My Chosen Path

Destroying that which impedes the way

I’m giving the reader another biographical entry into the happenings of my life. Consider this an extension of my 2 a.m. gym session., with more intimate reflections and disclosures from the author.

Since my late-night gym session, I’ve encountered death in its various guises and succumbed to quasi-debilitating injuries, the vicissitudes of life that remind one how tenuous it all really is. Yet, I have survived and thankfully recovered. And I often ask myself whether I can still be motivated to improve my health and wellbeing. As I have said, motivation can be derived from rather unlikely places; in the aforementioned post, it was hatred.

Motivation can come in the form of inducements. Sometimes, it comes in the form of supportive gestures. I have also been moved to action by speeches given by people I admire, and by music lyrics that resonated with something deep inside. More recently, I require fierce pushes from a friend—to whom I am eternally indebted—to help me control my negligent eating habits and to have something resembling a consistent workout schedule. Alas, this lack of endogenous drive for self-betterment has inexorably had some startling health implications. Which leads me to the final motivator—or impetus to immediate action—I wish to talk about, the one that comes into sharp relief when in close proximity to oblivion.

My primary care physician has assured me that my intemperate attitude towards food and drink have threatened to undermine several organ systems, namely my kidneys and liver.

I undoubtedly lack some internal self-disciplinary mechanism that keeps normal individuals consistent and focused on reaching their goals. Perhaps I’m missing the requisite allele for proper portion control or my brain chemistry doesn’t permit prolonged commitments to self-improvement. (I tend to be highly motivated in three-week bursts, imposing strict dietary constraints on myself and adhering to an even more rigid gym attendance.) Maybe these are just more excuses, attempts to sidestep accepting full responsibility for my actions (or inactions). Until quite recently, I found myself coming up with all the predictable and stale responses to avoid working too hard, to avoid sweating too much, to avoid going too far out of my comfort zone. That shit requires energy… and fortitude and resilience and determination. Do I have any of those things?

As a result, I truly don’t know how far I can physically push myself before my meat carapace yields. I don’t know my true potential. After my doctor broke the news to me, entreating me to abandon my bacchanalian lifestyle before I reached the point of no return, I lapsed into a dreadful session of self-sabotaging thoughts. We all slip deep into the recesses of our consciousnesses to debate and fight ourselves and lament certain things we regret doing. Some of my thoughts are merciless salvos whose only victim is I; that’s how it was when I departed the doctor’s office. I focused on the imminent deterioration of my organs, the hardships I would have to endure, the complacency—and, frankly, the laziness—that had precipitated these circumstances.

And then I stopped.

My thoughts were betraying me, proceeding as though I had been defeated. The termites of self-destruction had dined long and well on my self-esteem. I was focusing on all the wrong things. During my most recent three-week burst (it was admittedly longer), my knee had sufficiently healed to make cardiovascular exercise a viable option. I have, at the behest of my friend, increased my walking speed and improved my times, noteworthy and tangible progress. (Isn’t that what we all want?) I even received an unsolicited compliment from a coworker who had noticed I was less voluminous. Some of my work had started to pay off!

More importantly, I realized my mind, despite its willingness to periodically drag me through cerebral hell, had developed a defense mechanism for pernicious trains of thought. Don’t worry, brain. Allow me to assist:

Fuck those self-sabotaging thoughts! And… those termites, too! 

I’m neither infirm nor in extremis (nor in close proximity to oblivion for that matter). I can reverse the abuse and damage done to my body. When I set out on the journey to improve my life, I acknowledged that setbacks were temporary. But I must be willing to accept the possibility of future injuries, of grueling workouts with overwhelming perspiration and excruciating diaphragmatic spasms as I gasp for air. I must visualize my goals and turn my words (and thoughts) into unstoppable determination. I have to do it, as I have been, for moi-même, to become the architect of my own fate. I’ve equipped myself with knowledge and I’ve approached myself—and the flaws requiring remediation—honestly. Now, more than ever, it’s time to act.

The Salt in our Blood

How halophobia killed the humble potato

What happened to french fries in America? Did I pass through some membrane into another dimension where salty foods are verboten?

If so, get me out of here!!!

In all sincerity, I haven’t truly enjoyed a french fry in quite some time due to the country’s growing halophobia. That’s correct, halophobia: the exaggerated fear of salt in one’s diet. Admittedly not a term currently found in dictionaries, but I can hope to introduce this word into the already bloated English lexicon. It is this fear of salt that threatens the nobility of the french fry as the crispy vehicle of ketchup.

I am obliged, insofar as I am able, to combat this lack of seasoning and see its proponents defeated. Who eats french fries with no salt? Who thought that was a good idea? That’s like ordering an iced tea without first saying ‘Long Island.’ Screw that noise. Pass the damn salt, please!

Continue reading “The Salt in our Blood”

My Obsession With Books

The best kind of addiction

Whosoever gifted me my first book, the humble seed from which my deep love and adoration for reading (and writing, for that matter) germinated, nowhere near enough expressions of gratitude could ever be bestowed upon thee.

For me, I enjoy the whole experience. It is pure ecstasy.

It begins with warm reminiscences. I recall my first books, greedily gobbled up by my young mind. The immovable hardcovers that housed crisp pages of imaginative delights, feeding each of my neurons. Every word and every picture nourished me. Changed me.

The weight of each book varies. Each cover has a different texture and a different thickness. Hardcovers, with their protective carapace, can have a raised texture with small patches of smooth lettering. Paperbacks, with their glossy and pliant coverings, are often smooth with few imperfections. No two books truly feel that same. And no electronic substitute could ever hope to replace such a wondrous tactile experience.

O, and the smell. I have smelled and always will smell each book I encounter. Age and the process by which the paper is manufactured plays a critical role here. In those tantalizing moments where my lungs draw breath and my nostrils analyze each passing molecule, bliss overtakes me. Older books typically appeal to me more than those freshly pressed. Nevertheless, I never deny myself the olfactory pleasure. And neither should anyone.

My hunger for books is insatiable. I cannot get enough of them. My idea of an enjoyable Saturday is one spent sifting through library book sales for literary gems. Being transported to new worlds and being exposed to new words will only cultivate the mind and enrich one’s life. I love books. Therefore, to me, bibliocide is blasphemy, cruel and unpardonable. Akin to the murder of kith and kin. And the barbarous act should be met with fierce execration and scorn.

I love books. All shapes. All sizes. All fonts. All smells.

When my Phone’s Battery Almost Died

It’s interesting how the impending death of one’s cell phone battery is treated with such exigence. People scramble to and fro looking for chargers, portable batteries, and outlets to plug in their devices.

I’m no different. 

Cloaca World

Free admission.

Before I begin, imagine what the dreadful amusement park Cloaca World would be like, let alone look like. Welcome to some of the thoughts that traipse across my neurons. You’re welcome.

Let’s begin!

I have accepted—as I hope we all have—my place in the animal kingdom, a member of an intelligent primate species that has gotten “out of the food chain,” as Louis C.K. so aptly put it. Our escape notwithstanding, we are still bound to the activities of our ancestors. Waste elimination is often a discreet and private affair, seldom discussed in public and often reserved for bright rooms filled with various forms of polished earthenware. Each home has at least one main room relegated to the task, a veritable Cloaca Maxima, where natural bodily functions are masked by aerosolized shame and guilt. Is anyone truly fooled when walking into a bathroom and is hit with the smell of pumpkin pie? Last I checked, such are not the goods baked there.

O, the bathroom: a sanitized place where faucets are needlessly turned on to shield the outside world from our mammalian sounds. This, incidentally, is a major psychotic hatred of mine. Demure individuals who waste perfectly good water to hide what comes naturally to all humans need to be given a swift kick in the taint.

What the reader should have undoubtedly concluded is that this post will pertain to a particular set of bodily functions. The funniest kinds.

Enter at your own risk.

Continue reading “Cloaca World”

The Simple Pleasures

A dear friend of mine has spent—and continues to spend—a portion of his free time cultivating a vegetable garden. Nothing short of a private horticultural marvel, it has yielded large and delicious victuals that have resulted in tasty creations. Although impressive, perhaps I’m talking this humble garden up too much. When speaking about vegetation destined for consumption, especially when discussing food in general, it’s easy to regurgitate gobs of meretricious superlatives which more often than not appear so contrived that they would even confuse the diamond-encrusted gurus of the world. Speaking of superlatives, I also immediately think of Louis C.K. and his skit about us going for the “top-shelf” words. But I digress.

My friend derives quite a bit of pride and joy from this little plot of land, carefully tending to the various vegetables and herbs, and planning dishes based on the days harvest. All mortals that have never beheld the garden are promptly given a tour and are generously offered vegetables to take home. One could say that the garden gives material form to my friend’s kindness and generosity. These wonderful qualities are further exemplified in the meals prepared for friends and family utilizing the home-grown ingredients.

It’s quaint and endearing that my friend has found such a satisfying recreation and I can’t help but feel happiness and gratification. It is truly wonderful.

Continue reading “The Simple Pleasures”

Never Bring Too Little

As we enter the last third of summer, it seems as if everyone is in a mad scramble to enjoy the last bits of good sun, imbibe cold beer, and empty the vast larders of their local supermarket. Social events pepper the long summer months and one often panics trying to attend them all. I will impart one rule unto the reader that will ensure that one’s thirst remains quenched and one’s conversations interesting.

Never bring too little.

It is not meant to sound like a divine injunction; however, it would perhaps be more widely embraced if it had the tone of divine warrant. One ought never to arrive at a feast or gathering with inadequate quantities of drink, preferably of the alcoholic kind. This becomes substantially more important during family engagements or where the guest list includes undesirable company.

The rewards of abundance are manyfold. Firstly, a parched interlocutor makes for a challenging conversation. A dry mouth and gullet are a recipe for frequent throat-clearings that often interrupt the flow of a conversation. Staggering quantities of drink ensure that the windpipes are lubricated and viable for (hopefully) nourishing dialogue. Which brings us to the second reward, that of interesting conversations. As the inhibitions are lowered (in the vernacular: as less fucks are given), the philosophical and intellectual (sometimes the pseudo-intellectual) in one emerges. Staunch opinions become more overt and raunchier jokes are told. As a result we often learn more about the interlocutor than would otherwise be possible. Rapturous laughter and a great deal of mirth is often derived from speakers for whom one too many drinks are never enough.

Another reward: bringing excess drink ensures that one will never have to go on the dreaded “beer run”, which permits the merriment and frivolities to continue uninterrupted. Lastly, abundance compensates for the more penurious individuals.

No sin is more egregious than that of the empty-handed guest.