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An intellectual bender is when you have the unquenchable desire to barrage yourself with TV shows you don't like, listen to music made by very jaded people, and create something that seems important while you're doing it, but that turns out to be worthless. It is just like a bender that a drug addict might go on, except that it is done with the mind and not the body.

Some people spend most or all of their lives in one of these.

The outcome of an intellectual bender is either to hit bottom and turn your life around (until the next one), or to completely ruin yourself. Often, the feelings and circumstances leading up to one can take on a life of their own. This means that it is very hard if not impossible to stop an intellectual bender even if you see it coming. Trying to hold back the desire to mutilate Spice Girls pictures with Photoshop while listening to DEVO (for example) only draws out the inevitable and creates further frustration. In cases like this, the rule is: "What goes in, must come out."

If this happens to you, do not fret. It is a test of your abilities, like running the deadly gauntlet of the ancient Spartans. If you survive, you have proven yourself and increased your strength. If not, the rest of us are probably better off.

Fight that battle. Face your enemy. Do it because it matters, and because you can win.

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