106. Reactivity


A nerve is fired and a muscle twitches without the conscious consent of the mind. It’s automatic– tap my knee in the right spot and out pops my lower leg. My brain and yours run different programs, just like your computer is doing now as you read this blog post. There is the involuntary nervous system that is constantly on duty so I don’t have to remember to breathe or sweat or dilate my pupils. It’s all taken care of in a healthy person. And there is the unconscious mind that stores all sorts of history and feelings and danger signals if you have been traumatized. Amazingly, I don’t have to tell my fingers which keys to hit as I type this entry; they “know” somehow from repetitive firings of the same neural pathways. All of these adaptations free up my mind to think of new things or to reconstruct the old.

I’ve been relearning this business with dance lessons. It requires a lot of thinking to evolve to no thinking, or thinking that has become nearly automatic. I am looking forward to the day when dancing is like typing, and then I can concentrate on my beautiful wife’s eyes and smile as we glide along thoughtlessly. Well, this is an ideal state of affairs. I’ll be happy if we don’t step on one another’s feet or bump into innocent bystanders. I like this sort of evolution toward solution.

Coffee Nation this morning was raucous, almost revolutionary. The culprits were many. First off was Josh, former bull rider, concealed weapon carrier, life time cowboy, former Old Order German Baptist. He attempted to violate the first commandment of the Nation– no political crap. Well, Gary Contrary egged him on, thus threatening his own tenuous grasp on probation for permanent residency in the Nation.  I realized that I needed Big Steve to enforce order and decorum. After all, Steve coined the phrase “no thinking Thursday” as our official slogan. But Steve was under the spell of the evil empire of JOB, working for the GLOBAL MAN. Anyway, Josh hypothesized that the government could be behind gun massacres as a way to stir up anti-gun sentiments and thus speed the round-up of all weapons. Insulting nonsense unworthy of consideration by the Coffee Summit. This sort of thing is Glenn Beck’s domain. I said so, but Gary the weasel fed into the “novel idea”. I rebuked him verily. And he pled ignorance, since he is only a newcomer to the wise ways of the Summit. Ignorance may be a prerequisite for admission to the Summit, but you can’t wear it out, Gary! I duly threatened him with lock up in the ladies bathroom behind him. Still, he persisted in rebellious agitation.

Ron, senior Redneck and semi-professional hunting guide, also joined in the agitation, siding with Josh until I reminded him that he was going shopping at 10:00 a.m. with Jana, thus undoing his testosteronal testimony. (I later learned that he bought soft comfy pajamas for his wife.) Ron then went sideways, noting that Gary could pass for my brother. Now, I have three living brothers and am not looking for another, but I often get this line, you know, how many folks look like me. I must have a very common face. Gary claimed it was an honor to be referred to as my brother and addressed me as “Bro” thereafter. I corrected him again about the two Summit rules– no political crap and no religion, and be it duly noted that persistent rebellion will be exterminated. “Why no religion?” was uttered by a nonmember or two. “Because it brings out the stupid in folks. Please talk about your spirituality, talk about Jesus, but do not tell me how Methodists are better than Baptists, or vice versa. It is beneath the dignity of the Coffee Nation.” [Let it be written; let it be done.]

Gary then explained that in South Carolina proper baptism is argued nearly as passionately as the Civil War. He related a real discussion with his mother-in-law about Methodist sprinkling versus full Baptist immersion and the awfulastrophic aftermath. “That’s the crap I’m talking about, Man. What a bunch of nonsense.” Josh added that for OOGB’s unless you were dunked forward three times, you weren’t baptized. Again, rigid affiliation with the very Pharisees that Jesus himself railed against. Those types would correct John the Baptist. I have little tolerance for fools, old or new. Then Gary mentioned bringing his wife to next week’s Summit. “Oh no, you didn’t!!!”

And so it went around the circle. The young Turk Matt dropped in from graduate school where he’s learning how to be a fancy pants counselor. He made the unforgiveable mistake of fraternizing with Krista and the Fraulines at the other end of the room. They were running a low octane, watered down summit while multitasking on computers. Big show offs. I corrected Matt and brought him back into the manfold. I requested a screen of some sort be erected in the room to separate the genders. It has to be done to maintain the integrity of the Nation, just normal stinking boundaries, that’s all. Also, I don’t want to advertise by comparison just how unproductive and feral our group is. We have an honorable duty to uphold as is spelled out in our coffee summit constitution, which I forget where I put … we need to ratify that thing, though. It’s on a napkin, I remember that much. Women are not allowed in our group because they would force us out of the trees and make us walk upright instead of hunched over on our knuckles.

The Egginator brought a dozen eggs for Lance, the Barber of the Boro. I believe Egginator mentioned female boxers somewhere in the hubbub. (Not underwear but pugilists.) Gary chimed in that many women could beat him (himself) in a boxing ring. No debate was offered. The Eggman added that my daughter could whip him ( himself). Again, no debate was offered. After more Gary input, I finally told him that I would settle the baptism battle by saturating him in the commode of the ladies room– full immersion, sprinkle, three forward dunks, the works. Fear crossed his eyes as he faced the potential wrath of the Nation. He settled.

Even the presence of the Mighty Yeti Yoda Chuckles could not settle the natives. Anarchy ruled the day. Reactivity burst through each moment. We devolved into a cage of chimps hopped up on caffeine. It was a dark day in the annals of the Coffee Summit Nation. Being the only responsible member, I felt the crushing weight that comes with the silver back. I must restore order before this rebellion takes root, before we go coed, become enlightened, and even productive. I may have to sacrifice a few (to be exact, Gary, Josh and Ron) for the good of the herd. I felt like Washington on Christmas Eve at Valley Forge, not the mall, or Moses when the Israelites rebelled again. There was a river to be crossed in each story. Mine is the River of Responsibility. I’m afraid I may have to carry each chimp across on my back, though.

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One thought on “106. Reactivity

  1. I wished I could have been @ Coffee Summit Nation this week. It sounds like the guys were stepping out of line and against the Summit rules. How dare them?? I’ll be there Thursday after Christmas to provide some re-enforcement with you.

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