ON THINKING ABOUT THINKING

Anybody out there have a dead body they need to get rid of?  IM me.

Now that I have your attention…  The opening sentence in this post (above) will be explained below. No peeking.

Last week, with 9/11, we were all appropriately somber and reflective.  It’s a painful day for America, and New York especially.  While there was devastation elsewhere, that was an attack on the residents of NYC. This week, let’s keep things light.

Normally, I sit and think on what topic to write about. Often, like last week, it’s easy because something is right there, staring you in the face, that absolutely must be written about.  Nothing like that today.  Oh, sure, plenty going on to be pissed off about, but this is a politics-free zone (mostly).

Since I was thinking about what to write, I decided to write about thinking.  Not the mechanics or biology of thought, but rather what I think about.  Like many of you, I think all the time. It’s kind of part of being alive.  Thinking about what to do next, what to eat tonight, where did I put my wallet, why did I end up in the kitchen?… it’s endless.  That’s why they invented meditation.

birds
A very white and a very black bird, both in deep thought.

It becomes a problem when I ruminate, which means thinking about horrible things that could happen (unlikely as they may be) to me or my loved ones.  Or about climate change.  Or about you-know-who.  Not good.

However, thinking a lot is good for writing.  You need to, in fact.  I don’t believe in writer’s block.  That’s an excuse. Procrastination.  I have writer’s block every Wednesday.  It goes away once I sit down and start to write. Sure, it’s a blog so I can write about anything, but that’s true in a book, too.  You might think you can’t think of anything to write that day, or where the story will go. You think you need to have some kind of light-bulb moment, but sometimes if you just try, you might write something that surprises you.  I’m writing a novel, and thought I had it all mapped out, but now the characters are doing things I never imagined. Doesn’t everyone love a surprise!

beachhouseguy
A beach front mansion in the Malibu Colony. Which guy would you rather be? LA livin’ baby!

So here are a few examples of the stupid stuff I think about every day:

Words: I was getting a cup of coffee in the kitchen the other day and found one tiny coffee ground.   Just one.  So I cleaned it off the counter.  But then it was driving me crazy.  Is a single piece of coffee bean a grain, or a grind?  Or a ground?  This has been bothering me for days.  Please comment below if you know the answer.  I could research it on google, but I’d rather worry about it.

Time: I’m not an early breakfast eater, so I know that if the sausages are burning it must be 11:00 a.m.  This also means it’s time for another cup of coffee.  This applies to timing as well.  If you want to get an important phone call, go sit on the toilet.

Sex: this is a PG-13 page, normally, but let’s face it.  People think about sex.  The “statistic” people threw about many years ago, that men think about sex every 7 seconds – around 8,000 times a day! — is a myth, according to Psychology Today.  There was never any study to back up that claim.

So the writer of the article, himself a psych professor, did a real study of volunteer students aged 18-25 and “found that the median number of sexual thoughts for men was 18.6 and for women it was 9.9. In contrast, the average for men was 34.2 and for women it was 18.6.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-sexual-continuum/201112/how-often-do-men-and-women-think-about-sex

The author says this is about the same amount the subjects thought about food and sleep. Now, I’m starting to think the subjects were not college students but retirees of like 75 years of age or so.  The writer argues that the median number is more accurate and representative as it is less affected by extremes, such as the 388 times a day for one imaginative guy, and 140 times a day for one very thoughtful woman.

Anyway, my original thought that gave rise to the above research was this: you know the statistic that something like 90% of the wealth in this country is held by 10% of the population?  Did I hear that right?   In any event, it’s a startling statistic that points out the economic divisions in our society.

But the same statistic holds for sex.  That’s right, there are statistical studies.  90% of the sex is being had by 10% of the people.  Yes it’s true. Most of us are normal in this way.  I mean, there are only so many hours in a day.  Still, it’s an activity that we like to keep at regularly, part of a healthy lifestyle and relationship!

coldwar
There are a lot of these around the San Fernando Valley. Is this a Cold War era air-raid type siren? I sure do hope so!

But there are some people, you may know one or two, or be one yourself, for whom sex is the main priority in life. Swingers and others of that type, who never seem to get enough.  Are you in the top 10%?  Where do you find the time?  That’s a real commitment, having 90% of the sex. Do you ever get tired? The rest of us get tired just hearing about it.  When do you eat?  Maybe you multi-task?

This also screws it up for the rest of us. Let’s say there’s a study of how often people have sex and it comes out to 5 times a week.  I know, that’s a lot for some of you.  In fact, it might make you feel inferior if you’re a 3 times a week person. I think the real number is something like once a week according to a recent study, which might explain why everyone seems to be in such a bad mood.

But that’s where that study on sexual thoughts comes in handy. That’s an average, not a median.  If we took out all the sex addicts, swingers and such, the number is probably much more manageable. So don’t feel bad about yourself.  You are you, and so are you.

Writing: That’s right, I actually think about writing.  But not too much.  My book consumes me, actually, but this blog is just a pain in the ass that I need to dash off every Wednesday.

With these blogs, you need a great opening line, they tell me. An attention-getter.  Hence the dead body line above. Here’s a couple more:

– Only read this if you are a very intelligent and kind person.

– How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

– And finally: Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia rescue adorable new puppy: ‘Mrs. Wallis Browning.’ (NY Daily News)

beachsunset
Random sunset picture, Malibu Beach, CA.

So what have we learned?  Not much, I’ll grant you that, but we do know that it’s good to have an attention-getting opening line.  Also, try not to over-think things, especially writing, food, sex and sleep. And sometimes your best writing happens when you can’t think of anything to write.

Me?  I wrote Smoking in Bed: dreams of love, sex and terrorism just by thinking.  Or maybe by not thinking?  I can’t really remember.  Should that worry me?  Hmmm….

One thought on “ON THINKING ABOUT THINKING

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