Thursday, December 13, 2012

Living Dangerously

It occurred to me this morning, as I was putting in my contacts, that I should probably be dead already, by my own hand.

I don’t mean ‘intentionally’ or anything; it’s just that I violate things like “conventional wisdom” and “safety precautions” as a matter of routine.  Take my contact lenses, for instance.

The warnings say I should put in a new pair every month or I may risk an eye infection.  I’m also supposed to empty and dry my lens case after every use.

Bah!  I keep my contacts for at least 2 months, or until I notice they don’t feel so fresh any more.  That takes my 6-month supply and turns it into a 1-year supply.  As for my contact case, I replace the saline every other day and rarely dry them out.  And do you know what?  I’ve been wearing contacts since 1980 and have had zero eye infections or any other eye problems.  Well, besides my vision deteriorating, but that’s just the onward march of time.

Food safety is another thing.  Pinky is all about food safety, having worked for the county as a kitchen inspector for assisted living places, and I regularly ignore and refute just about everything she tries to put into place at home.  Like leftovers…

She packs all the leftovers up into Tupperware containers and has them in the refrigerator within minutes of the end of dinner.  And if I don’t eat them within a day or two, she threatens to throw them out.

I say “threatens” because that would start WWIII.  The Dude does not tolerate wasting food under any circumstances.  Well, if it does indeed spoil, then that’s the exception.  But the thing is, during my bachelor years, I’d keep stuff in the fridge for ages and still eat it.  And I didn’t even HAVE Tupperware… it was more like a bowl with foil on it.

Same goes for leaving food out.  I can remember when I was growing up, Mom used to make the traditional Friday night Mrs. Paul's and Mac n’ Cheese.  After dinner, the macs stayed in the crock pot on the counter, and any leftover fish sticks were put on a small plate, where they stayed overnight.  Most times, I’d eat the fish sticks for breakfast the next morning.  (Leftovers don’t usually last long in a house containing a teenage boy.)

But the thing is… I didn't die, I didn't get sick, and I didn't get the runs… nothing.  It was the same with other simple foods that don’t necessarily require refrigeration, like cakes, breads, cookies, peanut butter, and whatnot.  We never kept that stuff in the fridge and none of us were any worse for wear.

Pinky and I used to go round and round about meat preparation too, especially with pork.  She was still laboring under the misconception that you have to cook the shit out of it or else you’ll get worms or something.  I insist that you can cook pork so that it remains juicy and not tasting like shoe leather, without facing mortal peril.

All I can say is that I've cooked juicy pork chops for 20 years, and have never become ill from it.  In this day and age, The Pork Menace is a myth, left over from when transporting meat in unrefrigerated trucks and rail cars was common.  That’s no longer the case.  Luckily, over the years I've been able to bring her on board the juicy pork wagon. 

"Juicy Pork Chop Wagon" would make a great band name.  So would "The Pork Menace."

I know Pinky’s just trying to look out for me and I appreciate that.  But the fact is no one can convince me that “Action A” is harmful when I've been engaging in “Action A” for years without any measurable consequence.  I call that “hard-won experience.”

I am a firm believer in the 5-Second Rule.  Also, the 10 or 15-Second Rule, depending on how much I like what fell on the floor.  See that earlier rule about not wasting food…

I also tempt fate, apparently, because I am not addicted to hand sanitizer.  Sure, I have some on my desk at work, but I've had the same little 2-oz bottle for a several years and it’s only half gone.  I wash my hands a couple times a day, and I get an annual flu shot and take some standard cold germs precautions.  I didn't used to do any of that.  And you know what?  I still get a cold about once a year, regardless.  Perhaps there’s something to be said for a childhood spent playing in piles of dirt.  I bet my immune system could fight off the Cloverfield monster.

“Did you see the size of those T-cells?  I’m outta here…”

Earlier this week, I had to pluck out an eyelash that was growing out of the corner of my eye and Pinky gave me a 5-minute dissertation on how to sterilize the tweezers before and after plucking.  I ignored all of it and just yanked it out.  I figure, the tweezers only touch the eyelash, which is then discarded, what’s the problem?  If I stick the tweezers into my eye, I’m going to have bigger problems to worry about.

It takes an act of Congress to get me to go to the doctor.  Pinky is always on me to go get something checked… blood pressure, blood vessels, cholesterol, bone density, colon integrity, you name it. 

I’m one of those “If it ain't broke, don’t fix it,” kind of guys.  And when something does seem broken, my first response is always to see if it will go away on its own, before seeking medical attention.  I’ll wait it out for months.  You’d be amazed how often it works out just that way.

I do take vitamins and fish oil, but I don’t think they do any good.  I feel like I’m perpetuating a fraud started by GNC.  Every study I read says that vitamins don’t have any perceptible impact when they’re taken as supplements, as opposed to via daily meals.  But given my vegetable-deficient diet, I’d better hedge my bets.

I got rid of my bicycle last month.  It wasn't because it was an old racing 10-speed that was 25 years old, or because the tires wouldn't hold air any more.  It was because Maryland has a law that says even grownups have to wear helmets when riding a bike.  That was the last straw.

When I was a kid, bicycle helmets caused injuries, because any kid seen wearing one would get the living shit kicked out of them, just for looking like such a Nancy-boy.  Even now, I won’t wear anything more protective on a bike than a fortified baseball cap.

You know what the biggest peril I face is?  Sleeping.  Seriously, every time I wake up, I have to take a full inventory on what hurts.  Is it my neck? My back?  Shoulders or knees?  It’s always something.  Next thing you know, I’m going to have to wear some kind of special helmet to bed.

My next most dangerous activity is stretching.  If I stretch too vigorously, I’m liable to produce a stabbing pain in my vertebrae, causing me to limp around for the next week.

Luckily, Pinky is a certified massage therapist.  She puts me on her table and straightens me right out.

That’s one time I’m happy to put my health in her hands.


  1. Bless Pinky for her competent, kind ministry. Without her, you might o.d. on mac & cheese or poop out on Mrs. Paul's.
    Welcome to the OOWIE CLUB. Wake early to get all the owwies out before your love wakes up.

    1. I'm about 3 aches away from starting a morning spreadsheet to track my various ailments.

  2. We are definitely more resilient than the experts give us credit for.
    I stopped wearing contacts because of an overly enthusiastic eye doctor. She told me she was "surprised I hadn't lost an eye yet" because I didn't dry the water off my hands first before touching my contacts. Even though I did every thing else correctly, and had only been wearing contacts for a few years. She freaked me out so badly I just stopped wearing them altogether. Oh well, this has saved me a bunch of money!

    1. Yeah, that's pretty over-enthusiastic. At least you wash your hands... I rarely wash my hands before putting my contacts in or out... unless they're unusually dirty.

      In the morning, I figure I just woke up; how dirty could they be? At night, I'm too tired to putz around in the bathroom; I just take them out and hit the sack. It's been 32 years now, and not one eye infection. [knocks wood furiously...]

  3. Oh my gosh! I do the same thing with my contacts. The pair in my eye balls are going on their 2nd month, as they are two week disposables. What I find works best is once a week I use the special cleaner that has peroxide in it. It takes my level of eye infection and subsequent danger down a notch. PLUS! They last even longer. I haven't ordered contacts in a long time, which is great, because I had to replace my glasses after SOMEONE *coughMaeliecough* BROKE them in half.

    1. I think that over the years, my my eye surface has toughened up to have the consistency of a ping-pong ball.

      Of course, I say that until I get an eyelash or something in my eye...

  4. I live somewhat dangerously when it comes to food. I remember years ago when a coworker was in the kitchen looking forlornly at his yogurt. He said it had expired yesterday and he had to throw it out. I told him he was nuts, that I eat yogurt up until a month after the date (which may be the sell-by date, but then again, maybe not). Leftovers also getting eaten out of our fridge up to a week after they have been hanging out. I tend not to let my kid do these same things, but we are both pretty healthy regardless.

    I do, however, always wash my hands before cleaning my contacts, although I wear the same pair for probably three or more (!) months (but only five days per week).

    Stay loose!

    1. I think those expiration dates on food and medicine are just there to make you buy more before you really need to.

  5. I agree. Back in my day, there was no sterilization. We just dealt with life. I think that's why kids are so sickly nowadays. They are too used to everything being all clean and shit. A lil bit o dirt never hurt anyone..



    1. Exactly! When we grew up, there was no anti-bacterial soap, hand sanitizer or Clorox Handy Wipes. We went out and played in the dirt, used hankies or wiped our nose on our sleeves. In other words, we developed our immune systems.

      Now, with the sanitized bubble everyone lives in, it's no wonder so many kids have allergies to everything under the sun and get sick every other month.

      And don't even get me started on the bottled water.

  6. Glad I'm not the only one who abuses their eyes. I have the weekly kind and make the last 6 months. Believe it or not, that's better than what I used to. I kept a pair in for over a year, slept in them and everything. Went to the eye doctor and he read me the riot act. So now I only sleep in them on work days. I don't want to have to get up any earlier, that's a whole 2 extra minutes I could have slept.

    1. I’ve never had the sleep-in-them kind of contacts, so it’s pretty automatic for me to take them out at night. Been doing it for 32 years now. But that’s not to say I haven’t slept in them by accident now and again.

      Usually it’s “no harm, no foul,” but it’s still kind of unnerving to wake up and be able to see. At first I’m like, “It’s a miracle!” Then after a second or two… “Ah shit.”

    2. Mine aren't the sleep in kind either. I just do it. My eye doctor said that I'm lucky that my eyes produce enough lubricant while I'm sleeping. I've saved a fortune though, since I never took them out, they never got handled and lasted forever. But I'm better about it now, don't want to push my luck.

      I've slept in them so much that I hate waking up and not being able to see.

    3. Mine are apparently NOT. It was always fairly alarming trying to peel the contacts off my eyes after a sleep. Luckily it was a rare event for me.


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