Monday, May 20, 2013

Better Living Through Chemistry, Part III -- Control Has Enabled The Abandoned Wires Again, But The Copper Cables All Rust In The Acid Rain

WAIT! Didja read Part II first? How 'bout Part I?

More drama! Admit it, this is like gamer Honey Boo-Boo. Click through, ya Lookie-Lous.

When I went to see my doctor, I got a well-deserved scolding for not keeping in touch with her and tacking my blood pressure. I also got some good news, though, which eased my mind.

I was afraid I'd become addicted to the drug.

My doc waved that off, though, and assured me that the dose I'd been prescribed was nowhere near enough to cause any such thing. It was a low dose, just to see if the stuff worked for me to begin with.

Needless to say, it had, and my wife and I made a very strong case for it. I wasn't the only one who noticed an improvement in my life; according to my wife, I was actually really pleasant to be around and just a better guy all around. I told my doctor that I should be the posterboy for Adderall, it worked so well.

She agreed. It was obvious that it was of great benefit to me, and made me a deal: get my BP down and she's work with her partner to figure out how to get me back on it.

That was in September, October, thereabouts. You know, the beginning of fall? That thing that I hate?

"Hate". That's a word that people use lightly in our culture, but I don't. Hate is a nasty-ass emotion; it seems rarely to result in anything positive, it can stress you out like no one's business and it's just plain shitty. Humans, though, we're stuck with it, and one of our challenges -when we bother to accept it- is to overcome that hardwired emotion and avoid having it. That's my view, anyway, so I treat the entire concept of hate with utmost caution.

That said, I hate fall.

I won't go into it because you're already snoozing as it is and you just want this damn pity party to end, don't you? Yeah, I know. We're getting there. There's a happy ending, I promise.

Anyhow. In the interest of blah blah blah what I just said, I'll just say that last fall, and the winter after it, were weird, painful, difficult and numbing to me. My marriage was on the brink, even; it's none of your damn business but I'm including it because it's part of the story and it's significant.

What's relevant to the theme of this blog, though, is the --

-- well, you know what this blog was all about from the start, right? Yeah, I mean, sure, besides all the rambling about gaming stuff and making fun of ballet and bitching about stuff and flinging around New Wave and Synthpop music like panties at an Elvis concert, "I Waste The Buddha With My Crossbow" was originally meant to be an exploration of the joy of creativity, of making shit up for fun and not castigating oneself for not being perfect at it and son on. "I Waste The Buddha With My Crossbow" is all about how cool it is to be a sentient being with the ability to create.

And so last fall, and the winter that followed it, were a time when, although I did not stop being creative...I stopped enjoying it.

It all seemed pointless. I had known my potential, I had seen it with my eyes and touched it with my hands and infused it into what passes for my soul and my potential was gone. I had been made better, then lost it all.

I'd never be able to do anything with my ideas again. I knew that I lacked focus, so I didn't even try. Because, you know, I couldn't even go to see a goddamned concert.

On Halloween, I landed in the emergency room, dizzy, short of breath, exhausted and having some very damn scary heart palpitations and chest pains. My EKG came up OK, but still, what the fuck? I wore a heart monitor for a while to see what was up, but that proved fruitless -- the wacky-ass flutters in my chest were not concurrent with any kind of know...stuff, and then it went away. Acid reflux, maybe? Maybe, yeah, and maybe stress-related.


And then, my wife quit her job.

So...once again, I bet you dollars to donuts that this isn't going where you think it is. That's me, baby, subverting expectations. BAM.

My wife hated that job, and again, remember what I went on and on about a few paragraphs back. She. Hated. That. Job. It was stressful, it was stupid, she'd been doing it for 11 years and was going nowhere. She couldn't take it anymore. She had to quit.

And it saved our marriage.

Her stress diminished, albeit slowly; she got a part time job for the holidays and money got tight, but she was more relaxed and pleasant. Our lives got better. We hit a wall in our marriage and almost lost it -- but without the stress of that job, a lot of the things that had been hindering our marriage



Before the new year, she had a new job lined up. By the beginning of the new year, she was working the new job. She's full time. She's about to get insurance. She got a raise. She makes almost twice what she used to make, and even though the job does have its stresses, she's much, much happier.

I'm much happier.

A few weeks ago, I was going to take half a day off work so that we could rent a car and spend the weekend at a nearby resort. Well, that plan fell through, but we revised it -- instead, we'd spend our anniversary on a date and have dinner at the same restaurant where we ate on our wedding night. I still took that half day off of work, though, because I had to go to the doc to have a check-up.

I had no hopes that the doc would declare me ready to try the Adderall again. But then the nurse who prepped me for the doc took my blood pressure.

It was the lowest it's been in, and I totally shit you NOT, CLOSE TO ELEVEN YEARS.

I walked out of there with an improved status of my health, a renewed sense of my future...

...and a new prescription for Adderall.

This time around, the effects haven't been as dramatic...except at work, where one of our sales guys was let go and I'm handling the equivalent of both of our workloads, and kicking ass.

Oh. And. Um.

Look how much I've written today.

I pinged Chris back and told him that I was back on my meds, and sorry I vanished; turns out he's been busy with the Achtung Cthulhu  stuff and taking a delayed honeymoon, anyway, and so he's not quite ready to get back on the Lightstrip train just yet but is still enthused. And anyway, FATE Core isn't out yet, and we want Lightstrip to use the new rules, so...we're good.

But am I working on Lightstrip again? Well...yes and no. I can write all I want but nothing's gonna drive this sucker's development like playtesting will. After all, what makes The Lightstrip unique is how damn weird it is in terms of tone and themes, so what needs to be done is to test the playstyle, not the rules. So I'm getting some stuff organized to start that phase of the thing, and ruminating on how cyberspace is going to work. I've got some notes. Mostly I need to wrap up some stuff to which I committed before I got my mojo back, and then it's gonna be So Much Lightstrip, All The Time. One Chris slows down, we'll get back together and announce something.

I'm reporting my blood pressure to my doctor now. Because LESSON LEARNED. this all because of a drug? Do I really owe my potential to a stimulant? Is that what I've come to?

Well...see, here's a thing.

I'm not an advocate of recreational drug use, if only because that's not my idea of fun. I am an advocate of science and medicine, though, and sometimes, that's just what it takes to fix things that are wrong. It's why I take an antidepressant, it's why I wear a CPAP mask to bed, it's why I wear glasses (which I wear very well, and I make for a damn handsome bespectacled devil). In fact...

You know that old adage about evolution about "survival of the fittest", right?

No. Survival goes to the most adaptable. It's fine to be able to take the punches, but it's better when you can roll with them -- when you can make the best of your situation given what you've got. That's how we humans got to where we are. Fire bad? Master that red hot son of a bitch. Danger all around? Form societies for mutual protection. Too cold where you live? Skin a mammoth. Polio, huh? Vaccines, bitch.

Truth is, we are engines of potential weighed down as much by our slow evolutionary march out of the distant past as we are hindered by our successes -and excesses- in the present. That is, as I see it, one of the core definitions of humanity. The future belongs to those who own that humanity, who embrace it warts and all and MacGyver the shit out of their way to tomorrow. The future of mankind is ours to make or break.


...hmm. Sounds like a cyberpunk ethos, doesn't it...? Kind of like --

...I think that's a good start.