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Reading the Signals

We have a tradition in politics of people living office to spend more time with their family. The phrase has stirred a lot of cynicism, as it often comes as some ethics investigation is being announced or a sex scandal is breaking out. 

Over in sports, when the organization is in a rebuilding year, you know the team isn't planning to buy championship hats. When your love interest tells you, it's not you, it's me, the signal is clear, you and me don't equal us. 'We need to talk' signals dire agendas are ahead, as does, 'Can you come into my office?' 

Such a straightforward world. It's not as easy with our bodies. You develop a twinge. What caused that? Is it a signal of things to come? What did I do to that - arm - my back - my neck - that foot - nose - hand - leg - hip that it's hurting like that? What did I eat that I feeling queasy? How many times have I felt queasy this month? I've gained weight. How did I gain weight? What have I been eating? Haven't I been exercising? When did I last exercise? Maybe I need to exercise more. 

Is it me, or is this room cold? Is it me, or is that television too loud? Is it me, or is that television too low. Is it me, or does something smell funny in here? 

Doctors and medicine don't help a lot as they suggest blood work, MRIs, and x-rays and asks questions. "Does your foolioop ever keep you awake at night? Do you find you go to to bathroom more often than you used to? How does your urine look? What color is it? How about your bowel movements? How do they feel? Do you go often? Do you go more orless than you used to go?"

Doctor, please. And the commercials for these drugs, and their side-effects. But first - do you ever experience days of depression? Do you have trouble getting out of bed? Do you have trouble losing weight? Do you have less energy and sexual drive than you used to? Do you find you sometimes can't sleep at night. Do you suffer from bad breath? Have you had hip replacement surgery? How about your knees. Are those your real knees?  Have you found that you're shorter than you used to be? Look at those wrinkles, those bags under your eyes, that gray in your hair. Do you find that you're not as fit and active as you used to be?

Try this, try that. Caution, side effects can include loss of hearing, loss of vision, elevated heart rate, heart attacks, loss of memory, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and in some cases, death. These side effects can be temporary or permanent. You shouldn't use this drug if you're on sleep aids, breathing aids, blood thinners, heart medication, diabetes medication, or have a history of diabetes, are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, living in a state with an R in its name, or are being treated for depression or high blood pressure, or if you trouble sleeping, moving, eating, breathing or hearing.

A glass of wine can be good for you. Wine in moderation can be good for you. A glass of beer can be good for you. Beer in moderation can be good for you. Don't drink any alcohol if you're suffering these symptoms or you're on these medications. A little fat in your diet is good for you but you should not eat anything containing trans-fats, it's your calorie count that matters, don't eat after 7:30 PM, don't eat genetically modified foods, you should eat organic foods, but don't eat the egg whites, no, don't eat the yolks, watch your calories, watch your weight, watch your blood pressure, watch your cholesterol, don't wear white after Labor Day, and come to McDonald's and have a meal for a dollar because you're smart.

Culture, politics, and the economy imposes more confusion. Is it me, or do young girls dress more sexually provocatively? Is it me, or are young people more immature than we were, is it me, or is television crappier than it used to be? Is it me, or are there more one hit wonders than there used to be? Send a hundred emails and this child will be saved, there's an amber alert on for that child, no, Snopes says that's not true, Politifact says this is what he really said and this is what he really means, Fox News called Hitler a Nazi while talking about President Obama, deficits good, deficits bad, it's unemployment that matters, it's the deficit, stupid, it's taxes, is it a tax if it's called a service fee, it doesn't matter if you lie in an ad or take things out of context, it's just there to prove a point. I didn't say that ten years ago, you're taking things out of context, outside money is bad for politics and these attack ads are mean and belittling and ruining the election process, and the Iowa caucuses don't mean anything, anyway, or didn't until Jimmy Carter changed the way we run campaigns, Ronald Reagan never raised taxes and could never run as a Republican today and there is no evidence that nuclear waste will ever cause us problems, and we've got to save our country by helping people less because if you help them, they'll get used to being helped, no one ever helped me, and keep your government hands off my Medicare, the government has no business being in the health insurance business. There is no evidence that fracking causes earthquakes except we never used to have them until we started using them, and just because there's benzene in your drinking water doesn't mean we put it there, you can't prove it. There is no evidence that global warming or climate change exists and even if it does, what do you want us to do about it?

Is it me, or is there more bad news in the world, is it me, or is food and gas more expensive than it was a year ago? Is it me, or is this winter a lot more warm and dry than what it used to be? Is it me, or are these cats needier than other cats that shared our space? 

Mark Twain talked about being a steamboat captain on the Mississippi, and learning what each ripple meant, and what to expect to happen and what needed to be done to safely negotiate the river. Is it me, or has it all gotten more complex?