Recommended wine for today’s entry: 2007 Four Vines Tempranillo “Loco”, the top-rated tempranillo according to Ken’s Wine Guide. At about $40 a bottle, he gave it a 94 rating and said, “It was clearly everyone’s favorite wine. It opens with a tremendously inviting blueberry like bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, ultra smooth, and wonderfully balanced. The flavor profile is a delicious lush blueberry. The finish is quite dry and its moderate tannins linger for quite some time. This wine is made for hedonistic drinking.” Wow! And it goes with this blog because the label has a picture of a crazy-looking cow … like maybe a barnyard-smelling computer addict or something.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.
Today I found out that there’s actually a cyber-addiction clinic – yep, a sleep-away camp for people who are ADDICTED TO THE INTERNET. This one is in Washington state and it looks like a beautiful facility. The patients (or I think they’ve only had one so far, so let’s make that singular) do wholesome things like paddle in boats, feed chickens, garden and play with goats.
So the guy they talked about on the news – this patient – apparently flunked out of the University of Iowa because he played some video game for like 16 or 17 hours A DAY.
The newscasters on Fox were debating whether cyber-addiction is a mental or physical problem – some say there’s a chemical reaction that one gets when he plays a computer game or checks e-mails. No freaking way. Computer addiction is physical? So you’re telling me that there are people who crave the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome or seeing that residual rectangular glow on every surface after staring at the computer screen for too long?
What am I missing? Does everyone but me get an e-mail buzz? A feeling of well-being because you got the fifth Barnes & Noble coupon of the week? Do you sometimes get all wacky-acting and goofy when you get notification that Kohl’s has a sale?
Actually, I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I play a REALLY good game of Duck Hunt while sequestered in my house on a beautiful fall day, it gives me a great rush of serotonin, without the three-mile run or the dirty socks.
Wow! Maybe it is a chemically driven addiction.
Or NOT. I would have to contend that those who spend 16 hours a day all alone – reading all of the tired forwards that come to them from anonymous sources, playing solitaire against the computer and eating Snickers bars throughout the day to give them energy for the grueling games of Elf Bowling that they have planned for that evening – I have to contend that these people are not chemically addicted, they are ANTI-SOCIAL.
Well, in the case of this kid – whom I’ll dub the Alpha patient – they’re treating both: First, they’ve totally unplugged him – that’s right, no computer. Shut down cold turkey, with no restart button. Now that’s tough love.
And they’re treating the anti-social behavior, too. One thing they’re doing is teaching him to make a grocery list. I have to think that the anticipation of taking a list – that just a few minutes before was a blank piece of paper – and combing the aisles for sexy items like bread and milk is just the kind of thing to lure a misanthrope out of the computer room, out of the house and into the world. Put down the mouse, man, we’re going to the Piggly Wiggly!!
But he’s not JUST learning to make a grocery list. He’s also hanging out with goats and chickens. Yeah, that’s gonna totally fix his problems. Because a college kid with the ghostly pallor of one who hasn’t left his computer room in a decade will never be popular until he smells like a barnyard and hangs out at the grocery.
The other thing that stood out to me when they showed this place – and again, it’s pristine – well, it’s pristine because it’s like never been used. This guy, the one whom they are trying to entice out into the world, is the only patient. So he’s alone again, except of course, for the fascinating woman whose chosen profession, apparently, is grocery-store-list therapist.
Now, I’m not a certified counselor. I’m not even someone my friends go to for advice. And Lord knows, I’ve screwed up both my kids and 8/10 of my pets. But that doesn’t stop me from offering this remedy to this kid’s parents: 1) Take away his computer. 2) Take away his tuition. 3) Make him get a job at an amusement park or an airport. 4) Put him in Toastmasters – not only does he have to stand up in front of people and speak, but he has to research the topics … at a LIBRARY with BOOKS. 5) Use the $14,500 that the six weeks in Washington would cost and, once the kid has proven that he can wean himself off of computer games, take a family vacation to the Caribbean. If chicks in bikinis doesn’t have more allure than pixilated ducks, well, then you know that a college education isn’t gonna help this kid anyway.
And the owners should convert the beautiful facility in Washington into an alcohol rehab place, because if this is the way our society is headed, the parents of all these cyber-addicted kids are gonna be hitting the bottle pretty hard when they hear that their kids’ therapists are prescribing $320-a-day goat-and-grocery therapy.