Two Rejected Ideas for a Creative Non Fiction Contest I didn’t enter

The due date is tomorrow and I haven’t written a thing and have no intentions of some last minute, desperate attempt to write anything and then submit it and try to convince myself that I did the best I could. I didn’t do anything and that’s the truth.
I had an idea that I started and I had another idea today on the way home from work. Both ideas came to me on the way home from work, actually. It sure beats yelling at the traffic and it’s something to do when there aren’t any good songs on the radio and I am out of audio books on CD.
I thought the first one could be on alcoholism and I would call it “The Devil’s Cut”. My father is an alcoholic, my maternal grandfather was an alcoholic, I think but I’m not sure if my paternal grandfather was an alcoholic. A good portion of my family are drinkers. Most of us drink like it’s the Olympics. I’m at best a bronze medal drinker. I’m related to multiple gold medal winning, world champion drinkers. My non fiction piece would have been a semi autobiographical narrative about what goes on when someone asks me if I want a drink, and I would go through all the facts I’ve read on alcoholism (non fiction stuff) and relate it to how it is I feel. And then it would draw back to a bottle of booze on the shelf, Jim Beam’s “The Devil’s Cut”. This is the cut of bourbon that is embedded in the wood and is drawn out and bottled up. Idea being is that the portion that evaporates during the distillation is called “The Angel’s Share” and the part that remains, embedded in the wood, is called “The Devil’s Cut”. I intended it all to be very deep. It turned out to be self indulgent claptrap that reeked of omphalos.
The second one would be about mental health. I’d start with how I first read Isaac Asmiov’s “Foundation” series when I was nine years old. I remember sitting on my Nanna’s porch, eating cookies and drinking milk while I read it. I remember thinking how cool it was you could predict things mathematically. I became similarly enthralled when I read Frank Herbert’s “Dune” a few years later, wanting to be like a Bene Gesserit and be able to ‘read’ people through the minutiae of people’s beahaviour.
I’d go from that to my own calculations. I’d take the amount of energy required to maintain a standard of living, and the amount of work required to create that energy. And that would create a ratio. And then I would relate that ratio to the population density of a given area. From there, I would create a mental health index that could calculate how many people there would be in a given radius who would have mental health problems associated with the stress of having to maintain a certain established standard of living. And then from there, use that number to determine the amount of money required, per person, to bring them back to health. And then in turn, relate that to the money available. Finally, from that, calculate the overall effect on the development of that culture in that area. Then from there I would go to evaluate the standard of living required for a healthy human being and compare it to the standard of living we calculated, and have a reality index – the greater one that is than the other as it relates to the population density determines how crazy the calculated standard of living is. And if you create a graph of the reality index to the mental health index, you will be able to pinpoint the energy level you have to bring down the standard of living to ensure a reasonably mentally healthy population. Once you create the model, then apply it to ‘the happiest places on earth’ and see if the formula works.
I actually worked out some of the Excel spreadsheet in my head on how it would work, but then I trashed the idea because it was crazy to begin with, which was ironic, considering the idea I started with in the first place.

So, these were the articles I thought about writing but never got around to. The best thing that came out of them, though, was the seven hundred and forty three words that hadn’t been written fifteen minutes ago.


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