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[Dec. 20th, 2012|10:48 am]
I passed by a church signboard that read “If you take Christ out of Christmas, what’s left?” And I’m really pissed off that I don’t have enough time in my life to make and place a large poster that says “A perfectly good ancient holiday that involves celebration, feasting, trees, lights, and hope.” If you want to also celebrate Krampus, the birth of Jesus Christ, or anything else at the same time, I am down with that. Just get your panties out of a wad because I’m not including your thing. Why can’t people just be positive and supportive? Boycotting stores that don’t use the word Christmas? Seriously? What are you saying….God hates it when you try to be inclusive and respectful of the people’s beliefs? Yer making the Baby Jesus cry….

I have a friend that sends me a Happy Hannukah card every year. And every year I think “Isn’t that sweet, damn those kids have gotten big!” Not how dare that bastard ask me to celebrate something I don’t believe in!

Here is a great post from someone who sums it up in a much more mature way than I just did:


I’m not fond of using biology as an excuse – male friends who’ve played the “hey, I can’t help it, I’m hardwired to look at boobs!” card. It’s not an excuse, or get out of jail free card – BUT knowing that there is a biological basis to how you tend to feel/behave can help you deal with it better. There is a biological basis for why I become extremely anxious when noise levels get high. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to run around requiring everyone to cater to me by talking quietly, or pushing for noise legislation to accommodate my thing. It does mean that I have to take active steps to manage it. Avoid the situation in the first place, use ear plugs, self-medicate, learn calming techniques, and sometimes, yeah, ask people to ramp it down a bit. Although I consider that a failure on my part to manage my own expletive…and sometimes in my own home, I let myself be a little weak.

Everyone's got issues -- and the intelligent, evolved solution is to deal with your issues, in a manner that doesn't inconvenience or traumatize anyone else, whenever possible. But it's easier to deal with your stuff if you have some idea of why.

Now, one study doesn’t mean anything, really, except moving a hypothesis one step farther to fact…and the whole point of science is that it’s replicable. And most studies that get covered in popular press are NOT ever replicated…and are often refuted by later studies. But “oh, hey, we were wrong, eating this way doesn’t actually really reduce your rate of cancer” doesn’t sell media the way “Stop eating carbs and you’ll cut your probability of getting cancer in HALF” does.

But now, let me indulge in two one-off studies that touch on me personally:


As I round into the big 50, I was giving a lot of things, myself included, credit for why I was feeling much better about myself, my life, my level of happiness. But apparently even apes…who don’t have to worry about getting kids through school, career plateaus, financial stability…have the same midlife existential valley as do we.

And, I’ve lost the study, but the thinking is that living with someone sets off a hormonal “anti-incest” urge that keeps you from having sex with your immediate family. But it’s proximity, not genes or relatedness. (Obviously there are exceptions, but taboos against incest are pretty common across all cultures.) Which, the thinking goes, might be why couples in a long-term relationship really have to struggle to keep physical passion alive. Which adds another piece to my own thinking about the natural lifespan of relationships, adding a hormonal trigger perhaps.

Which again, can be overcome, people certainly do. You just have to throw your big brain and maybe some muscle against it, and have a partner who’s willing to match your effort. Just as I’m sure you can be less happy in your fifties than in your forties – certainly tragic, depressing things can happen to you – but also, if you determined to be a bitter person, your big brain can totally take you there.

But it’s cool, I think, to ponder how much of us is driven by genes expressing themselves – you can get all squicky about free will, but I tend to think that the world would be happier place if people could spend less time worrying “What’s wrong with ME, that I feel that way?” and know that it’s natural, just like the cartilage going in your knees, and you need to decide whether you’re going to deal with it, lessen the effects, overcome it to a certain extent, or just lay back and let nature drive.

Remembering of course, that nature driving would mean precious few of us would see age 50, so you may want to consider being a little pro-active.