Press The Button

suppressor_sm The latest 76 Gas Station ad isn’t sitting well with me. They are running a campaign to end “Honkaholism.” Really? 76 isn’t the first to adopt the terms alcoholism or alcoholic for its own purposes, just the latest. Society has thrown around the terms chocaholic and shopaholic for quite some time and that is where the trouble began for me. By morphing the term and just throwing it around, the real issue is made light of. So why haven’t I written about terminology morphing before? Well, because the commercial just came out and seeing as my brother, Paul was a mechanic, it’s rather fitting. (He did not work for them but took pleasure in having a 76 antenna ball on his car while he worked for one of  its competitors.)  It’s more than that though. The Honkaholism campaign not only has the commercial but information on their web-site about intervention and prevention, self diagnosis and testimonials by people who have been helped by the “Honk Suppressor.” Sound familiar? I watched my brother spiral out of control and, I don’t know, the web-site is rather insulting. It’s making light of my pain. Or at least that’s the way it feels. Back to the commercial. It shows a concerned wife looking out the kitchen window when her husband gets home from work. She knows he needs help. At the end of the commercial she brings him a thermos and honk suppressor button. Really? An annoying beeping button? Oh, if only it would’ve been that simple. Here Paul, press this button when the pain of losing your father is overbearing and you want to escape.  Press the button when your body tells you need a drink. Press the button when you pass by the local bar and it’ll save you from going in.

Press the button when …

If it were that simple, he’d still be here.

But addiction rarely is simple.


Power Outtage

Something interesting happened recently but I didn’t put all the pieces together until I was sitting here trying to figure out what to write today. It is Monday afterall. That’s the day I promised myself and whoever is on the other side of this screen that I would post. By the way if you have a story of God’s redemption to share I’d love to hear it and possibly share it here. Anyway back to what I was saying about what happened recently. Now that I think about it, interesting isn’t the right word. It’s actually more pleasant. It’s the things that have reminded me of my brother in this last week: a commercial with a favorite song of his and a Family Feud question about Popeye. But it is also in what hasn’t reminded me of him: the homeless man who wandered into church. For the first time in I don’t know how long I didn’t look at a stranger and see my brother. Instead this week I was reminded of him by the things that brought me joy: the freeedom of summer and his talent. For some reason the song was one he always sang on the way to the public pool, or at least that’s the memory that remains. What does Popeye have to do with art you may ask. Paul used to watch a show on TV that showed Popeye cartoons and in between the host gave drawing lessons. Oh, and there’s that lifesize Popeye he drew on his bedroom wall that I never told Mom about. It’s nice when the pain of your past isn’t the only memory of your past, and trust me I used to only remember the pain. Today though as I reflect on the week, I realize it’s even nicer when the triggers of those painful memories lose their power. I’m not sure if they’ve permanantly lost their power but I’ll take what I can get. I shall bask in fun memories of a good big brother and stop there. It is my prayer that the pain of your past can lose its power too.


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