Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How To Live : The Basics in A Few Easy Steps

[posted by dinah]

I'm diverting from mainstream psychiatry for a moment.

In yesterday's online Wall Street Journal there is an article by John Jurgensen called
Not Sure How to Tie A Tie? Peel an Apple? Fold Your Clothes?"

Mr. Jurgensen writes:

It's the next iteration of the burgeoning self-help industry: teaching people the obvious. After the success of do-it-yourself books and TV shows that offer expert advice on everything from baking your own wedding cake to remodeling a four-story home, a number of new Web sites are hoping to make money sticking with the basics. On, one of the most popular topics is "How to Boil an Egg" -- broken down into six steps of written instructions. Videos at, launched this summer, address such matters as how to peel and slice an apple. provides a written tutorial on playing "Hide and Go Seek." (Step Three: "Determine who will be 'It.'... Use 'One Potato, Two Potato' or similar method.")

Hmmm. I'm not aware that I'm having much trouble with the basics, my apples get peeled and my clothes get folded and if my technique is wrong, well, I'll probably be happier not knowing that. Apparently 40,000 people have watched the "How To Take A Shower" video, I had to bite, so now it's 40,001. I will add that I believe my technique was fine before and it's medically inaccurate when Mr. ShowerDemonstrator states that washing with soap between the buttocks prevents hemorrhoids.

So I kept reading. I don't need to tie a tie. I already make a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I can indeed freeze ice and just in case, my freezer has an automatic ice maker. This line, however, grabbed my attention:

A primer on how to "do nothing" is among the 50 most-visited guides.

I'm just not that good at doing nothing. So I clicked and read. Seven simple steps. I got anxious just reading them. Turn off my cell phone, I could do that. Number 7 reads: "Learn how to Free up You Mind." You mean I can't think about my next blog post while I'm doing nothing?? Then there's a few tips, they include getting candles and I like that: it's goal-directed, at least if I'm going to do nothing then I'm going to do something before I do nothing. I am left with questioning exactly Why I'd want to do nothing. My favorite part, however, is the end of the instruction set:

At first you may feel nervous, jittery, and restless. Try to relax and understand that doing nothing does not mean that you're being unproductive or irresponsible. Keep in mind that you are doing this in order to clear your mind and ultimately extend your life so that you will have even more time. Ultimately, setting time aside to recharge your batteries will make you more productive, creative, and more able to concentrate in the long run, and that's very good for work, school, or other.

I think blogging may be my version of Doing Nothing.


ClinkShrink said...

I'm very good at doing nothing. Or at least, to appear as though I'm doing nothing. Without children, cats or cable TV I am free to lead a guiltless non-driven lifestyle. Nyah nyah nyah....

Does eHow teach you how to ride a Segway?

Anonymous said...

Blogging is unproductive and irresponsible so it isn't your way of doing nothing

Anonymous said...

EEK, I too am very good at doing nothing, and I have no idea how to tie a tie. My late father in law never learned even though he wore one every day to work. He had his son pre tie them. I imagine his closet looked like it was full of nooses. I still love you, and you too clinkshrink if it makes you feel better abf

Steve & Barb said...

I'd like one on "How to pick up your socks", preferably broken down into easy steps.

From the line in our ER lately, I think someone posted a "How to get psychiatrically hospitalized" primer recently.

ClinkShrink said...

LOL thank you abf I feel better.