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

 

 

 

Uncensored Adult Play

A big trend that had adults spinning in circles (literally) over the last year is Hula Hooping. If you attend outdoor music festivals or similar events, you will undoubtedly come across a bunch of adults playing with hoops. These large gaping holes come in a rich array of eye-catching colors, sizes and some even light up. While it is all very beautiful and mesmerizing to watch, what really struck me was when a friend of mine commented, “I think it’s become so popular now because we don’t play anymore as adults.”

It’s sad but true. When we were kids, our parents could throw us on a sandy beach with a bucket and we would be entertained for hours. 20 years later, on that same beach, we might still use the bucket but only to transport industrial amounts of alcohol in it, as we lay like beached mammals passively sunning ourselves, and worrying about getting sand in our lives. Don’t get me wrong, the booze is great, but it shouldn’t be the only accessory to adult play.

Luckily though, not all youthful games have been buried with our childhood. Hula Hoops are back with a vengeance, and apparently if adults are going to hoop, they are going to do it with flair. I personally took up hooping a few months ago and I looked into purchasing an LED hoop. If you’ve seen one of these bad boys in action, you won’t bother asking why. It is literally like opening a portal to another dimension where rainbows give birth. The price tags on some of these items are a little steep, though. On a certain website, one particularly bright, pulsating circle of retina-burning colors ran for nearly 300$!  Sure you could get cheaper hoops, but without the threat of a seizure, where was the fun?

What surprised me was the sheer number of items on this site specifically made for us grown-ups to mess about. I stumbled across an LED Levitation Wand; a pulsating stick you manipulate through a string that goes around your finger so that it literally looks like you are a wizard, playing with your wand. It was very touching to find that there were still manufacturers out there driven to nurture our imagination (and scare or fascinate intoxicated souls with an electric orgy of night-stabbing LED).

The market for grown-up entertainment certainly seems to be burgeoning. Another activity that has exploded recently is the adult coloring book. It seems that overnight, the trend swept the globe and many of us clamored to buy our pens and books and proceeded to relive our youthful pastimes. Dubbed as part of the “Peter Pan Market” by The New Yorker, it is clear that playtime for adults is catching on as a positive, growing trend.

I looked into the benefits of adult play and after dodging a few porn sites, I finally found substantial evidence that play is good for grown-ups. Play makes us happy, releases pent up energy, nurtures our creativity, and essentially separates us from drones. If we neglect our play, we will undoubtedly evolve into uninspired, dull, foul breathed Vogons from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Some of us have already transformed; I face many a corporate Vogon who spend most of their time fretting over idiotic things like the historical significance of paper clips while strapped to modern-day torture devices called office chairs, while a whole universe exists outside their window.

It doesn’t have to be hooping. If you can’t bear the thought of being silly in public, there are other activities you can pursue. Yet if you can commit yourself to a few hours of play a week, you will soon become a happier, healthier person. Just be wary when you search for “adult toys” on the internet.

silly vogon

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

New Year, Old Me

I don’t know if it’s my age or not, but having celebrated 30-something New Yearseses, the event is really starting to lose its thunder for me. Even more deflating are the annual declarations we make called resolutions, which are ultimate assurances of failure. Come January first, all forms of communicable media is gushing with messages of how to improve, enhance or further yourself into that gleaming shining star buried deep within your flaws. Read here for 6 easy steps to tightening that neck. Click this for the secret to building muscles on your eyelids. Why are we so drawn into that lure of bettering ourselves? What could possibly be wrong with the way we are now?

Every New Year, I head out and join throngs of intoxicated homo sapiens to count down, drink, scream, and inhale in the new year. And surely enough, once the celebrations have died down and we have located our abodes and dignity; there is always that talk of resolutions. It’s really funny when you see people who in the span of 12 hours go from trying to inject tequila and sniff detergent to singing up for Tai Chi and yoga retreats.

There is a fine line between what our perception of ourselves is and what we actually are. If asked to describe ourselves on a sheet of paper, I’m sure many of us would use words like “kind, smart, creative, funny” where in the same instance, we wouldn’t dote these adjectives so freely on other people and might opt for more expressive terms such as “genetically challenged” or “religiously bound to idiocy”. Point is, even if we think we are better than we actually are, the project of improving yourself is tantalizingly exciting and too hard to pass up.

Unfortunately, the resolution system is inherently flawed. The sheer fact that you need to wait until a specific date to adopt better practices for your health and life carry the same risk of failure as “I’ll start my diet on Monday”. If you can’t say no to those 400 snicker bars now, chances are you’re not going to magically acquire the strength to stop licking butter bars on a certain date. It’s an old cliché but the “there’s no time like the present” has stood the test of time because of its veracity. If you decide on December 3 that you’re going to quit smoking on the first, this means you are going to spend the better part of the month over indulging in a bad habit; trying to suck up cancer through every hole in your body. And unless you’re one of a few talented females in Thailand, I don’t think you can pull off that trick smoothly. Nevertheless, not only will you smoke more, but you will also probably just hold up the resolutions for a matter of nano seconds, so you might as well have not made the damned resolution in the first place, and saved yourself a charred asshole.

While it might be fun to reinvent yourself come January, remember not to pour too many resources into a project with such a high failure rate. I mean, let’s face it, if you had kept all your resolutions, you would be God by the time you were 28. This year, the only thing I’m resolving is to stay as fabulously imperfect as I am. The only thing that will change is the date. I’m going to greet 2017 with the same love handles, renegade grey hairs and copious cursing that have colored my glorious days. There’s a good chance you will too so throw in the towel now and join me in my quest for un-resolving to change.

 

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.