Monday, October 25, 2010

Repressed voltage

Today in my Mass Media seminar we were talking about persuasion, in journalism as a whole but also in advertising. The Energizer bunny came up as an example, and we kept referring to it throughout the class period.

After about ten to fifteen minutes had passed and we were still talking about batteries, I wrote on my notebook for my friend Nick next to me to read. I wrote,

"batteries stress me out."

He snickered.

And then I realized how much batteries stress me out. And how much I avoid them as a result.

I think I use batteries--clarification, replace batteries--maybe once a year (this is not including everyday use of batteries in remote controls, cars, cell phones, etc.). That once-a-year occurrence is the approximate one time a year I have the leisure and freedom to travel somewhere by plane. And then I bring along my old school discman, to fill time between reading Spirit Magazine and sipping Dr Pepper. Along with some batteries.

And I am always nervous. Because I feel like batteries always die. Even the brand new ones.

I was at the Las Vegas airport for a layover and I bought batteries in the gift shop, put them in my discman, and it still didn't work.

This is why I avoid batteries. Every time I put them in something, I just expect them to die shortly after. I remember as a kid often needing batteries for something, I don't even know what, some toy or another. And it always seemed to be a headache, for me, the brothers, for Dad.

We had at least one basket of batteries, I remember. The batteries were all heaped up together (this gives you a tiny snapshot of my family's organizational skills as a whole, and an even tinier snapshot of that which is my mind), and it was never clear which ones were brand new, fully charged, almost dead, dead.

We had a battery tester, which I thought was kind of fun, but I don't recall that it solved our battery woes. It may have even made them worse--an illusory helper.

[I could also have stressful associations with batteries because the two boys on my Odyssey of the Mind team in fourth grade used to put 9-volt batteries on their tongues, laughing after receiving its painful shock. Just watching this scarred me.]

As Riley got older and accumulated more battery operated toys, as young boys tend to do--a Gameboy, etc.--batteries continued to enter our house. I remember him and Dad having arguments/discussions about Riley's need for batteries, required trips to the store, when could they go, why don't you check the heap in the basket?, those are all dead, have you tested them all? get the picture.

So I realized, today, during Mass Media seminar of all places, that I have been both subconsciously and I believe consciously avoiding battery usage for all these years.

Huh. Well the first step to recovery is admitting I have a problem. Next up? Call the therapist.

"So, you say there was a basket with a heap of batteries? What kind of batteries?"
"All kinds. Too many to count...I don't wanna talk about it."
"Okay, maybe in the next session."

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