When choosing to open the paper, your latest feed, your Facebook page… do you hesitate?
When fighting your way through False Fact Fatigue… are you hoping for a 12-step program to remind you of reality?
Perception, Reality, The Twilight Zone
Ah, Perception and Reality… I once held you in such good stead! And now, I’m gazing into the Cloud in search of Rod Serling and Alan Funt. Is it time to return to our regular programming? Are we ready for the gleeful ring of “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera?”
Oh, to blink my eyes (à la Jeannie), or to click my heels (à la Dorothy), or possibly to heed the hookah of the Cheshire Cat and take whatever comes with a toothy grin, be it the diminishing drink or the beautiful bite of big-bigger-biggest baked goods. And yet, I wake each morning inside-out and upside-down, expecting — silly me — to behold policy presentations in which an exchange of issues at least feigns substance, and adults in positions of power can construct a cohesive sentence.
These days, as if any interpretation of both perception and reality weren’t frightening enough — I find I go to bed anxious (if consuming headlines before zzzs), or thinking too much (admittedly, an alarming affliction), or, at any given hour of wakefulness, anticipating that complex situations will encourage thoughtful and thorough discussion… and being sorely disappointed.
Alas! I plead guilty to succumbing to an alternate reality of my own — all the while clinging to concepts of reason and science, and even in the face of our surfeit of surreality.
Worse, as a fan of clear communication — I am (occasionally) a writer after all — I’m convinced that the ignominious impacts of invective and ignorance are brain-bedeviling, diction-diluting, word-wilting weapons of mass destruction. At the very least, they’re killers of common sense, maulers of manners, and breeders of disrespect.
As for my own spiraling symptoms of this spreading dis-ease, I am dismally dispatched from, well… my former (fun?) self. I was once BIG TIME fun, believe me, really great fun, the center of all fun, the Fun Sun! And I’ve become serious and sermonizing, jaded and judgmental, harping and humorless. I am mopey in my maneuvering of the solar systems that naturally (and rightfully) revolve around Me, Me, Me.
Fortunately, despite my shift in tone and my periodic pausing from posts-a-plenty… everybody loves me! I get millions and millions and millions of page views! I can prove it! Everybody says so! Forget Fox… Go Wolf! I’m big! I’m really really big!
Down the Rabbit Hole
Alice in Wonderland. What a terrific tale it is, and how often it comes to mind with such widespread application as to seed a sophomoric smile in spite of myself. From my own sense that everything I touch is labeled “eat me” — and I do; how many others are inexplicably bulking up during the current administration? — to my jeez-it-doesn’t-work GPS that deems the local lowly landscape inexpressibly incomprehensible.
Reality Check: It’s dank and dreary (and dire and daft) down here. My wit is withering. My prose grows gloomy.
Certainly not. I have reasons beyond tea parties and the Mad Hatter that lead me to read more (while writing less). And, I am otherwise engaged in offline (dare I say it, “Real World”) matters. Still, recent events are amping up my anxiety, and pushing me to precarious pressurized postures. (I’m sleeping little, I’m stressing much, and I know that I am not alone in both.)
In fact, if you accept the voracity of this report from the American Psychological Association (as seen at Time) —
… between January 5-19. 72% of Democrats said that the results of the election were a significant source of stress, while 26% of Republicans said the same. But overall, two-thirds of people said they were stressed about the future of the country, including nearly 60% of Republicans and 76% of Democrats.
My bottom line?
This Alice needs a conspiratorial comestible that does more than pack on pounds, but rather, strengthens spirit.
Contemporary Recipe for… Sanity?
Now, for a while I thought the trick to surviving the onerous onslaught of noxious news, especially as one who really isn’t into Better Living Through Chemistry, might be this: Remain blissfully uninformed. My recipe was as follows:
Zero papers + Zero feeds + Zero Facebook = Marvelous Mood Management.
For days (or was it weeks?), I added several servings of Bette Davis and Cary Grant, and no doubt an excess of 60s television. Sadly, this was barely a temporary fix. As for writing therapy — my usual — the very phrase “daily plate of crazy” has taken on whole new (frightening) dimensions. So this, too, seemed another No Go, even as I politely penned pertinent points to members of Congress.
So here I am, with nary a catchy Kumbaya, an egregious excess of annoying alliteration, and still seeking some kind of balancing balm rather than a daily (hourly?) mental balancing act. As I amble for any and all amiable and savory suggestions — have you a recipe? — here’s what I come up with. It’s the Alt-Alt-Reality Cook-Off! And why not? What say we heal our divides with some really great, really tremendous… I mean big, the best ever, (mine really are… everyone says so… believe me, this)… a beautiful, beautiful all-American concoction… balls! Yes! And they’re especially amazing after a great bowl of patchy-pausy-ponderous Word Salad!
So I say, try it. A big big beautiful beautiful batch of Nut Balls*, not illustrated below, because, well… media won’t get it right anyway, but also known (by me) as… Sanity Cookies.
- 2 cups of milk (of human kindness)
- 2 cups of flour (better still, flower power)
- 3 eggs (hold the fertilization or we might need to deem this life)
- 1 tsp of vanilla (are you really surprised?)
- 2 cups of sugar (and spice and everything nice)
- 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, divided (like the country)
- 1 huuuuuuge cup of pecans (or nuts of your choice)
- 2 generous tablespoons of Make Love Not War
- 1 pinch of salt (of the earth)
- Many, many other good things and terrific stuff
Preheat oven to 375. Mix dry ingredients with a strong arm. Stir in remaining ingredients while contemplating your next Congressional (and presidential) campaign checks. For extra stress-fighting nutritional value: Season to taste with art, music, theater, cooing at babies, cuddling toddlers, volunteering with kids of any age, kissing your beloved, and kissing your reproductive rights goodbye.
Form balls. The bigger the better. Drop onto greased sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool. Better yet, chill. Roll in confectioner’s sugar. Then eat. Drink. Be merry. For tomorrow… well, you know how the saying goes. Besides, you can always go ask Alice if you’re into that sort of thing. Or rally round with recipes! Something so splendid that all it takes is one great great beautiful tremendous bite, and we may be bigger (and bolder and braver) than we ever realized.
And by the way, these delectables hail from South of the border.
*Unadulterated “real” pecan cookie ball recipe here. Also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, with assorted global variations.
Image of Alice in Wonderland, Engraving by John Tenniel, 1872, Bigstockphoto.
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