Or how Bill Bob and Jake feel.

Bill the banker, Bob the Bum and Jake the Jerk get up in the morning. Bob the Bum goes and gets his 40ozer, Bill the banker races downtown in his Benz and Jake the Jerk gets to work and starts giving everyone a hard time.

Bill the banker passes Bob the Bum and says that guy ain’t doin''’ nothin’. Bob the Bum says gee that dude sure is doin’ somethin’ and Jakes’ employees are saying that ol’ Jake the Jerk don’t do nothin’ except give them a hard time.

I say they all might be doing nothing or doing something. How can I say they are doing nothting. We all might want to say Bob the Bum is doin’ nothin’ and that Bill and Jake are doing something.

I will show how, in one sense, they might all be doing the same thing. A guy named Silvan S. Tomkins came up with the idea that all emotions are traced back to 9 organ like centers in our brain. He gave these centers the names: Interest, Joy, Surprise, Anger, Fear, Distress, Disgust, Dissmell and Shame.

When people come to me, as a family doc., I almost always now do an emotional check up on them if they agree. I ask them to rate themselves on a scale of 1-10. I ask them to think of the time they have been the most Damn angry in their life. I ask them to call that 10 and then ask them, in general, how they have been feeling and so they can do this with each of the ten words.

So I see Bob, Bill and Jake all on the same day and they all say they feel the following; they have Interest of 2, Joy of 0, Anger of 9, Fear of 8 and distress of 10. So I say they are all doing the same thing they are trying to feel better because I can assure you they all feel pretty crappy and in a sense they are all doing nothin’.

But then they are doing something. Most people would say that Bob is doing nothing but he is doing something, he is trying to maintain an internal environment that overwhelms him and forces him inward. Now Bill the Banker feels exactly the same way but everyone says that dude is doing somethin’ but if he is doing something he is also doing nothing just like Bob the Bum. Now what about Jake? Jake is kinda in the middle. But he too is doing exactly the same thing as Bill and Bob trying to maintain a crappy internal environment. That is nothing like Bob or excuse me was that something like Bill but wait wasn’t Bill doing nothing too.

The different ways in which we see people handle themselves, we in this business call "Scripts." They are how we learn from an early age to deal with emotional hurt and turmoil. A psychiatrist named Donald Nathanson says we do one of four things: We; Withdraw, Attack Other, Attack Self, or Avoid. I would say that Bill and Bob are avoiding; Bill is addicted to making money and Bob is addicted to drinking. Jack feels better by attacking others.

Bob and Jake are more obviously in turmoil but only more obvious as they are doing things that we can see and do not like so in effect. Bill might be the more dangerous sense we cannot see his hurt.

For them all to be doing somethin’ ,something in a positive sense, given the first profile where they all feel the same, they need to pump up interest in themselves and get interested in their anger, fear, distress, shame. Then they will really be doing something.

So next time you are doing nothing don’t fall for it because you are doin’ something and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, because nothing is something and something sure ain't nothin'.

Brian Lynch

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Brian Lynch,M.D.

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On Death and Dying

SHAME AND PRIDE: Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self, DonaldL. Nathanson.

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