Every morning I do the same thing, which makes me pretty normal. I assume.

This is just the nature of routine. And mornings, I guess, or whenever morning is to you (for my son, who works a graveyard shift, it’s evening. Whatever).

Habit is how we mediate chaos, eliminate choices and reduce anxiety. Routine is essentially Xanax.

I get out of bed, visit the bathroom, feed the cat, start the coffee. At some point variability increases, depending on a lot of things, but the first hour or so is pretty much the same, every day.

And every day, when I’m at home, I step on the scale, check the weight. When I’m away from home, I almost never consider the scale, but it’s rare to miss a day here. It’s the lowest weight of the day, and after a decade of this I’ve moved past fussy and just into routine. Step, note, remember, move on.

I have a fancy scale now, an Aria, one that syncs (usually) with my Fitbit app, so it remembers for me. And if I step on it without socks and shoes—which the Aria helpfully reminds me to do if I forget—it shoots a low-level current through the soles of my feet to measure the amount of fat.

This isn’t a trustworthy number, by the way. Neither is what the scale shows, sometimes, but that’s easier to assess. Measuring body fat this way is only useful in relative terms; it stays the same, goes up, goes down. The actual number is bullshit, since the ideal time to measure fat with electricity is…hard to say. Some point an hour or so away from eating, drinking, or exercising, it seems. Way too much work for pretty useless information anyway.

I just mention it because over the past few days, that number has suddenly jumped a full percentage point. If I were to take this seriously, which I obviously don’t, it would appear that I’ve gotten significantly fatter recently. Although not heavier. As I say, pretty useless.

But then.

This morning I woke up at 5am, a little early and actually awkward, given that we now have a tenant sharing our space, who gets up early and heads out around 6:30, usually gone all day. He lives downstairs and usually stays there, not intruding (as if) on what passes for normalcy in this house, so I don’t want to crowd him on early mornings.

I stayed in bed, then, and read the Washington Post. There are half a dozen newspapers I’d consider subscribing to if money were no object; I take the Post because it’s cheap through Amazon, and it’s excellent journalism.

On other days, I’ll just fire up the desktop and poke around headlines and stories, but the effect is the same: by the time I communicate in some form with another human being, I’m pretty much saturated with what’s going on. Twitter might give me a head’s up on breaking news; Facebook is going to be filled with useless information that annoys me. I know this already I mentally scream at the helpful friends who clog up my newsfeed with recycled stories and a bunch of just crap.

Even people I know to be thoughtful and intelligent share stories from sites like (made that up; don’t click), and I hold them on a short lease; do this too often and I’ll reluctantly send you to the cornfield, away from tired eyes. I have limited time and even less patience for this.

This is, of course, the bane of our current civilization. I don’t use bane lightly.

Its original meaning is essentially poison, which works for me. We have enormous information at hand, easily accessed and regurgitated, and most of it is useless. Useless, wrong, and dangerous, often.

Do I need to know that Melania Trump wore stiletto heels on boarding Air Force One to go visit Texas? I think high heels in general are weird, bizarre things I can’t imagine being comfortable, but she’s a former model and I guess they accentuate her line or something. Even if she wore the damn things for the entire trip, instead of switching to sneakers once she reached her destination, why is this a thing and why should I care?

Why should I care about those tweets from Trump supporters who exercised their full whataboutism and complained about Obama’s negligence during Hurricane Katrina, which took place three years before his election? It’s stupid, sure, but just voting for Trump was an act of massive communal civic stupidity. Dog bites man, move on.

Not to mention that I suspect most if not all of those original tweets were of bot origin, designed for some purpose that I can’t discern but assume is not good.

I’ve wrestled with Facebook for two years now, losing constantly. I’ve griped, ranted, written, and walked away, only to be lured back by sparkly stuff. I want to say that I’ve just lost most of my tolerance for stupid people, but this is on me, me and my own stupid self. The medium is the message here, the product is me and mine, and I can opt out if it bothers me all that much.

So I have. Again, but I have. Almost everyone now resides in the cornfield, and I see a few posts from family members and friends. A few weeks ago, when I deliberately tried to stay away from Facebook, I noted that my activity log showed 50 interactions over the week, most of them just Likes. Last week, it was 22, half a dozen of those coming on a single post by a friend that was intriguing and had nothing to do with anything, just curiosity. I can probably do better. I probably should.

I can’t say that I’m better off; I can just think that. I assume there’s less stress from mentally screaming, which has to be good. Less time wasted on superficial stuff is also good, I think. Certainly less judging of people I know, something I’ve noticed more and more, is always good.

And being selective is good, I think. My friends probably won’t know it, but if I click “Like” I actually like the post. It congratulates, it wishes well, it shares the joy or grief or opinion. It has some value, at least to me, and judicious liking is also a good thing.

More information, as strange as it sounds, is not. Necessarily, anyway. Tell it to my scale.

Chuck SigarsComment