Fake News (Part 2)

The 2016 maple syrup season was unique, in that life intervened at the end of it, forcing us to shut down more sloppily than other years. I like to get things cleaned and put away soon after the last tap is pulled, so I’ll be ready for the next season. I did get my buckets and lids in the basement early on, but unfortunately they sat until today.

I’d been playing a phycological game with myself for the past many months.


“Come on Ted, how bad can it be?”


The more I tend to put things off, the bigger the wall becomes keeping me from getting started. So they sat and waited, patiently, in the basement, mocking me each time I walked by. And once I put my Muck Boots ™ on (the floor in the basement is cold this time of year) ran the water, and started working, the job was completed in a couple of hours. I had to scrub harder due to the elapsed time, but that was my punishment.

I have a couple of habits when I’m doing relatively mindless repetitive tasks. Franco helps with the first one… he brings his rubber ring over, lays is on the ground hopefully in front of me, and stares at it with a slow tail wag. I kick the ring for him numerous times during the session, and to date, I’ve never managed to tire him out.

The second habit is to grab my Bluetooth speaker, pair it with my iPod, and listen to some podcasts while working. For a guy that can typically only manage one thing at a time, I sometimes surprise myself by keeping these three juggling balls in the air at once.

The project was moving along well. My rubber gloves kept a reasonable seal. I changed my water/chlorine bleach washing solution often, and the clean buckets gleamed as the finished stacks grew. I was listening to “This American Life ™ when an episode came on titled, Tell Me I’m Fat.

I listened to this podcast with great interest, since I’d just written a piece in my blog about the obesity epidemic. What I heard changed my opinion about the previous piece I wrote, and made me hope I hadn’t offended anyone with the ideas I’d expressed. The point I’d tried to make was that many of us are overweight because our bodies had evolved needing more exercise than many of us currently get. I still believe this to be true, but I regretted the edge the piece had to it… that overweight people were the way they were because of some fault of their own. It was not what I meant to say, but I’m afraid it may have came through in the piece.

A couple of things struck me about the This American Life ™ episode. One statistic stuck in my mind, “Fewer than 1 in 100 obese people get thin and keep it off, according to one recent study, which tracked over a quarter million people for nine years.” A woman was interviewed for the program was in that group of people that have kept the weight off. She explained that phentermine (an amphetamine-like drug) had helped her with the original weight loss, and that she still took them “…for a few months at a time a year, or sometimes it feels like half of the year.” So among the few that have kept the weight off, the price at least one of them must pay is a long term addiction to drugs.

I finished the episode confused and unhappy. And I felt determined to share a belief about psychological well being. Try to start each day with a goal of something doable that you hope to accomplish. End each day by taking a look at what you’ve accomplished, and pat yourself on the back. “Good job, tomorrow is another day.” We all have things we could improve in our lives. Some of our problems are obvious, some not, but everyone has room for improvement. These things happen in numerous small steps. Be your best cheerleader for the steps you make in the right direction, and never quit trying to make that next right step.

2 Responses to “Fake News (Part 2)”

  1. Jenn Hill says:

    Thank you for writing your blog. I moved to Marquette 3 years ago and found it when searching for information on Estivant Pines. Good job!

  2. Ted says:

    Nice to hear from you Jenn. Comments like yours make my day! Ted

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