My mother taught me never to talk about religion or politics in mixed company. In fact, she taught me never to talk about religion or politics at all! It always leads to big arguments. It ruins friendships, wrecks marriages, and nobody ever gets converted. To put it another way, as Art and I have so often observed, “You can’t tell anybody anything!” So, we won’t start talking politics now.
However, we can talk about metapolitics. (I thought I had made that word up. But I just checked. I didn’t!) In other words, we can talk about how politics, on the whole, affect us. And that, I think, most of us can agree on. Say what you will about the past few years, but they’ve been full of politics! People have been yammering away about what’s happening in Washington, and the talk has not been pretty!
So, what happens to you when you tune in one of those stations – You know, the one with the LOUD voices where they’re all talking over each other? Where they’re choking on their own adrenaline? Where you can’t hear yourself think because they’re hurling stories like missiles a mile a minute and you can’t even digest what you’ve just heard because they’re already on to the next one . . . and the next one… ad infinitum?
Well, if you’re anything like me, you might notice that your jaw feels very tight. You might notice that you’ve been reaching for the Tums. You might notice that you’re “down to your last nerve”. Then, you might get a headache. Or a stomachache. You might even get sick more often.
Well, I say: “Stop the madness!”
This is what I did this morning. I turned off news radio. I found a station called “Got Radio” that plays nothing but ‘60s radio. Before I knew it, my whole attitude was completely turned around! I was dancing around the kitchen in my stocking feet to the Beach Boys, the Mamas and Papas and Buddy Holly (don’t know how he made it to the ‘60s, but he did.)
So, maybe the ‘60s are not for you – Maybe you get the same effect by listening to Bach. Or Coltrane. Or Jobim. Or Willy Nelson. Or David Bowie. Or Beyonce. The choices are endless! But the principal is the same. Bearing in mind that I “can’t tell anybody anything”, I am going to tell you, anyway: Turn off the news. Turn on some music. Watch your blood pressure fall in a matter of seconds. As Jackson Browne wisely wrote, “Take it easy. . .Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.”