Friday, December 6, 2013

There Is Never Enough Ice Cream.

Marc Maron made this statement in the opening of a recent episode his WTF podcast.  To be clear, this was not a comment on ice cream, per se.
We are, most of us anyway, are in possession of a broken heart, a fractured mind, a damaged soul, or some combination of the three.
Obviously, when a thing breaks, the natural urge is to seek repair.  To apply a bandage.  Unlike a broken bone, there are injuries that never heal and necessitate ongoing care.
How we medicate speaks volumes about our suffering.  Alcohol.  Marijuana.  Cocaine.  Heroine.  Crystal meth.  Pills.  Food.  Sugar.  Prolonged exercise.  Sex.  Excessive blogging (srsly).  We all have something.
Here is a test.  Does your treatment of choice continue to give off good feelings long after the treatment has concluded?  Or, are you already seeking the next fix before the current one has worn off?
The latter fits for most drug addicts and alcoholics.  Sex addicts and chronic masturbaters also experience a quick fall from the euphoria.
Maron is a addict, fourteen years sober.  No drugs.  No booze.  His only vices - too much coffee, nicotine lozenges, masturbation (who among us hasn’t?), and food.  The mind of an addict will always find a way to mediate, even when choosing to close off former avenues.
He discussed research about the mind and its receptors and how ice cream connects to us.  I love ice cream.  I hate the way my teeth feel after I eat it, enough to say never again.  There is always a next time.  It seems so minor, so trivial, yet I have not been able to turn off that want.
The research, stripped down for the purpose of this post, showed that ice cream is never as good as the first time.  Every time we consume it afterward is in pursuit of the rush from that first time.  And it is never as good.  That is because during that first time we are still pure to the experience, it is all new to us, to our receptors.
You don’t yet know that you need it.  You can really leave it if you’ve never taken it.
For some people the receptors don’t receive properly, and the experience is a one-off.  For others the pursuit lasts a lifetime.  Countless hours, years even, chasing the ghost of that first time.
What science showed, that the mind never really accepts, is that the next time will never be as good as the first time.  Because even if it is, we believe it can be better still.  What was once mind blowing is now meh.  This is why the addict od’s, the alcoholic drowns, and even why some marriages fail.  The next time is no longer good enough and the pursuit cannot end.
After that first bowl or cone, there never is enough ice cream.

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