My favourite time of day

Long ago I recognized the deceit of euphoria; namely, it is but an intoxication. And like any other fuel, its effects are limited. Barring perpetual enhancement (elation, ecstacy or rhapsody) the cloud-9 effect is predominantly short-lived.

Euphoria is the experience (or affect) of pleasure or excitement and intense feelings of well-being and happiness. Certain natural rewards and social activities, such as aerobic exercise, laughter, listening to or making music and dancing, can induce a state of euphoria. Euphoria is also a symptom of certain neurological or neuropsychiatric disorders, such as mania.  Romantic love and components of the human sexual response cycle are also associated with the induction of euphoria. Certain drugs, many of which are addictive, can cause euphoria, which at least partially motivates their recreational use.

1727, a physician’s term for “condition of feeling healthy and comfortable (especially when sick),” medical Latin, from Greek euphoria “power of enduring easily,” from euphoros, literally “bearing well,” from eu “well” (see eu-) + pherein “to carry,” from PIE root *bher- (1) “to carry.” Non-technical use, now the main one, dates to 1882 and perhaps is a reintroduction. Earlier the word meant “effective operation of a medicine on a patient” (1680s).

A euphoriant is a type of psychoactive drug which tends to induce euphoria. Most euphoriants are addictive drugs due to their reinforcing properties and ability to activate the brain’s reward system.

The reward feature is critical. Indeed I confess to having devoted a substantial portion of my life to the attachment of rewards. Which is to say I have likewise engaged in euphoric prescriptions of varied instruction, treatment and recommendation. This enterprise I have unabashedly undertaken fully acknowledging its transient and ephemeral utility; and always for the reward whether it were no more iniquitous than Tylenol® 8 HR Arthritis Pain Caplets for Joint Pain Relief which by the way I unhesitatingly recommend against all other forms of relief I have tried. Pain is an uncompromising master. Anything that can be done to defeat it is to my mind acceptable for until it is wrestled to the floor, all else is lost in its grasp of joy.

A singular advantage of old age is that the hedonistic accomplishment of euphoria seldom conflicts with any other notable human pursuit – such as exercise, theatre, art galleries, museums or dining out. And certainly not the manifestation of physical prowess. In the result the strength of euphoria (except clinically) is unhindered by anything but intent or perception, those prosaic intellectual moorings. I am having one of those booms-a-daisy days today; that is, a shameless preoccupation with what I suppose is rightfully characterised as a springtime day in South Carolina.  I heard the birds chirping. I felt the sunshine’s warmth. Not only did I succeed to remove my carcass from beneath the duvet before eight o’clock this morning; and then to conduct my ablutions and to consume my regular bowl of oatmeal before nine o’clock; more importantly I saddled my bicycle for a leisurely (but constant and uninterrupted) tour throughout Lands End for the next hour before taking the car for its constitutional.

All this must no doubt sound favourable to the first order. And while I hesitate to qualify the assessment, it is only an introduction to the real reward. The real reward is the supplemental rejoicing, the surplusage of counting one’s blessings, toasting the inexpressible delight with a cup of chilled coffee while glimpsing a boat on the sea or estimating the arrival of pleated shorts by Roundtree & York or overhearing the cackle of a sea gull nourished by the wisp of tarragon from a rampant bush mixed among the Sea Pines and sandy beach vegetation paraded by Palmetto palms. The ineffable sea air and repeated crash of the waves embellish the atmospheric dome. The distant horizon is the stroke of a pencil on the edge of the shimmering blue mirror. How far this transport will prolong is not a concern with this cocktail anymore than I ever flinched at the touch of the frozen stem of a martini glass with a huge green olive on a toothpick plunged within.