Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Josh learned the meaning of the word "fortnight." (Also, Inspiration Quotes for ADHD--Samuel Johnson.)



Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.

Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)


So, funny thing. I came across this quote when I was looking up the word "fortnight." Somehow, until that moment, I hadn't realized what "fortnight" meant in one of those weird flukes of vocabulary where you don't pick up on the meaning of a somewhat common word that you've seen many, many times, yet you kind of think you know what it means, but, turns out, you were way off. I always kinda thought it meant something like... I don't know. An afternoon? Kind of like the time right before night? Don't ask me where I got that, because it makes no sense at all.

Turns out, it means two weeks, which is quite a bit different than five hours or whatever. This helps explain my confusion about the passage that made me look this up in the first place. I was reading a book online about Florence Nightingale (she's intriguing, all right? So sue me) and in a quote from her diary, in which she was busy chronicling just how much being a 30-year-old socialite of the 19th century sucks (and it actually does sounds horrible, btw) she said the following, which I may or may not be paraphrasing liberally having read it about a month ago:

Being a 30-year-old woman who gets treated like an infant by my parents who honestly believe that my role in life is to read books, play songs on the piano, go visiting with my mom every once in a while, and chit chat at breakfast to entertain the men of the house makes me really, really annoyed when all I want to do with my life is revolutionize nursing and make huge advances in sanitation. EML!!!! (That means End My Life. I'm Florence Nightingale, and I don't say swears.)

Anyway, to demonstrate this, here's an accounting of what I was forced to do during the last fortnight. I read two volumes of Sybil to mother, and then read the entire Aeneid to father along with Several Texts About How Women Should be Treated Like Infants and Should Really Like It. I also memorized 24 songs by heart, paid 14 visits with mother, attended several luncheons, and wrote 46 pieces of correspondence. Is this really all life holds for me???

For obvious reasons, a quick check on what fortnight actually meant was in order, because otherwise, according to my previous definition of "pretty much an afternoon, or something like that" Nightingale was not only an amazing altruist who helped save many lives, but she also had casually discovered how to freeze time at her leisure.

That is what led me to the aforequoted quote (I sure like making words up) which appeared below the online definition I found. I love this quote because it is absolutely true. True for everyone, of course, but especially true for those of us who accidentally, out of nowhere, find ourselves spending hours reading detailed journal entries by Florence Nightingale when they should actually be doing really important things like working or writing or being a dad.

You can bet if I was going to be hanged in a fortnight, I would officially not be reading about Florence Nightingale. Instead, I would get crap done. I would also be eating really amazing food (say, Leatherby's or Cafe Rio or Claim-jumpers or maybe even Taco Bell, or maybe all of them at the same time), hanging out with Wifey and the kids, and taking some deep breaths. And I'd probably be crying or something. And praying. And perhaps there would be some Scrabble involved.

(Really? Really, this is what came to my brain as I pondered the final fortnight of my life? No joke, I was like "what else would I like to get in if there were only 14 days left? I know, SCRABBLE!!")

This post has ended on a very sad note.

The end.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hey, remember that time when I used to post here?

So, I've been pretty quiet I guess.

There are a few reasons for this. They're good ones, I hope. And I think I might be back to post more frequently now Hey, how's about no empty promises, k? K.

The proof, as they say, shall be in the pudding.

So, reasons, Josh has been incommunicado.

1. ADHD.

2. (As a mini-update, and not a reason, the medication is still amazing, and I still love it, and it still makes me feel all magical inside while I do lots of chores and other Really Important Things like flossing and remembering not to abandon therapy clients and cleaning my garage (yeah, did that the other day--it ain't no thing, ya'll) and in essence, I still love the stuff deeply.)

3. This really weird thing happened when I started taking medication. As days passed and passed and I felt no desire to post I realized that this entire blog spontaneously generated itself from my brain as kind of a pre-contemplative step towards getting on meds. So, once I got on them, and they worked, I started being like, "wait, what was that thing I did where I sat down at the computer and wrote words down about ADHD and it felt all important and stuff? I can't remember why I used to do that..."

Anyway, there's more, like the fact that because this was kind of an unintentional therapeutic exercise, my posts have been all maudlin and melodramatic, and have felt all weighty like I was talking about cancer or AIDS or genocide or human trafficking or Sarah Palin or something else that's really really tragic. (Did you see that? Did you see how I slipped in a political joke there? See how I'm not all emo? That's right. I'm funny, and I say funny, polarizing crap. Just for the fun of it.) Anyway, now when I think about all those stories I told, they seem really really funny, too.

And I might just rewrite them that way, just to see if I can.

But yeah, I've gotta go teach a violin lesson now. This post is just to say that I'm rethinking things, and that I might want this to be an actual blog. Not a dumping ground for overly serious accounts along the lines of woe-is-me-I-had-hilarious tragic-things-happen-as-a-kid-because-of-ADHD.

I might still continue to compile quotes though. Because I liked that.

There might be other changes as well. (I know your breath is bated. And baited also. Mine sure is.)

Bye.