Social Distancing: Why I'm loving the Corona Virus

When I first heard about the Corona Virus some time in January, I had no idea it would turn out to be so serious. The name itself threw me off, after all, it was literally named after the friendliest beer. I mean, when you picture yourself soaking in the sun on some pristine beach in the Carribbean, you see yourself drinking a Corona, not a Schlenkeria (or some other German beer with way too many consonants). A few months down the line and here I am, barricaded in my house with my family, and yet, despite the gravity of the situation, there are many things I’m very thankful for about this pandemic. 

These days, I only venture out for groceries but when I’m there, if I feel a cough coming on, I panic and do everything to try to hold it in. And its not like holding in a fart, this is much tougher, especially as I’m allergic to dust and that’s pretty unavoidable. I’ve been in many awkward situations where my allergies get me death stares and eye ball judgement. Although it does wonders if you need to clear a path somewhere. Who needs to say ‘Excuse me’ when you can just cough. It’s almost like having a superpower.

I never thought I would see the day where coughing would raise more eyebrows and instill more fear than a weapon or good old fashioned indecent exposure. I think you could actually hold up a bank nowadays by just coughing your way to the safe and spitting sputum on the cashier clerks. I can see it now, a burglar enters a bank where everyone is wearing face masks, removes his and yells “All your money or I’ll sneeze!”

The social distancing aspect if by far the greatest bonus. For years and years I have been searching for an excuse to avoid some people like the plague, and lo and behold, the universe sends me an actual plague! There are a certain number of mouth-breathing, incessant talking, sewage breath folks that I’m delighted to never have to hug or mingle with again. It’s wonderful; now when I see these folks, I do my special “Corona Dance”; I throw my hands up in the air like I’m under arrest and I wiggle my ass backwards until said person blends into the horizon, singing “Sorry, have to be careful, I have asthma” as I disappear into the distance, forever. 

As Covid-19 began to really impact healthcare infrastructures and societies started shutting down, the gravity of this apocalypse hurtled at me with full force. In particular, the closing of schools was a shock to the system. I believe my exact words to my husband were “Shoot me in the ass because I’m sure that will hurt less”. Gone were the days of having my morning coffee after dropping my toddler at nursery by lazing on the couch and fantasizing about my pulitzer award. Now it was back to chug your coffee cold while you distract young demon with the theory of relativity, or a balloon. 

But as the first week passed, we both settled into the new reality and I am really loving the extra bonding time. Now we play, laugh and cry together and every day is a new opportunity to try and find new fun activities we can do at home and alone. Seriously, if anyone ever wanted to train their young ones to be successful serial killers, you won’t get another opportunity like this. 

There are many benefits to flattening the curve, and I’m not just referring to my shape. The planet is getting a much needed break from some fleas, families all over the globe are discovering that maybe they should have opted for condoms, and introvert alcoholics are finally venerated with a lifestyle most will condone. So take comfort and know that it’s ok; we’re all in this, alone. 

Falling from Grace: When Gravity wins


Toddlers fall. Drunk people fall. Even temperatures fall. But when you as a functioning, sober being with a sociably acceptable level of agility fall down, it’s an event. Forget the humiliation, its dealing with the damage as you age that makes the blow harder. We walk around with a false sense of confidence thinking we figured out life, and all it takes is one losing battle with gravity to realise that we are just bags of bones with occasionally malfunctioning brains.

As we age, we learn how to do more and more things in auto pilot mode. We drift off mentally when we drive, we have conversations with people in our head while we do chores, and we certainly don’t spend every step we take assessing distance, quantum mechanics and Newton’s 3 laws of motion. But just when you think you have mastered something to perfection, gravity gives you a rude awakening, reminding you that lulled brains can lead to bruised knees, elbows and egos.

I’m a 40 year old mama. I think by now I’ve experienced enough in the way of accidents, with a wide range consisting of car bumps and getting peed on. But taking a serious fall in the middle of the day, on a very crowded street in town, certainly threw me a curveball. After falling as elegantly as a drunk and dyslexic swan could possibly hope to, my first thought was literally “What? Is my body still doing these?!”

People gaped, no one helped (lucky me) and to save face, I tried to clamour up as quickly as possible. But of course, I’m injured, so I looked like I was auditioning for one of the zombies on The Walking Dead. So I shot up as quickly as I could manage and began “walking” when a searing pain in my knee basically crippled me dead in my tracks. When you fall down, the adrenaline or shock or embarrassment basically hide the full extent of your injuries. So you get up thinking all is well and that you can resume your normal walking duties when your body lets out several screams and you have to CSI your own blood to the source of the injuries. 

As the hours went on, the bruises revealed the anatomy of said fall. My knee had taken a good smashing and by nighttime looked about nine months pregnant. In addition to serious skin scrapes, my elbow and whole left side were badly bruised, making normal every day movement as challenging as Calculus.

Falling at 40 is not like falling at 4. It’s not only that you are carrying significantly more mass, it’s also that your body has been existing for much longer and has developed some wear and tear, with a much slower ability to recover. I remember my childhood was filled with spills and scraped knees, but I don’t recall missing any thrilling Duck-Duck-Goose games because I couldn’t bend a bruised knee anymore. It was a sad realisation knowing that my very young spirited brain now needed to recalibrate and align with its much more mature host.

The fall really made me realise how important it was to be in good physical standing, with my full spectrum of mobility available. Picking up my 13 kg toddler with only one good leg? Not fun. Trying to bend down to fetch the keys? As pleasant as a visit to the proctologist, with similar sound effects!

Unfortunately, these accidents are unavoidable. There is literally nothing you can do to stop such calamities other than hide in an idiot-proofed cave for the rest of your life. And even though it really hurts the bones and mind when gravity chooses you out of a whole street full of potential victims, the bright side is that you do get to appreciate what your body can do and make efforts to care for it better. Until the weekend comes. Then it’s just you versus your liver, but that’s another story.


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

 

 

 

Stand by your SO(B)

Relationships are special. Relationships are cursed. About all I can say with certainty after my life experience is that they are a delicate balance of giving in, looking the other way and sticking to your guns, literally, as in sometimes you need to threaten people with physical violence or they just don’t get it. Yet despite the hierarchy and anatomy of different types of relationships, one thing that I absolutely detest are people that put their SO (Significant Other) down in public.

I often see people put up with shit in their lives, be it from their work, their kids, or that vindictive slut karma that doesn’t seem to always live up to her word. Yet despite the crap we are dealt with, the one instance where we shouldn’t bend over and smile is when we are being put down by people we love. Life hands out enough humiliation, like that time you were speaking to someone and accidentally threw up on their face, or that time you thought you were alone in an alley and farted Mozart’s 5th symphony, only to hear the crushing giggles of an invisible audience.

Yet humiliation from a loved one is more painful than sodomy with a palm tree. There are several reasons for this. The first is that your Significant Other is significant because you love, respect and admire them, so technically they are coming from a point of authority. It’s like your mom announcing in front of your science club that the only white coat you were going to get as an adult was in the loony bin as you were dropped way too many times on your head as an infant. Another reason is the surprise element, like when you are out hunting deer and as you are crouching in the bush, an excited-nearly-extinct rhino spots your behind and decides to finally try out interspecies mating. It hurts from both ends; mentally and physically.

Not only does it hurt when you are involved, but it is also quite shitty to witness. Even if you are not close to either party, watching someone be humiliated by their SO(B) is as uncomfortable as watching your parents go at it. It’s awkward, its ugly and you would rather be miles and miles away, hunting the last unicorn in some dimension. Sure, sometimes, we lose our tempers and explode and say things we regret, yet these instances should be few and far between. Others however, thrive and exist on berating the partners they hold dear, with complete disregard to the audience. The fact that these assholes are even allowed to procreate is beyond me; I only wish it were socially acceptable to interfere and say something to their ugly faces.

Unfortunately though, you can’t interfere in someone else’s business. Unless they are physically smashing their partner’s teeth out, you kind of have to sit the abuse out. It’s sad but in every instance when you try to step in to stand up for a friend, it will always backfire and you will suddenly be the focus of the problem. Their dysfunctional relationship will survive way past your friendship, and years down the line they will be on some deserted beach, sipping Bacardi and talking about how they almost broke up that time because of that asshole one time; you.

If you are, unfortunately, in love or living with someone like this, and the sex is too good or you are just too lazy to seek an alternative life partner, I suggest the following to help Karma on its way:

  • Spit in their morning coffee. It’s a nice discrete way to send them on their day.
  • Hack into their bank account and treat yourself every month to a spa or nice day out
  • Give the brake pads on their car a little nip. Only do this though if you feel like you are ready to maybe start looking for the next Mr./Mrs. Wrong to ruin your life.

It’s a sad fact of life, but there are people who put up with demeaning partners because of low self-esteem. You can sugar coat it all you want, but glazed abuse is just as sickening as the non-glazed version. It is a form of bullying, that will probably be picked up by the children and perpetuated for generations to come. Ultimately, relationships should be a support system. Your SO should be the one raising you up, not crumpling you down to a wilted flower. And while it may be hard to step out of the madness, you need to remind yourself that life hands out enough shit, so you really don’t need to put up with someone else’s. And remember, abuse isn’t funny, unless it’s physical and happening to the abuser.  relationsheep

My Music Tastes Better Than Yours

We have different tastes in everything; I like potatoes, you like rubbing your butt on pine trees, I shave my legs, you think growing a 70’s vagina on your face looks cool. Yet one difference that sometimes causes the bombs and machetes to come out is music. It’s quite common, when sharing music you love with others to act as if you made it yourself. And even though it should be a matter of taste, if someone you care for doesn’t reciprocate in kind to your melodic preferences, then it becomes personal.

Music is an artistic expression and as we all know, art is a fancy name for letting you get away with deviant behavior like painting a wall with your period under the guise of feminist defiance of modern shackles, or some shit like that. But of course, upon reflection, it goes much deeper, because if you think about it, music speaks to a very primal part of us. It doesn’t pertain to logic; you can’t argue me into liking a song.

We have base reactions to melodies and it is because our preferences are so primal and innate that we treat them as personal. For instance, I love Psy trance and while most of my friends prefer the slower booms of techno, I find it incredulous when I share a cerebral molesting track and they simply don’t see or appreciate the beauty of it. It is one thing when they say “I’m not really into psy”, but when they make personal remarks against my favorite producer/Dj, I feel like stabbing their eyes with a salad fork, but my doctor said that’s a no-no so I just innocently fantasize about it.

Scientists have been trying to find our link with music for a while now and while some studies are starting to delve into the mechanics, we are barely skimming the surface of what moves us. Some sources claim that we develop our taste in music from the ages of 10 to 20, and that these form the basis of what we will listen to for the rest of our lives. From a personal viewpoint though, I have experienced a very wide development in the genres and styles I enjoy that I find this explanation somewhat limiting.

Another study that recently flooded articles was a research done to show that your taste in music was linked to whether you were a systemic thinker or emphasizer. I completely disagree with this as I hated the songs on the emphasizer list and I loved the songs on the other list and I’m known to have a high level of empathy, especially for the morons that surround me. All jokes aside though, the people that did these studies seem completely oblivious to two important facts: first they are forgetting to factor in the substance of choice that normally accompanies the genre, and secondly they are ignoring the potential for change in humans.

Take me to a jazz bar where the crowds are liquored up, and I assure you a fight or two will break out eventually (Jazz was on the emphasizer list). However, venture to a psy festival where thousands of people are on psychedelics and stomping on the earth while connecting through sweat and smiles, and no fights of ego are recorded. I’m not saying you need to be on alcohol or psychedelics to enjoy the music, but to me they certainly play a role in what crowd they pull.

The fact of the matter is that we are still novices in understanding what draws us to music but the beauty of it is that our tastes are as palpable as Middle Eastern politics. And you don’t have to like my taste in music, but say anything against it and prepare to part with an organ.

music tastes

One Day at a Time

It’s an age old adage, one that is constantly spewed out in rehab programs about taking it easy and facing the demons one day at a time. And while it’s a great proverb for fighting the urge to stab yourself with needles, or chase those bunny lines across a toilet seat, or drown your liver in embalming fluids, it becomes a problem when “one day at a time” is a prescription for surviving daily life, as opposed to enjoying it.

“Work work work work work,” as Rihanna so eloquently put it, gobbles up an obscene amount of our lives. Unfortunately, we have crafted and acquiesced to a world where we spend most of our days away from the ones we love, to work in boxes with people we don’t love as much. The majority of our hours and golden years are taxed by this irrational need to generate printed paper, so that we may indulge in a miniscule amount of leisure and relaxation, while supporting our lifecycles. Most of us acknowledge the senselessness and sheer idiocy of this formula, yet we are in too deep to step outside of the matrix and do anything about it.

Some people are lucky, they literally spring out of bed and can’t wait to punch in and do what they love. However for most of the humanoid population, the endeavor is not as titillating. We either love our work and hate the pythons we work with, or love our comrades and hate the asinine tasks we are paid for.

It’s a dangerous thing when you get to the point where you tell yourself “one day at a time” as in let me get through  this sewage pile, instead of “one day at a time” as in ‘I’m having so much fun please I don’t want this ride to end!’

Many of us have side dreams and projects; things we would love to do for ourselves that don’t entail wearing a tie or putting up with bad breath in meetings about how to generate money from pigeons. Yet it’s a really scary thing to take that step and leave the cushy security of a pay check to venture out into the corporate jungle on your own.

So when do you take the leap? When do you answer the suit yelling at you with a staplette right to their forehead? The sad reality is that many of us who try to step off the wheel never actually do, from fear of failure. However, if you are sure about your idea, if you are passionate about your dream, then not taking the risk will haunt you for the rest of your days. That being said, there are a few rational rules to follow before jumping into the abyss:

1) Plan your exit strategy: And I don’t mean a choreographed Black Swan dance to HR, I mean plan a date where you will leave in a calm and sophisticated manner that doesn’t involve peeing on your boss’s keyboard.

2) Start saving: You need to be prepared to live on a budget for a while. That means forgoing the facials, massages, and lush restaurants in place of rubbing your back against the wall and eating sardines.

3) Don’t burn bridges behind you: even if you loathe the people you worked for, telling your seniors that you hope they get raped by rabid bears is not the wisest way to end that relationship. You never know when these ties might be back to haunt you in life.

4) Research: to me, this is the most important aspect of all. Invest in a financial plan, get the knowledge from experts, and talk to your peers. Guarding an idea like Fort Knox will stifle you because you need feedback to evolve it into something really great.

5) And finally, have a plan B : I’m all for going the distance, but be prepared for the fact that the world is not ready for your goat-sex-toy-cushion idea and have a plan in place in case your dreams fizzle into naught. Remember that life is a hot mess of experiences, but it is ours to enjoy, and if you find yourself fantasizing about murder or suicide on a daily basis, then the time for change has come.

mngmt

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.