One of the most common experiences of humans is boredom. If you have never felt bored, you're lucky. Boredom can descend on anyone, like a low, dark, puzzling and paralyzing fever. On the other hand, extreme boredom can sometimes trigger a person into action that will be beneficial for humankind.
Boredom is a mental state that makes persons view life — or themselves — as tedious, empty, dull and repetitive. In this essay let's examine some basic questions about boredom.
Such as: How did I get into this state? How do I get out of it? Is everyone bored at one time or another? Are men more easily bored than women? Did our Creator invent boredom, or did he/she just sort of patch it together with spare parts after fashioning the big stuff such as love, hope, faith, sex, the Internet and professional sports?
I have heard that in extreme cases of boredom the victim has been jolted back into action by a booming voice saying, "Get your lazy arse in gear and MOVE!"
Still, action is not always the necessary ingredient for a breakout from boredom. Thinking can also be the ticket. During one of my extreme boredoms, this liberating thought came to me during a party: "I think I will snatch the Glock from Deputy Hinch's holster." The next few hours contained not one whit of boredom.
Mindless repetition can be a gateway into boredom. Throughout the world are persons who earn a living of sorts by performing the same act or response several hundred times a day or week. Examples: TV weather forecasters and telephone solicitors.
Boredom sometimes attacks persons who wait for fate to show them their next move, or to inspire them to do great things. Famed psychiatrist William C. Menninger said, "People who wait around for life to supply their satisfactions usually find boredom instead."
Is boredom the worst fate imaginable? Hardly. Think of a woman with five children, a drunken husband and a chronic case of shingles. Is she bored? I doubt it. If the truth were known, she'd gladly trade her life for six months (or even six weeks) of unrelieved boredom.
As I write this paragraph, I'm awaiting the arrival of an AAA technician who will revive my car's frozen battery, the result of several straight days of temps that dipped to about 10 degrees. I have been shoveling snow and slip-sliding on ice. I am not bored. I'm just weary of New England winters.
New Yorker writer Dorothy Parker said, "The cure for boredom is curiosity." Good point. We should stay alert and full of wonder about life's surprises, such as what Donald Trump will do next.
But even his shenanigans can become boring.
It's natural for bored persons to look outward and blame the world for not being more entertaining, challenging or inspiring. Big mistake. Instead, the searchlight should be directed inward, at ourselves. The brilliant, drunken Welsh poet Dylan Thomas once said, "Somebody's boring me. I think it's me."
Speaking of drinking: boredom can persuade an alcoholic to "solve" his or her problem by going on just one more bender. Right into the morgue. Full disclosure: I abandoned booze 54 years ago. I've been lucky since then — I've had patches of boredom, but none strong enough to make me ever forget the ungodliest boredom known to drunks (or at least to me): hangovers.
Bob Driver's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.