It doesn’t matter what you are — Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green, left, right, center, North By Northwest, slightly off — chances are you could use a break from politics. We all could. If there’s one thing that can bring us together as a nation, it’s that we collectively need a vacation from ourselves. Or at least our government. Or the shenanigans of our government. Because it’s too much, right? And it would be good to get some time away. To catch our breath. To forget there is such a thing as Washington (aka, Hootenannyville.)
Which is why I decided to get away from it by going cold turkey on politics this week. It would be good for me personally — a cleanse, of sorts — as I’m kind of a political junkie. Only I fear it’s becoming more of an unhealthy addiction. I have an app on my phone called “Flipboard” that lets me quickly flip through the latest stories. It’s become a constant habit!
So, this week I resolved to go without political news completely. I would refrain from anything political, and then write about it in case you want to try it, too. Here’s how it went:
Monday, 5:33 a.m. — Woke up in cold sweat. The feeling I missed something. That Twitter was Twittering. That headlines were … well, whatever they do. That out there, in the great unknown, something big was happening and I needed to know about it! I heard Darth Vader’s voice in my head: “Brian, come to the dark side! Use your phone.” “FATHER … NOOOOO!” I screamed, which woke my wife. She mumbled, “there you go again,” and drifted back to sleep. I reminded myself about my resolution, slapped myself a couple of times and buried my head under the pillow. This was off to a REALLY good start!
6:35 a.m. – Both my morning papers led with political stories. Great! They were sitting on the kitchen counter. I heard that song from “The Jungle Book” when Kaa the python tries to eat Mowgli by singing, “Trust in Me.” The newspapers were singing to me! I chewed on my knuckle and tried to come to my senses. “They’re not singing! They’re just newsprint and ink. It’s impossible. No … they’re probably using telepathy instead! Trying to put wisdom straight into my brain.” It went on like this for a while until I decided I needed coffee … and to put the Crisis Hotline on speed dial.
6:59 a.m. — I felt like I was reaching critical mass. I didn’t know who to trust anymore. I felt like the whole world was out there changing and I was missing it. Like everyone knows something, and they’re laughing at me. Maybe Anthony Scaramucci is back!!!
7:02 a.m. – I cracked. I was on the floor of the living room crying while flipping through political stories, hungry for more. My wife and daughter stared at me, shaking their heads. I heard my daughter say, “There he goes again. Knew he couldn’t resist the power of the Dark Side.”
Also published on Medium.