The Things We Do For “Health,” and the Scourge of Domestic Drudgery

Tapeworms, tapeworms, jolly jolly tapeworms, eat them up- YUM!

The tapeworm diet was featured on an episode of 1000 Ways to Die not too long ago I know I probably shouldn’t watch that show so much, but it is entertaining in a dark way to see the convoluted manners in which some people have managed to earn their Darwin Awards. While the thought of going from a size 12 to a size 2 in a few weeks is tempting, the thought of flatworms burrowing through my vital organs and feeding on my blood and other important stuff gives me serious pause.  If we give dogs a monthly de-wormer (essentially this is what Heartgard and other products that contain Ivermectin do- kill off any worm larvae that end up in a dog’s bloodstream or intestinal tract) to prevent them from getting tapeworms, heartworms, and other assorted wormy life forms because they’re harmful to dogs, then it would stand to reason that it’s not healthy to harbor tapeworms in one’s innards.

It’s interesting to note that dogs are always susceptible to worms because of the rooting around and scavenging that they do in the course of their daily activity. There are even worms that are spread by fleas and other disgusting insect life, which is yet another reason to avoid insect infestations.  Dogs’ preoccupation with all things feces also predisposes them to exposure to all sorts of nasty things (sort of like little kids.)  The difference with dogs is that they seem to have much hardier immune systems than humans- at least in regard to infectious disease- and digestive systems that can metabolize almost anything.

Lilo (and every other dog on the planet) might consider cat poop to be the highest of rare delicacies, but she won’t eat lettuce.  Unless it’s soaked in Ranch dressing, that is.

I wonder if the health “benefit” one would gain by losing weight on the tapeworm diet would be negated by the effect of the tapeworms munching on stuff they shouldn’t be munching on.  It’s one thing if they’re sharing that chili dog you had for lunch, but quite another if they are making a meal out of your liver, or your brain.  I guess the bottom line on weight loss by parasite is that it’s probably ill advised.

As far as burning up calories the old fashioned way, a rousing round of housecleaning can do that.  Even though it can count as exercise, I hate cleaning.  I consider exercise to be a necessary evil also. I don’t like it, but I also don’t like the prospect of my ass being as big as the front end of my car.  I don’t want to be the one trolling through the Newark WalMart in search of size 20 underwear.

These could also be a car cover for my Yaris.  Just sayin’.

The problem with cleaning, in my house, is that it is an ongoing effort in futility.  Jerry can destroy hours’ worth of scrubbing and cleaning in one drunk-n-stupid episode, as was evidenced last night.  All he has to do is get good and besnookered, go out to “water the garden” at dusk, and then traipse back on in the house, flopping about, soaking wet with dog shit caked on his shoes.

Let me fling poo on your linoleum!  YAY!!

Yes!  My purpose in life has been fulfilled- scraping dog shit off of the linoleum in the foyer, and then in the kitchen (thank God I got to him before he made it to the carpet, which I had also just scrubbed and cleaned Saturday) and then getting to (joy and rapture) scrape the dog shit off his old-man velcro shoes and hose them down.  Then I got to peel his wet and dirty clothes off the bathroom floor, and had to clean the floor up too.  Never mind that I had scrubbed down and mopped the foyer, the kitchen and the bathroom on Saturday.  Apparently I needed to do it again.

I would hire cleaning people.  If I could afford them- and if I wouldn’t be embarrassed at what they might encounter.

I have found beer cans in places where beer cans should never go.  Beer cans next to the toilet (why not just eliminate the middle man and pour the Natties right on down the john?)  Beer cans in his underwear drawer.  Once I even found a beer can in the litter box, which is making me wonder if Jerry is going down there (the cat boxes are in the basement) and helping the dogs sample the recycled feline buffet.  If it were only beer cans, it wouldn’t be so bad, but Jerry’s filth parade goes far beyond beer cans.

Jerry is also an incorrigible smoker.  If he removes a cellophane from a cig pack, it ends up where it lands- on the table, on the floor, in a house with a mouse- wherever, as long as it’s not in the trash.  The cellophanes are just the tip of the iceberg, not to mention the bane of all vacuum cleaners, especially when encountered in combination with copious amounts of dog hair.   Jerry also has essential tremor, so the world is his ashtray, literally.  That’s part of the reason why it pisses me off so much when he smokes in my car.  I don’t think he can actually make the ashes land in the ashtray, (in the car or at home) and I’m doing good when he actually puts the butts out in the ashtray instead of (acck, acck, acck) the toilet (bad enough) or in the sink.  Removing nicotine stains from porcelain is just so much fun.  I need just such a hobby.

It’s just depressing to spend an entire Saturday cleaning and the place is trashed again by Monday night.

Some more enlightened souls may ask, “Doesn’t Jerry do his share of the cleaning?” I know that there are some men who understand the importance of helping with errands, cleaning and stuff like that when their wives also work.  However, the fact that I don’t have 24/7 to fetch stuff for, clean up after, and cook for His Nibs does not register with Jerry.   Not at all.  He was raised by wolves.  He willingly wallows in squalor as long as it means he doesn’t have to think about where the beer cans, cig pack cellophanes, or dog shit lands.

So forgive me if I’m no Martha Stewart.

I can cook, but you can leave the decorating and cleaning to people who don’t live with Jerry.

It Wasn’t Always Better Back Then, Senile Agitation, and Slightly Macabre

Let’s just give old, agitated, belligerent, senile Gramps some Thorazine! That will calm his wrinkled ass down!

Never mind that:  Chlorpromazine (the generic name for Thorazineis not for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia.  Chlorpromazine may cause heart failure, sudden death, or pneumonia in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

Apparently, barring the possibility that a lot of old people back then were on Thorazine to treat tetanus,  this stuff must have killed off a few geezers back in 1960-whatever. Today we know better.  We get them hooked on Oxycontin now.

Tetanus does not look like it would bring a “peaceful death.”  Unless you’re a contortionist.

That reminds me, I probably should get a tetanus shot.  The last one I had was when I fell on the coffee table back in 2003 and had to have a buttload of stitches to fix the gash in my knee.  It left a pretty funky scar, and after the Lidocaine and stitches I couldn’t give a rat’s ass less about one more needle stick.  That was before I ended up diabetic and had to give myself shots every day.  That will put you off the fear of needles with the quickness, though I will grant that insulin shots are given subcutaneously (in the skin) and with a tiny, tiny short pen needle, so that’s no big deal anyway.

I’ve not encountered as many angry old people as I do angry young people.  Perhaps their type-A personalities kill the angry/disgruntled/perfectionist type people off young, so that the odds of living to be both old and pissed off at the world aren’t so good.  I’d like to think that age (and having more resources) can buy one a certain ability to forgo social interaction to a large degree, so the genuine piss ants out there quarantine themselves.  I know of one evil old bitty that was exactly like that.  She lived across the street from my parents when I was a little kid.  The only reason I was aware of her existence (and her seething rage) was that she subscribed to the newspaper.  Back then the kids that ran the paper route also had to collect the payments- usually once a month, but some people were so cheap you had to go collect every week.

The local paper was $1.35 a week.  Some asswipes made us chase them down every week- for $1.35.  Then again, today no parent in his/her right mind would let their kids go door to door to collect money for any reason, but those were more innocent times.

Thankfully Mrs. Crotchety paid by the month, but it was begrudgingly, and you had to listen to her tirade about how hard it was for her to wander the four feet from her chair to answer the door, how the paper is really crappy for how much you have to pay for it, and that whoever was delivering papers that day (either me or my sister- not the sadist, the almost normal one) had better be sure to put her paper in a plastic bag on the porch right next to the door because she wasn’t going to pay for a wet paper.

Mrs. Crotchety also had a bad habit of screaming out the door at neighborhood kids in the winter if they would dare to scoop up a handful of snow from her yard (even if obtained from the sidewalk) to throw a snowball.   If you did that, you risked having Mrs. Crotchety screeching out the door at you: “Put back my snow!  Right now or I’ll call the police!”

Don’t you brat kids go stealing my snow again!

The only good part of her threats was that she must have had the police on speed dial, because I think they learned to ignore her.  Then again, even in a real emergency, the police response time wasn’t so hot.  Not too long after Mrs. Crotchety died, my best friend almost got killed by her psycho boyfriend. It took the cops 23 minutes to show up after I called 911.  Had she not clobbered him with a hair spray can and knocked him through the shower door, he would have stabbed her to death.  At least 80’s hair was good for something.

Who would have thought?  Aquanet saves lives!

Anyway, old Mrs. Crotchety never had any visitors.  Her husband had died years and years earlier, and her kids had gotten the hell out of Dodge even before that.  The only time anyone came to her door was my sister or me, when we were collecting for the paper, and the unfortunate meter reader for the water company.  By the time Mrs. Crotchety died- by then she had to have been 90 at the very least- though I would guess about 115- my sister and I had long since moved beyond delivering the paper, so we were thankful not to have to encounter her.

Let’s hope someone took the “open casket funeral” off the table for Mrs. Crotchety.

It was the poor meter reader who smelled something funky.  It was about this time of year- high summer- when the health department finally investigated the house and discovered Mrs. Crotchety’s extremely decomposed corpse.  The entire house had to be gutted, and the health department had to have a HazMat crew come in to fumigate the joint.   Time of death?  The coroner opined that she probably expired sometime that previous February.  Since the furnace had stopped working, either she froze to death, or she died and then the furnace stopped (who knows?) so she didn’t really start to rot real good until April or May.

Nobody noticed mail piling up, because she had a slot in the door.  I’m sure the only mail she got was bills and her SS checks.  The only way anyone would have noticed mail piling up is if her entire living room would have filled up with mail.  I’m somewhat surprised the mailman didn’t smell something weird, but he was an incorrigible lush (sometimes you would find him napping propped up against a tree, or sitting in his truck) and a pervert who liked to read other people’s magazines (namely mine, as I would get supposedly “new” magazines defiled with peanut butter fingerprints all over them.)  I don’t think he noticed anything.  Perhaps the combo of rotgut liquor and a guilty conscience over defacing my National Lampoons killed off his olfactory faculties, or maybe he smelled worse than a rotting dead body.  I do know he was replaced eventually- when he got popped for DUI while driving the mail truck.

If you die alone and rot, it will leave a mark.

Mrs. Crotchety died before the days of the “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up” buttons.  If she’d had one of those it would have saved the health department a lot of work.  Maybe that’s where that technology came from, because health departments across the country were tired of having to peel dead old fossils off the carpet.

Oh, and back in the day:

Did you know Ovaltine could make you wake up gay?

A Head Start on Contagion Season, (No I Am Not OCD- Yet) and Other Projects

I just bought a germ mask, and I will wear it when I am surrounded by sickies.  I have no problem with that.

I really don’t want to be some kind of paranoid germophobe.  I try not to be, unless I am surrounded by people sneezing, hacking and hawking up lung pieces.  Then I get nervous.  I do try to take reasonable care of myself.  I wash and sanitize my hands often.  I refrain from eating or drinking after others.   But when someone comes into my proximity with any kind of respiratory funk (especially the rude mo-fos who don’t cover their sneeze, or who cough and snot into their hands and then finger my stuff) I get a bit more assertive regarding contagion control.

I love disinfectant.  Especially when the loogie hawkers are out there.

When someone starts coughing, hacking, and hawking up contagion all over the place, and especially when they just spread it around everywhere without mind to hygiene, like little kids do, I spray the perimeter of my workspace with Lysol and wipe down pretty much everything I touch with the Lysol wipes.  I hate being like that, but dammit, I don’t need that shit.  I don’t expect people to stay home with head colds and minor respiratory funk, but I do expect them to observe the basic hygiene rules.  Cover your cough or sneeze.  Wash and sanitize your hands, and keep your mitts off of my stuff, especially when you’ve just hawked a loogie into a Kleenex, fingered all over that, and then neglected to wash or sanitize your hands.  I do not need to experience your booger slime.  And the further away you stay from the immunologically weak (like me) the better for us all.

Keep your snot to yourself.  Or I will Lysol your ass.

When I get a basic head cold it almost always turns into a sinus infection, bronchitis or pneumonia (or all of the above,) and a good case of the strep throat could actually kill me, should it morph into rheumatic fever (again.)  I hate being sick with a passion.  It makes sense for me to be a wee bit paranoid, and a wee bit generous with the Lysol.  I do the same for others.  Should I have the respiratory funk myself, I have no problem taking steps to sanitize and refrain from spreading contagion to others.  I don’t want to intentionally (or neglectfully) spread disease to others.

I have had the opportunity to add some interesting tunes to my playlist- I got a Jethro Tull CD for a quarter at a garage sale, and added “Bungle in the Jungle, ” “Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die,” and “Sweet Dream” to my MP3 collection.  I also added Kansas’ “Hold On” and REO Speedwagon’s “Back On the Road Again.”  I never really got into Jethro Tull back in the day but I’m really enjoying it now.

If I keep this up I’ll either have to get a new MP3 player or upgrade to a bigger memory card.

Jerry should never, ever let me dress him.

I don’t know what it is straight men have against bright colors and bold patterns.  I know Steve-o is not very good at the whole “matching” concept- as a child he would come up with the most outrageous ensembles, and I couldn’t in good conscience let him go out in public wearing let’s say- a green t-shirt with orange sweat pants and one purple and one black sock- with sandals.  It was probably good for his self-esteem (yeah, wasn’t everything…mustn’t do anything to damage the offspring’s self-esteem) that I would convince him to change clothes, or at least wear two socks of the same color, or at the very least, take the socks off if sandals were the footwear du jour.  I can’t stand to see people wear socks with sandals.  What’s the point?  Sandals are meant to let your feet air out.  If you have funky looking feet wear socks- and shoes.   The good thing was, if Steve-o did manage to leave the house looking like flypaper for freaks, the peer response generally would prevent the same fashion faux pas from happening again.

If you dress like them, they will come.  Hawking loogies and bearing snotty secretions.

Now that Steve-o is an adult straight male, his ensembles generally consist of: loose-fitting man-jeans, white socks, skater shoes, assorted white, black, grey and blue t-shirts, often with catty sayings.  In winter one might add a black Monster hoodie to the mix.  There are no matching skills necessary with his wardrobe.  He wears uniforms to work, which solves the “what to wear to work today” question.  That is probably a blessing, considering some of his own personal attire.

Safe boating?  Probably not.

Jerry’s wardrobe is remarkably similar to Steve-o’s- except that Jerry likes the button-up oxford type shirts in addition to t-shirts.  He likes the same boring colors though- white, blue, black, gray and occasionally brown.  No patterns, and unlike Steve-o, no catty sayings.  Jerry does like a front shirt pocket for smokes though.  I find shirt pockets to be vestigial and at best, decorative, as far as my own purposes.  It’s awkward for an ample-chested woman to use shirt pockets.  Grabbing to get something in your pocket makes onlookers think you’re grabbing your bazongas, which is just about as socially taboo as a woman having a nice long scratch on her nether region.  Besides, if I really want to keep tabs on something, I’ll shove it in my bra.

It’s probably for the best that men don’t generally go for the complicated or outlandish when it comes to attire.  Imagine this:

A world of guys dressing like this would be interesting, but rather scary as hell.

Not the Queen of the Popularity Parade, and My Guts are Not Here for You to Love

Sometimes it’s necessary to inform others that I do not suffer fools lightly.  Nothing personal.

There is a certain notoriety in holding a minority, hard-line viewpoint, but my guts are not here for anyone to love.  I’m sure if I just blithely and vapidly followed the mainstream in my social and political views I’d have a lot more friends, but in my mind, a lot less personal integrity.  As far as friends go, I’ll take quality over quantity any time.   If my views serve to “cull the herd,” so be it.  I don’t need, nor do I desire, much social interaction, so when I do interact with people I want those interactions to count.  If I’ve challenged your thought processes, contradicted your world view, shocked or appalled you, offended you, or perhaps even broadened your vocabulary, so be it.  My inciteful mission moves forward ahead (thank you, Obama, for ruining what used to be a perfectly acceptable word by using it as the slogan for your crappy, and hopefully unsuccessful re-election campaign.)  “Forward” indeed – over which cliff?  The Grand friggin’ Canyon?

For what it’s worth, you can probably find Obama on the golf course.

Granted, I’m no poster child for the goody-goody crowd.  I have my flaws, but I have to live honestly the best way I know how.  I’m not going to pretend to be something I’m not.  I’m not out to impress anyone, sway anyone to my point of view, or any of that noise.  For the most part this blog is for me, a place for good or ill, to speak my mind, organize my thoughts (easier said than done, that) and just plain sound off.

I learned many years ago that I’m not wired to please too many people.  I have a hard time pleasing myself (no, not that type of pleasing, pervert) in that I’m an incorrigible perfectionist, as well as I’ve got quite a flaming type-A personality.  I have absolutely no patience.  I’m into the instant gratification thing, believe that.  I buy things online (often) because I loathe actual shopping in stores, and then get impatient when I order something from the west coast and it takes me a week or more to get it.

This is what I used to get so pissed at Steve-o for doing.  Wash the damned pants already.  Or buy some new ones.  Go to the thrift store if you must.

I have even less tolerance than patience.  I try, I really do, but today my tolerance is whisper-thin. I’m being bombarded by bad country music blared from two points (and different stations, no less) in the room.  Dueling freaking banjos, oh holy shit- if only it were just banjos and not that horrible caterwauling that country artists call “singing.”  I do have good music on the MP3 player in the headphones to try to cancel it out, but I can still hear the oat opera and it’s damned annoying.  Then to add insult to injury, I’m trying to concentrate on getting my paperwork done, but it’s rather difficult to concentrate when I’m sitting next to our very own office freaking Typhoid Mary, who has been hacking up pieces of lung and snorting about all morning, like I need contagion on top of noise pollution. And she’s one of the bad country music blarers, to boot.

I’m just not a big fan of communicable disease.  Especially the respiratory ones. Been there, done that, way too freaking much.

Maybe I’m just being petty and mean and I really shouldn’t be like that, but dammit, we don’t need any diseases running through here.  Then people call off, and by that time, even though I usually end up being sicker than Jerry Sandusky at a Boy Scout Jamboree, (only not in quite the same way) since I’ve lingered on and done everyone else’s shit while they try to recover, I can’t call off.  If you’re going to hack and cough, take some damned shit to control your snorting and snots, and don’t get pissed when I Lysol the hell out of your area, and my own, to try to keep the germs from infiltrating my space.

Did I mention- I’m very user UN-friendly?

I know I can be the High Queen Bitch of all I survey, and today is sort of one of those days.  I’m trying so hard to be nice that it’s actually pissing me off, and that’s never a good sign.  It’s even more funny when I hit the random scramble on the MP3 player and I get:

“Sympathy for the Devil”- the Rolling Stones

“Gold Dust Woman”- Fleetwood Mac

“Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day”- Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson is way cool though.  You gotta admire a guy who can stand on one leg and play the flute- in a rock setting no less.

Even a random sampling on an electronic device seems to reflect my angst today.  I shouldn’t be pissy about anything, and I shouldn’t let trivial things overwhelm.  But I do.  Yes, I did take my meds today, but today is one of those days when I wish it was OK to mistake Bailey’s for coffee creamer.

Things That Suck #361: Weenie Commentators, and #362: Assorted Ass Pilots

Disclaimer: I like Will Ferrell.  The character he portrays in Anchorman, Ron Burgundy, is a humorous depiction of the douchebag that lives inside just about every newscaster.

It’s inevitable.  Whenever there is some kind of highly visible public tragedy there has to be at least one highly visible public figure who says something so asinine you want to bitch-slap him or her through the monitor. Usually there are several such weenie commentators, as they start repeating each other ad nauseam once one weenie commentator rears its ugly head.  I try not to watch TV news too much as I am prone to anxiety and depression. At least I can pick and choose a bit more getting my news online.

Most of the crap in the mainstream media is exactly that- “Crap” with a capital “C”-so sickeningly politically correct and skewed to reflect one particular world view that it lacks any kind of substance.  Don Henley said it back in 1985- crap is king, and we all love dirty laundry.  I don’t think even Don Henley had any idea just how stupid “journalism” would eventually become, although he was spot on as far as humanity’s flaming desire to see the carnage broadcast live and in color.

I hate to admit it, but even though I try not to have that “stop and gawk” mentality, I do too.  It’s human nature to go past an accident scene and try to determine if anyone’s injured, if it’s anyone I know, and worse yet for me, because of my automotive background, I’m actually assessing the damage to the vehicles.  Saturday I actually came upon the scene of a car/motorcycle accident.  Those seldom turn out good.  The motorcycle was in pieces, the front end of the car was pretty much hosed, and the guy that was on the motorcycle ended up motionless on the pavement.   I figured if he wasn’t dead he was probably close to it.  I’m glad I was wrong.

There is a reason why I don’t ride these things.  Note the damage to the Explorer is comparatively minimal (though that front fascia, fog light, bumper reinforcement, core support, radiator and condensor will cost you.)

I found out today that the dude involved in Saturday’s accident actually got off with relatively minor injuries, though he was life-flighted to the trauma center.  He got sent to the trauma center because he was knocked unconscious, and God only knows what kind of brain injuries and internal injuries and broken bones can happen to someone thrown off a motorcycle.  Especially if you’re not wearing a helmet.  ER staff have a name for motorcycle riders who choose not to wear helmets: organ donors.  This guy dodged a bullet so to speak, and what he does with his motorcycle riding in the future is up to him.  I wouldn’t ride one of those things but hey, if you want to, knock yourself out.

Society is not obligated to protect people from every possible stupid thing they can do.  Shit and stupidity are the two most common elements in the universe, and even the most intellectually astute among us are not going to avoid either one entirely.

One of the beautiful things about individual freedom is that you are entitled to be stupid to a degree.  No one should have to tell you the coffee is hot, that you shouldn’t smoke crack, or that riding a motorcycle without a helmet is a bad idea.  But no one should have the “right” to sue because of pouring hot coffee on themselves or because of their own negligence.  No one else should be obligated to bail others out of the consequences of their own stupidity.

Another situation that disturbs me is when a weenie commentator excuses a person’s criminal behavior based on their past experiences.  I am appalled every time that some ass pilot gets a pass for everything from armed robbery to mass murder because “he/she had a bad childhood.” So you peed your pants and your peers called you “Pissy” when you were seven, so you decided to go on a killing spree 20 years later and take out people who never knew your sorry ass from Adam’s housecat?  I have no sympathy for dumb shit like that.  Neither should anyone else.

Do you whiz your pants when you’re executed by lethal injection?

I had a shitty childhood.  I got my ass kicked every day.  I was lucky to get three hots and a cot- and didn’t always get that.  Big freaking deal.  Does that give me the right to go fire bomb the WalMart for failing to have English speaking cashiers on duty when I need to buy a jug of Pennzoil? Give me a freaking break.  No one owes me a damned thing, and what is the point of taking out my misdirected feline aggression on others?  I’m fortunate in that my cats get along well and don’t fight- but what good would one cat beating up a completely innocent cat do?

Isabel is not impressed.

It disturbs me that the media almost immediately wants to exonerate people who get caught doing the most ghastly things.  I understand in this country (and this is probably unique to the US) that a suspect is innocent (according to the law) until proven guilty.  I don’t think criminals should be tried and convicted in the media (though they often are, and often wrongly) but when someone’s caught red-handed, on camera, committing an atrocity, let’s not just start in making excuses for the alleged criminal.

I don’t want to hear about some ass pilot who molested kids but he’s “not responsible for his actions” because his Dad beat him.  Bullshit.  Yes, life cut you a bad deal.  I’m sorry to hear that.  Welcome to the club. Now get with the program, learn from history, and figure out how to be a decent human being.

I also don’t want to hear from the ass pilots who scream and cry on either side after a shooting incident that either a.) everyone who is not a convicted felon should run out and buy a gun (I am a believer in the 2nd Amendment, but whether or not to carry a gun is an individual choice) or b.) guns should be banned, like in the UK and other parts of the world.  Screw that too.  Both of those views are too extreme and uncalled for.

Gun laws aren’t the issue.  By definition, a criminal is one who breaks the law.  How many criminals are going to give a rat’s ass if guns are suddenly made illegal?  They don’t give a rat’s ass about the law, otherwise they would be law-abiding citizens.  Outlawing guns would simply create a black market much like the one already in place for illegal drugs.  That “war on drugs” is going so splendidly, ‘ya know?  Why not expand it, and expand the crime that naturally follows?

Why not expand the concept of personal responsibility, and enforce the notion that individual choices and individual actions have consequences?

 

Cosmic Crap Shoot, Happenstance Cathedrals, Everywhere and Nowhere

If Asthma cigs are so great, why deny the kiddies?  Or do they just have to suffer from the paroxysms like the brats they are?

The more that I study the evolution of science, I am amazed regarding how much we don’t know, and how much of what we thought we knew that has been proven wrong.  Personally I would like to see if any of those three-pack-a-day Camel smokers from 1950-whatever are still alive, or if they all ended up dying from emphysema like Aunt Sam.  Aunt Sam (short for Samantha, no, she was not a former dude, even though her voice was so trashed and raspy she sounded like one) died back in the late ’70’s- thankfully she didn’t take anyone out with her.  She went out presumably the way she wanted to go: gagging on an unfiltered Pall Mall as she lifted up her oxygen mask to take another hit.

Sure, Sam, you keep on smoking these mo-fos and you’ll live forever!

Then again, not so much.  Aunt Sam was only 59 when she died.  She looked about 318.

Medical science has evolved quite a bit in the last century, but it’s too bad that a good deal of that crucial knowledge came too late for some people.   Jerry’s Dad still believes that kerosene is a hemorrhoid cure, and he’s also under the assumption that women have prostates.  I can only hope that he doesn’t think you have to buy boxes of Tampax to go swimming and horseback riding.

I could only safely wear white after the hysterectomy- nice try guys!

A good number of astronomers, physicists and other scientists who have achieved notoriety or academic acclaim (because they could understand the math that I just am not wired to get) are atheist or agnostic in their belief systems.  Even Carl Sagan, who had so much insight on astronomy, was a self-described agnostic.   Cosmology (not to be confused with cosmetology or cosplay) is the science of the origin and the evolution of the universe.  I would have to attribute the origin of the universe to something other than random chance.  Maybe it’s just me, but whenever “random chance” is involved in my life it’s never a good thing, and is almost always indistinguishable from Murphy’s Law.

Perhaps to maintain my mental stability I have to trust that there is a higher power or a supreme being, because I could never get the math, but even I get enough math to understand that the odds of coming up with the universe, life, and Steve Perry in spandex are pretty much so astronomically high as to be statistically impossible.   I find it hard to believe that a cosmic crap shoot is all there is, even if the placement and timing of the universe and life could be proven to be random.  Tell me, Who is throwing the dice?  Perhaps it is my own human limitation to assume that if something is created, that it necessarily had to have a creator behind it in some way.

I don’t necessarily take the Garden allegory literally, (and I don’t believe the Genesis account was meant to be taken at face value,) but it would have been cool to wander about naked in a garden all day with wild animals.  Just sayin’.

I don’t necessarily take the Flood story at face value either.

Blaise Pascal (and I’ve outlived him by four years so far) was a mathematician and also somewhat of a theologian.  He put forth the notion (Pascal’s Wager) that even if you can’t prove that God exists that the odds that He does are strong enough that it’s worth your while to live as though He does.

The only problem with living like there is a God is that it’s impossible to do so aside from His grace.

This being said, I am definitely not the greatest example of piety and selflessness out there.  Mother Teresa, I ain’t.

I tend to connect more with things spiritual in happenstance cathedrals- places that seem unlikely and that are often temporary.  If it’s quiet, if it’s secluded, and if there’s a sort of chaotic beauty, those are the kinds of places where I feel closest to God.

I loved places like this abandoned railroad bridge.  It was destroyed in the early 1990’s for its scrap iron.

I’d have to say there is some kind of solace in the chaos of entropy, and in the patterns to be found in the disorder, as strange as that sounds.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been to one of those convergence points that seems like everywhere and nowhere at the same time.  There are simply some places where time isn’t what it is everywhere else, and I find those places to be amazingly spiritual and amazingly renewing.  I don’t have an explanation for them just as I have no way to effectively convey how I know God not only exists but is present in and through everything.  That’s just about how metaphysical I can get, and then I simply have to say I don’t know.

Nothing That Years of Psychotherapy Won’t Fix, Pragmatic Politics and Obscure History

I’ve never been a true believer in Freudian psychology, especially his premise that all behavior goes back to sex.  If that’s the case, and everything revolves around sex, I’m in really big trouble, because in that regard I am extremely low mileage- as in barely driven off the dealership lot.  That vehicle’s been sitting on the lot so long the tires are dry-rotted and the battery’s dead and the upholstery smells like locker room funk, if my sex life could be compared to a used car.

But it only has 200 miles on it!

I also have problems with the touchy-feely approach that some psychologists take where it’s all about “embracing your inner child.”  When I was a child I didn’t want anyone touching me for any reason.  “Touching” usually involved getting my ass kicked in some sort of way.  I was the geek kid that nobody associated with unless it involved me getting an ass kicking, or it involved someone trying to bribe me to let him/her cheat on a test.   If you’re trying to improve my self-esteem, then why do you want me to “embrace” the geek kid?  I have to wonder about that approach.  I have to wonder about all the hoo-hah about self-esteem.  Today’s kids are all about self-esteem, even if they suck.  I would rather know I suck than have some lying ass pilot fill me full of crap about how great I am.

I was the butt-ugly geek kid.

My childhood was not nice. It was mostly hell.  There were good moments- but they were few and far between.  I won’t blame my parents.  They did the best they could with what they had, and in their defense, they got dropped a raw deal.  There are no child development manuals that could have offered them any help.  No parent asks for a child with physical deficits, and no parent asks for a child whose intellectual, emotional and social development can only be categorized as highly abnormal.   There was no option of specialists or special schools, especially when it was a struggle for them to afford the bare necessities.  Hell, Mom was at the zoo herself most of the time, being bi-polar and untreated- and unpredictable.  Dad was at work just about all of his waking hours- partially out of necessity and partially because he didn’t know if he’d come home to Jekyll or Hyde.  When I say that my grandmother (actually both of them, but more so my Dad’s Mom, who was within running distance) saved my life many times, that is an understatement.  I know Mom probably didn’t appreciate Grandma’s interference (when she was aware of it) but it was Grandma who stormed the principal’s office and kept me from getting the hell beat out of me waiting on the bus.  It was Grandma who took me to the Dr. and stayed with me when I was sick with rheumatic fever.   It was Grandma who gave me a safe place to go when my sisters and/or the neighborhood kids were looking for someone to pummel again.

I will say that Mom’s unpredictability set me up to deal with future coke-head bosses pretty well though.

Given what they had to work with, it’s a miracle that I am vertical, gainfully employed, and not a serial killer.

Needless to say, I have spent several years in various types of counseling- some more effective than others.  The first counselor I went to, when I was 13-16 was tolerable.  Better yet, it didn’t cost my parents anything for me to see her because she was a family friend.  I learned fairly quickly the answers she wanted to hear- no, I’m not going to kill myself, yes, I am thinking positive today (retch,) but truth be told more than anything I appreciated getting out of school early every other Tuesday to sit and pretty much just shoot the shit.  Because she was a family friend, I don’t think she believed me when I told her that my oldest sister was a sadist and a psychopath, but by that time my oldest sister was so much more interested in whatever money and assorted favors she could extort from the boys that she didn’t have much time to waste torturing me.

The second counselor I went to truly wasted my time and money.  About a year after Steve-o was born I was having panic attacks and full-blown PTSD, as well as I was going through a rather nasty separation and divorce.  I thought it a good idea to seek counseling because I truly was freaking out.  The only thing she did after a couple of sessions was to tell me to buy a copy of the book Codependent No More and wished me happy trails.   In hindsight I think it was because I had shitty insurance and she was afraid she wouldn’t get paid.  I got really cynical about the whole counseling thing after that, and figured that mental health must just be too lofty a goal.   So I decided to just deal with life the way I’d always had since I’d become an adult: chain smoking, binge drinking whenever I could, obsessive overwork, and indiscriminate liaisons when I could get away with it.  I was a Ruthless Bitch, and that worked for about seven years- until my physical health really started to go south.

Thankfully my path necessarily changed because of my health failing.  By the grace of God I got back into a relationship with Him and got involved in a church.  Also by the grace of God I gave up smoking.  I went to a counselor for a couple of years who wasn’t in it to either bullshit me or rip off my insurance company, and learned some helpful ways to navigate the way I’m wired and to deal with my past (which is an ongoing project.)  I also acknowledged that I have inherited and organic tendencies toward anxiety and depression that require medical treatment and medication as well, which has helped me deal with PTSD and work beyond it.   It’s a journey, not so much a destination, but I would have to say I am mentally healthier now than at any point in my life, which is almost scary.

I registered to vote on my 18th birthday- for what it’s worth.

This year is another year in which I not only have to be careful not to get caught up in the rhetoric (which is easy for me to do) but I feel as if I have to stand back and look at the election with a pragmatic eye.  Voting for a third party or a write-in, i.e. Ron Paul, Mickey Mouse, Ron Jeremy, Dennis Kucinich or even posthumously, Ronald Reagan, effectively is a vote for Obama.  Staying home and not voting is also effectively a vote for Obama, and it would also take away my right to bitch about him should he be re-elected.  And I am going to bitch about him, re-elected or (hopefully) not- believe it.   I would rather have fire ants poured down my underwear than to be complicit in re-electing the worst president ever, and I state for the record that Obama is The Worst Ever.  Even if I include Pierce, Buchanan, Wilson, Harding, Nixon, Carter and Clinton, Obama takes the Worst Ever prize hands down.

I’m still not a huge fan of Mitt Romney.  The last truly good president this country has seen is Ronald Reagan, and sadly, he’s been in his grave for eight years.  But even though Mitt is no Reagan, I can think of FAR better choices to be sitting in the Oval Office than Obama.

Sheena, the mentally challenged Husky.  Bonus: her birth certificate is just as contrived as Obama’s, but it’s a little more creative.

Ron Jeremy

Karl Pilkington (yes, he’s a Brit, but hey, BO didn’t have to be a citizen!)

The guy on the Quaker Oat box

Satan

Just remember, folks.  The people who voted for Ross Perot bought us 8 years of Bill Clinton.   That was bad, but Obama’s a million times worse.  As much as I hate the adage, “choose the lesser of the two evils,” what do you do when one of the choices is overwhelmingly odious, the other one is less odious, but still not quite good?  <Sigh…>