. . . pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process, pause, break, interval, interruption, suspension, intermission, interlude, gap, lacuna, lull, respite, breathing space, time out, recess . . .
I’ve been writing about that urge to roam. To travel freely. Unencumbered. To experience the world through the lens of constant motion.
My first post in this series introduced the terms “Dromomania” and “Drapetomania,” which placed this desire squarely in the medical model for disease. The word “disease” itself has been defined as: “a condition of the living animal or plant body, or of one of its parts, that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms” that is “not simply a direct result of physical injury.” A disease has also been said to be “a particular quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people.”*
And there are four main types of disease: infectious, deficiency, hereditary, and physiological diseases. Diseases can be communicable or non-communicable, and when we have absolutely no idea what causes one, we call it “idiopathic.”
And let’s not forget mental or psychogenic diseases.
In fact, the suffix “mania,” in dromomania and drapetomania, arguably places the old terminology squarely in that category of mental illness.
So, is the compulsion to flee, to explore, to wander the world, a mental disorder? And what are those so-afflicted fleeing from?
Intro: I wrote this story back in 1993, describing some of my time on the road between 1978 and 1980. I had packed up and bugged out after a little run-in with the law.
Something sparked the memory, and I dug out a copy of the publication it appeared in at the time – “Out Your Backdoor.”
I found it fun to look back at my writing style then. Not that much different from today.
I was trying to break into freelance writing and looking for small publications that would pick up an article – payment was usually a couple copies of the newsletter, magazine, or journal, or whatever print media it might have been.
With a few minor edits, here it be . . .
I left you all at a juncture in my story “The Club 66.” So, it’s time to circle back a little. If you don’t remember, check out the last couple of paragraphs.
Disclaimer: I don’t recommend that anyone participate in such a ceremony without proper guidance, intent, and knowledge. Also, since we are all individuals, creatures with complex chemical-electrical systems, there is no way to predict how ingestion of any substance might affect someone. To either their benefit or detriment.
Nor can I offer any guidance in how to interpret such an experience. Words fall far short.
Well, as language continues to evolve, or devolve, there’s nothing “cooler” than shortening words for effect. 😊 It also takes less energy and effort. I mean, why bother with all those syllables and pronunciation, right?
There’s also a connotation that sticks with these phrases. These monotone soundbites.
Today’s example is “tude.” The short version of “attitude.” And it’s usually with the negative connotation. “So, what’s with all the tude man?” “Too early in the day for that kind of tude.”
I’m sure you’ve heard it before.
Fear, desire. Lightness and dark. The polar opposites are said to be interrelated.
But that doesn’t seem to match our perceptions of reality. I mean, do people fearing some awful event actually have a secret or subconscious desire for that event to happen? Self-flagellation??
I’m not really sure.
There is a growing body of literature talking about our power to manifest the things we want in life. And I’m not sure how much credence to put in that line of thought. This mystical power if activated improperly, by a negative focus, would rain terror down upon us. And that seems to negate the concept of free will, or our ability to say “no thanks.” “I don’t wish to be struck by lightning.”
My last post was a bit short. And it really only listed out some research findings. Although it was interesting research about the power of positive relationships. And it did include some fun terms like “micro-aggressions,” “micro-experiences,” and “positive alacrity.”
I had to look up that last word “alacrity,” and it means “promptness in response, cheerful readiness.”
One could say that I didn’t put a lot creative effort into that post, or mockingly, and fairly, say that “I phoned it in.”
But sometimes shorter and simpler is better. The acronym I used for this was “KISS.” I used it as “keep it short and simple.” In law school, it stood for “keep it simple stupid.” That’s kind of interesting because one might think that highly educated folks, like lawyers, might not mind long and detailed analyses. It goes with the territory.
But people are pressed for time. And maybe that time is not well spent on “legal briefs” or social media?
I really do like studies. Even the ones where we think there are obvious conclusions, as if we didn’t need any documentation.
“Everybody knows that!”
But us humans do like to research. To authenticate, substantiate, certify, justify, confirm, establish, corroborate, prove, support, validate. Whatever word you want to use.
We like confirmation and quantification.
So, while I’m not overly surprised, I do find it intriguing that the research bears out that modern medicine has very little to do with our overall health – only about ten to twenty percent at best. A full eighty percent or more is determined by our relationships. At least that is what a seventy-five-year study conducted by the Harvard Medical School concluded.
When my daughter was a teenager, I told her to avoid two things during her teenage years that could leave her struggling for financial gain and independence for the rest of her life. Two Albatrosses, that could strangle and weigh her down and prevent her from ever getting ahead.
Smoking cigarettes and having babies.
These two things are incredible financial weights that can decimate monthly earnings, prevent you from going to college or learning a trade, and have the potential to actually impoverish you if take these on early in life. Especially in your teens, before you’ve even start building a career.
But there are other weights we can acquire later in life just as devastating, and some might put marriage in that category. Why, because they dissolve and turn into everlasting debt. Or at least very long-standing debt. The debt from a divorce can bankrupt you.
I remember in my first semester of law school being in property class. One of my fellow students was answering the professor’s question. They grilled us pretty hard. The Socratic Method. My classmate made an error. They had said,
“Well, that’s not fair!”
My instructor paused for a moment. Chuckled. And then replied. “I was wondering how long it would be before someone used the ‘F’ word. If you’re going to argue that something is not ‘fair,’ then you have to tell me why it is not ‘legally fair’.”
I listed a couple of my disclaimers in yesterday’s intro into this series, but I better cover them here as well:
My writings on this topic will be based upon a mix of personal experience and my experience as an attorney.
All opinions are my own, and it is not my intent to upset anyone in any way or feed into any stereotypes or traditional prejudices that people may have.
None of us can have a full understanding of what other folks are doing, or what’s in their minds, their perspectives, what they were taught, what their intentions are, or why events in their lives may have unfolded the way they did.
Obviously, since I’m a male, you will be hearing a male perspective, but I’ve tried to balance that and be as objective as possible. For those following my blog, you may remember I did a series on being “Woke” where I discussed gender roles and patriarchy, and I tried to provide a balanced discussion in that series as well.
Also, readers may span different generations and have been taught completely different things and may approach love, sex, and marriage in completely different ways than prior generations. Or they may come from a different cultural base that treats relationships completely different than from the way they are treated in this country. One of my blogging friends just this morning introduced a different term for this discussion – the “bonded pair,” and I like that because it encompasses much more than a single concept.
I have edited parts of my articles to remove personal observations that some might find objectionable. It is not always easy for people to look in the mirror, or into the mirror I’m holding. I’m trying to respect that. But those observations may come out once comments begin.
Everyone will have their views, and I hope you will share yours with me frankly – trust me, I won’t be offended.
All that being said, let’s dive into some myths. Even at the risk of my own embarrassment. :-0
Blogging is an interesting pastime.
For many of us, it’s a way to hone our skills as writers and explore a whole range of topics. It can even be a testing ground for materials we wish to write about, like a future book, or for just good old-fashioned storytelling.
For some, it’s even a way to make a living.
Well, yesterday, one of my blogging friends asked me to address a particular topic. Marriage. And to do so from the perspective of a father giving advice to a son that is of marriage age or is considering marriage. He wants to hear the “truth.”
And I can certainly do this, but I fear it may be a bit controversial.