What do you think, Ratty?

Dearest Ratty,

Over the course of 24 hours, I watched 5 documentaries about prison life. Suffice it to say that after the last one I felt so depressed that not even my cat’s silly antics could rouse me. I left the house in search of fresh air and optimism. Fresh air I got, but optimism? Well, not really. I watched a short video of two guinea pigs and that cheered me ever so slightly.

But I’m not talking about sadness, Ratty. What I’m talking about is overkill. I’ve done it with everything from drinking kombucha to eating a box of crackers in one sitting.

Going back to the prison documentaries, why do I overdo things? What happened to spacing things out? What happened to giving yourself time to recuperate.

So, tell me Ratman, when was the last time you overdid something and how did you feel about it? And thinking about the existence of overkill, should we even try to fight it, or should we just recognize this as part of our 21st century human condition?

Signed,

Moley

Hi Moles,

I am, of course, the same way. This morning I bought a box of granola bars to keep in my office desk for snacks. There are five bars, one for every work day this week. There WERE five bars. Now there are three. I bought the box less than two hours ago. I suspect there will be fewer than three left by the end of the day.

But it’s not just food we’re consuming. It’s a given now that people will “binge” on television. Remember when that was only a term reserved for eating disorders? Now it’s a badge of honor. What did you do this weekend? I watched over 12 hours of television. Good! Great! I’m fairly certain that you were prompted with a sixth recommendation for movies about prison life. Consumption is king.

Maybe it’s a scarcity thing. Of time and of resources. We are destroying the world. We are aging quickly. This coupon is only valid for the next two weeks. If we don’t leave now we won’t get a good table. All of this creates an urgency to acquire the thing and then hoard or consume it as much as possible.

As you know I have a young daughter, who, when eating food she loves, often asks for more as soon as the first bite hits her lips. With a mouth full of cookie she will use SIGN LANGUAGE to indicate she wants more. She’s JUST started chewing! She can SEE the rest of the food and there are no other children clamouring for it. This tells me that to some degree our concern over scarcity, like our fear of the dark, is baked in to all humans. Or, in this case, it’s just cause her dad is sort of the same way only he just doesn’t know sign language.

And there are other factors of course. Leisure time plays into it. Addictive personalities. Sugar. But yeah, I think there’s an elemental part of us that wants to hunt and gather as much as possible and then there are big time societal pushes for us to consume endlessly and services that just make that easier than ever.

I guess the antidote is to be “mindful”. To actually pause and think about things you usually wouldn’t have to expend brain power on. Eating used to be just eating but now you have to eat mindfully. Watching TV used to be about turning on, tuning in, and dropping out. Now I have to have the presence of mind and the willpower to say, “That’s enough for today”? Keep dreaming. I need an app for that. Something that makes you violently ill when you go for that seventh cookie. The only way I’m going to stop is if a robot tells me to.

And yes I’m on my third granola bar.

Ratty

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