January 19, 2021 5 min read
Stories of coming back from a downfall after great success are inspiring for anyone—even for young people who haven’t made their mark on the world yet. History and mythology are filled with people who were at the height of success, crashed and came back again.
Sometimes, people need to lose everything material to realize that they didn’t need it, or that the health and safety of their families are worth more than all the success and gold in the world. Sometimes people come back even stronger and more successful than before they “fell.”
TinyBuddha.com, in a posting that titled How Losing Everything Can Give You Even More that begins with this quote: “The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” ~ Unknown (That Tiny Buddha posting is no longer published.)
People can lose their jobs, their fortunes, their spouses and families, their sobriety after battling addictions, their sanity, their freedom or their reputations. But many people are hardened in the fires of adversity and come back even stronger than before.
But let’s face it, no one wants to be broke or disgraced, especially after they’ve been at the height of success.
Nothing is so touching in the stories of humanity as the person who does great good to benefit humanity and then is punished. As the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
The prototypical story of this is perhaps Prometheus, the titanic figure of Greek myth who created people and animals. He gave his children the awesome gift of fire and then told them to keep the best cuts of meat for themselves and sacrifice the skin and fat to the Olympians.
Zeus, angry at all this, ordered his servants Force and Violence to chain the great titan to a mountain in the Caucasus and have an eagle eat his liver every day. At night his liver grew back and his torment began again. He did not die because he was immortal.
In the end, Chiron the centaur satisfied Zeus’ demand that an immortal be sacrificed to free Prometheus, and Herakles slew the eagle with an arrow, ending Prometheus’ torment.
After that, to honor the great champion of mankind, people wore garlands on their heads in memory of the shackles that bound him. In southern Greece he was honored as a hero.
So much of the material under this subheading is false, nearly all of it. Who knows how these rumors get started? It was probably proto-fascists, crawling around cravenly in hellish evil even then, who tell the most vicious lies about the very best personages.
In the Greek stories or myths, there are many variations. I am certain Zeus and Prometheus were fellow gods and boon friends and companions.
Zeus, an almighty benevolent God loved so dearly by good people, would not have servants named Force and Violence.
And no, Herakles would not slay an eagle. He would gentle it if there were any truth to this garbage story about one of the greatest successes ever, Prometheus'.
Modern stories about successful people who fell and came back aren’t as dramatic as all that. Many involve the loss of monetary fortunes and the regaining of wealth. There are plenty of people who lose their fortunes.
Kiplinger.com has an article  that states:
Just because you’ve attained wealth doesn’t mean you’ll keep it. In 2011, the number of millionaire households in the U.S. dropped by nearly 2.5% (from 5,263,000 in 2010 to 5,134,000 in 2011), according to The Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm.
That’s more than 100,000 potential Ridin’ High in April, Shot Down in May stories just in the United States just that year.
Kiplinger tells the story of former billionaire Bill Bartmann, who closed his debt-collection firm Central Financial Services in 1998 and filed for bankruptcy. He and his partner faced charges for alleged fraud but were acquitted in 2003.
Bartmann went on to write best-selling books and founded CFS II, which had revenues of $10 million in 2012.
Sports has a lot of comeback stories, some more successful than others. One of the most inspiring for men of a certain age is George Foreman, a heavyweight boxing great who had been Olympic and world champion as a young man.
Foreman started his comeback at age 38. In 1994, at age 45, Foreman fought some bouts and became the oldest heavyweight champ in history by knocking out 26-year-old Michael Moorer, who’d been undefeated.
Inc.com states :
In the years that followed, Foreman didn’t quite go bankrupt, but he had a “close call” according to The New York Times after “squandering $5 million.” He recovered in part by lending his name to the George Foreman Grill, which earned him an estimated $200 million.
As smart as he was, Mark Twain made some unsound investments and went bankrupt 20 years after penning The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. To pay off his debts, this great author—one of the greatest in history—wrote prolifically and endured a grueling tour to make speeches.
He was not required to pay back his debtors because of bankruptcy protections, but he did that anyway and also restored his fortune.
Mark Twain later suffered grievous misfortune because of the death of his wife and daughters, one of whom passed in 1909. He went into a deep depression. His doctors said he died (at age 75 in 1910) of heart disease. But people in his community said he died of a broken heart.
Several years ago Suzanne Lucas had a story on CBSNews.com  about rich and famous people who made spectacular comebacks.
Ms. Lucas introduced a follow-up article  on comebacks this way:
When I wrote about wealthy and famous people who had spectacular career comebacks, several people asked, “But what about us normal humans? Those of us who don’t have millions of dollars to help us through?” Well, I asked my readers and got numerous fabulous responses. Here are the stories of people who had neither fame nor fortune, but were able to overcome great odds.
One of those stories is about Paul Owen, now a college professor who survived a childhood where his parents died when he was young, and he became an orphan and foster child in seven homes and a group home. People writes:
School and religion provided Paul the opportunity to stabilize his life. He said, “In school, I found a niche in research and academia, which led to further graduate and doctoral studies. If I had not stayed in school, I could well have ended up homeless, as foster kids don’t have many options once they turn 18.”
Paul is now a tenured professor at Montreat College in North Carolina, teaching Greek and biblical studies. He also published his memoirs, The Long Winter: One Man’s Journey Through the Darkness of Foster Care this summer .
Everyone faces adversity in life, but the people who reach great heights, fall and then come back hold lessons for all of us about strength in the face of adversity, perseverance, and raging against the dying of the light.
For good people, the light never dies. Keep your chin up [right, Mr. Foreman?]. Don't let the bastards get you down.
February 25, 2021 5 min read
How bad is caffeine withdrawal? People who have a caffeine habit may empathize with a scene of the 1931 production of Frankenstein, in which the mad scientist exults over the animation of his monster, exclaiming “It’s alive! It’s a alive, it’s alive!” I know I get animated in the morning after drinking my first cup of the ichor we call coffee.
Caffeinated products are wildly popular worldwide, used by as much as 90 percent of the adult population. An estimated 80 percent of American adults take caffeine in one product or another, and it’s estimated half of those people are prone to headaches for one reason or another. If you are among the caffeine users who get caffeine withdrawal headaches from coffee, tea or energy drinks, there are a few things you can do to minimize the pain.
February 23, 2021 5 min read
Studies of caffeine show that it does not increase the risk of death, but it causes a habit or possibly a dependence that the American Psychiatric Association now lists in its diagnosis manual as a disorder that warrants more study.
Scientists study caffeine and its use by humans a lot, some say more than any other psychoactive substance in the world. Caffeine is the most widely used drug, and more scientists are saying now there should be yet more studies into dependence and other aspects of caffeine consumption.
February 18, 2021 4 min read
What is the chemistry of coffee? Caffeine is the most famous chemical compound in coffee, but roasted coffee beans contain more than 1,000 other compounds. Some of these chemicals are noxious but still are not unhealthy because they are present in such low amounts.
You never hear anybody wake up and say, “I need a big dose of putrescine and dimethyl disulfide in my morning cup.”