The pause that refreshes

No April showers today.

Sure hope y’all didn’t pay no ransom. I wasn’t kidnapped or nothin’ — just decided to check myself out for a little digital detox.

The voices in my head were starting to win most of our arguments, so I swerved the clown car into the breakdown lane and rassled them sumbitches into the trunk, let ’em bounce around in there with the spare tire and all those old whoopie cushions until they remembered who’s driving this rig and shut the fuck up.

I know, poor loser. But my head, my rules.

If it’s been a while since you aimed the leaf blower at the darker corners of your brain-box you might give ’er a whirl. I quit doomscrolling the Innertubes, turned off the TV and NPR, even shelved the magazines and books. All that input had my output by the plums with a downhill pull. When the only channel the palantír gets is Radio Free Mordor it’s time to shut ’er down for maintenance.

Now we’re back on the old Highway to Hell at a safe and sane 666 mph and I don’t feel like I have to flip the bird at every single billboard. Ain’t hearing shit from the trunk, neither.

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27 Responses to “The pause that refreshes”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    I read a book. Was refreshing to actually turn paper pages rather than scroll the Screen of Doom.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve been reading actual books for quite a while now. Buy ’em from Page 1 over on Eubank. I like the way a real book feels in me paws.

      And I’ve discovered that I don’t really like the iPad. It seems much more about consumption than creation and I pick mine up almost never.

  2. katholoch Says:

    Sounds like a great idea! I’ve definitely been dialing down my media consumption since Jan 6th 2021. I remember back to the old days of my youth when I probably knew who the president was but didn’t really now what was going on. And you know what? I was perfectly happy since there was nothing I could do about any of it anyway.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It finally struck me after three months of retirement that I didn’t need to be so tightly focused on the daily deluge. I’m not working for anyone anymore and don’t have to be on top of every little thing so’s I can plug that 750-word hole next to the Greenfield kickstands ad or draw something alarming about the outrage du jour. I can, just, like, y’know, crack wise now and again.

      • JD Says:

        Crack wise or crack cynical or crack curmudgeonlike! WGAS?
        Any of those would beat the social-engineering media coverage that focuses on controversy, confrontation, and conflict. And another “C(ents)” that become “$$$”!
        We’ve a very accomplished lady friend who has quit watching the “news” for a year and her blood pressure has dropped, along with her cholesterol, and her time dedicated to helping others has gone way up.
        Hmmmmm …. maybe ignorance is bliss/health/self-actualization, etc.????
        Or simply the pause that refreshes? Hopefully no trademark infringement there!! 🙂

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I don’t want to be entirely clocked out. I have that long history with what we used to call the “news” biz but now is more about “content,” a nebulous term that would’ve sent Strunk and White screeching off into the void like turpentined banshees.

        But I’m definitely cutting back. As Katholoch notes, there’s nothing I can do about any of it anyway.

  3. khal spencer Says:

  4. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Whew ….we was a commencin to fret out here in the perimeter. Glad to hear the trunk voices are for now silent but I must admit I like it when they get cranked up and take over at times

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      O, yeah, well, for sure, the voices, I gotta air ’em out every now and then or they stink up the trunk somethin’ awful.

      But they were getting a little uppity. Before much longer they’d have been asking for their own bylines. Or money! Jaysis!

  5. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Quit doom scrolling and a digital detox, heh? You missed the pootintate say he was going to stop climate change by ordering up a nuclear winter. But, like before, you took the smart exit off the info highway. Blazing Saddles or Strange Brew and Idiocracy back to back works for detox entertainment, and we have them on disc so no computer involved.

  6. SAO' Says:

    I hear tell that our ancestors used to go days … no, months … no, years without checking email or updating their social media accounts. Hard to believe, yeah?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Forty-odd years ago, when I was working at The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, the only mail I checked was delivered by USPS. Mostly bills, as I recall. I got all the bad news I needed at the Star.

      A few years later, when I was at the Corvallis Gazette-Times in Oregon, one of the reporters was talking about buying a Kaypro II and I was mildly curious, but finally thought, “I really don’t know what I’d do with it.”

      Well, now we know, don’t we?

      I’m not certain we’re equipped to digest the mountains of “content” flung at us today. It’s like trying to sip from a fire hose. You can find some good stuff out there but it’s like hunting diamonds in dung. More of the latter than the former. Much, much more. Performative peacockery, ambulance chasing, and the sort of raving public lunacy once reserved for smellies on street corners.

      Some days I swear you can feel IQs dropping like barometric pressure before a hurricane. And it’s not as though we were the smartest monkeys in the jungle to start with. We’re just the crotch-droppings of the first knuckleheads to fall out of their tree.

      “We should get back up in the tree.”

      “Fuck it, that’s too much like work. Let’s see what happens down here. Hey, dig this, I just invented cave painting. All I needed was one hand and some shit.”

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        Diamonds in dung! Seems I wrote some lyrics using your beautiful phrase. Let me see if I can find them.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        So keep digging in that dung
        Don’t believe that you got stung
        Keep believing in the truth
        In that optimism of youth

        I’m holdin’ my shovel, nose and tongue
        And rejecting the dung miner’s curse
        I’ll keep diggin’ for diamonds in dung
        Filling up my diamond purse

        Obviously, it still needs some work. Do what you like to it.

      • SAO’ Says:

        I’m old enough to remember when there was an almost analog version of this:

        Someone in the Pentagon and collect all of the local newspapers, New York Times, whatever else grab their fancy. And they would physically cut out articles, tape them to a page, photocopy them, and send them out via fax. Transitioned to an email, eventually transition to a webpage.

        Also reminds me of my favorite fax prank. Write obscenities or a ransom note or whatever on three pieces of paper, taped together. Feed it into the fax machine, and when the first page comes out, you loop it around and tape it to the end of the third page, so now you have a continuous loop going through the machine. Send it to your favorite target, kick back while they run out of paper.

    • khal spencer Says:

      I got my first Real Job(tm) back when the Innertubes were in their infancy. I checked my department mailbox once a day and there were a couple things in it such as schedules or “sign up for what you want to teach or the department chair will do it for you”. When you had to type something out and print copies, one was careful to decide if something was important enough to put all that work in.

      As email advanced, it created the notion that something was important just because you thought of it. Diamonds and dung is a good analogy. By the time I retired last fall, getting to work meant hitting the key for the inbox and then diving for cover. I’m glad that is over.

      Same with “content”. I preferred the One A Day Single Newspaper and the Six O’Clock News. Now its “shit, we gotta fill up all this void space with something, 24/7. Quick, let me drop my drawers and fill that space with content!”

  7. Herb from Michigan Says:

    POG, you should take more days off to recharge the creative juices. I’ve been searching for these * words for years. The perfect description of American common sense dissolving like an Alka Seltzer. I promise I will give proper credit POG when I go forth and launch my diatribes on the world. *”Some days I swear you can feel IQs dropping like barometric pressure before a hurricane”

  8. Chris Ivich Says:

    re: The pause that refreshes. I’m gonna mat and frame that one.

  9. Pat O’Brien Says:

    We bought all 6 seasons of “Northern Exposure” on DVD from the. PBS store. We watched the pilot and 2 episodes tonight. Really good stuff. I might have to heed Patrick’s suggestion and do a digital detox and do some binge watching instead! A fine substitute for the sirens song of the iPad and intertubes.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We have the collected “Northern Exposure” too, and it’s a keeper. It holds up really well, even when you notice that nobody has an iPhone pasted to the side of his/her head.

      Have you ever watched “High Maintenance?” It started out as a Vimeo online series, then HBO snatched it up a few years later. Ostensibly about a bicycle-pedaling weed dealer in NYC, it’s about much, much more. Reminds me in many ways of “Northern Exposure,” with its excellent, elliptical writing and solid performances.

      Also good: “Reservation Dogs,” about life on the rez with a largely Indigenous cast and crew, and “Somebody Somewhere,” an oddball little slice-of-life piece set in a smallish Kansas town.

    • carl duellman Says:

      i’ve never seen ‘northern exposure’. i’ve heard good things about it but i think i was without a tv then. i didn’t watch ‘seinfeld’ either for i guess the same reason. i have been watching ‘severance’ on apple tv. weird and interesting show and i’m really enjoying it. the last episode is this week and i’m hoping it ends well.

    • SAO' Says:

      I’ll never understand why that show isn’t streaming somewhere. It was originally on CBS, but it’s not part of the Paramount+ package

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        The holdup involves ( or used to involve) the rights to all the music NE used, according to Gothamist circa 2018.

        Also, the CBS show was apparently acquired by NBC at some point, and there has been some discussion of a reboot involving Rob Morrow and some of the other original characters.

        I agree, it’s ridiculous, because the show is timeless and there’s a whole new generation of viewers who would find it charming as hell, the way we did.

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