How can I be a better man?
Sept. 30, 2020

Nostalgia, good God, what is it good for?

That title is supposed to be sung to the tune of a similar name, War (What is it good for?) And with that let us begin.

I know, I felt it too. What a douche canoe. Let us begin? My son recently saw that phrase on a fantasy football trophy and that revelation opened a whole can of worms.

“Dad?” asks my son

“Yes.” I reply

“What is a douche canoe?” asks my son

“What?! Oh the trophy, ummm that was Mr. Stephen’s team last year when he won the league.” I replied, hoping that was sufficient.

“Gotcha but what is it?” he asks again

At this point a smarter, less self absorbed man would find a way to smoothly change the subject or just say it’s something offensive and let it go. I on the other hand brought the old Southern Socrates persona and began to wax philosophical about what douching was and the bag it came in and it’s relevance to the slanderous meaning when used to describe a person’s character. I am definitely going to hear about this from my wife and I admit that I fully deserve whatever comes back from this.

His response after my diatribe?

“Okay, I get the douche and douche bag, but what about the canoe? Does that have something to do with the man in the boat?” he responds

“No son, it does not. I believe it is just there because it sounds good together.” I answer. We then both try it out loud and those two words do go together nicely.

The conversation took me back to when I was a child and would have similar embarrassing conversations with my father or mother. Looking back always has the temptation to make me wish for the past. I wish that because I remember it in a way that makes it better than it was. I blank out the terrible anxiety or bouts or depression. The unchecked aggression that you faced at school with other children. The uncertainty of what life was going to bring because you had absolutely no control.

Nostalgia is funny like that. Memory that brings pain because you miss imagined pleasure. This is especially difficult for those with addictions of any kind. It sucks because you battle with being in the now and at peace with your mind’s imagination of some unachievable better past. You remember how good that cigarette tasted even though you know that isn’t true. It tasted like ass, it always did. The mind works against you putting in all the past images of you having fun with a smoke in your hand.

Nostalgia has a messed up since of humor because it pits two things as though they are forever tied together. You have to drink to have the best possible time. You can’t vacation without a drink on the beach. Grilling, golfing, etc. is more fun with a beer. We look back and remember incorrectly how those times actually went. We think it was one way but it was something else completely. Most of the vacations where I have been on have been stressful and I hate waking up late hung over wheezing!

Fuck nostalgia! I shall neither shut the door on my past nor wish to repeat it. I instead learn from it. I instead use the past every time I think that I want to do something that could be harmful to my friends, my family, or myself. Every time I feel a rash decision coming on, like going all in on a poker hand or not spending a morning meditating, I think of the past and learn from it. The past is a great tool when you simply observe it without judgement. It takes a controlled self with sober eyes.

So live in the now and try your best not to be just another douche canoe wishing for the past.