I had consumed 1,000 empty calories with no real payback. I had to think, where did I go wrong? Oh, now I get it. What I really wanted was not syrup, not pancakes, but the feeling of being filled with joy to the point of forgetting the world. It was a need to feel abundantly loved, treasured, needed and fulfilled.
I could be talking about sex. I could be talking about anything that would fill that need for love and belonging. A part of me knew from the beginning that pancakes and syrup were not the answer. So why did I go through this?
Because I had a need unfulfilled and as I watched Colbert a seed was planted in my brain. A seed that although logically I knew was ridiculous, my needs great enough, other ways failed enough, that syrup made sense.
Is it any wonder sometimes that our behavior can become so wacky? Our thinking so out of touch with the reality around us that we gravitate toward someone, something, to get a need met. Thinking, this is in my best interest but knowing it is not. Thinking, these are my choices, what the hell?
If only we can get our brains to flag us and yell STOP before continuing. Especially when we know what we are about to say or do is not in our best interest. We would all feel healthier.
Sometimes, our situation is one where all our choices will be negative and we have to choose the least negative. Colbert/Stewart, pancakes/syrup, needs/wants was not one of them. My brain for whatever reason did not yell stop! Now I need to figure out why?
Are you self-aware enough to know when to yell STOP? Can you tell before you think, feel, say or do something whether it is in your best interest to do so? If you find yourself gorging on a plate of pancakes dripping with syrup and it’s just not cutting it, re-evaluate why not. You’ll feel healthier in the end.
Loosen up; she says with a chuckle, you’re wrapped way too tight
With a grin, I know this but can’t stop
With extreme highs and lows I eat and sleep this
Loosen up, she says, and I hear her wisdom though she does not know
With regret and remorse my body won’t let me rest
Sisters laughing and pretending to be the fab four
A Hard Day’s Night left us screaming in the aisle
A hard day’s life when she suddenly died
Sisters at a cemetery, one of them reposed in the ground
A hard day’s night becomes a hard day’s life
Blonde on a kid’s show freezing in front of the camera
Sets that fall down and costumes that rip
Sets bright with large splashes of blinding light
Blonde kid so shy she hides in a dark world of her design
Sets up a place for an insidious void that convolutes
Universal horror monsters alive on TV late Saturday night
My first role, the fat witch on a flying machine
My attempts to memorize lines and moves
Universal applause and laughter when I fall off the stage
My parents smiling, happy, it’s all for my sis
Twirling a baton, I’m the youngest in the group
Talent and determination turns heads
Talent keeps everyone too busy to think
Twirling, is life’s temporary amnesia from blood and death
Talent, cursed or blessed, we still have Sundays at the cemetery
Learning to skate, meet Peggy Fleming, I’ve decided my path
Bruises, practice, auditions, rehearsals
Bruises, sprains, get up and do it again
Learning to tough it out, I’m the youngest in the show
Bruises, box dinners, homework and life in the car
Costume calls, pins and needles, hat is too big
Dress rehearsal is very boring
Dress is too tight, it’s the wrong size
Costume seamstress yells at me for getting taller
Dressed and made up by strangers
Homework on the run, another rehearsal, another dinner in a bag
Quick costume change, pushed out on stage
Quick roar of the crowd, flashes of light
Homework, remember how to stop skates from catching costume
Quick thinking prevents Ziegfeld Follies’ hat from toppling
Another day, another show, skate broke, costume ripped
Lead male skater is so dreamy
Lead female skater is such a bitch
Another dress rehearsal three hours too long, tempers flair
Lead me home, too achy and tired to think
End of the show, time to return back to the baton
Start at five and practice till school
Start homework on bus, practice till bed
End another day with drums pounding rhythms against my skull
Start tomorrow drum line pounding, choreography to learn
Stand before the directors, while they choose this outfit not that
Coaches for percussion, music and dance
Coaches for choreography, military baring and baton
Stand before the manager showing the upcoming schedule
Coaches not buses to carry all our crap
Run around and date actors, dancers, musicians and performers
Practice till my fingers blister and bleed
Practice till I can physically practice no more
Run around and find the most outrageous things to do to feel alive
Practice equals louder applause which equals perceived love
Awards come in a landslide of marble, gold and ribbons to many to count
Audiences bigger and applause profound, I want more
Audiences demanding greater feats, I’m willing to give
Awards for outstanding entertainer, how much higher can I go
Audiences are a fickle lover, self centered and giving
More, the press says, can we have your picture, please
Little one wants to grow up to be like me
Little one wants a hug; a group photo would be nice
More insanity, I love this but I need to find a release
Little pieces of me fly off into space, spirit catches giving me grace
Harder practices, demanding routines and radical ways to cope
Applause now an addiction, I can’t stop even if I wanted
Applause is drowning water, no longer quenching my thirst
Harder demands on my body, mind and soul, but I can give more
Applause has become the only way I feel alive and loved
Left, right, left, your positioning is not quite right, do it again
Redo the entire concepts of acceptance, love and peace
Redo the bandages on my bleeding blisters and take another pill
Left lying on the cold practice floor to fall asleep, nirvana
Redo the muscle rub while remembering the death that started it all
What do you mean you lost your step in stanza four
You call that making love to the audience
You call that a top notch performance
What’s wrong with you, we all have something at stake
You need some kind of help, something’s not right
Judges pass bribes, try to mess me up and get into my pants
Friends listen to my suicidal rants on the phone
Friends say I’m arrogant and need to pull in my ego
Judges demand more of me because I’ve been around
Friends back away, some say goodbye, they can’t relate
Dreams in dark music, applause, self hatred and death
Survival says be one with the stoned guy on the bus
Survival says join him and never look back
Dreams full of rage and remorse; I’m not good enough to last
Survival is swimming out to sea and never coming back
Ambulances are always ready at the end of my performances
Pain, strain and exhaustion, I collapse
Pain and hospitalizations, weekly events
Ambulance drivers joke, here she comes again, poor kid
Pain is having blown veins from too many IV pushes
Cemetery where my sister rests is inviting, I love to sleep there
Terror fills my soul, soon the applause will end
Terror is a free fall with no one there with a net
Cemeteries are great places to recover when in withdrawal
Terror is raging out of control and no one knows why
Rage is what I felt destroying my bedroom, leaving trophies in the wall
Traveling to Africa gave me new purpose in life
Traveling taught my internal camera how to see
Rage is what I felt about human suffering in the world
Traveling made empty audiences transform into humans in need
Begin college studying radio, television and film production
Fall into the world of anthropology and social work
Fall into finding paranormal ways to get my rush
Begin filming documentaries and stills for museums
Fall in love and make passion the new addiction
Digging in the dirt as an archaeologist assistant and living in a tent
Filming documentaries and stills is not enough
Filming and showing bizarre personal creations stirs my soul
Digging round for any evidence of my sister, the paranormal
Filming detaches me from my pain and shows others its gore
Deadlines for films, photo shows, exhibits and pass the popcorn
Give us just one more set by tomorrow
Give us a rough draft, get it right
Deadlines take the place of coaches and managers
Give me an audience to entertain, some caffeine, a pill
Drunk driver eviscerates my life, decapitates my friend
Medical torture, no time for anesthesia, you’re going to die
Medical surgery not going well, I see the monitor flat line
Drunk driver gives me a Near Death Experience and new birthday
Medical trauma fuels my rage and an addiction nothing will quench
My experience teaches me much including the delicate nature of time
Flashes of performing memories past embrace me
Flashes of my past performing show me a universal stage
My uptight nature gets in the way of spiritual awakening and growth
Flashes of my mangled body assault me and I rage again
Now I embrace, explore my surreal reality and help others find theirs
Education, degrees and life aid my helping those in emotional pain
Education, writing, photography and outreach in constant production
Now If I can only loosen up and not be so wrapped tight