ROFL: Random Outbursts From Lar! LarryNocella.com

23Nov/09Off

Discovery by Denial: Boy Meets Xbox. Boy Loses Xbox. Boy Gets New Perspective.

As I type this, the morning birds are singing a song and the sun is smiling. I'm waiting for UPS to deliver my repaired Xbox. Every car that whooshes by pauses this writing. Wait! No, that whoosh is too big. Damn fire truck. Wait! No, that whoosh is too small. Damn hybrid hippies! Wait! Wait! Ah, crap. The neighbor got a FedEx delivery. Fate, you naughty tease!

It's been an interesting few weeks waiting for my beloved Xbox to come home. When old 'exy was around, I would play for... well, a lot. More than a pseudo-adult should. The old man inside me weeps. All that time I spend in front of the Xbox I could be yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn. (Sing: The cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon…)

So I played Xbox a lot until one tragic day, I couldn't play at all. Please, don't cry. I've already done that enough for both of us.

People who aren't addicted to something often say to those who are, "Why don't you just stop?" Naïve fools. They aren't under the spell of something so much fun it can lead you smiling to your ruin. Suckers!

If stopping were as easy as just stopping, we addicts would. We would notice our world crumbling around us. If stopping was that easy, humanity might not even need the word addiction, and we would have a serious problem powering the economy.

But addicts can't stop. Here's time-lapsed internal dialogue that I suspect everyone has had regarding their own addiction(s): "Don't. Don't do that. You shouldn't do that. You know you shouldn't do that. You really don't want to do that. You're going to regret doing that. Oh no, you're doing it. You did it. You shouldn't have done that. Oh well, it's done now. Next time you'll do better."

You know how science says if you touch a hot pan, your hand pulls back before your mind tells it to? Like before you realize you're watching Fox News, you're already stupid? I submit that addiction resides in that zone between reflex and awareness. You get so used to the pleasure your addiction brings and you do it so much, you push it into the no-thought zone of reflex. When feeding your addiction, you don't even notice what you're doing.

It might not even be as fun as it used to be, since the conscious mind doesn't know it's happening. Then again, if you were aware, you might be plagued with guilt. Awareness can be such a buzz kill.

Sometimes though, you're forced into quitting: your drug dealer gets thrown in jail. The distributor runs out of beer. The store sells out of cigarettes. Or your Xbox breaks. Aside: if all of those ever happen to me at the same time, I'm dead.

It's not just addiction. Altering any habit is an eye-opening experience. I never knew there were so many awesome types of food until I went vegan. Suddenly, I couldn't eat the same old food. Blinking, I staggered out of my comfort zone and found a whole new world. (Sing: A whole new world!)

While my baby (ahem, my Xbox) was gone, I learned that there's a lot that goes on in the world when I'm wasting n00bz in Halo 3. None of it is as much fun, but it's still impressive how much you can get done in an evening when 99% of it isn't taken up crushing a preteen's dreams of digital victory.

So for a really unique trip, try challenging your habits. Fight your addiction. Your world will never be the same. It's a special kind of high and one you can be sure you will come down from.

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Larry Nocella writes The Semi-True Adventures of Lar blog at LarryNocella.com. He's the author of the novel Where Did This Come From? The world's first CarbonFree(R) novel according to Carbonfund.org. The book is available on Amazon.com as a paperback and Kindle eBook. It is also available for other eBook readers.