Be Deliberately Naive; and A New Friend?

Diary 8/4 to 8/6/22: Green tea extract; self-reflection; “I wish I was…”; Fritz Perls; thoughts about Kick Me; I need exercise; neglecting priorities; learning from children; stop waiting for the perfect moment! The blood is the life?

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

Fritz Perls (1893-1970)


From Neuroscience News, 7/27/22: “For those with heart disease risk factors, daily consumption of green tea extract can reduce blood sugar levels and improve gut health by lowering inflammation and decreasing ‘leaky gut’. Green tea extract may prove to be effective at relieving some risks of metabolic syndrome.”

And from 7/23/22:  “A person’s ability to self-reflect is associated with cognition and glucose metabolism later in life, a new study finds. Those who engage in more self-reflection had improved cognition, better overall brain health, and increased glucose metabolism later in life.”  So…my self-absorption is good for my brain?

I wish I was one of these people:

Though it would be nicer in a forest.  So what does this say about me?  A) I’m old and fear death; B) I’m lonely; C) I’m sentimental; D) I’m not afraid to sound foolish.

I’ll be seeing Dr. Hill (my almost-therapist) today for the last time, probably.  I like her very much and want to turn her into a friend, at least an email-friend, but I have no idea what she thinks of me or how she would think of that.  Which brings to mind my most recent advice to self:  “Be deliberately naïve.” [It occurs to me today that such an attitude is an example of “paradoxical intention,” a tool suggested by Fritz Perls of Gestalt Therapy fame.]

Without such a suggestion in mind, I would probably never have the nerve to raise the issue with her.  I’m giving her a printout of my one written book, Kick Me:  My Life of Blunders, Humiliations, and Crimes.  In reading some of it yesterday, my thoughts were these:  A) It’s not badly written; and B) I don’t know when to shut up.  That is, it goes on too long.

What will I say?  Will she laugh in my face?  (Unlikely.)


“Laughing” Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Well, she didn’t laugh in my face, in fact, she accepted my offer and gave me her home phone number.  I told her about “be deliberately naïve,” which puzzled her.  I forgot to give her the $20 I owe her, but I did give her the copy of Kick Me, which I disparaged and inscribed, and we talked for more than an hour.  I told her I thought of inscribing it “best regrets,” which she thought hilarious.  She plans to attend the Hemlock Club meeting on 8/20, her first free Saturday (after quitting her job).  I sent her a couple of club photos by email this morning.

Yesterday, sitting at the bus stop on Chester waiting to go downtown, I felt like such a stupid lump, sitting there reading the Camus Notebooks.  I resolved to start exercising, biting the bullet and going to a gym to strengthen my legs and develop my failing stamina.  Three or four times a week.

From a recent diary entry:  “Neglect your priorities, neglect your hierarchy of needs, and the salt loses it savor, so you end up watching Family Guy…”  I’m going to copy this into my “Projects” notebook, to remind myself that I have diagnosed the problem; maybe I can figure out a solution (other than “try harder”).

“Naive” Photo by Monica Turlui on

I haven’t explained what I mean by “be deliberately naïve,” so I’ll do that now.  A novel by Robert Cohen, The Here and Now, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996-97, puts this in the mouth of a character, and I consider it generally good advice for adults:  “…there are three things to be learned from children. They are often happy for no particular reason, they are never idle, and when they want something they demand it vigorously.” p. 184.  So I expressed the final point in my own words:  “Be deliberately naïve.”  So I did not “demand vigorously” that Dr. Hill be a friend; that would be going too far.  But I did ask.

When talking to someone, especially someone you’ve just met or otherwise don’t know very well, and in other situations, too, I think we’re generally trying to impress others or to otherwise put on a false front for some reason of status or manipulation.  We may not be aware of what we need.  “Be deliberately naïve” urges the opposite course:  do not try to be impressive, do not try to look sophisticated or smart.  Think about what you really need, and ask for it.  No guarantees, of course.

Then there’s this from Lois McMaster Bujold:  Miles, Mutants, and Microbes, Baen Publishing Enterprises, Riverdale, New York, 1988-2008:  “Don’t wait for just the right moment. ‘She was sorry she had never made a pass at Leo. Clearly, you could die while waiting for other people to start your life for you.’” p. 264-265.  I read these two novels within about a week of each other, a decade ago.  Sometimes novels are useful as well as being entertaining.  Too often, alas, they’re neither.

“The blood is the life, Mr. Renfield.”

From Neuroscience News today:  “Older mice did not significantly benefit from the blood of younger mice when it came to extending lifespan. However, younger mice who were exposed to the blood of older mice had a significant reduction in lifespan.”

From Ralph Nader today:  “I wish to register an objection to the very recent unseemly, inexplicable collapse of the [New York] Times’ historic editorial and op-ed pages that are arguably the most significant two pages in all of our country’s mainstream journalism.”


Read through three blog posts and have the urge to print this whole diary (this year’s part runs now to 225 pages) so I can read aloud from it, randomly-selected bits, at the Hemlock Club meeting today.  This might be entertaining for a while.

I’m feeling dull and useless this morning.  When I go out on the bus in the morning, as I did yesterday to finally get quarters for laundry, the tendency is to eat junk food, then to come home and eat more junk food, and sit in a funk the rest of the day, dozing off at times when the entertainment isn’t entertaining.  Last night I came into the bedroom at 9:00 and lay on the bed to read, immediately began dozing over Boethius, realized this would lead to an early bedtime and thus a too-early rising, recognized that a movie, even a stupid worthless movie, would at least keep me awake until my normal bedtime of 10:30, so I got up and watched a stupid worthless movie.

That stupid worthless movie was Scare Package (2019), a horribly unfunny horror spoof.  The scores at Rotten Tomatoes, 81% critics and 81% audiences, suggest that it’s a lot funnier to others than it was to me.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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