"Thank you, sir! May I have another!?"™, Day 16: Arnie McScruff

This is Day 16 of a 21-day effort to see the good in what might, at first, look like an irredeemable drag. Its name comes from a classic bit of dialogue uttered by actor Kevin Bacon in a classic film of my generation, Animal House. Arno J. McScruffington

I don't know whether to chalk it up to the writing gene or the bad-brain-chemicals gene, but all my life, I've grappled with depression.

It doesn't hit me as hard as some of my smarter friends or those relatives further over on the Irish-Swedish side of the spectrum (thank god for being sort of a dumbass and half-Jewish, I guess); in me, it's less of a steady condition and more of a trigger-driven one. Too little exercise or too much sugar/caffeine/bad food or too much passive media intake and I'll slip into what Truman Capote so perfectly named "the mean reds." Always liked that better than "the blues." The blues are for sadness and wallowing. The mean reds are sons of bitches on a covert mission to fuck up your soul.

I hadn't had a bout in a long time, so they sort of crept up on me this past week without my noticing until they'd really taken root. And once that happens, uprooting them is like battling a flea infestation: slow, painful and largely Sisyphean.

There is not much good to a bout of the mean reds, other than coming out on the other side. The last round of them happened after 9/11 and stuck hard, so hard, in fact, that my therapist came very close to "firing" me. Just the thought of having to go on meds put the fear of god in me (I swear, our mom raised us like Christian Scientists); I did a ton of internet research on depression and came up with a mix of exercise, media blackout, stimulant/depressant fast and vitamin cocktail that lifted the horror long enough to get the talk therapy to work.

I'm off the good insurance now, so talk therapy (outside of the once-monthly session I can afford) is out. Fortunately, my new pal, Arno J. McScruffington, is in (see above for photo of my strikingly handsome savior.)

Within five minutes of meeting him, I felt the clouds part. Just being in the house with him shifts the energy of the place, and makes it a better, healthier, happier place to be. It reminds me of how much I need to get my own house in order, so that I can create my next living space: something with a separate room for an office; a space to house large gatherings of my friends; and an animal companion.

I have never been a Dog Person. Or perhaps, I never knew I had it in me to be one.

So here I am thanking those motherfucking mean reds for introducing me to the miraculous healing powers of the canine rescue pup. (Can you believe someone could not love a face like this?)

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to get me a good dose of Arnie...

xxx c

Image by The BF, with and via his iPhone. Yes, all this, and an iPhone, too.