When we motorcyclists say we’ve got “helmet head” it’s understood that we’re referring to our funky hair.
I’ve come to a different definition of helmet head over time, though. To me, it’s being under my helmet and away from the drumbeat of our media-drenched lives.
Freedom from the 24-hour news cycle is a blessing, not because I don’t like to be informed, on the contrary, I do; but NOBODY needs to be barraged by the 24-hour news cycle on a continuous loop of no-longer-news.
I remember the Boise, Idaho diner where I learned of the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. A gunman opened fire while the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises played. Although I avoid eating in restaurants with TVs whenever possible, a quest that grows ever-more difficult, that fateful Friday I found myself watching the makings of what was sure to be a ten-day feeding frenzy for news vendors.
With no additional facts to report, producers gin up segments with people who speculate on psychiatry, criminal law, ballistics and whatnot, but none of whom have any connection to the crime. And yet we watch.
The public relations profession has a saying that there is no such thing as bad news, and I guess if you’re making a living on the gun control issue, they’re right. I can’t be far off when I imagine that people on all sides of the gun control debate call their hairdressers and wardrobe consultants shortly after news like this breaks.
I easily fall into news addiction. Recognizing this propensity helps me ration my news exposure, which in turn enhances my quality of life. If there’s nothing I can do about it, I don’t need to marinate in it.
A long dose of “helmet head” helps me detox. Each trip has equipped me to lead an incrementally more peaceful life upon return. I don’t listen to the news at my desk now, and I limit my social media time, especially during election cycles. I’m a healthier person as a result. Funny thing, until I started getting doses of helmet head I didn’t know I had a news addiction.
William Bernhardt, a crime and courtroom novelist, says, “We live in a world where gossip passes for news, and sensationalism passes for journalism.” He’s right, and we have the power to address that by not tuning in. I invite you to take note of no-longer-news, and turn it off.
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.