Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9: Jinxes, Bipolar, Contests, "Carol" Dip

There are a couple of topics I haven't blogged about for a while.  I try not to write about these subjects for one reason only:  superstition.  Even though, as a Christian, I shouldn't believe is such things as jinxes, I am also human, and that means that I fall into the trap of thinking about good luck and bad luck and karma.  I have come to believe that, if things are going well in a certain area of my life, I shouldn't talk about it.  To talk about it courts the fickle finger of fate to reach down and screw things up.  It's a completely irrational belief.  I know that.  However, I still follow that dictum.  If I'm happy or hopeful, I don't stand in the middle of a crowded intersection, waving a cardboard sign that reads, "I'm so happy and lucky!"  I will get hit by a bus.

For instance, as most of the disciples of this blog know, my wife suffers from bipolar disease.  One facet of her illness is that she also has a serious problem with sexual addiction.  I'm not talking about the Tiger Woods kind of sexual addiction where you go away to a treatment facility for a couple of months and then return to a multi-million dollar golfing career.  I'm talking about an addiction that has almost derailed our marriage and destroyed our family on more than one occasion.  When things are going well with my wife's illness and addiction, I don't like to talk about them.  I just say a little "thank you" prayer at the end of each day for the peace and happiness.  Most people who have family members with mental illnesses will tell you that life sometimes feels like a series of hurricanes interrupted by periods of good weather.  You spend a good deal of time waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the next crisis to arise.  That's why I don't talk about my wife's bipolar when things are going well.  I don't want to hear that other shoe hitting the floor.

The other subject I don't discuss is poetry contests.  When I have a poem or a book submitted to a poetry contest, I avoid discussing the subject.  Because, if I start talking about it, I will start obsessing about it.  I will check my e-mail ten or twenty times a day.  I will go to the contest's website over and over and over as the deadline approaches for the announcement of the winner.  I will convince myself that I've lost, and that I've won, several times in a 24-hour period.  It's not healthy.  So, to avoid such insanity and maintain a kernel of hope in my being, I do not talk about this subject, either.  I prefer to live in a fantasy world where editors fight to publish my poems and books.  It's a wonderful land where scarecrows sing and dance and troubles melt like lemon drops.

Thus, on this Carol dip Monday, I will not ask a question concerning either of these topics.  They are a little to close to me.  Instead, my question deals with another important issue in my life:

Will the pumpkin plants in my garden produce any pumpkins this year?

And my answer from the great Charles Dickens is...

"At this time of the rolling year," the spectre said, "I suffer most.  Why did I walk through crowds of fellow beings with eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode!  Were there no homes to which its light would have conducted me!"

Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake exceedingly.

Well, that certainly doesn't bode well for any home-grown jack-o-lanterns this year.  Suffering.  Eyes turned down.  Poor abodes.  Dismay.

Saint Marty has a feeling he won't be getting any squash from his backyard this year.

The Great Pumpkin won't be coming to my patch this year


  1. "Most people who have family members with mental illnesses will tell you that life sometimes feels like a series of hurricanes interrupted by periods of good weather."

    There is so much truth in that statement I don't even know where to begin! So I won't. ;)

    I am a Christian as well, but I am very familiar with that feeling of not wanting to Jinx things!

  2. Hey Olivia,

    Living with mental illness in my life has always been a delicate balance of celebrating the quiet times while preparing for chaos that may never come.

    Most people don't understand my aversion to surprises. I don't even like surprise parties. What I like is the ordinary, the mundane. I think only a person who deals with mental illness in some form on a daily basis really understands my feelings about this.

    Hang in there. Good to hear from you.

    All my best,

    Saint Marty