Monday, January 3, 2011


“You’re so disciplined!”
“You’re so inflexible!”
You see what that is? The exact same behavior triggering contrasting responses, one adulatory, the other one, “Knock it off!”
“I write a blog post every weekday.”
‘That’s amazing!”
“I write a blog post every weekday.”
“You can’t take a day off sometime? Gimme a break!”
Of the two responses, my preference leans towards,” That’s amazing!” Heavily. But I understand the alternative view as well. There’s the appearance of a “Mr. Good Boy” in the house. And nobody likes him.
For me, it’s a lot easier to be an “always” person than a “sometimes” person. “I write a blog post every weekday” is more doable than “I sometimes write one.” If I were a “sometimes” person, I would be hard for me to know when to write. With surprisingly little difficulty, “I’ll write tomorrow” can be continually pushed back till it becomes, “I forgot to write anything.” “Always” is a simpler schedule to keep track of.
It’s always.
I am acknowledged for my discipline, whether it was preparing for exams or later, in my writing career. I’m just a disciplined guy. I’m not talking about putting away my laundry, I mean the things that matter to me. (My bedroom chair is so piled up with clothing, it’s wondering, “Did he leave town, or what?”)
The problem with the highly disciplined “always” approach is that at some point, it stops being a behavior of choice and becomes a coercing necessity, not dissimilar to an addiction. When you’re a “sometimes” person, and you miss a day, no problem. That was simply the “sometimes” day when you didn’t….do whatever it is you sometimes do. But always means always. The necessity of missing a day weighs on you, sometimes extremely heavily. How heavily? “You need to do it or you feel terrible” heavily.
A disciplined person ends up being disciplined…everywhere. Your commitment is no longer an option; it’s a requirement. In every aspect of your life. Making you an “always” person
So like this.
My doctor recommends I take fish oil.
I don’t want to take fish oil. I don’t want to take any supplements. I remember my cousin Harry, a pharmacist, being asked, “What do vitamins do?”, and responding, “Make money for the company.” Like cousin Harry, I’m a little skeptical in the supplements department. Also, taking something indicates you’re deficient in that thing. That’s what “supplement” means. “You don’t have enough of this, so we’re selling you some more.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy feeling deficient.
Okay, so I’m taking fish oil, that the doctor sells out of his office. He tells me I can buy it anywhere, but it has to be the right kind of fish oil, so why run around looking for the right kind, and risk buying the wrong kind by mistake, when I can simply buy the right kind from him, is the unspoken message, he delivers with his eyes.
So I buy my fish oil from him.
I have a basketful of pills and supplements; I toss the fish oil on the pile. Minimum dose: One capsule per day. They’re pretty big. One bottle, it looks like they dried out a whole lot of fish.
I reluctantly take my daily fish oil supplement, along with the other supplements I’m deficient in, all washed down with a tall glass of pomegranate juice, which I am advised is good for the prostate.
I duz it all. Apparently, I do not want to die.
Over time, my resistance disappears. It becomes what I do. I take fish oil. As part of my “always” regimen.
If it were heroin, I’d be a junkie. But it’s fish oil. Nobody writes great jazz on fish oil.
It’s just not the same. Except for one thing, you realize.
You gotta have it.
Where that urgency emerged from? I have no idea. It wasn’t there before. And now it is.
Fish oil is constantly on my mind. “Gettin’ low on fish oil.” “Gotta stock up on fish oil.” It’s astonishing. Suddenly, the thought of not having my fish oil “fix” triggers simulated “cold turkey” shivers.
Holiday’s coming; I’ll be gone a week. I count out the capsules, to make sure there’s enough. Can’t run out. Nosir.
Gotta have my fish oil. Don’t want no “Fish Oil Shakes.”
I’m on the trip. Turns out I counted wrong; I’m one capsule short. Normal person says, “So you’ll skip a day.” But I’m disciplined. I’ve got a routine. One fish oil capsule per day. No skips. No exceptions.
And I mean it!
It’s a heckuva a transformation. Once, I hated taking the stuff. Now, it’s
“Gotta have my fish oil. Right. Now! Gotta have my fish oil. And. How! Cannot do without it. No. Way! Gotta have my fish oil

Take! Take! You can’t take a break!
Don’t take the fish oil, you get the Fish Oil Shakes!

Take! Take! You can’t take a break!
Don’t take the fish oil, get the Fish Oil Shakes!
Fish Oil Shakes! Fish Oil Shakes!
Fishy, fishy, fishy, fishy
Fish Oil Shakes!
Lemme have my fish oil…
That’s how it is. It’s a package deal. The discipline of writing five blog posts a week?
It comes hand-in-hand with the “Fish Oil Shakes.”

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