When Is Panic the Appropriate Response?, Views of the Macabre, and Wake-Up Songs

 

Perhaps as a person who has dealt with PTSD, major depression, and panic attacks, it would be helpful for me to know when panic is the appropriate response.  I have been known to vascillate from near catatonia and total apathy to going postal over a popcorn fart.  One thing that I have noticed after being on Prozac for the past six years, is that my reactions seem to be a lot more “middle of the road.”  I don’t freak out easily and for no apparent reason like I used to when I had panic attacks on a regular basis, but I don’t go into total apathy mode either.  I do notice and still care about all the things that are screwed up in my particular dystopia, but not to the point of losing sleep or climbing the walls.  This is a good thing, I think, unless I should be freaking out and just don’t realize it.

Jerry freaks out about the grass.  I don’t know if all middle-aged to elderly men have a thing about having a perfect lawn and freaking out if you don’t, but Jerry sure as hell has a lawn fetish.   He always thinks the grass needs mowed, especially if he can see any dandelions.  Personally, I like dandelions.  They are nature’s way of giving lawn freaks like Jerry the finger.  There are limits to what you can do with grass.  Our lawn is not a golf course.  There’s a bus stop in front of our house, so a lot of the time, as they wait on the bus, the freakazoids from the drunk and domestic apartments behind the body shop are tossing their cig packs, drinkie cups and various other detritus in the front yard.  I swear I picked up- with the shovel- a trucker bomb in the front yard the other day.  So as long as the height of the plant life in the front yard is compliant with city ordinances, I wouldn’t be too paranoid about it.  The back yard is the dogs’ shitter.  Do they care if they shit in dandelions?  Probably not.  George Carlin once asked (in reference to cats, but same principle) how many gourmets lick their asses.  How many dogs really care about the quality of the greenery they’re dropping a deuce in?

Thankfully, yesterday, when he finally moved out of Tipsy McNumbnuts mode, Jerry decided to call his half-brother Ray Earl (oh, the joy of redneck names!) who repairs lawn mowers, to see if he would take a look at the one he trashed.  In the meanwhile, he managed to start one of the beat up old mowers he buys at yard sales to sell on Craig’s List, and he did quite fine last night mowing the grass with it.   Since he was sober and acting like he actually had half a brain for once, I decided to be nice and pick up all the visible dog shit in the back yard for him.  That was partially for my own benefit, because he always seems to either step in it (and then, of course, he will traipse it through the house so I get to clean it up off his shoes and the floors) or it gets mulched in the mower, so you step out the door and it smells like shit.  Neither alternative is pleasant, but  I was overjoyed to be spared a field trip through the seventh circle of hell with him in Sears or Home Depot.  Scooping up shit is not nearly as bad as following Jerry around in Home Depot.

I am not much of a shopper, especially for a woman.  I dislike crowds, and generally avoid stores altogether if I can buy what I want online.  But home improvement stores are Jerry’s equivalent of DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse- one of the hugest shoe stores in the Midwest-with locations all over beautiful Central Ohio.)  Jerry can spend hours looking at building supplies and tools and chain saws and trimmers and mowers and all the various crud available at home improvement stores for hours on end.  I find gawking at that stuff insanely boring unless I need a particular item to do a particular job, then I get what I need and get out.  It usually smells like fertilizer or paint in those places, and I really don’t want to linger. I don’t think I could spend as long in DSW as Jerry spends on his forays to Home Depot.   Ideally he would go to the home improvement store with Bob- they both know what they are after, they both like to gawk at things like varnish and caulk, and I don’t have a freaking clue.

I do try not to be one of those old geezers who bitch about really stupid things.  I don’t want to end up like the old bitty that lived across from Mom and Dad who complained about kids “stealing her snow.”  She was dead for four months before anyone realized it.  Her kids never bothered to visit her, and everyone who lived in the neighborhood avoided her because she was constantly calling the cops on everyone.  I don’t want to become so petty that I end up calling the cops over dogs barking or loud exhausts.  Usually I only bother law enforcement if there’s something dangerous going on, like people shooting off shotguns, or there’s a drunk guy passed out in the drunk and domestic apartments’ parking lot when it’s 20 degrees out, and he’ll freeze to death if nobody retrieves him.

I figure cops have better things to do than to hassle people about dogs barking or to give the young punks fits about the ass-nasty rap music they like to blare through their sub-woofers.  I’m not saying I like it when people let their dogs bark incessantly or when anyone plays rap music, but I’m sure I do things to annoy people too.   

Jerry got an interesting piece of junk mail yesterday- from a cemetery up in Lewis Center (a small town about 25 miles out) extolling the beauty (and quoting pricing and payment plans) of having your very own pre-paid grave plot

I hate to say it but I find such a thing a bit macabre.  It’s one thing to realize you eventually might need one, and go trolling for grave plots on your own, but it seems just a bit morbid for a cemetery to be sending out flyers with the ValPak coupons. 

I am planning on being cremated if for no other reasons than to save money and space.  I should consider buying my urn ahead of time. 

If I leave it up to Steve-o I’ll end up spending eternity either flushed down the toilet, or in an old Folger’s can that Steve-o will eventually mistake for an ashtray.

I am going to have to compile my CD of  “Songs to Wake Jerry Up” for use when he’s hungover because he was partying like a rockstar the night before.

Here’s a preliminary list:

“Stars and Stripes Forever” – John Philip Sousa (this is a wake-up classic!)

Ren and Stimpy’s “Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy” song

“Shiny Happy People”- REM (it can be a just plain annoying song)

“Dixie Highway”- Journey

“Rock and Roll”- Led Zeppelin

“Crazy Train”- Black Sabbath

“Bastille Day”- Rush

“Smells Like Teen Spirit”- Nirvana

“For Whom the Bell Tolls”- Metallica

I could have fun with this collection.  I will have to troll my MP3 collection tonight and see what I can find. 

Something tells me I really don’t want to know.  After Steve-o did the 7/8″ earrings in his earlobes, I didn’t have the courage to ask him what else he has pierced.  Some things are TMI, even for me.

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