From ABC to OCD

Ah, the beautiful carefree spirit of children. They play, they swing, they run amok in all sorts of nooks and crannies. They kiss each other on the mouth, they start their meals with an aperitif of boogers and have absolutely no qualms with grabbing moving insects off the ground to cleanse their budding and innocent palates. Of course this doesn’t last. As we age, we put less and less things in our mouth (some of us, anyways). And invariably, many of us grow into less and less tolerant maniacs. So why does this transformation occur? Are we doomed to climb an upward slope with our placidity until we rot?

I was a messy, messy child. I was a messy, messy young adult. I’m still messy today, albeit less, but I have developed a touch of OCD in weird things and I can’t reconcile this with my character. For instance, if you come over and eat a cookie in my house without a plate, I will literally silently stare and try to memorize where each baked boulder lands, while I plot on disemboweling your loved ones. Then I will spend the rest of the evening with a fake smile, trying to count the nanoseconds till you leave and I can find said bubonic-plague-spreading morsels.

If I visit a public bathroom, I cannot touch the doorknob to leave. I need a tissue shielding me from the cold metal protrusion, from which I am sure I can visibly see creepy crawlies jumping up and down, touching themselves and yelling “Come on sugar! Bring your unsuspecting paw! I just want a ride baby!” Not ten years ago, this was absolutely no issue for me (the doorknobs, not the molesting bacteria, if I had known about those fuckers then, things would have been a whole lot different). Now, if the bathroom is out of tissues, I will literally wait till someone comes in to make my escape. How has this happened?

How did I go from someone who would share a beer with any sort of mammal to a person who cringes when someone takes a sip of my drink? There are very, very few people who I can tolerate sharing any body fluids with, and they include me. Is this a sign of insanity on the horizon? Is this one of many mental disorders that is fated to cloud my future days?

According to research, the shift towards intolerance in older age is linked to the epoch you grew up in as well as atrophy of certain parts of the brain. Additionally, some research shows that “intellectual curiosity tends to decline in old age”, which could support us becoming more and more closed off to certain behaviors. I take offense at that. Partly because I don’t want my intellectual curiosity to go down, and because I don’t agree. If I leave cookie crumbles to rue my house, it is not a sign of the degradation of my intellectual curiosity. Just because I’m not curious as to how many bugs will fester in my furniture doesn’t mean I am any less curious then I was in my 20s. I never once saw a child stuff a bug into its mouth, and while they sat there drooling with one twitching insect limb poking out did I think to myself “Oh what a wonderfully curious creature! Bless it!”

No, kids are stupid; they eat shit off the floor because they don’t know how to live without adult supervision. Many people are bums, and I don’t like cookie shit on my floors because I don’t want to host a free buffet for grimy guests. I like to think of my developing OCD as a glorious sign of my budding character, not a hindering consequence of my greying hair.

Ultimately, change is inevitable and it is a beautiful part of the life cycle. Even if it means you will invite less people over to your house. If you too are showing premature signs of Jack Nicholson levels of OCD, fear not, the road ahead is not all bad. You may end up with less friends but you can relish in the fact that you have less insects and disease in your life.

Also, there are just as many sources that say we become more mellow with age as there are that claim the opposite. The uptake from this is that: 1) we know research doesn’t count for shit and 2) your older days could really go either way.  I say embrace the tide, let the slobs cry over the corpses of their loved ones, let the bacteria keep longing for your skin, and do not go gentle into that good night!

 

crazy-cat

 

 

 

Ode to Idiot

There’s a lot to be said about your inner idiot. It’s a side we all have, and one that society needs, really. Let me differentiate off the bat; I’m referring to the fun loving, let-me-make-an-ass-of-me-self, yes I’ll have 18 more shots, sure I’ll squirt lemon in that lion’s eye-kind of idiot. I am resolutely not talking about the authentic Grade A idiots; the ones that believe everything on the internet, think that a plant in the desert can cure cancer, or the ones that think that their face massager is fooling anyone. Clear distinction. An easy way to tell off the bat is that real idiots don’t laugh at themselves, take themselves more seriously than science, and generally illicit a lot of gore and violence in us awesome folks.

Now getting back to the former kind of idiot, here’s why society needs this awesome guy. I’m sure most of us agree that what we do during the week does not represent who we truly are. We work hard. We smile at people we fantasize about stabbing with pens. We show respect to people we wouldn’t pee on if they were on fire. It’s a five day cycle of repression and spirit breaking. Well maybe not all days and all weeks are like that, but a big part of it is.

Luckily these cycles of hell are dotted with 2 day breaks where you can escape the asinine meetings and bad breath to escape to a world of friends, intoxication and expression through dance. While I don’t condone destroying your health every single weekend, there is something to be said for the therapeutic value of indulging in your idiotic roots every now and again. I recently celebrated in the desert and I absolutely let myself go. I distinctly remember the moment. I was surrounded by strangers, I was way too many shots in to care and the tension I had been nurturing from the office was making the muscles on my back cramp. And I said to myself “tonight, I let go. Tonight I don’t give a fuck. Hide your kids.”

As soon as the decision was made, I descended into the abyss of madness. It was glorious. I spoke of STDs, I ran amok with dogs, I made racially questionable statements, I harassed the innocent bystanders, I flooded my vicinity with screams and howls and I let it all hang out.

The next morning, when I regained consciousness, I felt a tangible difference in how relieved I was, physically, mentally and spiritually. Sure I lost my voice and my dignity, but I was reborn, rejuvenated and ready to face more clashes with the Grade A idiots that I was bound to encounter.

Returning back to society was discernibly easier; it was akin to bursting through the womb. I had to gasp to take my first breath but despite being covered in amniotic fluid, I was physically ready to climb the ladder of life. It made me realize; we all need to nurture our inner idiots once in a while, for our own and society’s sake. You can’t conform to a dysfunctional societal structure without breaking the norm sporadically and mooning strangers. So in the interest of humanity, the next time you encounter an idiot raving about, give them a hug, and hide your butt while you walk away.

inner idiot

I’d like a skinny bitch, please

I’m actually referring to the drink here; vodka and soda water. Yeah, it’s a thing. My husband, aka the long and lean noodle, has it almost exclusively. I, on the other hand, prefer shorter drinks that usually have traces of worm in them and leave you so confused and delirious by the end of the night that you end up having conversations about religion with plants. I’m absolutely fine with this state, what I’m not fine with is banning alcohol abuse from diets.

On my 4th week of a strict atoms-only meal plan, I began to miss my drunken escapades with society’s refugees. Diets are as varied as the people who need them, yet most of them explicitly ban most traces of good-times-booze. According to many new reports, alcohol is detrimental to weight loss because the minute it is in you, your body stops burning fat and switches to burning alcohol.

Yet it seems to me that these scientists need to differentiate between types of alcohol and how you consume them. If, like this author, you smoothly sashay into a club at ten with the intent of having “one or two glasses of wine”, only to stumble into the men’s toilet at midnight with traces of Jager, Tequila and vomit on your shirt, then banning alcohol is probably a safe bet that you will reach your weight loss goal.

On the other hand, if you can somehow commit to the oxymoron of “sensible drinking”, then you just might have a chance to escape your calorie deficient days with giggle filled evenings. The following list will help fellow dieters commit to a smaller waistline without skimping on good times:

1) Designate a Bar Vader, preferably a good friend otherwise this won’t work, who will shadow you throughout the evening and ensure that you stick to one type of the approved alcohol list. This is for those of us who have the resolve yet struggle with reality.

2) Pace yourself. In this race, the tortoise is the winner. If you have had a light dinner, you won’t need that much liquor anyway, and if you space out the drinks to one per hour, you should be fine.

3) Move! This is no time to sit and ponder the fate of humanity. If you are drinking your carbs, you should be moving, dancing or molesting some piece of furniture/security guard. At least give your body a chance to burn those empty calories instead of converting them into self-hating prophecies.

4) Avoid the sugary, mixed stuff. So long Pina Coladas, anything with an umbrella, or drinks that make your pancreas erect. Instead, befriend the straight up folks like tequila, vodka, gin and the like.

5) To beer, or not to beer. This is a tough one. I know some folks who drink this exclusively and are physically free of the Homer Simpson gut. Yet they are also quite active and drink nothing else. If you use beer as a chaser then it’s probably a good idea to cut it out, otherwise limit your intake.

6) This is probably the most important: Avoid the fast food in the aftermath! I don’t care if the McD’s vendor has promised you his first born, late night eating is a sin by normal standards, and late night junk food binging is an invitation for all sorts of snug trouble.

Thanks to these simple rules, I still make the rounds on the weekends. They have helped me maintain a balance between my night life and my daily commitment to health. For other sources that allow your inner lush to come out and play, try the following. In the meantime, I am enjoying the fruits of my starvation, while keeping my thirst in check.

 

alcohol

The Medicine of Meat

When I was a kid, it was a very noble claim to aspire to be a doctor. After all, doctors were the healers of dreams, the saviors of lives and the experts of health. That was 30 something years ago. I don’t know what happened in the last 3 decades but apparently something changed allowing all kinds of idiots to become “healers” and embark on long fruitful careers of endangering lives, scribbling reckless prescriptions and becoming agents of a scary trend: the profitable business of health.

It’s very unfortunate but it seems that there are no more “good doctors”, rather very differing and subjective experiences. You walk into a clinic with a mild fever and suddenly you are prescribed antibiotics by the truck load for treating bubonic plague. You suffer from pain in your back and up jumps the man in white walking you through a surgery where they will implant metal rods into your spine because let’s face it, everything is solved with a metal rod up your… back. Your nose is running? Holy shit, it’s a sign that your brains are turning to liquid and unless you swallow 75 kinds of multicolored pills, you will surely turn into a zombie and be responsible for the destruction of humanity.

The pharmacy industry has made great strides in giving us wonder drugs, sure, but it has also intruded on a sacred trust that anyone should be able to have with ANY doctor. Technically, it is illegal and immoral for any doctor to push pills to honor any sort of agreement, but with the rate of over prescription seen with so many cases, one wonders if the clear cut line has not faded into an indistinct gray.

When you’re sick, it’s a shame to run into one of these representatives who have completely eliminated the “care’ from health care and replaced it with “business”. It’s a shame when instead of asking a few follow up questions, the person immediately scribbles drug notes, while avoiding eye contact, for all sorts of ailments you don’t suffer from. A while ago, I visited a doctor because I was suffering from a horrible cold. He examined me and said “I’ll take a swab of your throat but if it’s a virus, there’s no point in taking antibiotics. Just drink plenty of fluids and rest.” I was amazed and extremely saddened by the encounter. This great man should be the norm, not the exception!

We do have one weapon on our side though: easy access to knowledge thanks to the internet. And when I say knowledge, I don’t mean blogs, promoted websites, Wikipedia (http://www.bbc.com/news/health-27586356) or astrology consultants. I mean WebMD, NHS, and medical association sites. While it’s always a good thing to do some research on your own, bear in mind that no amount of reading will make you a doctor and you cannot diagnose that mole as cancerous because of an image you saw online. Resources are there to help, not diagnose.

The world has changed and so have doctors. It seems that nowadays just about any idiot can enter and pass med school. Maybe standards have gone down, maybe this is the price we are paying for having too many idiots in the world, maybe somebody fell asleep at the wrong place at the wrong time. Even though it’s sad that many healers have evolved into pill pushers and incompetent assholes that get to wear white lab coats, the good news is that when you do come across a horrible experience, it is well within your right to give this person a piece or two of your mind. By keeping silent, we are relegating ourselves to the shelf, like quiet pieces of meat in a factory. And whether I’m wearing a hospital gown or a skimpy dress, I am no piece of meat.

Get the nuggets out of my box

TV commercials; we all hate them, we are all forced to watch them sometimes. If you’re not quick enough to record a movie, you are stuck sitting through long minutes of asinine drivel about disgusting products you would never buy. At least, I’m referring to advertising here in the region. Yesterday I was unfortunate enough to have to watch a movie streamed live, and hence the clash with tortuous ads, 95% of which were trying to sell me fast food garbage.

The only time I’ll walk into a fast food mess is when I’m considerably inebriated, everything is spinning, and I feel the vomit churning in my tummy, wondering which exit route to take. That is the only time I will shove fast “food” down my throat, and clearly because by that point your body needs the insane amount of grease to reestablish your center of gravity.

It was really quite sad: out of 4 commercials, only one was nonfood related; it was about cleaning products and the script/acting/production were so bad I wanted to crawl into a corner and chew my own toes off one by one. The rest might as well have been advertisements for how to block your arteries quickly, or a vacation to the afterlife to meet your maker because surely regular consumption of this garbage would have you in a body bag in no time.

This was unbelievably frustrating. Why are there no ads for healthy food? Aren’t salads sexy enough? I would much rather watch a cabbage unfurl slowly than processed cheese ooze out of some deep fried crust of saw dust and rat droppings! And it’s not like we don’t have the products to advertise; the Abu Dhabi Farmer’s Market has really taken off and they have been producing great local produce. Ripe Markets in the UAE are bringing excellent organic products, and there are many places that boast healthy menus. So why don’t these entities have a voice in the ad slots?

It’s 2015. The cat is out of the bag; fast food is unbelievably bad for you and obesity levels are rising alarmingly in the Middle East. How are these chains still thriving? Even in the US, the source of this fat mess, the tide has started to take a turn (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/mcdonalds-to-close-more-stores-than-it-opens-in-us-for-first-time-in-40-years-10333642.html). Why are we allowing a rejected trend from its point of origin to proliferate in our backyard? And it’s replacing a healthy and balanced cuisine! It should be a criminal offence to replace Tabbouleh and grilled meat for a big mac and fries.

I would really like to meet the person who is in charge of regulating ads in our region. I would like to strap him in a chair for a week, and each time a fast food ad came on, I would force him to eat that product in its entirety. It’s not fair that only the poisonous shit gets ample representation on the idiot box. In the interest of democracy, I’m not advocating the complete ban of fast crap (although that would be pure bliss). Rather, I would like to see some hot salads, blushing fruits and slutty greens parade on the screen as well. I believe it’s high time for equal representation; bring out those polygamous broccolis!

Of Nice and Men

I’m a firm believer in the power of Nice. Life could be much better for most of us if we were just a little nicer to each other. This is much easier said than done, however assuming we are rational animals capable of evolving, it is within reach to brighten up our world just a tad.

When I was younger, I remember our teachers and parents telling us we should play nice and be polite. Fast forward a few decades and suddenly everyone in the corporate world is baring their fangs, throwing daggers at any exposed backs, and behaving like packs of mindless, rabid dogs. What the fuck happened? Where did the tipping point occur? When did it become ok to evolve into bloodthirsty, smartly dressed corporate whores?

Sadly, it’s not just the workplace. Driving to work, we have all faced that one idiot in the morning that either won’t get out of the way, or is driving so close you can examine his teeth. Then it continues; there’s the angry security guard who thinks “if I act tough, people will forget I don’t have a gun or any real authority”. Or the hundreds of passer-bys, that scowl and growl.

All these angry specimens around me made me wonder at where this aggression originated from. And while some people are just bad apples, I have narrowed down a few causes that can make most of us lean to our darker side.

Lack of sleep: yes, it’s not just burping and pooing babies that get cranky when you interrupt their Zs. Many adults need their 6-8 a night and tempers flare easily when they haven’t dreamt enough of your demise in lala land. Better to be lynched in REM than real life.

Hunger: ah, the starter of wars and the catalyst to our own fantastic (?) evolution. Like lack of sleep, hunger makes you angry and mean. Unfortunately, many people choose daily to ignore science and skip breakfast. By noon time, tempers are hot and chances for a squabble are significant. If you notice someone in your home or workplace that seems to be short-fused for no real good reason, try throwing a cookie in their vicinity and see if that helps the situation. This trick has worked wonders for me. Sometimes said idiot will refuse to eat because they are on some irrational diet. If they refuse the cookie but are visibly hungry, keep some greens at hand for them to graze on.

Sexual frustration: I strongly believe that most cases of anger and cruelty are linked to a sheer lack of sex. When you have that physical closeness with someone, the intimacy nourishes your inner good side. Actually, that may be bull. I think it’s the incessant pounding and head bangs on the board that beat you back into a pleasant submissive state. And whether male or female, if you notice someone slouching around with an aura of hate around them, you should look into hiring a few hefty Nigerians to fuck the nice back into them.

Apart from these basic reasons, some people just think that being mean gets you further in life. This belief, apart from being archaic and stupid, has no real basis or foundation. I think it’s time we shed these old notions and make a clean break, with more tolerance and free smiles. I’m not advocating the other extreme though. I don’t think you should flit around life, skipping and singing, and thanking everyone who spits in your coffee. But it wouldn’t kill you to let that car pass, smile at the security guard, or let those Nigerians finish what they are doing to you.