We all find comfort ... somewhere


Do you ever get that eye twitch?

You know, that fluttering of one of your eyes that signals you are about to either have a nervous breakdown or embark down the path of viciousness and cruelty to the next person you happen to see? Well, I get that a lot.

In fact, as I was sifting through staff articles, press releases and trying to keep aware of the happenings of the elections on Tuesday, I started noticing that my left eyelid was shaking like an exotic dancer staring down a $2 bill. There’s that initial moment when I feel the first quake that I know it’s coming, but for some reason or another, I think that I can stop it by simply rubbing my eye and continuing forth down that slippery slope into madness. I had just finished that first orbital massage when Bob Bertram entered my office, armed with a vanilla milkshake from Hocker’s.

Shuddering eye, you have met your match.

The guilty pleasure trumpets all, doesn’t it? We all can find comfort in the simplest of things at time and, in fact, it’s probably the simplicity of the object or act that makes us most comfortable. I hear people talk of comfort foods like tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, or of routine actions that bring them to a happy place — like playing with their dogs or shopping at one’s favorite stores.

While sipping that beautiful vanilla shake on Tuesday, I began contemplating those guilty little pleasures in life that bring me comfort, and the drum beat in my eye slowed down to a steady pulse.

For instance, yes, I do have comfort foods that can make all the bad things in life go away. I love those little bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches at Kool Bean in the morning, and I find myself jetting off to the Ocean View Deli for sweet potato fries from time to time when things look hopeless. A roast that has been sitting in a crock pot all day can erase nearly all the bad things going on in my life, and an ice cream cone at night seems to somehow make everything seem right in the world.

On the flip side, the mere smell of carrots take me to a place that is most certainly not of the happy variety, and I can’t bring myself to ever eating birthday cake after watching someone spit all over the top of it when blowing out candles.

Yeah, there is very little comfort in those things.

However, guilty little pleasures are not strictly limited to food and drink. Be it a favorite sweatshirt, well-worn pair of jeans or a certain pair of boxer shorts that might appear to be ready for the junk pile to some, but you know in your heart that they have become perfectly broken into and you would rather give your left eye or listen to Britney Spears discuss global warming than have to part with that ...

But I digress.

See, I’m getting myself all worked up again. These minor eruptions are pretty much a standard part of my day — and they typically build up into the full-tilt throw-chairs-across-the-room explosion that results in elderly people and barnyard animals sprinting for the hills as a cascade of expletives and vile threats of harm come pouring out of my mouth. It’s become a regular part of our week at the Coastal Point. At a certain time every week, the people here know to avoid all conversations and contact with me and, in return, I don’t throw things in their direction.

Wow, little comfort there, huh?

Well, maybe I overstated my mood swings a little bit. However, I do find myself getting pretty stressed from time to time, and the people here usually do know when it’s best not to poke the bear. I hear gentle footsteps outside my door, hushed whispers and find the occassional graffiti written on the bathroom wall that tells me where exactly to stick that additional source for the story.

That, well, brings me little comfort. That’s when I reach for my little stress ball and turn on my favorite music while I find my inner me and float off into ...

Where’s Bob with that milkshake, anyway?

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While I have your attention (I know, that’s relying on a heavy assumption), I need to place a public call for help. Every year I write a Christmas column where I discuss different family traditions over the holidays.

I’d love to incorporate some from our readers, and see how many of these “unique” family traditions are used in different families. Whether you all wear matching pajamas or sing dirty lyrics to Christmas carols, send them in to me. The address and e-mail is in our staff box.

And, yes, I did say “Christmas” instead of “holiday.” My column ... my rules.