Chapped

Chapped: (adj) when lips become cracked, rough, or sore

There was a seventeen-day period back when I was a sophomore in high school, totally possessed by the demon of obsession, when I was
completely insane about my lips.

I don’t know what caused it.

Early in the year, I had nearly driven myself crazy, fearing that while I was sleeping I would swallow my tongue because I overheard a conversation on the subject. But I was finally convinced that my tongue was attached, and would be unwilling to slither down my throat.

During this seventeen day period, I caught a glimpse of my lips in the mirror–and they seemed huge. They weren’t. But my perception had temporarily taken a vacation and left behind a neurosis to care for my brain.

I was convinced that my lips were too large–and since I was raised in a prejudiced Midwest community, I asked my mother if we “had any Negro in our family.” (That’s what we called people of color at the time–Negroes.)

My mother was not only shocked at the question, but sent me to my room until I could come out and “be a decent fellow.”

While I was in my room, I decided to stare at my lips some more. This second viewing caused me to realize that they were not only huge, but they were chapped. I was positive I saw little white flakes trying to surface and take over my mouth.

What was I going to do?

Now please understand–it’s not like I was in some relationship with a girl and my lips were in constant demand. But optimist that I was, I thought it could happen soon, or that some young lady might just take a dare and kiss me. In doing so, would she comment on the acreage of my pucker–how dry and cracked it was?

It was the only thing I thought about. I flunked a pop quiz in chemistry class because I sat there the whole time looking at the beakers of fluid displayed against the wall, wondering if there was something in there that would shrink and smooth out my smooch.

As I don’t know how it began, I also do not know what ceased this madness.

But after seventeen days, I transferred my strange pursuit of lip shrinkage and mouth softening over to a stretch mark. You see, I found one right underneath my left armpit, barely able to be covered by me squeezing my shoulder tightly against my body.

 

 

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Antipsychotic

dictionary with letter A

Antipsychotic: (n) a type of drug used to treat psychotic disorders.

I believe the old saying is that “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

I don’t know if that means that fools are careless, or angels are chicken shit.

But I do know that ever once in a while, it’s important to risk appearing foolish in an attempt to focus on something that’s important.

So playing the part of the fool, let me state bluntly that America is nuts.

I know that’s not a clinical word normally used by psychiatrists, but it does describe the mishap of activity that is being presently performed under adult supervision.

Religion, politics, entertainment and corporations have lost all sense of morality and even any compass for productivity, chasing down either imaginary dragons or unicorns in the enchanted forest.

There seems to be a national sense of neurotic.

Now, what is the difference between being neurotic and psychotic?

  • Neurotic is when you’re afraid that you’re going to go out on the street and get robbed, so you end up staying at home.
  • Psychotic is when you stay at home and have a visceral experience of being robbed by imaginary thieves named Imogene and Darnell.

Here’s my concern: neurotic people can become psychotic if their neurosis is not talked out.

I believe we’re already on the verge of finding imaginary enemies that are chasing us down instead of having the good cheer and wisdom to tackle simple problems in our everyday lives. So more than ever, people are being prescribed medication for conditions that should be handled among our peers with comedy and conversation.

Yes, if we stop talking to each other, only texting and posting on Facebook, the little demons will start crawling out of the closet and begin to gnaw on our ankles.

So let me be foolhardy and tell you that social networking, the Internet and cynicism are tempting us as a nation to leap from neurotic to psychotic. Then we scratch our heads and wonder why somebody would ever go into a school and shoot a couple dozen little kids.

I know we’re concerned about tragedies like this, but I’m much more worried about the loss of humanity, the missing link in our species that creates brotherhood instead of culture wars, and the rejection of a gregarious nature, forcing us back into our caves, where we scrawl on the walls, admiring only our own artwork.

We will become psychotic, and then will probably become so alarmed that we’ll prescribe a national antipsychotic for the water system if we don’t learn to deal with the neurotic notions that make us feel superior to each other and afraid to merely use our abilities the best we can.

 

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