If These Intestinal Walls Could Talk

anatomy-160524_640Like with many people, my digestion has gotten a lot more talkative as I’ve gotten older.  We don’t usually have extensive discussions unless I go to the seafood buffet, but I’ve become fluent enough to carry on a basic conversation in Gurglish (that’s what I’ve named the language of my alimentary canal).  My small intestine, which is the chattiest of the bunch, likes to wait until I’m out in public and then tell me long stories about how much better things used to be in my gastrointestinal tract, with the other organs chiming in for emphasis.  Here’s how the major players in my digestive system tell me it used to be in their salad days:

Infancy

Mouth:  Milk!  Oh, boy!  This is the best thing ever!

Stomach:  Look, I’m not saying it’s not awesome, I’m just saying, we’ve had milk for the last two hundred and seventy three meals.  Couldn’t we change it up a little?  Maybe some juice, a little cereal?

Small Intestine:  We could try spitting up again.  I think we’re really getting the hang of it.

Large Intestine:  Wake me up when there’s something for me to do.

Childhood

Large Intestine:  What on earth is she eating this time?

Stomach:  I’ve stopped asking.

Mouth:  Yesterday she ate what was in the dog’s bowl, and I’m not sure all of it was food.

Small Intestine:  I’m debating throwing up just on principle.  Thoughts?

Stomach:  Let’s do it.

Adolescence

Mouth:  Pizza!

Stomach:  Pizza!

Small Intestine:  Pizza!

Large Intestine:  I hate you.

College years

Mouth:  Chug!  Chug!  Chug!  Chug!

Stomach:  I’s were not shurr no food izzz good idea, now— oh, escussse me.

Large Intestine:  How come no one ever invites me to the party?

Small Intestine:  Everybody stop everything, I think we’re gonna hurl!

Young Adulthood

Mouth:  Ow ow ow!  She didn’t let the coffee cool down again!

Stomach:  Now, that’s just careless.  And I see we’re having Pop-Tarts for breakfast again.  One of these days, Metabolism is going to go on strike.

Small Intestine:  Come on, guys!  We’re not that fussy little GI tract we used to be; we’re in our prime!  We can handle anything she throws at us!  Let’s get those digestive juices flowing!  Who’s with me?

Large Intestine:  Whatever.  I think it’s all crap.

Small Intestine:  That’s the spirit!

Now

Mouth:  Did that Number 7 meal seem off to anyone else?

Stomach:  Don’t ask me.  I’ve been empty for hours, and now suddenly I’m dodging half-chewed chunks of Big Mac and a side of fries I think she swallowed whole!

Large Intestine:  Were the fries at least hot?

Mouth:  Lukewarm.

Stomach:  At best.

Small Intestine:  That’s it!  HUMAN!  HEY!  YEAH, YOU!  LEARN TO CHEW!  AND TRY EATING SOMEWHERE WITHOUT A TAKOUT WINDOW, WHY DON’T YOU?  AND WHILE YOU’RE AT IT, EAT SOME FREAKING LETTUCE ONCE IN A WHILE!  IT’S CALLED “ROUGHAGE,” MORON!

Large Intestine:  Amen.

It’s a tough job, being an alimentary canal.  Twenty-somethings, learn from my example and start eating better before your small intestine starts yelling at you.  Oh, and my stomach was right:  Metabolism did go on strike.  Negotiations are ongoing.  That one may take a while.

Incidentally, major kudos to anyone who got my truly awful digestion joke in the beginning.  If you didn’t get it, honestly, don’t try.  It was really bad.

 

Image, as usual, in the public domain via pixabay.com.

Positive Affirmations For People Who Like Steak

meditation-303260_640Positive affirmations used to annoy the crap out of me.  “Tomorrow is bringing good things my way”?  How do you know?  I want proof.  I want bar graphs and pie charts.  (I may just want pie; I’m a little hungry.)  I’ve finally learned the secret of positive affirmations, though— it’s totally okay to just make them up.  They’re like lullabies:  no one actually expects to get all the pretty little ponies.  You just go with it because it’s less likely to give you nightmares than singing about getting all the nasty little tax bills.

That said, I think positive affirmations represent a real missed opportunity.  If you’re just saying things that may or may not be true, why go in for all that vague, flowery stuff?   I deserve better affirmations than “Tomorrow is bringing good things my way.”  I deserve an affirmation like “Tomorrow is bringing a free Prada handbag my way,” or “Tomorrow is bringing the perfect ribeye steak, cooked rare and very lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, my way.”  Here’s a list of some of my positive affirmations:

  1.  I give myself permission to love pie.
  2. Today I will replace my anger and frustration with unicorns.
  3. The perfect outfit will come to me easily and effortlessly.
  4. I trust the universe to bring Ryan Gosling into my life at the right time.
  5. I am open and receptive to experiencing beer in multiple ways.
  6. Today I will keep my mind ON the lottery numbers that DO win, and OFF the lottery numbers that DON’T win.
  7. Good hair days happen to me all the time.
  8. I choose to surround myself with delicious cheeseburgers.
  9. I am in charge of my minions.  My minions are not in charge of me.
  10. Every day, in every way, my blog is getting better and better.

The truly genius part is that, if anyone criticizes my affirmations (like, for instance, my therapist), I can reply that I accept and love my affirmations the way they are and choose to believe in them despite the negative words of others.  Of course, if I keep this up, I’ll probably start craving cheeseburgers and pie at odd times, but I kind of already do, and now I’ve got a reason that no one’s allowed to argue with.  I don’t know why I’ve been resisting this all my life.  Positive affirmations are awesome!  I just gave myself permission to believe it.  That makes it true, right?

 

[Image in the public domain via pixabay.com]

Cookie Monster’s Real Name, And Other Useless Knowledge

cookie-monster-1132275_6401I do my best philosophical thinking while I’m folding laundry.  The other day, as I folded yet another fitted sheet and realized both that I actually know how to fold a fitted sheet, and also that there is no point to folding a fitted sheet, I started thinking about how many other things I know that serve no practical purpose.  For instance, I know Cookie Monster’s first name.  It’s Sid.  No one needs to know that (except, presumably, Sid).

Then I started wondering:  how did I wind up with all this useless knowledge?  It began with a few odd bits of information from family and friends, knowledge I never wanted but kept anyway to be polite (like how to fold a fitted sheet), but over time it became such a massive pile of crap in my mental garage that there was barely enough room for the Porsche 911 that the Little Blind Girl In My Head totally drives.

Now, though, I need that space for things like retirement planning and how to tell if fruit is ripe.  So, to clear out my mental garage, I’ve decided to have a mental yard sale.  I thought about having an auction, but I don’t really need any more voices in my head.  So if you like to stockpile pointless facts for emergency use at, judging from experience, family reunions and office parties, come spend a little time in my psyche (it’s BYOB).  I’ve got some good stuff.  Here’s a sample item:

Useless Knowledge For Sale: The proper use of finger bowls

There isn’t one.  Everyone just assumes they’re for washing your fingers.  Finger bowls aren’t brought out until just before the dessert course in a formal dinner, however, and— formal dinners not being known for their finger food— you’ll almost never need to wash your fingers at this point in the meal.  The proper thing to do with a finger bowl is almost always to set it off to the left so it doesn’t get in the way of the dessert.

In fact, needing to use a finger bowl is the fine dining equivalent of the walk of shame.  It means you’re such a messy eater that, despite having been provided with three different spoons, four different forks, and six different knives, you still managed to get food all over your hands.  Honestly, it’s like you were raised in a barn.

(If this happens, by the way, no one actually expects you to use the finger bowl.  Just wipe your fingers discreetly on your napkin and then “accidentally” let the napkin slip to the floor, at which point you have an excuse to replace it with a cleaner model.  This method has served me well for years.)

I realize this isn’t much of a sales pitch, so I’ll throw in another, somewhat related bit of arcane table manners trivia free of charge:

Useless Knowledge Gift With Purchase:  It’s completely acceptable to eat asparagus with your hands.

Unlike much of what was said at the recent political conventions, this is actually true.  You may daintily dine on the succulent shoots without using so much as an asparagus tong and then smugly wiggle your fingers around in your finger bowl in perfect propriety, though you should stop short of flicking water at the people who used utensils.

Unfortunately for me, I hate asparagus, so this fascinating knowledge does me no good, even if the Queen of England were to invite me to a formal asparagus tasting replete with finger bowls of every description.  One little blind girl’s trash is someone else’s treasure, though, so up for sale it goes.

Asking Price:  The proper use of Tumblr

woman-1459220_640I went on Tumblr a few times to try to understand what it is, but the longest I went without getting trapped in porn was fourteen minutes.  It may be that porn is, in fact, the proper use of Tumblr, I’m not sure.  But I’m told there’s more to it, and knowing how to use Tumblr seems more relevant these days than knowing how to use a finger bowl— at any rate, it’s certainly more common.  So if you’re interested or if you’ve got something else to trade, feel free to make an offer.  I’m open to negotiation, and I really want my mind-garage back.

And anyway, Queen Victoria once drank from a finger bowl, so what do I know?

 

(All images are in the public domain via pixabay.com)

Confessions Part Two: My Shameful Shrimp Addiction

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image in public domain (pixabay.com)

Some people have said that the high point of evolution thus far is the human race, but I disagree.  I think it’s shrimp.  I love shrimp.  I once wrote a poem about shrimp that I styled after She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron; the first line was “They swim in yummy, like Brad Pitt.”  If a genie appeared before me and offered to make me live forever on the sole condition that I never eat shrimp again, I’m honestly not sure if I’d say yes or no (though this scenario is highly unlikely, as I never polish my lamps).  They’re just that delicious.

My weakness for the delectable decapod crustaceans will occasionally lead me to do things I would normally never do.  For instance:  one night my friends and I were at a restaurant sharing a platter of coconut shrimp.  Now, I love my friends.  I do.  They’ve made me a better person and life without them would be a joyless wasteland.  But I really wanted those shrimp.  They were little curls of perfection in a crispy beer batter, and I wanted them all to myself.  I would love to say that I wrestled with, or at least acknowledged, this ethical conundrum, but I didn’t.  Instead, I said this:

Little Blind Girl:  Hey guys, I read an article the other day that called video games the most interesting and provocative artwork since Picasso went blue.  What do you think?

Here’s why saying that makes me a rotten person:  half of my friends think video games are the primary cause of moral decay in modern society.  The other half of my friends love video games the way I love shrimp.  I knew this, and I made the statement knowing that it would immediately plunge my friends into an argument so fervid and fanatical that they would lose all track of the world (and the seafood) around them.  This is an excerpt from the transcript:

Friend 1:  No!  You did not just compare Picasso’s Guernica to Call of Duty!  Picasso created an enduring portrait of devastated innocence! I’ve watched you play Call of Duty, and the only thing you do is shoot people, die, and start over again!

Friend 2:  Guernica and Call of Duty both make you think about the role of the individual in the face of violence and destruction!!  And Call of Duty makes you take an active role in the process!!  All you can do with Guernica is stare at it!!

Friend 3:  Guernica confronts us with uncomfortable truths, whether we accept them or not!!!  The most uncomfortable truth a video game will confront you with is that your reaction time is sub par!!!  That isn’t art!!!

Man At Next Table Over:  Didn’t Warhol say that art is what you can get away with?

Friend 1:  OH REALLY?  WELL, I BET I CAN GET AWAY WITH STABBING THIS FORK THROUGH YOUR HAND!  SOMEBODY CALL THE LOUVRE!

You’ll notice that my name doesn’t appear in the transcript.  That’s because, while my friends were vehemently debating the artistic merits of Grand Theft Auto, I was eating my way through the entire platter of shrimp.  I took my time; you don’t rush culinary masterpieces like that.  Plus, I knew my friends would keep going for at least 20 minutes, so I savored my spoils and enjoyed the show.  I finished before they did, and they were all a little surprised to find the platter empty:

Friend 1:  I don’t care what you say, no video game that lets you earn “star power” has any true artistic merit.  (Glances at the table)  Wow, have we eaten all the shrimp already?

Little Blind Girl:  Looks that way.

Friend 2:  I can’t remember eating any at all.  Funny how you lose track of things sometimes.

Friend 3:  I don’t know about you, but I’m still hungry.  Let’s order another platter.

Little Blind Girl:  Really?  Well, okay, if you want to.  Waiter!

(For those who are curious about the title:  Here’s a link to Confessions Part One.)

Grapefruit Juice: Even God Hates It

juice-73768_640My doctor ordered me to drink a glass of grapefruit juice every day.  Sure, I could just pretend I’m doing what he told me to do but actually keep drinking Sunny D.  Aside from my fear of turning orange from the beta carotene, though (and, yes, that happened.  To someone else, totally not me), I’m also terrified of my doctor.  He was in the army when he was younger, and he gets this look in his eyes from time to time that makes me think he didn’t serve in a medical capacity.  So now I drink a glass of grapefruit juice every day.

This raises a problem that I can’t ignore, however, and it’s not that I’m more scared of my doctor than I am of finding out that Johnny Depp hates my blog.  My fear of my doctor is probably the healthiest thing about me.  The problem is that I hate grapefruit juice.  I hate it with the burning, white-hot heat of a thousand suns.  For those of you who’ve seen the movie Clue, which I highly recommend by the way, my feelings for grapefruit juice make me think of Madeline Kahn’s character saying “I hated her SO… much… it… it… the… it… the… flames… flames… on the side of my face… breathing… breathless… heaving breaths…”  That’s exactly what it’s like for me, except that I haven’t murdered my grapefruit juice in the study with a candlestick (mostly because I can’t figure out how).

Grapefruit juice hates me back, incidentally.  I’m staring at a glass of it right now, one I tried to make more appealing by serving it over ice in a fancy wine glass and throwing in some grapes and a couple of cherries.  Every time I do that, though, I eat the grapes and cherries first; then I put in some more grapes and cherries, and then I eat those; then I let the ice melt; then I put the glass somewhere I can’t see it so I won’t feel guilty while I do pretty much anything else; then I sullenly unearth the glass, pinch my nose, and drink the juice.  Then I tell the remaining citric effluvia how awful it is, with references to reality television and Fifty Shades of Grey.  It’s hardly surprising that the juice resents this a little bit, especially given what happens about an hour after I drink it.

non-judgment-801268_640 2My motto has always been, drink a glass of grapefruit juice first thing in the morning and nothing worse can happen to you for the rest of the day.  I’ve lived by that motto for years, starting every morning by not drinking a glass of grapefruit juice right after I get out of bed, no exceptions, no matter what.  Then, when bad things happen during the day, I’ll think, “At least I didn’t have to drink a glass of grapefruit juice this morning,” and it all seems a little easier.  It’s been a touchstone of my adulthood, a way to know if I’m headed in the right direction.  When I don’t know what path to choose, I ask myself, “If I take this road, am I more or less likely to end up drinking grapefruit juice?”  It’s the reason I didn’t major in Business.  It’s why I broke up with the guy who wore suits on weekends.  My hatred for grapefruit juice is essential to who I am.

I tried to explain this to my doctor so he would understand that telling me to drink grapefruit juice really means ordering me to contravene the dictates of my soul, and could he truly want such a thing?  That’s when he got that look in his eyes and said something I won’t quote directly because I like you and I don’t want to scare you, but the gist was this:  “Sometimes in life, we all have to do things we hate—things we can’t forget, things we still see when we close our eyes, things that will stay with us even as we lie in the sweet embrace of Death.”  He kept twisting the cord of his stethoscope as he said it, too.  I’m not saying that has any significance, it’s just the kind of thing you notice.

So now I have a new motto:  Do what your doctor says unless you want to gaze upon the ruins of your life and weep bitter, pink, grapefruity tears.  And then publish a blog post about it and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day!  I hope.  I mean, what are the odds that my doctor reads this blog, right?

 

[all images are in the public domain via pixabay, with modification]

Modern Dueling, Or: How To Use Up That Spray Cheese

retro-1310390_640 7I recently got into a debate over whether dueling could be considered ethical.  It was the kind of debate you only get into when you start discussing philosophy late at night with people you just met, which is one reason I like philosophy so much.  What else will get you in a no-holds-barred fight about the epistemological implications of reality television (translation:  are the Kardashians making us stupider, or do we just feel stupider for having watched them?).  But, really, dueling?  Surely we can all agree on that, right?

And then I got to thinking, which is an unfortunate side effect of philosophy, and I wondered–could there be a place for dueling in modern society?  And then I got hungry, which is another side effect of philosophy,  especially when done at 2 AM, and I sought revelation in that temple of modern worship, the refrigerator.  Even the knottiest metaphysical conundrum becomes easier to unravel when you’ve had a nice sandwich.  Left-over chicken breast with mustard, maybe, or a nice peanut butter and jelly…

Oh, no.  New and much more pressing conundrum:  all I had was spray cheese and whipped cream.  Oh, I also had all sorts of healthy ingredients with which I could have cooked any number of dishes, but that’s not what you want at two in the morning, is it?  You want something easy, preferably unhealthy, possibly something past its expiration date.  Or chips.  No self-respecting philosopher cooks at two in the morning!  What could I do with spray cheese and a can of whipped cream?

That’s when it hit me, an idea so big it answered both my questions at once.  Question 1:  Is there a place for dueling in modern society?  Question 2:  What could I do with spray cheese and a can of whipped cream?  Answer to both:  it’s obvious!  This is how we can fight modern-day duels:  with aerosolized edibles!  It resolves questions of honor while simultaneously helping you clean out your pantry.  So much quicker and less expensive than lawsuits, plus you’ve got a tasty snack for after.  Well, you do if you pick the whipped cream.

The entire code duello fell into place after that epiphany.  The person challenged has choice of foodstuffs, but the challenger can reject the choice if the challenger presents medical documentation of an allergy to the selection.  Seconds will ensure that the weapons have not expired (it is recommended, but not required, that all duel-related edibles be purchased no more than three days before the date of the duel and still retain all tabs and plastic rings).  Cooking spray may be used in the event of a post-holiday spray food shortage, and it is acceptable to use well-shaken cans of soda if both parties agree, but no person of honor should ever profane beer in this manner.  Unless it’s PBR, in which case, spray away.

When aiming the chosen comestible, one must avoid the face and neck.  The best practice is to wear about one’s person a set of appropriate agreed-upon targets, such as strawberries or crackers, the choice of targets being dependent upon what food will be aimed at them.  It is recommended against using ice cream for this purpose as the target items will tend to become difficult to distinguish upon melting.  The first participant to hit each of his opponent’s targets with the spray food wins the duel.  Either participant may forfeit at any time by eating his remaining targets.  It is considered bad form to continue firing while your opponent is still chewing.

I think this could revolutionize modern society.  Who wouldn’t want to watch a couple of supposed adults attacking each other with spray cheese?  We could televise the duels, have commentators discuss the relative merits of name-brand vs. store-brand and the strategic placement of crackers.  Then we could have late-night philosophy debates over what’s making us dumber:  dueling with spray food or keeping up with the Kardashians.  Any resulting quarrels could be resolved by dueling or, in the alternative, attempting to keep up with the Kardashians.

But if the Kardashians decide to duel each other with edible spray paint (in gold, of course, while naked), I’m not responsible for the resulting global collapse of meaning, logic, and reason.  In fairness to me, I’m pretty sure that’s already happened.

Embed from Getty Images

Meet Super (Blind) Girl

I have a superpower.  Now, if I had a choice as to what superpower I would have, it wouldn’t be this one.  My first choice would be the ability to fly.  After that, I think maybe super-healing (because chopping vegetables while blind never ends well) or maybe immortality, because awesome.  It wasn’t up to me, though, so what I ended up with was this:  when I’m out running errands, I have the ability to go into a store and walk right up to the thing I’m looking for, even when I have no idea where it is and I can’t see it or anything around it.  Useful, but no one’s going to make a movie out of that anytime soon.  I don’t think.  Unless I can figure out how to sparkle while I do it.

edward cullen

Edward Cullen by Joel Kuiper, licensed by CC

My superpower became apparent a while ago when I was out with a friend shopping for a garlic press.  We were at Overpriced Behemoth Box Store (not the actual name, unless we’re being honest) in which literally thousands of items of varying degrees of usefulness were shelved, hung, and piled up farther than the eye, or my eye at least, could see.  We resigned ourselves to a minimum twenty-minute session of squinting and swearing, girded our loins, and went once more unto the breach.  I forded a nearby aisle, picked something up at random to see what it was, and yes:  it was indeed a garlic press.  Or should I say, it was the garlic press, because not only was it the thing I was looking for, it was the only one in the entire store.  All this while my Totally Sighted Friend was searching fruitlessly right beside me.  Hand to God, and I have a witness.

It’s gotten to the point that my Totally Sighted Friend will take me to the grocery store, tell me what she needs, and then follow me around until I find it.  One day she needed potatoes, so I wandered into the produce aisle, picked up a kumquat, put down the kumquat because I’ve never been sure what a kumquat is, thought I might like some cheese, and on the way to the cheese stand nearly ran into the potatoes.  Totally Sighted Friend seriously and with opportunism aforethought just leaned on the cart and watched me amble around until I stopped and went, “Hey! Potatoes!”  Which were right next to the onions I remembered I needed when two of them fell into my shopping cart.  They were specifically yellow onions, too, which was the kind I  wanted.  That’s really what makes it a super-power:  it’s so freaking specific.

i__m_a_goddamn_superhero_by_woodstock_chan-d397ahb

copyright 2011-2016 by woodstock-chan on deviantart.com http://fav.me/d397ahb

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility.  For instance, I have to be careful when I’m looking for something sharp or heavy that I don’t have anyone near me at the time lest they find themselves minus a finger or plus a concussion, because if I don’t immediately find whatever I’m looking for, it will launch itself at me, and not all coffee-makers have good aim.  I also have to watch out that the things I’m looking for don’t spill themselves all over the floor beside me and trip some innocent bystander who didn’t realize who they were standing next to.  As Super (Blind) Girl, it is my duty to minimize collateral damage in the fight of good against evil, and by good against evil I mean me against whatever idiot decided to reorganize the grocery store aisles I had so carefully memorized (side note to whoever did that:  I hope that when you go home, your mother runs out from under the porch and bites you).

Yea, verily, the life of a superhero is fraught with peril.  As I walk this lonely road, gentle readers, do not envy me, but follow at a safe distance, because there’s a decent chance I’ll accidentally find whatever it is you’re looking for.  By the way, I also have the power to draw smiley faces on the insides of basketballs, but I’m afraid you’re going to have to take that one on faith. 🙂