‘Tis four days before Christmas and time to send out my annual card and bonanza of gifts to all my friends in the swimming realm and elsewhere. (Note: this year’s Big Present is all the way at the end of today’s blog! No peeking!)
It’s been a pretty good year for me and my Dicksons . And I’m pretty sure my Arizona relatives, at least, are ending 2012 on a high note, surrounded as I imagine each of them to be by exotic nightingale-type birds singing sweetly atop erect cacti that sway gently beneath heaven’s dome of cerulean light.
Alas, a bit less brilliant is life here in the drab ruined neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, where the greens and blues of summer, and the oranges and reds of autumn, have largely given way to the cadaverous grays of winter strangled and suffocated by unremitting stratus clouds.
One’s mood under such circumstances has a way of taking a dip.
Not that I am complaining! And it on this note that I would like to offer my fellow Yuletide melancholics—I know you’re out there, your comforters wrapped up over your grim features like coffin sheets, your brains, like mine, a rotisserie of uneasy dreams and snips of consoling poesy (Sleep is good; better death; best of all to have never been born. –Heinrich Heine: your counsel never gets old!)—to you misery victims, one and all, I offer three, count them, three Holiday gifts.
The first gift, of course, is this annual Christmas card itself, which shows me and my absolutely beautiful and wholesome family living the Good Life as such can be replicated in the photo department of K-Mart.
Surely, if I and the Dicksons can grab for all the gusto life has to offer, and if I and the Dicksons can snatch said gusto in our grasping fingers, and if I and the Dicksons can affix our talon-like death grips on said gusto and never, ever let go, well, surely anybody, not matter how melancholic and prone to morbid ruminations this time of year, not to mention other times of the year, too, despite all this, it just proves that if us then you.
The bottom line: grab, don’t let go, choke life by its neck, and it shall be yours forever unless, that is, a team of litigators can convince a jury to take it away!
Jim and Them!
My second gift is the fruit of my generally depressing and anxiety-inducing Google and Medline searches for new antidepressant and anxiolytic drugs in the pharmaceutical pipeline. These, like the last bullet one saves for oneself during an Indian uprising, or the capsule a spy keeps pinned to the inside of his lapel, will probably take forever to materialize, if indeed they ever do.
Still, the fact that they could materialize provides the one thing that the typical Yuletide hopelessness sufferer is absolutely unable to muster on his own: Hope. True, it’s likely false hope. But false hope, like fool’s gold, still glitters, and any illumination, especially inside the sarcophagus of a Pittsburgh winter, is better than nothing.
Schematic drawing of the Pharmaceutical Pipeline–so far it doesn’t appear that much has reached, let alone crossed over, the anorectal line
The most promising drugs under investigation and likely to be squeezed out in our lifetime, at least in my layman’s view, are variations on Ketamine (known in rave circles as Special K) http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/331258/description/Ketamines_antidepressant_effect_explained_
and Scapolomine (known among dentists and interrogators as Truth Serum) http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2010/rapid-antidepressant-action-of-common-medication-confirmed-by-repeat-trial.shtml?WT.mc_id=rss
There are a few other possibilities, too, including drugs that promote neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells in the hypothalamus, something that both Prozac and exercise like swimming already do) and Valium-like compounds that may bind, non-addictively, to receptors on the mitochondria, relieving the heebie-jeebies to some extent.
Generally speaking, however, the research results lately have not been terribly good, with some spectacular failures among once promising investigational compounds. If you are currently depressed and anxious, chances are you will focus on these failures and not on the remote prospects for success. But I assure you: there are remote prospects for success! Very, very remote!
In the meantime, if you happen to be friends with a drug dealer, and are willing to try an experiment that’s both illegal and unsafe, see if you can score some ketamine and let us know if, in addition to triggering hallucinations and a dissociative state, Special K improves your mood quickly and significantly, at least for a week or so.
Finally, gift No. 3: the inaugural test of the Thornton Twins Podcast, which was extensively prophecied and promoted a month ago here: http://byjimthornton.com/2012/11/27/comes-again-the-thornton-twins-podcast/ We have to thank for this posting none other than Mr. Liam White, who I am thrilled to report has raised his English grade to an A and is back to toiling full-time as the Chief Information Officer of byJimThornton.com.
The Thornton Twins in their Christmas finery, preparing for another Podcast just as soon as they have slaughtered, cooked, and eaten a goose
In addition to my three gifts to you (Xmas card; drug review; TT test podcast), I suspect many of my readers may be receiving costlier, if less valuable, gifts this year, including all manner of smart phones, iPadPods, BlueTooth speaker systems, and the like, the better to listen to our test Podcast on! But remember: this episode is only a test. Please do not judge its quality or predictive powers about future Thornton Twins Podcast episodes, which, once I shake my current morbid lugubriousness, shows every promise of being actually amusing, or at the very least diverting.
Schematic Representation of Inaugural Test Podcast
Schematic Representation of the Quality Drama and High Class Entertainment Coming Atcha’ from the Thornton Twins Very Soon, once one of us is on Ketamine
Click here to download and/or simply listen to right now the Thornton Twins Test Podcast:
Or even better, click here to subscribe to our podcast!