I have to laugh at myself.
The other day I was nostalgic for TV commercials from thirty or so years ago when I was a lad of nineteen. Checking out YouTube yielded some dandy Sunkist soda ads from the day.
As I watched the ad campaign for that soda brand, I found myself in the mood to be young again. The twenty-nothings in the commercial were living life at its fullest: playing volleyball on a sunny southern California beach, laughing, soaking up copious amounts of sun-provided vitamin D, and swilling gallons of Sunkist. All the while, the Beach Boys’ hit “Good vibrations” was tying the whole thing together.
Anyone who knows me also knows I’m given to impulse at odd moments. Like the time a friend and I accidentally created a cattle stampede with a bottle rocket at age sixteen. Not that either of us does those kinds of things anymore, but impulse is the id’s way of shouting, “LET’S BE YOUNG AND INSANE!”
It was with that spirit that I found myself getting into the theme of the commercial -so much so, in fact, that I started jumping up and down along with the kids in the ad and singing along with the Beach Boys. None of this, as it turns out, was as much fun as it promised to be.
First of all, when I was nineteen I was an inch shorter and almost one-hundred pounds of muscle and flab lighter than I am in my current configuration. I was also, um, nineteen. While I wasn’t in top shape at the time, I could have run rings around me now.
Jumping up and down on an apartment floor, albeit a carpeted one, only further aggravated the plantar fasciitis I so desperately want to put behind me so I can feel young again. I suppose that’s what led to my decision to grab a pillow and scream into it so no one would hear me.
While my foot swelled, my ego shrunk. Rolling around on the floor in pain may not be the best way to express one’s dignity, but somehow it felt appropriate in light of the “Insanity Workout infomercial” airing at the moment out in the living room.
Then there’s the issue of being Bipolar. Remember three-hundred seventy-nine words ago when I referred to impulse? Yeah, that applies especially to those of us who tend to go Patty Duke at odd moments. Trying to relive the viewing pleasure of an enticing commercial from my youth trumped any forethought of “you’ll hurt yourself, Rob”.
That’s why, as I lay on my floor gasping for breath and cradling my left foot and wondering how such shenanigans would affect my previously swollen ankles, I couldn’t help musing about what it would have been like to have been created more stoic. Hypomanic episodes lead to dancing along with soda pop commercials. Would a stoic episode have led to something more productive? Perhaps a video centered on solving one of those tricky Kakuro puzzles no one quite seems to grasp?
Without the excessive emotions I often experience, I might have found myself hopping up and down like the volleyball players, but without that tonnage of affect I can assure you that eighty percent of the pleasure would have been absent. Who wants to risk making a fool of oneself to a decades-old TV spot if there’s no emotional reward? I’m pretty sure no one in soda pop marketing ever said, “let’s run a background song inspiring engineers to map out flow charts.” People want to have fun -even older guys with bad feet and questionable maturity.
I get a very good vibe knowing that.