I always loved how Scorcese opens the Wolf of Wallstreet with the notorious white collar criminal Jordan Belfort rambling through his daily drug intake as he goes about his morning routine. ‘Enough quaaludes, cocaine, and amphetamines to sedate Manhattan for over a month’ boasts Belfort, each of which ingested to serve one of the finance fellons ‘chronic pains’ or ‘persisting anxiety.’ If you recall from the movie, this is the opening scene and is utilized as the audiences introduction to Belfort, and boy oh boy what a first impression do we get. Here we find a man well into his 30’s with a wife, kids, and a mortgage, raving about his drug intake over pancakes and coffee at the breakfast table. Clearly, the use of illegal substances is nothing new for Belfort…nope, they’re about as new to him as the bacon on his plate.
I just came off a long weekend with a lot of lecturing aimed my way, and my mom told me that the days events should serve as a sobering experience. Now when we say someone needs to sober up, you can’t think of the word ‘sober’ in such a confined domain. Everyone in the world isn’t Jimi Hendrix, binging through life on magic mushrooms and a bottle of Jack Daniels. While many of todays vices may fall into the drugs and alcohol category, sobering up stretches far beyond the booze. Some people need to eat healthier, some need to work harder at their job, and some need to just get more sleep. Sobering up is moreover the transition to viewing something with more reason or consideration. The point here is that everyone has their something that they should be doing more or less of and are already well aware of this fact. Whether you’re the overweight fast-food eater trying to switch over to Jugo Fresh or you need to stop binge watching netflix before your 8am finance class, we know where our faults lie. Any of us could just as easily convert our vices into an analogous story of Belfort talking cocaine in the morning. The fact is that all of us have embedded these activities into habit and often times, it takes a real bitch slap from the universe to wake someone from their mental lapse.
I find the push and pull factors in the situation I dealt with to be pretty astoundingly interconnected. Now I don’t want to get into specifics, but I had a long weekend that ended me up not only in the Gainesville court house but also the hospital in Tallahassee (fuck road trips). Again I don’t want to get into specifics, but i realized from the experience that the casualty behind all of our misfortunes on this road trip from hell was really nothing new to me. What I mean by that is that, obviously, I already know the can-dos and can’t-dos in this world,…at the age of 21 you’d hope so. But my experience last weekend wasn’t a lesson, no, that would imply that I learned something new.
Our preferences become habits in this world. We all have certain things we do daily that should be reduced. While we know exactly where the room for improvement lies in our lives, as I realized this weekend, sometimes it takes a domino to push some into that zone of improvement. While the world is unfair and sick and twisted in its happenings, it continues to spin and will continue to do so long after you’re gone. Everyday you will get the choice to delve into that ‘thing you know you shouldn’t be doing’ and everyday you weigh the risks associated with that action. The universe may come back to push you at times, to test the value of this vice in your life. Each activity has its associated consequences which all need to be viewed against the potential benefits. Wake up people. These little itty bitty habits have consequences. A daily decision has a life time effect. Keep your cocaine away from your eggs…its not part of the routine.