If It Tastes Good

Oh to be young again.

Has anyone found the Fountain of Youth? Because I’m running out of time here! And don’t give me that long-ass sales line about working out and eating a consistent healthy diet. I did that for 45-years being a very active young boy. Several athletic activities such as swimming, volleyball, baseball, and ultimately soccer/futebol that I pursued from secondary school, collegiate, and pro to semi-pro before retiring. During all of those years was that “strict healthy diet,” with occasionally light normal alcohol consumptions. It all worked rather well — complete physicals always ended with the doctor stating, An excellent bill of health for your age sir.

Then came the big 5 – 0.

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Injuries sustained over a lifetime soccer career — both knees, one shoulder, one ankle, and 2-3 concussions… that I can remember — began limiting my physical activities, or at least the particular sports I enjoyed playing. Time to adapt.

I quickly discovered, however, that it really, really helps if you HAVE the time TO adapt! And as I also soon learned at that point, it all comes down to shuffling around, tossing out, plugging in various “priorities” within a 24-hour day. No more, no less. Twenty. Four. This is a workout in itself!

By the time I perfect this time-management, advanced calculus equation, I am 55-years old. My hair, what’s remaining on my crown and has moved en masse to my ears, nose, and neck, has turned essentially all silver-white. My daughter says I am now ready to be accepted into a band of gorillas as a silver-back — not to be confused with THE silver-back, she clarifies. Apparently in the years it took me to become a near replica of Sean Connery, in 30-seconds my daughter became a Primatologist with an acute sense of reality-checks. I will spare everyone the long list of “medical checks” and prevention measures men over 40 should (sometimes must) be alert to and inevitably embrace. Several methods are quite humbling and challenge even the most sturdiest of dignities.

Then with a vengeance came varicella-zoster. But at the time I had no idea why I felt like my left side head, neck, left tonsil, and left inner-ear were about to explode. My friend tells me I kept mumbling over and over It hurts, it burns, I see Kate Beckinsale with Jessica Biel. This was rumour of course, and after all I was running a 103° temperature. An aging man cannot be held responsible for an unhinged subconscious!

After 3-days of total hell consciously and subconsciously, I had had enough. I was a defeated silver-back-n-top. Despite my long history of fainting at the sight of syringes, scalpels/lancets, needles, blood, and the occasional speech impediment around Nurse Goodbodee in librarian glasses, to the doctor I went. As I expected, this did not go as expected.

The nurse performed all the usual pre-diagnosis rituals, showed me my examination room and cushy table to place my buttocks to await the doctor. A few minutes pass, he enters, he corrects me 3-4 times about “Pugach,” pops the rubber gloves on, checks my head, stethoscope to the chest and back, then sits on his stool-with-rollers. Your shingles the doctor from Belarus or Ukraine with an impossible last name to pronounce explained, will go away in 4-6 weeks. But that’s not your biggest problem. I immediately start remembering the earlier pre-diagnosis checks:  weight scale? Ear thermometer? Prostate check? Whew! Didn’t do that one. Pulse check? Blood-pressure monitor? The constant popping of 1500-2000 MGs of Extra Strength Tylenol for the Kate Beckinsale/Jessica Biel ailment? Are there severe side-effects for that? I just wasn’t sure what could be worse than my damn head and pain.

Your blood-pressure is high; abnormally high. I was slightly relieved when he said that. I thought of many things much worse! We’ll need to put you he continued on some blood-pressure medications right away. I think cool, not a problem. You’re closely approaching stroke-risk status. Great, let’s do it — the meds that is. We’ll also need to do some lab work too… to check on enzyme levels and blood electrolytes, lipid profile, etc.

Now we have a problem. Well, if we don’t do lab work you’ll likely have bigger problems than the one in your head and on your head. He winked at me with a smirk. I thought, that’s not funny.

In the room ladened with every sort of life-threatening utensils and signs warning not to touch, discard here, and In Case of Emergency Do… I managed to get through the whole slapping the inside of the elbow, sterilization rub, needle enters, blood gushes out, fills the vile, undo the rubber strap off the arm, and then band-aid with a candy-lollipop. I walked out of that office a proud survivor and veteran of many floor deployments!

glasses-neededA day or two later the lab calls with my results. Everything looks normal the kind lady informs me but your liver enzymes are elevated. Okay, elevated is not all bad with a man’s body, right? You need to cut-down on your carbohydrates, go on a low-carb diet, and probably cut way down on your alcohol consumption. I felt my body sink when she said the last part. Like… ALL alcohol, I asked her. Wine, preferably reds, in moderation — say two or three glasses per week or one 8 oz glass per day — should be fine. However, she pretty much said no liquors in excess or heavy moderation. When I researched the low-carb diet, it wasn’t too bad, although several foods I’ve loved all my life — cheeses, breads, whole milk, coffee with gourmet creamers — had to go.

This felt as if I was loosing my closest dearest friends and even the ones that get you into untold troubles and complications of particular day-after regrets. Bye-bye. Gone. Send a postcard.

Then my follow-up doctor visit happened.

Same routines as previously with the marvelous exception of items designed to poke, puncture, probe, or cause general discomfort such as fainting and peeing (in a cup or in your pants) all remained out of eyesight and out of my body. I was thrilled! The soft knock-knock on the door and my doc with the impossible last name enters. All my problems and ailments are in decline — the fun news. We then begin discussing the low-carb diet and what it encompasses. He covers the “Okays to eat/drink” first, perhaps wanting to make me feel better… as most doctors are supposed to do. He names off a dozen or so and all of them I enjoy eating. It’s quite a tasty list of options. Do you have our Low-Carb Diet pamphlet? No I replied. He walks over to the wall of pamphlets next to the big laminated poster entitled “Causes of Hypertension to the Human Body,” grabs my future meal plan and hands it to me.

There in green-ink I see the side of “Okay to eat/drink” list. Yep, check. Then on the other side of the page is the “Avoid – Do Not Eat/Drink.” In a most drabby voice I share my assessment of the diet, Umm, the red Avoid side is noticeably longer. He acknowledges my keen observation; apparently he has heard this tone before. Yes, a big reason for that are the enormous choices shoppers have at grocery stores and restaurants. Yeah, that’s true I say to myself, still mopey. I try to finagle some exceptions, or certain conservative amounts, frequencies, and volumes, but my doctor with the impossible last name is having none of it. He goes into a more extensive spill as to what exactly is best and what is iffy, wrong, and call the undertaker. I try one last attempt to skirt by, just on the edge, and he interrupts me. I guess he’s on a schedule?

Basically, if it tastes good, spit it out!

I look at him astonished with eyes bulging, mouth frozen. I’m unsure what to say. Then he begins chuckling, and explains he wanted to get me refocused on what is important. He then modified his hammering gavel to a softer If it tastes sweet, spit it out.”

Well there, I felt much better. My doctor (and I suppose my body) put me on top of the geriatric world, only after one-hour… a bit older listening to my exhilarating new lifestyle! Strike up the marching band, but leave off the flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, the entire percussion section, and the tubas.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — But Don’t Over Do It 😶

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Crowds, People, and Strangers?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve often been told and have heard this self-perceived proud gloating about remote, rural country-living:  Living out in the country away from huge crowds, rude impolite strangers, horrible traffic and congestion, and high crime-rates are the best reasons not to live in the big city. Where I am currently living, in the central Hill Country of Texas, I am often offered this sort of bragging. I find it a very odd mindset and perception by “sweet ole” country folks. Almost naïve, if I must admit.

I was born and raised in one of Texas’ largest cities, Dallas. From only 682,000 people inside the official city-limits, Dallas has grown now to 1,300,092 in 2016. That number is strictly within the narrow city-limits. Today, the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex has a 2016 population nearing 7.2-million! Though not as large as say New York or Los Angeles, DFW is not moderately sized by any means. And with that size and diversity comes a plethora of wonderful benefits, like the Fine Arts, endless huge libraries scattered about, auditoriums, theaters, museums and sports stadiums, a very wide job-market, and in particular the means and resources to be environmentally responsibly Green! Huge perk there! Nonetheless, yes… Dallas-Ft. Worth does have its drawbacks like crime and traffic just like any major city in the U.S. and around the world.

Dallas Skyline before Sunset 612 3

But are those drawbacks due to a location or region, or are they results of crowds, people, individuals and strangers in a strange or familiar home or place? Is it related to a number of people squeezed together or is it a fluctuating degree of people-skills, education, collaboration? Here’s the million-dollar question:  What is really implied by gloating about one’s geographical home/house or culture? I’d like to honestly understand.

As some/many of you know, I am currently displaced from my big city home and culture of Dallas, Texas. Due to family (mis)givings I am in that heaven-like(?) rural, remote small country town getting my elderly widowed Mom’s house emptied and her moved out of this large 10-acre ranchita home. We are a minimum of 66-miles from the nearest city. With that privacy and peace-of-mind, as many “round these parts” would boast, there are also some significant DISadvantages to this lifestyle. First and foremost, fast emergency attention from EMT’s! When Mom’s late husband had a critical heart-attack in 2006, it took the ambulance and EMT’s nearly 30-minutes to arrive out here, partly because there were only two ambulance services here serving about a 25-mile or more radius.

Second, and as we discovered last year needing to dispose of an old cathode ray tube (CRT) 24″ television, not only did the local garbage pickup company not accept these TV’s for the landfill, but all local businesses or recycling centers would not either. It took near two weeks to finally find an off-the-beaten-path junkyard business to reluctantly take ours, for free!

One year later we are back here again. Now it is her 44″ CRT television that weighs about as much as a small elephant! I would know, because I am the one who strained my legs, arms, and back just to get it out of the entertainment cabinet and onto the tow-dolly in front of the cabinet — only to move it 50-yards to the back patio out the wide sliding-glass doors; the only exit it would fit through. Getting out of bed the next morning I’m sure I looked like a drunk turtle on its back, legs barely swaying in the air looking for something to grab! Hell, if I had needed fast emergency care for paralysis, I’d be waiting for at least 30-minutes, which in that painfully forsaken time I could have hot tea and toast… country-style!

log cabin livingWithout delay I get on the internet and search for some business, some Green recycling establishments nearby to come and pickup this dead goliath-of-entertainment and dispose of it properly. Snap! I find no less than three! I continue reading all the various junk-items that they happily come and pickup — just type in your zip code it says and they’ll arrange for pickup. Wow, I am totally stoked about this solution! Three minutes later, I’m sorry sir. We do not service that area. It is simply too far, too remote. Talk about total deflation. We ask if they have any recommendations. “Go onto the internet and Google TV removal/disposal.” As I already discovered, all the other recycling establishments were in the same large city… yes, 66-miles away.

It begs the question: What is it again you remote country folks love about being so secluded out here away from the crowds, people, traffic, strangers and individuals — and their oft needed help and businesses — that makes this sort of living heavenish!? Where do all of you take or place your trash that landfills won’t accept? What exactly is being burned — once the burn-ban is lifted locally — around town and its outskirts? Because I always see white, blue-ish, or black smoke billowing up into our atmosphere? Oh! Another question:  When the poor or homeless or lower-middle class here cannot afford (by law) automobile* liability insurance, or driver’s license fees, or even gasoline to put IN the automobile,* is there any (very affordable) public transportation available? Which by the way, greatly cuts down on carbon emissions if utilized by more and more caring citizens! And one nationally growing medical healthcare concern is rising dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among our retired and aging. Medical research has shown that if a brain remains actively stimulated and challenged, especially during the last half of life, dementia and Alzheimer’s are noticeably reduced! Ahh, large cities and the hustle-n-bustle of many diverse people certainly offer healthy brain-game exercises! So again…

What is so grand about living far away from crowds, people, and (temporary?) strangers of whom you might one day require their kind assistance or ideal business? Tell me again?

Should we rethink this mentality? Should we better define what “community” means… fairly and accurately on several scales?

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*Sidenote — when on the streets of this small country town, it becomes glaringly obvious that 75% – 80% of vehicles on the roads here are big trucks or SUV’s.

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.