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Got the winter blues? Turn on more lights
The Back Forty
By Roger Pond

Winter is a gloomy time for many. Whether we call it the winter blues, the SAD index, or cabin fever, the winter months are a dreary span.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says 10 million Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and another 25 million suffer from sub-syndromal SAD, also called “winter blues.” Folks who work in their basement, as I do, may be subject to subterranean crustaceous growth syndrome (mildew), as well.

Scientists say the shortened day length and lack of light affects our hormonal balance, causing folks to go bonkers this time of year. People who live in the North and those who work in their basements are most susceptible.

A newspaper story points out how devastating SAD and the winter blues can be. One psychologist is quoted as saying, “It can be very dramatic - you can’t think clearly at all. One patient described it as feeling like his brain was encased in cold, 40-weight motor oil.”

That person must have been a mechanic. Otherwise, how would he know how a person feels with his head encased in 40-weight oil? (As compared with transmission fluid, for example?)

The good news about seasonal affective disorder and the winter blues is they can be treated with light therapy. The bad news is you have to buy some lights.

Folks who have a Scotch streak in them and don’t want to buy more lights might try some common sense ideas to increase their light absorption. We can take a walk, for example, or sit next to a window at work.

Those who work in some type of closet might try sitting closer to their computer screens to absorb as much light as possible. News reporters can turn their cameras around backwards and shoot the flash back into their faces occasionally. (You can always claim you were just testing the flash.)

Folks who service cars and trucks should be careful to keep their heads out of the motor oil. Those who feel like their brain is encased in a cold liquid might try standing under a hot shower for a few minutes. If that doesn’t loosen things up, one of those electric dipstick heaters might work.

Psychologists say we need to lighten up and not take things too seriously. They say a person should never be afraid to do something stupid. It will cheer up your spouse if nothing else.

Most importantly, someone who feels his brain is encased in cold motor oil should check and make sure that it isn’t. I learned that while watching the Red Green show several years ago.

It seems Red’s nephew (the town doofus) somehow became the local 911 operator. His first call was a man who said, “Help! I can’t breathe. I feel like I’ve got a piano on my chest.”

The town doofus (911 operator) said, “Well hey?! There’s your problem! Once you get rid of that piano, you’ll probably be just fine.”

This farm news was published in the February 22, 2006 issue of Farm World.