I have to get this down on paper in some ways to prevent myself from going crazy. The other part of it is that by putting this down on paper, it reveals just how crazy how I am. So I write this partly for myself in order to show myself at some point down the road how crazy and messed up my mind was at this point in my life. My mom should never read this, for example, because it totally gives fuel to her argument that I care too much about social stuff. Which isn’t entirely fair, because on the sane level I realize that this whole system and the lifestyle it encourages is the not the right way to live. And yet the mere fact that I would create something like this, even spend the time to think it through to a point where this is something I could actually implement, makes me very scared for myself.
To that end, I write this, too, for anyone who might someday read this because they wonder what goes on inside my head. If you ever did wonder that, this is the most naked I will ever bare my soul, I think. So know that there are things you worry about that are nowhere near as crazy as what I think of. And I have been to a lesser or greater extent, I’ve been worrying about this for probably ten years now. It’s grown so big that all I can do is contain the level of thinking to a reasonable set of rules and expectations for myself. The better I do in the system, however, the more it encourages itself, so I can’t let it get too out of control. But I’m getting way ahead of myself. There are segments of this that will probably just speak for themselves. This is not a cry for help- it is something I never thought I would write down, but I think it’s a big step in my recovery to think that I’m even at the point where I feel comfortable writing it down. So maybe it is a cry for help.
I am a counter. For as long as I can remember, I’ve counted things in my life in order to measure some imaginary quantity of success in my life. In second or third grade, for example, I think I was counting, day by day, my record in games for the day. Any games: kickball, checkers, the scrimmages in soccer practice. And that just got too crazy, even for me, so I don’t think that lasted very long. But the counting didn’t stop…
…it simply manifested itself in a different way. The origin of this system came about when I was first starting to look around in the summer after fifth grade and observe that I didn’t have very many friends. I was trying to be friends with Brad in fifth because we were on the same bus, but his parents seemed to never actually let him hang out anywhere or do anything. But I got a couple new friends in sixth- Kevin, and then Justin, who I would stay friends with through about junior year of high school. Some of my friends from high school may remember him as the “ghetto” friend I had. My having friends eventually brought about the modern version of this system the summer after seventh or maybe eighth grade. The Sociality Index.
The primitive version of this system operated under the assumption that at least averagely popular people are hanging out with friends of theirs at least four nights of the week. The greater percentage of nights each week (during the summer, of course) I was able to see a friend of mine, the better I felt about myself. For five summers, I strongly adhered to this standard and probably didn’t fail to achieve the goal more than two weeks out of each summer. The specifics varied from grading vacation with the family or trips of any kind as neutral days that weren’t counted or actual “Friend Days” that counted towards the total. Anyway, I am pretty sure I didn’t care too much about this system after graduating from high school and through most of college, just because I have become more confident about the amount of friends I have. Then this summer came, and I was mostly unemployed, and I guess I just needed something going for me. In case you were wondering, under even the most strict application of this rule, I aced the summer. I have really nothing else to do.
But on a certain level, I became aware of another system brewing in my mind- which I haven’t even tested more than once, because if I had, I would know I have a serious problem. Here I have to just set it all down, just so I never, ever, ever think about this again because it is poisonous. Please, I warn you, don’t think about this system afterwards, lest you think about putting it in place in your life. Especially because I don’t want you to think you are better than me in this system than I am.
Here it is: the new system would add point totals to each time you Do Something, or DS. It is a one through five point scale, and the idea is to obtain about fifteen points per week, give or take. (Now that I think of it, that’s pretty high.) This forces you to vary up the different types of Things you Do. A One is taking part in an event that you don’t really have a social relationship with any or many of the people there. Two would be hanging out in a non-aerobic activity with one other friend, or a trip with your immediate family. Three would be either doing something aerobic with one other friend or hanging out in any fashion with two other friends or hanging out with your extended family. Four is hanging out with more than two other buddies- that’s clearly a different type of social situation than hanging out with two other people. A Five is a full-on Bash- drinking preferable, but a good time must be had by all. So there you go- the entire sickness of my mind has been bared before you. Do not let these rules and regulations penetrate your life. And please keep them away from me, too.
Damn you, Economy- see what you bring me to?