Explainers Anonymous

13 min read

Explainers Anonymous is a non- profit organization whose purpose is to help people addicted to explaining everything.  My name is Phil.  I started it.

It began in 1997 a few months after I retired. I woke one morning and said to myself, “I now have no work, no place to go, no future source of earned income, no people telling other people about me.  The phone doesn’t ring and too many of my e-mails are ads. I diet until 6 o’clock and then eat like a pig. I go to the health club, work out and lose no weight.  I have lists swarming over my desk, full of grand schemes but the truth is that almost nothing is actually going on. My big accomplishment of the day so far was to take a shower.  I don’t have the energy to take all of my pills so I only take those that are supposed to keep me from dying. A lot of people don’t like me. My relationship with my brother, mother and my brother’s kids is unpleasant. I feel like there is something wrong with me. I’m depressed. I don’t trust myself to act on my intentions. I am in a “make money” trap and need to get outside, to stop working for money,  or I don’t know what. I don’t want to talk to anyone because I will depress them, and me even more.  I am 59 years old and wandering around looking for my life purpose. As Gary Larsen said, “Before Robin Hood found his true destiny, he would rob from the rich and give to the porcupines. ” That’s me. I’ve lost my grip. I have no power over this.”

I went into my office and looked out at the mountain. It struck me that  dogs don’t explain anything. Maybe that’s why they seem so happy.

I have to go to the post office to pick up a package. That’s what life is about today. The day is no longer about anything else. Maybe, I should play with my kids or go for a walk but I can’t because I have to go to the post office to pick up a package. The explanation has magically become the context for every thing else that happens. It seems innocent, except that I have so many explanations that my box is full, nothing is possible.  There is no me anymore. There is only post office, car wash, business plan, clients and weather. I watch the Weather Channel and am dictated by Barbie Doll expectations of rain or not. My mother won’t travel because she is too tired.  She doesn’t see her kids and grandkids and great grandkids because she is too tired. Her explanation for not travelling keeps her from the life she could otherwise have. At my company no one ever felt affirmed because sales targets were so high we never reached them. We always disappointed bosses and financial analysts and each other. We were depressed and had no joy  at work because we were constantly explaining why we failed. Even what I just said is an explanation and I’ll own up to it at my next Ex Anon meeting.

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