Monday, November 15, 2010

My chinchilla won't chill (AKA, how do you help an addict)

Hot or Not?
Submitted via GChat.

    me:  send me a question for my blog, quick
   @gmail.com:  Lol. Im not sending you a question. I have no questions for your blog. I think you're retarded.
    me:  can you phrase that as a question?
    @gmail.com:  My chinchilla is being a pain in the ass today
    me:  yes, go on...
    @gmail.com:  Somehow, he grabbed all the printer paper off of my printer and dragged it under my bed
    me:  go on...
    @gmail.com:  Thats it.
    me:  "...how do i prevent my chinchilla from acting out?"
    @gmail.com:  ..............
Fuck your blog.

THANKS FOR WRITING IN. In order to really understand the complex mind of the chinchilla, you really have to go back to the chinchilla's biological blueprint. You see, the chinchilla has 2 genetic lineages that compete with one another. It's "cuddly wabbit" genes instruct it to be cute as often as possible while it's "ugly rat bastard" genes tell it to annoy you as much as possible, steal things, and force you to make repairs. In the chinchilla, these drives reinforce one another and create what's called the Oopsy Daisy Effect. Briefly stated, the Oopsy Daisy Effect refers to an accident that causes irritation (like a mess of papers) but that's done in such a cute manner, or by such a cute perpetrator, that you can't help but say "aww" and forgive the blunder. In Transactional Analysis, this "aww" is called a stroke.

In minor forms, the Oopsy Daisy problem is harmless. A paper here, a glue stick there, no big deal. But the Oopsy Daisy problem can, in severe cases, lead to alcoholism and other self-destructive patterns when the accidents are directed at the organism's own life. Drug addicts, procrastinators, and all other self-sabotaging individuals are essentially making messes of their own lives and figuring out ways for you to come and cuddle them. They sometimes try and seem cute ("I did it again! I can't keep a man to save my life!"). Other times, they feign helpless victims of the vicissitudes of life, desperately trying to escape addiction and tragically coming up short.

The solution is to neutralize the reinforcement and redirect. You have to stop feeling sorry for the cute, innocent thing. When they make a mess of their room (or of their life) you can't give them what they're looking for, neither pity nor cuddly affection nor disapproval. You need to remain stoic and unaffected while calmly encouraging them to be responsible about their destiny, which includes reviving hope that they can lead a satisfying, peaceful lives. At the same time, work on redirecting. Show them how to lead another lifestyle that doesn't involve screw up and reinforcement, but something that's equally satisfying and meaningful. For a person, that means a meaningful job, hobbies, and relationships. For a chinchilla, it means cardboard boxes with holes in them.

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