Thursday, September 06, 2007

Confessions of a Recovering Junkie -- Politically Speaking

I’m outing myself here. Baring my soul. Laying it before you.

You see. I’m a junkie. But I’m trying to reform. Honest. I’m just having a devil of a time doing it. No. I’m not addicted to alcohol or drugs or sex (sigh). I’m not a junk food junkie (although there have been times in the throes of deadline hell my chocolate intake has raised questions among my family -- along with my blood sugar) and I am not a shopaholic--well, except in bookstores, that is. Yet my ‘habit’ has as much capacity to disrupt my writing regimen as a gambling bug bite you’re compelled to scratch on the slot machines or at black jack tables.

I am a political junkie. There. I said it. And acknowledging the condition is the first step in curing it, right?

I should say I’m a recovering political junkie. I’ve been interested in politics since high school government class when we conducted a mock UN session. I was the ambassador from France. Let me tell you, I learned what the word ‘abstain’ meant in short order during my brief tenure as the French ambassador. Later in college, as an idealistic freshman, I was convinced a peanut farmer from Georgia had what it took to be the leader of the free world. My major was English--not political science--but coming from the heartland I figured if you can’t trust a farmer, who can you trust? I also thought Rosalyn Carter would make a really cool first lady.

Since that time I’ve become more up close and personal with the political arena. As a trooper I provided security at the governor’s residence (I got to know the governor’s pooch and his gastrointestinal habits very well) and at the state capitol where lawmakers convened yearly to draft legislation they would invariably end up having to correct at the next session. But I was fast becoming hooked by the spectacle that politics and politicians provide.

During the last decade I found myself spending way too much time consuming political blogs, watching CSPAN and debates that put other folks to sleep and hunched over newspaper articles. At the last election I volunteered to be a poll watcher though what I would have done if a hanging chad showed up, I haven’t the vaguest idea. Nevertheless, I was hooked.

Where’s the harm, you ask? You’re one of the informed electorate, Kathy, you assure me. What’s the big deal? The big deal is the thrall current events have over me. The harm is the lure of the political sphere--its capacity to pull me away from my writing for prolonged periods of time. Not particularly beneficial when you are on a deadline.

I hear you. Just walk away, you recommend. Go Cold Turkey. No radio, TV, newspaper or internet. Sounds simple enough. Except that I live in Iowa--traditionally home of the first caucus--and, it seems, new home to a score of politicians out pressing hands and kissing babies and delivering stump speeches. Hillary (and Bill), John (and Elizabeth), Obama, Mitt, Tom, the other John, Joe, Mike, among others have pitched their tents in our state in an effort to gain momentum from the first in the nation caucus heading into primary season.
But please, tell me. How does a citizen with a long term political addiction possibly resist such in-your-face temptation this close to home? It’s like having a chocolate addiction and being given the keys to the friggin’ Hershey Factory.

Now it appears another actor turned politician is poised to enter stage left and throw his hat in the ring. The formal announcement comes this week in Iowa’s capitol city. Hmm. I wonder if anyone would notice if I played hooky from school that day. Surely Mr. Thompson (or his security detail) won’t recognize me as the same person who climbed a rather large boulder to snap his picture at the Iowa State Fair several weeks back and nearly toppled over on him as he walked by.

Oh buddy, this is going to be a long political season…!

Do you have any addictions you struggled with, any ‘can’t miss’ shows or hobbies that steal your focus from time to time?

Uh, only the legal ones please, folks.

Until next week,

~Kathy 'Bullet Hole' Bacus~


ChristyJan said...

My biggest addiction is ebay. It's just a good thing I'm not a gambler. Sometimes I don't even want what I'm bidding on all that badly ~ I just CAN'T let anyone outbid me. *sigh*

Sin said...

I am a music junkie. From the time I wake up until I go to bed I have music playing. All the time. Constantly. And if it's not on, there's still music playing in my head. I'm always looking for new music. I'm constantly buying new CD's. It's an obsession.

Christie Craig said...


Great, great post!! I'm proud of you for coming clean. Do they have AA meeting for political junkies?

My addictions? Okay, I'm a gambler. Thank goodness, Texas doesn't have casinos. Roulette is my game. I'm pretty much immune to the lottery and bingo. The horse races? I go once or twice a year. My biggest outlet for my addiction is . . . writing.

Yep. I sit down and conjure up wild, crazy stories and pray they will tempt an editor to call my number, then I gamble that readers will buy the books, and then I take the chance they will love them and then buy my next book. I seriously believe that most writers are gamblers at heart.

Thanks for the post!

Crime Scene Christie

Mendy said...

I have a couple... I am also addicted to Ebay... actually the addiction is collecting Longaberger Pottery via Ebay because Longaberger discontinued my favorite color!

Another obsession is book series... I have to have the whole series before I read it. And considering how many books I have already, I really don't need any more to horde and not read yet.

Gemma Halliday said...

Shoes. I start jonesin’ if I go too long between trips to DSW. I’ll admit, I even plan to play hooky from writing today to make a trip. Bad, bad, Gemma...


Nathalie said...

That is the first time I hear about a political junkie... then you know how to hold a conversation when it comes to elections!

Anonymous said...

My addiction... I think it is reading! Sometimes I read so much that I have to tell myself to stop ann go study or I will fail my exams!

However it is a nice addiction :)

Anonymous said...

Great I am not the only one crazed about shoes... they are so nice and expensive!

Well only buy them when on sale... don't want to break the bank.

Anonymous said...

I'm a book junkie. I have more books than anyone I know. I almost have more than our little library. :)

Unknown said...

I guess I would have to say I am a book junkie. I have to have at least 10 in my TBR pile or I am going to buy more. I want to keep them all. I have boxes of book stored away. I have every book Constance O'Banyon has ever wrote stored away in shoe boxes. I am addicted. HELP ME!!!!

Kathy Bacus said...

Can you believe I've never ventured onto ebay, Christyjan? If I did, I'd probably end up hooked.

One of my sons is into music big-time, Sin. He has a huge CD collection and actually writes his own music.

Like you, Christie, if I don't get my writing fix, I'm in bad shape. I really feel like something is missing if I'm not in the middle of a story.

My mom also has to have every book in a series before she begins to read it, Mendy. My daughter, on the other hand, refuses to read the last installment in a series until the next book is out.

Why am I not surprised about the shoe addiction, Gemma? And I think that is one that a lot of women suffer from. Personally, I love coats and jackets. Weird, I know.

Books are also a big temptation. I try to limit my reading to non-fiction when I'm in the middle of writing a book. I get my fix by overdosing on books in between stories.

Great comments!

~Kathy 'Bullet Hole'~

Estella said...

I'm a book junkie---I just have to have, have, have!

Shel said...

Kathy -
Hilarious! I can completely relate. I am a reformed political and news junkie. I have the degree in political science, went on to law school and on a given day I would spend hours reading the news, etc.

I finally had to give it up when I started screaming at my television... I was getting concerned looks from loved ones.

Good luck with the election season!

Kathy Bacus said...


I was beginning to think I was the only one out there who screamed at the TV during presidential debates like football fans (generally Minnesota Viking fans) scream at their tellies during football games.

I'm not alone and I'm not crazy, after all!!!! Whoo hoo!!


Angie Fox said...

Too funny! I married a political junkie and sometimes I just don't understand that boy. Aside from the Fox News, political shows and the like, h'll record debates and then watch them again. When I tease him about it, (because, let's face it, how could I resist?) he says it's like me reading a book over and over again.

Speaking of such, I suppose my addictions range towards books, The Sims computer game (many wasted hours) and the television show Lost.

Anonymous said...

Food, food, food. My biggest decision should it be sweet or salty, mild or hot. Oh, just remembered I have chocolate cake in the kitchen....

Theresa N.

Kathy Bacus said...

See, Angie, I can totally relate to your hubby. The first thing I do each morning before I even check my email is to check out FOX

I've been good not to get started on computer/video games. I leave that to the kids. But I've been a big fan of Lost since its debut.

Food occupies my thoughts a lot, too, Theresa, especially since I gave up Coke and cut way back on the chocolate. Last night I almost fell asleep in my night class. I'm trying to lose ten very stubborn pounds but it's tough going. Bleah.


ChristyJan said...

I had to comment again after reading Gemma's and Maggie's comments about shoes. I too LOVE shoes (I have over 100 pair) BUT, I've never thought of myself as a shoe junkie or the buying of them as an obsession ~ SHOES ARE A NECESSITY! lol

Jae Arronson said...

Hello. My name is Sassy and I'm a recovering political addict. I could not stop watching and/or reading and listening to the news.

CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, local affiliates, newspapers - national and local - radio ...flipping channel after channel...comparing slants... into the wee hours of the after day... night after night. One story was too many and a thousand was never enough. I was a wreck. (Well, I'm STILL a wreck but whatever.)

After working for seven years in the field of politics, I decided enough was enough. I knew too much. Enough scandal. Enough heartache. Enough disgusting behavior (the candidates, not mine.) One too many phone calls from one of the many state politicians expecting special favors - not from me PERSONALLY, you understand - but from the company I work for. Uggg! Enough MISERY.

I knew what a terrible problem I had. I applied for and got - a job in a different area and am now learning to (mostly) ignore the news.

But I confess...I am currently watching CNN. Just one more story...just one more... please...FRED THOMPSON? WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Yes, I'm still addicted. But getting better. Or so I tell myself.

Martha Lawson said...

My addiction is BOOKS!!!! I love to read - HAVE to read every day.
The only TV show I'm addicted to is CSI (Las Vegas)Nobody better not mess with me on Thursday nights!!!

Kathy Bacus said...

Whoo hoo! Sassy Sistah has 'outed' herself, too! You go, girl. I think maybe you hit on the best treatment for this particular addiction, too. (i.e. actually working in the field of politics) With all the behind the scenes shenanigans, scandals, and general scuzziness it's probably a sure-fire cure.

The stories you could tell (and write)...!


I used to watch the CSI shows, Martha, but had to limit my viewing choices down to a very few shows. I am anxious to see if they kill off Sara, Grisham's love interest in CSI, this fall in the continuing story of the miniature killer though. I love Criminal Minds and Law and Order Criminal Intent. Also the shows like 48 Hours Mystery and Dateline are shows I don't like to miss.


Anonymous said...

100 pair of shoes... and you are not a shoe junkie... but you are right Christyjan, shoes are a necessity!

Anonymous said...

Theresa... food... you are very honest... my addiction is chocolate too, can't have enough of great chocolate - I know it is pathetic.

CrystalGB said...

Books, tv and surfing the internet are my additions.