Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm Harrison Bergeron

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

That's the opening of Kurt Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron." Exceptionally strong and graceful people, in this story, are weighted down so that they don't outshine ordinary people:

the ballerinas... weren't really very good -- no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in.

Intelligent people aren't allowed to concentrate:

[George] had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

Right now, I feel as weighted down as a prima ballerina and as blasted as a genius. I am literally dragging myself around the office. I can't concentrate; I can't write my progress notes. My supervisor noticed my especially low mood -- I almost told her the truth. But then I said that the case we were discussing hit unusually close to home. Which it kind of does, but that wasn't why I was so down.

I'm counting the hours until I can go home. I don't even think I can make it to karaoke tonight, and I love karaoke.

I don't know why this is happening. I'm using the light box and getting a little exercise. I'm eating reasonably healthfully. Next Tuesday I see Dr. R -- but I don't know if he can offer any relief.

And I don't really feel sad. Which must mean that JV is making me really, really happy. Not that I feel really, really happy -- just not sad. If it were May, I'd probably be worried about going into a hypomania. How will I need to adjust my medication cocktail to accommodate happiness? And how am I going to get through this winter if I'm this sluggish the day after a great day with JV and his kids?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. Not that this has anything to do with your mood necessarily, but just to throw it out there....

    the sun reached its latest sunrise time this past week and now starts to get earlier each week.

    (Industrious religious Jews will be able to get up earlier to daven and get to work. Lazy religous Jews will not be able to sleep as late and still say shma in its proper time.)
    Many people find their moods affected by moon cycles. I wonder if any research has been done on sunrise times etc.

  2. I always loved that story! It's a wonderful story.

    Hang in. You're going to be fine. You CAN adjust to happy, and you've just got a little bit of the dreary weather blues.

    Talk soon,

  3. Hi Ayelet,

    Has CBT ever helped you?

    Have you seen Avatar yet?

    I just wanted to tell you that I really like your writing.

    Here is a poem my son wrote for me when he was twelve:

    Koala Bear
    Sitting there
    On a chair
    By the contemplative banks of
    Lake Subtle

    Take care, Spring is on the way,


  4. Wow, Rafi! I'm really taken with your son's poem. Either he is incredibly deep, or he was playing with those refrigerator word magnets. Or both. Still either way, that's awfully and unexpectedly beautiful.
    Ayelet - I'm going to have to look up that short story. I'm too engrossed in reading your blog to read anything else, at the moment, though. I'm hoping so hard that JV is working out for you at present, but I'm discouraged by the fact that you still have the word "single" in your blog's subtitle. I need to hurry up and get to the present posts!