I need to go on a diet.

It’s lucky that my wife never reads any of my stuff because she would be waving this in front of me for the next 5 years. I don’t actually mean that kind of diet – the Slimming World, Keto, Caveman, Avocado toast kind of diet. Which is lucky, because I am useless at resisting temptation. I know, for example, that crisps are bad for me and I was honest enough (dumb enough) to tell my doctor that.
Doctor: How many crisps do you eat?
Me: All the crisps.
You know you want to.
Doctor: Ha Ha. You are funny. Seriously though, how many packets?
Me: Ha ha. You know those six packs of Salt & Vinegar?
Doctor: Yes.
Me: They’re all mine. You’re not getting any.
No. I need to go on a news diet. You know how you hear about people who are mostly friends of friends of friends (hardly ever just a person you know directly) who have gone on diets and now they look wonderful? You know what I mean, they used to have a BMI score that would be a decent break in snooker but now they hardly exist at all and have qualified for the olympics?
Well I know people who have done that – only with news. They aren’t reading the paper, they aren’t catching up with the TV bulletins either online or off. They don’t do Facebook and they don’t do Twitter. They are also smugly happy about it and live lives so much less stressful than mine it just isn’t even funny.
So for someone like me it just makes perfect sense to cut this out of my life. You ever just get overwhelmed? You wake up in the morning and there is just so much to do and think about and worry over that it seems like you would be better off just pulling the duvet over your head again and not even bothering?
Tuesday? How can it only be tuesday?
Tuesday? How can it only be Tuesday?
I wrote down my current to-do list the other day – just the major headings, not the little bits, there was no DIY on the list for example. Then, when I had finished writing it down, I softly closed the notebook, gently picked it up and then gingerly placed it down as far away on my desk as I could manage without it exploding or somehow spilling a load of letters and numbers everywhere.
Things are hectic enough without having the entire concept of undone (not even started) tax returns bouncing all over the house.
There’s the production planning and re-write of Neighbours-A Parable, the edits from the last six weeks on set with young people up and down the country, the admin work for the Scottish Youth Film Festival this year and the prep work for the next set of outreach projects in Clackmannanshire. Then there’s the need to go out and scare up work for later in the year and then start writing the next thing whilst at the same time promoting the re-make of Electric Man and trying to find an agent… it goes on. Notice the lack of family and friends mentioned thus far. Time must be made for them I am told.
Even using major headings I was at number six on the list before I even got to one that was something for the future, something that I actually wanted to do and was looking forward to instead of having to do it. Yeah, there’s just too much on the slate to be making Learn Gaelic the top priority.
I count myself as blessed. Not everyone has such nice problems to deal with. I can’t even conceive of doing a job I don’t enjoy and then adding everything on top of that. Or having a sick relative to care for before even getting to start the list.
It should be the easiest thing in the world therefore to stop consuming news. You’d think I would enjoy the peace and quiet – but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. For example, this Autumn I could have had an easy go of it. Finish off the summer edits and start work on the admin for the winter projects at a leisurely pace whilst taking some time to look for future work (life as a freelancer) and get back to the Gaelic or the Archery or whatever. But instead….
Write a short film and attempt to get it made without getting paid for it as I try to set the world to rights. Which is just stupid. And all because I refuse to put down the news. I read an article in the Observer a few weeks ago about Greta Thunberg and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and it had this in it…
I know so many people who feel hopeless, and they ask me, “What should I do?” And I say: “Act. Do something.” Because that is the best medicine against sadness and depression.

Greta Thunberg, Guardian, 29th June 2019
I’ll just have one segment…
Well, you might as well be waving a Terry’s Chocolate Orange in front of a five year old. I’m not just addicted to reading the news I’m addicted to reacting as well. It seems impossible for me to not try and fix the unfixable and so my question is this. Is there any hope? I need the media equivalent of a bar man cutting off a drunk near the end of the night.
Me: “Just The Guardian please, Oh actually can I have a copy of The Economist as well? Oh and since it’s the weekend I’ll take 2 hours of MSNBC or CNN whichever you happen to have”
Media Gatekeeper: “Don’t you think you’ve had enough sir? Shouldn’t you be getting home to the wife and family?”
I need attractive people who see me reading my phone in public to walk past me with the same outward breath of disgust and quick look away that posh supermodels use when they walk by someone eating chicken from a bucket. In short, society needs to find a way to shame me for my uncontrolled desires. Until that happens though I guess I shall just have to be content with my wife giving me pelters for my crisp habit. Speaking of which, I have resolved to stop them as well…

Five Minutes Later…

Shopkeeper: Ah hah! Back again. Mister Salt and Vinegar. What will it be today. Walkers or Golden Wonder?
Me: Don’t be ridiculous. What lunatic prefers Walkers Salt and Vinegar?
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