E-KNEE ME-KNEE MY-KNEE MOE: A blog about Impulse & Instinct

what you don’t know is how much you know without knowing that you know it

It was shortly after lunchtime and the breeze had quickly intensified into something worthy the designation of blustery gale. A light rain was beginning to dampen the afternoon and the pleasant forecast of mid 60’s nosedived into the low 40’s within a few hours. The bite of 38, maybe even 37, degrees seemed entirely plausible. As my brain began to conjure the images of the frigid weather that most certainly was on the way, visions of what to prepare for dinner began to scroll across my taste buds. A large pot of spicy chili emerged the victor. My mouth was watering and I could almost smell the ground beef simmering (even though the pound with my name on it was still resting comfortably in the grand showcase of hamburger at Publix).

Upon my arrival, the double doors parted and I paused briefly to stand on the big green scale just inside the entrance. As expected, the needle stopped in that zone which indicates that I should incorporate more fruit and raw veggies into my diet as opposed to Peanut Butter and M&M’s. Pfffft… Moving on… Tonight would be devoted to a slurpy yumfest built around homemade chili. I grabbed a green hand basket and turned left towards the produce section; my mission was underway!

I grabbed Bell Peppers (red & green), a large Vidalia Onion, and Mushrooms (the light brown ones – they have more flavor & for some weird reason, I like them in chili). Next up, I stalked aisle 3 with passion; its shelves are home to the canned tomatoes in a variety of options. I grabbed a big can of diced, a big can of sauce and a small can of paste. I also grabbed a can of black beans (I prefer those over the larger, tough-skinned kidney beans).

I found Wick Fowler’s Chili Mix around the corner on aisle 4 (it’s cheaper than buying the spices separately, even though I’m sure I have a few of the cornerstone ingredients in my pantry already).

Freshly ground beef was waiting for me in the back of the store. Okay, I have no idea how freshly ground it actually was, but it was no longer on the hoof and didn’t put up much of a fight once I got past the plastic wrap. For chili, I prefer regular ground beef, the 80/20 mix. I know that ground chuck or ground sirloin is a healthier choice when it comes to fat content, but we’re shopping for taste here and I always drain the grease.

All I needed was a fresh bag of Tortilla Chips and I was ready to hit the checkout lane. Aisle 7 offered up a surprise. Popcorn (Orville’s brand) was being offered as a Buy-One-Get-One-Free special. There’s always room for popcorn in the pantry, so I grabbed 4 boxes of the “lightly-salted” variety… That’s LIGHTLY SALTED as in Mark made a semi-health conscious choice when it came to popcorn.

Hello, checkout lane! My next stop was the majestic trio of cutting board, stove top, and crock pot. By the time I got back to the parking lot, the 40 degree barrier that should be a Florida mandate when it comes to maximum low temp was in danger of collapse. (When you’re talking about the limit for low temperature, should it be maximum or minimum? Oh well, there’s a chew toy for the Grammar Nazis to gnaw on.)

The sudden change in afternoon weather sparked the impromptu adventure and two guiding factors were in play. Skillfully they weaved their magic to produce the final result. Even though vastly different in nature, they are teammates when it comes to inspiration, motivation, and ultimately the culmination of any process.

IMPULSE triggered the desire for chili. INSTINCT took over when it came to picking the ingredients. IMPULSE emerged again while I was selecting the cans of tomatoes (I’m not convinced that brand outweighs price, unless the label looks like it’s from the 50’s – I just avoid those on shear principle). INSTINCT favored black beans over kidney beans and ground beef over ground chuck. IMPULSE lured me to the chips and scored bonus points for the popcorn nab.

Together they proved once again that it is amazing how much you know without knowing that you know it. They’re used to this daily dance, but we seldom pay enough attention to their work to even notice which of the two are actually pulling the strings.

By definition, INSTINCT is more of an internal stimulus. It keeps us on auto-pilot and bubbles to the surface whenever immediate action is required. Mostly, we tend trust INSTINCT, but on occasion we second guess our options.

INSTINCT has been trained over time to provide the right answers when answers are needed. Borne from the multitude of data stockpiled from past experiences, it gently pushes us in the right direction when an extra nudge is needed. Most of the time, we don’t even realize that it’s busy behind the scenes keeping our journey inside the velvet ropes.

IMPULSE is a different animal altogether. It lurks in the world of our external stimulus and calls to us based upon the rules of engagement.

IMPULSE is working from the database of temptations past. It knows what we are apt to give into without much opposition and is always waiting for the next opportunity test our resolve. Resist, and IMPULSE will step up and prepare for the battle. We arm ourselves with logic and reason; IMPULSE counters with wanton desires and the label of things earned and deserved, “You’ve earned this and you deserve it. Go ahead… live a little.”

We have one other element in play in our daily dance with INSTINCT and IMPULSE – the gift of FREE WILL. It sets us on a plain wherein we have the power to orchestrate our own outcome more often than not.



Yeah, I was craving chili on that cold night a week or so ago. My mouth was watering and my olfactory nerves were tingling even though there wasn’t an aroma to smell. I could have always opted for a General Tso’s Chicken combo from the nearby Chinese Snag-A-Bag and started eating the moment I got home, but INSTINCT and IMPULSE were cooking up other plans and FREE WILL made Chili my DESTINY.

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