Recognize the line? New York, New York. Frank Sinatra. Am I right? Sorry to say, the following has absolutely nothing to do with New York, New York or Ol’ Blue Eyes. Or does it?
Read on if you like. Decide for yourself.
I walked by one of those newspaper boxes today. There was this outrageous headline about something I will not say. I won’t say because it was so obvious. The sole purpose was to scare the heck out of people and get them to buy the newspaper. Most of those guys sucker us in so they can get filthy rich on ads. And I do mean filthy. Some of that trash, like the one I saw today, is just as obscene as any pornography.
Did you hear about the latest nastiness? The latest catastrophy? The latest threat to your life? Did you hear about that crime over on 42cd Street? Did you hear the latest dirt about so and so? (Here’s a secret. I wanted to name this article something else. I knew it wouldn’t get by the censors. Or is that sensor? As in, somebody with some sense. The real title I preferred was, Start Spreading the Garbage.)
Well that’s what we do isn’t it? We hear the raunchiest news, we grab for the phone. We gotta tell somebody. We’re compelled. And those newspaper and magazine guys and gals know it and feed it to us ‘til we gag on it. Right?
Somebody caught some dread disease. I just gotta tell somebody. I know they’re dying to hear this. Some horror comes on the screen. Oh my gosh! Did you see that show the other night? Let’s admit. We secretly love it. We secretly relish it. We secretly want to roll around the grass in it and get it all over us. Don’t we?
Maybe you disagree with me. If we didn’t thrill in it, would we do it so much? What’s in it for me, if not the thrill? What does garbage spreading do for me? We know what it does for those TV guys and gals. They get richer. What does it do for me? How does it help me? How does it help anybody?
Do we ever ask those questions? We sure don’t ask those questions when we’re busy spreading the do-do. We sure don’t ask those questions when we’re on the edge of our seats. When we’re anxiously awaiting the next nasty bulletin to stream across the screen. So what? It’s human nature. It’s only natural. It’s just who I am. I can’t help it. It’s no big thing. Wonderful excuses to scare the bejeebers out of somebody we claim to care for.
This isn’t psychology class. Sigmund Freud is long gone. Let’s ignore analyzing the “why” of it. Why do we humans have this habit? Why do we humans love this habit? (Even if we don’t want to admit it.) It’s a darn thrill that’s why. Let’s leave it at that. We don’t need to go any deeper. We like to think there’s a world full of crazies out there.
Here’s a flash. Those crazies are all inside. How do you like that? Inside what? Inside your mind, my mind, everybody’s mind—which by the way conflates to one mind, one mind only. (That’s a word I learned today. Conflates. I really don’t know what it means actually. Seemed a good fit here.) Okay. Nothing more to say that I haven’t said. I’m going to mercifully end and leave you alone.
Well, there is something else. Will you indulge me a couple more moments, please? Here’s a question.
How about next time? Can we hold our tongue? I wager it would be easier to hold a wild Wyoming mustang than hold that tongue when it’s begging to spew out some mud. Give it a try anyway and see what happens. See if there isn’t something inside of you that goes absolutely berserk. Something that literally begs you to start wagging that tongue. Test it. Don’t give in. See how it feels.
Contrast how you feel when you give in, spew it all out, contaminate the airspace. Just behind the thrill of it. How does it feel? Like you need a shower, right? Notice next time somebody’s going on about the latest man-eating bug who nearly killed off so and so, or the nutcase who committed the latest heinous crime. See how you feel. Ask yourself, how does it help me to know this information? That question is like a lifesaver to a drowning person.
Good writers would say I should use lots of examples. Believe me, I could think of some doozies. Ever notice how that mind of ours is a horror movie-making machine? Oh yeah. We can come up with some really good ones, new ones and old ones. You don’t need any examples from me, do you? Oh there’s my friend. I can’t wait to tell her what I just saw on that horrible newspaper headline. So what? What’s so bad about it? Why the big fuss?
Here’s what. Bad is down. Good is up. How’s that for simple? I should have shut up awhile ago, when I said I was. But this time I will. Because it’s all been said now. Speak garbage, it’s down. Keep buttoned-up, it’s up. One points to happiness. The other points to unhappiness, stress, worry, and strengthens our old friend fear, agree?
Sorry. There’s one more thing. I just can’t help myself. I know I said I was done. Just one more thing, please.
First off, what we hold in mind all the time is what we get? Right? The pictures you see inside, are the pictures you see outside. What better reason to button-up about bad news? The other one has helped me recover from stupidity many times. See if it helps you.
When you hear someone blabbing and you like it, or when you catch yourself blabbing boastfully about the badness, ask yourself, “Could I let go of wanting this to happen?” Could I let go of wanting this terrible thing to happen? Yes, the thing I’m blabbing about. Could I let go of wanting it to happen? That’s a good one to keep handy when the house gets haunted. Or better said, when the haunted house is on the tip of the tongue.
What if we could get Ol’ Blue Eyes back? Maybe he would sing a new song for us. Call it, “Stop Spreading the News.” Doesn’t that seem like a great idea? In the 70’s some people started asking, “What if there were a war and now one came?” Here’s one for the 10’s (I didn’t know what else to call it).
“What if there’s terrible news and no one heard it. No one knew about it? A very wise man, you’ve heard of him, once said, “If a hydrogen bomb goes off right next to you and it ‘s not in your consciousness, it won’t touch you.”
Let’s get all of that so-called news out of our consciousness. Then it can’t touch us or those around us anymore.
Thank you Lester and Larry for your valuable and wise advice. It’s how to get happy. There isn’t a one of us on this planet that doesn’t want that. Be happy.
Now there’s some news for us to start spreading.