January 22, 2012
I am trying to devise a formula for Well-Being—a term in the early stages of my college, let’s say, ‘journey,’ that my ballroom dance instructor insisted on using in lieu of the more official “kinesiology” or the more prevalent “P.E.” Of course, in the early stages of my college, let’s say, ‘saga,’ –call it what you want, just give me my 2 credit hours, thanks, and I’ll see some of you in tennis class next semester.
The idea that I hadn’t left a “gym period” back in high-school (hell, I left it back in my sophomore year) was irksome to me, the penultimate academic irk-hood, in fact. The ultimate irk-hood was staring down the barrel of four mandatory semesters of Spanish—an acquaintance with which language also languished, scarcely accomplished, two years in my rearview.
But now, as I get older and feebler, I’m reconsidering my dismissive attitude toward my dance instructor. I wonder: maybe I should have been a more elegant waltzer, a more exuberant polka-er, a more ridiculous Charleston-er, a less sarcastic boot-scootin-boogie-er. It’s not that I think I would be a healthier person now for having mastered those dances; it’s that those well-being lessons disguised as easy-A GPA boosters (I got a C) are more important than I had thought back in the early stages of my college, let’s say, “stroll.”
Which brings me back to my formula for Well-Being. I don’t have one yet. My capacity for mathematical analysis and algebraic functions, if there ever was an inkling (and I like to think there was) has been on a steady descent into oblivion for a decade or so. And they don’t run wires into this cavern, buddy, it’s old school down here—a candle on your felt cap and the twinkle of bat eyes if yer lucky.
“Formula, formula, formula,” I stroke my beard and think. Well, I stroke my beard and think about lunch. It’s a process. You wouldn’t understand. A thought! I Google “left brain right brain.” See, ‘cause my tumor is situated in the right parietal lobe and I bet that analytical aptitude is situated smack in the middle of my tumor, let’s just see here . . .
Nope. That’s for left-brainers. Who cares, it’s quack science anyway. “Formula, formula, formula,” echoes in my skull as I eat my sandwich.
Sated, I resume. I get this far . . . something to do with the duration of a given day in which one remains in ones pajamas minus time spent on/ in front of electronic devices plus time spent in the open air doing something, anything multiplied by two plus four for reading a book.
(24/pj) – (24/i) + 2(N+0) + 4 = x
Where x = some semblance of/ progress towards Well Being.
It’s a start. A nascent hypothesis. More data required. Specific physiological measurements. Psychoanalytic determinants. A unified existential theory converted to a numerable function to be called [for alliterative purposes] the Søren/ Sartre Factor.
“Well-Being, Well-Being, Well-Being,” I stroke my beard, in my pajamas at noon, about to take a nap, and wonder . . . What’s for dinner?
It's a start.