I'm Not A Computer Addict. I'm A Neoascetic!
Computer & Internet Addicts Are Not To Be Pitied Or Rehabbed. We Are To Be Admired!
I am a Neoascetic. If history marks that I have coined the phrase, then I will gladly accept royalty payments ad infinitum. If not, it doesn't matter. I am proud to be a Neoascetic. It is a sublime lifestyle which comes as close as we can in this baffled age to ultimate enlightenment.
A Neoascetic is free. A Neoascetic is liberated. A Neoascetic is master of their own time and effort. A Neoascetic is able to revel in utter and immediate gratification of any intellectual or emotional need, and should any negative stimulus enter their sphere of consciousness, they can make it go away with one click.
Yes, a Neoascetic is what the more narrow-minded would call a Computer Addict. Tacking on the Addict title insinuates that we are suffering from an ailment and require rehabilitation to return to being a productive member of society.
I once had a relatively short fling with a sensational young lady. She had everything going for her. Except that she was a rabid Crystal Meth fiend. Now that is definitely an addiction that needs immediate medical and psychological professional assistance. I tried desperately to get her into rehab, but she always defused the situation by explaining to me that she knew she was addicted, but she liked the effects of the drug. Why should she be unhappy and live without it?
Although I continue to maintain my stand that substance abusers do require rehabilitation, I am just as adamant that Computer Abusers don't. I am not placing any chemicals within my body. I am not engaging in any activity which can inebriate me so that I cannot safely operate a vehicle or perform any required task. So what's the problem?
Sure, there are sometimes when I go a day or two without leaving the house while wearing nothing but underwear and slippers, but then again, I have the drapes drawn so who cares? What possible advantage is it for me to mix and mingle with the local social set, get involved in their gossip, get into arguments, trigger bad feelings, so on and on and on? And similarly can anyone tell me why I should commute a couple of hours a day, burning fuel and polluting the air, just to get into some office building where most of my day is going to be wasted in meetings and water cooler debates about last night's Big Brother?
That's why I laugh uproariously at all the people who assume that I am a Computer Addict to be pitied and rehabbed. Let's look at where I stand in the definitions of Computer Addiction:
Repetitive Stress - I'm very careful to have the ergonomics of my computer station absolutely perfect. I have taken extraordinary steps to ensure that all elements are where I need them. My monitor is suspended a full 10 inches above my desktop so that the centerpoint is centered right between my eyes; my 5 button mouse is set so that my thumb operates left click, a much more natural motion which does not stress the digit anywhere near as much as clicking down with your index thousands of times a day; my chair is at the optimal height and angle to keep me bolt upright; and I have a hot gel pack which I microwave and place directly in the lumbar region at the first sign of strain. I often spend 16 hours a day sitting here and I can still walk and brush my teeth, so it is a testament to its efficacy.
Dry eyes - Whenever I get dry eyes, I think about all those poor, miserable, suffering people who got suckered into using Windows Vista and more than enough tears flood in.
Migraine headaches - Haven't had one yet! I average one minor 2-3 hour headache every couple of years.
Backaches - See above. Hot lumbar gel pack. The best ten bucks you'll ever spend at WalMart.
Eating irregularities, such as skipping meals - I wish I could skip some meals!!! I might have to cut a semicircle hole in my desktop to get closer to the monitor if I don't stop stuffing my yap!
Neglecting personal hygiene - No, I don't shower four times a day like some exercise nuts or germophobes. Once a day does the trick, thank you very much.
Sleep disturbances and changes in sleep patterns - That's the best part! I follow the Zen dictum: "When hungry eat, when tired sleep." I haven't had a full 8 hours of nonstop sleep in years. I actually sleep more than that, often 10 hours out of every 24 but I do it in totally random catnaps of anywhere between an hour and four hours. I am always refreshed, feel great, and if I end up working in the middle of the night and sleeping in the middle of the afternoon, who cares? Think that anyone who has that sleep pattern is crazy? That was what people told George Washington.
Having a sense of well-being or euphoria while at the computer - Oh yeah. Now there is the ultimate Puritan revenge. If it feels good, stop it! I have a great sense of euphoria at the computer, or I wouldn't be here. Then again, I am hardly depressed away from the PC. I guess I'm not a candidate for Prozac.
Inability to stop the activity - I can stop any damn time I want, and I have. I've often travelled for months where the only PC contact was 5 minutes to check email twice a week. Didn't get depressed or suicidal. I had other things to do!
Craving more and more time at the computer - Can't crave it 'cuz I'm almost always on it!
Neglecting family and friends - My nearest family is 8,000 miles away. We talk on the phone daily. Suits me fine.
Feeling empty, depressed and irritable when not at the computer - Never. See Inabiltity to stop.
Lying to family and friends about activities - What I do is nobody's darn business. If anyone asks, I tell them. If they start wagging their finger in my face, I bite it off.
Problems with school or work - This is my work!
My work efficiency is extremely high. My current record is in writing 18,000 original words in 24 hours: That's a full length novel in four days. Try doing that between meetings, phone calls, coffee breaks and checking out the secretaries' tight sweaters.
I certainly can't say I'm making the same money in my online pursuits as I was when I was a hotshot LA magazine publisher and my chauffeur would drive me home up the winding road overlooking the Playboy Building on the Sunset Strip, where I would take my private elevator to my basketball court-sized living room whose wall to ceiling glass afforded a 270 degree panorama of the city skyline just before I'd go for a dip in my indoor pool and spa. But one look at me and you will certainly know that I'm eating every day. And very well thank you. I have everything I need. I have three big television sets, and I still haven't figured out a way to watch more than one at a time. I have a small, fuel efficient four wheel drive that gets me anywhere I want to go, even up 45 degree rocky hills. I have a motorcycle I adore.
I don't own a suit. I don't own a watch. I don't own a Crackberry. I don't spend my evenings Speed-dating, or grazing, or getting drunk at earsplitting clubs while accumulating turndowns from blonde hotties. I live far from the maddening city, surrounded by magnificent verdant nature which I enjoy at least several times an hour through the window or at least a couple of times a week even in winter, in long, pleasant hikes. In the average year, I'm off to Europe at least twice and the tropics at least once.
I engage in verbal sparring online and have a ball doing it. I research all manner of subjects and compile a wealth of wide-spectrum knowledge that is constantly being updated. I get to interact with fascinating people all over the globe I would never have known in any other way. I do what I want, when I want and how I want. And I'm supposed to be sick and require rehab?
I'm a Neoascetic. And I'm proud of it.
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