Trying and doing since 2001
for 13 June 2006.


[a burst of hope]

My friend Greg Veen visited me

a few months ago. After a night

out he leaned with uncertainty

against a wall for support. Clad

in pajamas, a coffee cup at the

ready, and his beverage sloshing

with the vibrations of his shaky

hand he shared with me the secrets

of surviving a hangover. A hangover

he said has many steps.

At first he said there is a sense

that "I'm not going to make it."

This is a most treacherous time.

The many expectations of life,

the over-stimulus of choices presented,

and interactions with other people

are all too taxing for the mind

of the Hungover. Provided during

this time is a new perspective

on everyday things. Grocery stores

and their hundreds of consumer

choices are now a dizzying and

terrifying blur of competing demands

for limited attention. Pleasantries

demanded when being served or

when paying a clerk are presented

as intimidating and awkward.

What to say? How much information

should be revealed? Perhaps there

is an ulterior motive at work,

forcing such a chipper attitude

under such dire and wretched circumstances?

There is no way to answer these

questions with any certainty when

wrestling with the fundamental

issues of staying vertical and

not feeling sick.

Greg continued, saying, "After

a while, there are little bursts

of hope. Maybe it will be OK."

These moments are fleeting but

for the Hungover can be windows

into a world beyond the horror

of hopelessness. Confidence is

restored, although temporarily.

Tasks are manageable, the day

may be saved. The previous impulse

to run back to bed and hide under

the covers is mitigated, even

becomes absurd given the simplicity

of the day's events.

Greg reveled that the "application

of pork products can be a great

ally in the restoration of hope."

An anchor on the seas of chaos,

pork in any form but preferably

bacon can assist the delectate

hungover mind and allow new focus

and resolve.

Greg kept secret the final stages

and strategies of surviving a

hangover. Perhaps he realized

that he had revealed too much.

Maybe he was caught by the undertow

of another wave of nausea. What

ever the reason he shared only

one other insight before becoming

silent, "being hungover gives

another view on the world, one

that can be learned from." Wiser

words were never spoken. From

hellish uncertainty a fresh perspective

can be gained. The things that

average people take for granted

are revealed through the task

of making sense through hungover


Most obvious at first is the large

amount of thought and consideration

that is needed to negotiate the

most basic aspects of daily living.

In the post-industrial society

the everyday chores of life are

mechanized through a vast infrastructure

of information processing and

collection. "Paper or plastic"

is a basic example of this new

way of living through choices.

Peter Drucker discussed in his

book Concept of the Corporation

that in the 1800's the familial

unit stood tall, alone on a plane

representing organizational complexity.

A higher position on this plane

demonstrates greater organizational

depth and manpower. In the 1940's,

the time that Drucker was writing,

he stated that the familial unit

was dwarfed by Himalaya-like peaks

standing in for the institutions

of the day such as hospitals,

universities, and of course, governments.

Sixty years later the family on

this plane is even more crowded,

caught at sea-level at the base

of a staggering number of towering


The people alive today, being

so far removed from the days that

did not include these institutions

find it difficult to appreciate

the idea that they at one time

did not exist or at least were

not essential. Greg's stated

conundrum of navigating the world

defined by these groups when under

duress, gives an opportunity to

rediscover the experience of acutely

feeling the presence and influence

of large organizations.

Greg's insight continues to bear

fruit through to the second stage

of a hangover, bursts of hope.

When faced with such a significant

reduction in the stock price of

the individual it can be hard

to find room for hope. This is

especially true for Americans

who place a huge premium on the

value of the individual. The

collective unconscious of the

nation is quietly aware of the

unstated fact that although media

tells us that we are all special

and unique there is significant

pressure to iron flat the whole

population into predicable, homogeneous

consumers of all things mass produced.

The predictable consumer is a

good consumer.

In return for this unarmed submission

big business offers cheap goods

and ready-made identity. Happy

shoppers are we all. Some of

us are edgy in Hot Topic tees,

some ambitions and determined

Nike wearers, some green-conscious

eco-friendly Volkswagon drivers.

For some this is not enough, they

seek to reclaim the lost frontier

of autonomy. They find it in

the warm cacoon of a McMansion

surrounded by a nuclear family

and the spoils of their conquests.

They find it in the association

with a political party and a talking

head that speaks the truth. They

find in it church every Sunday.

Americans are searching for their

anchor, their pork product that

will carry them through the dark

uncertainty of industrial living.

They reject ready made personas

and struggle silently through

the quagmire of mitigated, homogenized

individual decision making. What

form this mental bacon takes is

currently an individual's choice

but the battle is already being

fought to establish the national

replacement for the security lost

with the rise of organizational

complexity. America is trusting

in God and rejoining lost community

organizations. During this time

of turmoil there is one thing

for certain however, we all could

benefit from a few drinks.

courtesy of John Winters

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