Welcome to Issue No. 3 of Listicles, the feature that presents the Top 10, Top 5, Top 3, Top 100 or Top 1,000,000 of whatever it is you want to know about. Email your Listicle suggestions to email@example.com.
There was a time that being relatively healthy was easy. I just simply existed. I could eat whatever I wanted to eat, sleep whatever hours were available to sleep and go about my life without too many shits given.
Then, I turned 28. All of a sudden, my blazing-fast metabolism that allowed me to stay rail-thin despite piles of Big Macs and regular 11 p.m. ice cream sundaes that would make you blush said, “Ya know what? We’re done here.” All of a sudden, food meant pounds and heartburn and cholesterol.
Fast-forward 20 years. Not only do I have to worry about what I eat, I have to worry about when I eat it. And not only that, but a whole host of other health-related things have forced me to alter my daily life in the hopes of staying somewhat regulated and sort of healthy.
The worst part about it is that so much of the stuff I have to do is annoying as shit. So without further ado, here’s a list of the Top 10 Most Annoying Shit I Have To Do To Stay Relatively Healthy.
No. 10: Journal My Freaking Feelings
I like to write, so it’s not the actual writing that’s a problem. It’s that writing about my feelings is ugly because they are the in-the-moment, blood-and-guts stuff, and they feel toxic when they come out of either a pen or my fingers through a keyboard onto a screen. When I go back and look at my old journals, I’m often disgusted by what I was thinking and feeling at the time. If you think watching how the sausage is made is nasty, watching John process his feelings is squeezing-out-a-puss-filled-zit ugly. Yet if I don’t journal my feelings, they get stuck and tend to make me a tad insane. So journal I must. And it’s annoying as shit.
No. 9: Go to Stupid Restorative Yoga
Here’s the thing: I love my little yoga studio run by My Favorite Hippie. I truly enjoy being around most of the people who go there. Yet to have to go to restorative yoga classes so I can be positioned into extremely comfortable and very rewarding positions that stretch out all my aches and pains from numerous injuries throughout the years and that help slow down the constant stream of thoughts that roll through my head is, well, not exactly manly. Sure, it’s good for me. And I don’t mind being around a bunch of mostly nice women. But would I rather be at a sports bar putting away a few beers and watching the game with a bro? You bet your ass I would.
No. 8: Spend Time in Silent Freaking Meditation
As if restorative yoga weren’t bad enough, when I don’t go to yoga, I must meditate … typically for at least 15 minutes a day. And yes, I know that it’s totally good for me and totally rests my brain and totally centers me to be totally freaking awesome at work, home and wherever the hell I take my happy ass. But do I want to sit there on a comfortable cushion or in a comfortable chair either in silence or listening to some dippy person walk me through a guided meditation? Child, please. I’ve got things to do. And have you gotten the point that slowing my mind down is like trying to stop a jet landing on an aircraft carrier with only some stretched-out Saran Wrap? Yeah. Fun times.
No. 7: Deprive Myself Of My Five Senses
For those of you who have never subjected yourself to a float tank, let me give you a brief explanation. Take the five accepted senses — sight, hearing, touch, taste and feel. Then throw those fuckers right out the window. A float tank is a tube filled with heavily salted water. Close the hatch and you can see nothing. I’m talking where-the-fuck-is-my-hand-in-front-of-my-face nothing. The salt in the water means you’re effortlessly floating, which throws your feeling abilities way off. And it’s quiet. So. Damn. Quiet. It’s also freaking amazing. It takes a little bit to adjust, but every single time I do this, the real me is able to emerge and I’m able to just be, without the constant bombardment of other people’s shit that I don’t realize I feel until I am not feeling it. So there I go, into the tank, about once a quarter, to give myself an hour and a half of blessedly shit-free time with only those senses that no one really likes to talk about — except us crazy people.
No. 6: Let Strangers Touch Me.
Despite being Italian — and an East Coast Italian, at that — I’m not all that touchy-feely. Goodbyes at the end of family events when I was a child were these long, drawn-out affairs filled with hugs and cheek kisses and sometimes a good-natured slap to the face. I wanted nothing to do with it. There are a select few people who I actually enjoy having touch me. Yet because of all these injuries and the need for “self-care,” I have to subject myself at least once a month to being massaged by a really nice woman whom I enjoy talking to and who makes everything that hurts not for a while. It’s torture. I have to let this person, like, kneed me. Let’s put it this way: If you put Jeffrey Epstein, Deshaun Watson and Robert Craft on one side of a continuum, I’m way the hell off that line on the other side.
No. 5: Keep Inspirational Shit Around
I hate motivational stuff. I hate motivational speeches, motivational posters, motivational quotes and, in general, motivational people. I have been forced to sit through way too many “life-changing” speeches at work conferences that not only failed to change my life but apparently just reinforced the horrible managerial skills of a few really shitty people who sat next to me. Yet because confident and a positive attitude aren’t what the experts would call “John’s strong suits,” I’m forced to keep this shit around me — hanging on my walls, taped to my computer monitor, written on the bathroom mirror and tattooed on my motherfucking arm. That is annoying as shit. Side note: If you’re like me, check out despair.com. That shit is hilarious.
No. 4: Drink Until I Nearly Pee Myself.
Did you know the human body is made up of approximately 739% water? Were you aware that without a Loch Ness-sized infusion of water each day, your brain will whither and die? Yeah, me neither. Until I actually started drinking copious amounts of the stuff and, annoyingly as shit, started to feel better. So now I drink five huge containers of water each day — like, 55-gallon drum-sized containers. This means that, if you see me running out of a room, I’m hoping to actually make it to the bathroom before I have to unload and not actually do it on the potted plant in the corner of your hallway. On top of that annoying little gem, water often tastes like ass. Sure, Water Departments might treat it, but whatever they’re treating it with often makes it go down like it comes out. And that, my friends, is annoying as shit.
No. 3: Ask For Drugs From A Fucking Head-Shrinker
Do you know how annoying the mental health world is these days? Do you know how many absolutely incompetent assholes there are who get a degree, slap together a website and suddenly think they’re Sigmund Fucking Freud? Do you understand how little these people know of you, your history and your current problems before they scrawl their gibberish on a piece of paper and order you to … err … suggest you swallow pills that mess with your brain chemistry? Do you know that most of the shit they prescribe, they have no clue how it works — or even if it works? Do you know how hard it is to stop taking this stuff once you start taking it? I do. Thankfully, I’ve all but stopped taking 95% of this crap, but that doesn’t mean I can avoid talking with this jackwagon of a head-shrinker once every six months for 15 minutes to give him a thorough and comprehensive update on my life so he can then authorize me to obtain those brain-altering substances. Yeah. That’s annoying as shit.
No. 2: Look Like A Fucking Moron Every Night
Remember going to bed in the early days of your marriage? You know what wasn’t there then? A fucking hose running from a machine to this thing called a “nose pillow” through which air shoots up your nostrils to remind your goddamn brain that it needs to actually keep you alive during the night. At least, that wasn’t in my bed early in my marriage, but it sure as hell is there now. Sleep apnea sucks balls. A sleep study revealed my body basically was done with being alive fifty-fucking-three times an hour. And here’s a thing: There are two kinds of sleep apnea. There’s obstructive sleep apnea, which is when your airway essentially closes. Got that. Then there’s a second kind of sleep apnea that only special people like me have along with the first kind: Central sleep apnea. That’s the kind where, for whatever reason, your brain simply forgets to send the signal to your lungs that they need to do their fucking jobs! And so, every night, I kiss my wife goodnight before hooking myself up to this stupid thing — and that’s not all. Because my mouth has a tendency to open in the night and let the air being shot up my nose escape through my gaping maw, I have to wear a strap under my chin and Velcro it tightly together on top of my head like a fucking moron. Sexy image of a middle-aged man, huh?
No. 1: Eat Stupid Food
Ya know who would choose to eat food considered healthy if it weren’t considered healthy? No one. Not a goddam soul. Why? Because compared to food that actually tastes good, healthy food sucks. Yet thanks to the ravages of Longhaul COVID, I had to radically change my diet to avoid all foods that cause inflammation, which is basically every food I liked to eat. Pizza? Gone. Pie? See ya. Bacon? Bacon! Motherfucking bacon! Well, if it’s uncured and blessed by some guru in a temple high up in the Himalayan Mountains, sure, I can have a piece. Remember that whole East Coast Italian thing I wrote above? I was raised on processed meats and cheeses. Now, they are all on the shit list. And it is truly a shit list, because if I start eating that stuff again, I truly feel like shit. So is all this healthier crap better for me? Sure it is. Does it allow me to feel not like shit? Sure it does. Am I ever going to ask for the gluten-free menu at a restaurant? Absofuckinglutely not.
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