D.I.Y Diagnoses

It’s sad to admit, but our 21st Century society has become nothing short of a bevy of neurotic hypochondriacs… or should I say cyberchondriacs. Alas, for I speak of internet diagnoses!

For years when people had health problems a simple appointment with their doctors would suffice but now (oh how things have changed!), now we speak of our GP’s with a wave of fear in our words. “Go see a doctor!”, they’d say – what used to be nothing more than 4 words of simple encouragement has turned into a phrase of dread, as if your loved ones have turned against you, summoning you to the dark depths of hell!

Phewy chop suey, it was just a dream! But it isn’t, it’s reality. So what do we do (well, I say we, I mean most men…)? We decide to take matters into our own hands and diagnose the problem ourselves. That’s right, instead of confiding in someone who’s had years of medical training we decide to google (other search engines are available) the blooming thing so as to allow everyone to see several pages of ‘testicular pain’ filling up your history like some sort of nightmarish shopping list! I mean, why oh why do we assume that for some barmy reason we’re going to find:

  1. the correct diagnosis
  2. the diagnosis we want to hear
It’s ridiculous! Especially seeing as though none of the above ever, ever occur. You go to look for explanations to the pain in your knee only to discover that you’ve got a rare case of kneelusdownus-toomuchius, which if not treated properly you could lose the bottom half of your leg! Likewise, your neck feels sore every time you turn it… diagnosis? Only the unlikeliest of problems – disagreeingitus, which apparently if not looked after in the right way you could spend the rest of your life neither agreeing nor disagreeing with things!
One day you’re well… next day you’re under the weather… day after that and you’re worm food.
So if you wish to stay healthy then visit the Doctor and not Jeeves!
(Told you other search engines were available, it’s just up to yahoo to decide which one’s best!)

Alcohol: Winning The Battle Against Small Talk Since 4000 B.C.

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy

It’s tough meeting new people. I mean, let’s be honest, we all dread it to some extent don’t we? That inevitable awkward silence waits around the corner, as the small talk starts to slowly deteriorate into digressing eyes and twitching feet. Take being at gatherings for example. I bet many of you have had conversations similar to this:

  • Hey.
  • Hi.
  • You alright?
  • Yeah, not bad thanks… you?
  • Yeah I’m good thanks.
  • Good…
  • Yeah…
  • ………………………………….
  • Nice house isn’t it?
  • (walks off in search of the family dog)
Yet, when there’s alcohol involved, conversations seem to flow with much more ease – they are certainly a lot more enjoyable! Our inhibitions are thrown out the window and we open up to other ideas, completely ignoring the conventions of small talk. For example:
  • Hey!
  • Yo!
  • You seen this guy’s bannister?!
  • Bloody hell! How much would you love to slide down there?!
  • Hmm I’m not so sure to be honest, my piles are pretty bad at the moment…
  • Ah come on! We’ll put some cream down it, you’ll be reet!
  • Oh go on then!… It’s Matthew by the way.
  • Tim.

Well ok, I know most of you probably haven’t had an exchange exactly like this, but you get my point. Alcohol causes the brain to shut down and we begin not to give a monkeys about what the people around us think. Slipping into an inebriated state the most personal of topics can suddenly appear, popping out of nowhere like some sordid jack-in-a-box… arms wide open to embrace the truth and reveal your darkest secrets!

I wonder if those Mesopotamians who discovered Beer had similar experiences. Just imagine them sat down with dead-pan faces as they contemplate their recent invention of the wheel, until Dave comes along with a pint of Mesopotamia’s finest brew:

Fox’s Mesopotamian Wheel

  • What you chumps up to?
  • Just thinking about this thing here.
  • Huh? It’s a bloody great big chocolate biscuit! What’s to think about?
  • What?
  • Boil the kettle, we’ve got some serious dunkin’ to do!

Nevertheless, although it may seem like a polar bear at first (an ice-breaker… geddit? Oh never mind!) it does have its disadvantages. To some extent, alcohol merely covers up the fact that someone is incredibly boring in real life (i.e. sober since being drunk is like living in a parallel universe) – you take away the beer, you take away the personality. So before I leave I must warn you:

1. Drink responsibly

2. If they’re no fun sober, then ditch ’em.

‘Man v. Food’? More like ‘Man v. lifetime of hardened stools and breathless arteries’

72oz steaks, 11lb pizzas, 10 layers of dead cow…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching countless episodes of ’Man v. Food’ on Dave it’s that Americans certainly adhere to stereotype. As the loveable Adam Richman (in a cute, teddy-bear kinda way) guides us on a whistle-stop tour of America’s most outrageous restaurants and cafes, there’s not a glimpse of leafy greens in sight. Living in Britain, Americans have undoubtedly become synonymous with obesity (in fact, many blame them for the sudden influx of our ‘fast food culture’), since we’re forever being inundated with images of grease-ridden portions being manhandled by sausage roll-like arms.

Now, admittedly, I am your archetypal Brit in as much as I’m a serial tea drinker but I don’t worship the Queen nor do I speak with Received Pronunciation (or indeed Dick van Dyke’s ‘Cockney-cum-Australian’ accent). Sadly however, or so I have witnessed, Americans can’t seem to fit their bellies through that window of escape in a desperate attempt to flee from the portly pigeonholing, instead opting for the comfort of their armchair and a bag of ‘chips’. Don’t get me wrong, I realise that this is not representative of the whole population (to be honest, I source most of my information purely from the show itself) but what I have witnessed certainly has been an education… in how to guarantee blood in your shit the following day.

Crime number one:

So let us begin! Right, now we all know how delicious cheese is… boy is it one sexy dairy product…  but its tasty qualities don’t justifying it being plastered onto every food possible! Don’t get me wrong here guys, I don’t mind seeing cheese on maybe burgers or chicken (hell, even some pork with gorgonzola’s nice!) but with battered fish?! NO! Dial 999/911 please! I need the food police to come and stop this monstrosity! As Diana Ross beautifully put it “stop in the name of food!” (well, something along those lines at least…). Joking aside, the fish/cheese combo is wrong in every way. 

It’s like having a romantic kiss… with your own sister; brushing your teeth… with a tramp’s toenails; Dick van Dyke talking… with a cockney accent…

Crime number two:

Ok, so now to the second crime – portions. Unnecessarily gargantuan would be an understatement. I realise that the whole premise of this show is to find the ridiculously portioned plates and, I agree, that it is fun to watch countless meat sweats being induced by said meals however I don’t understand why they have to be so blooming big! “Ok, so we start with a slice of bread for the base (seems fair enough). Next we add the fried chicken… a layer of cheese (sure…), the 4-inch thick hamburger… another layer of cheese (why not, it is, after all, the key ingredient to EVERY meal), then the 10lb brisket, two more fried chicken breasts, the second hamburger, mustard sauce… deep-fried cheese cubes (well this is just getting ridiculous) and finally the top half of the bun.” Phewwy, it’s over… but, oh no, what’s this on the top? Impaled by a spike sits a gurken. Lying in a comatose state thinking, “why the bloody hell am I here?” And it does beg the question… what does it add to the meal?

It’s like jumping the Grand Canyon wearing a sweater instead of a t-shirt… Wearing a belt with jeans that fit perfectly anyway… Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins wearing glasses…

Crime number three:

Now, finally, this is the last problem – IT IS NOT FINE CUISINE! No matter how much you try to hoodwink us, there is no way one can class this as cordon bleu. The problem is that everything looks so bloody cheap and nasty, like the cheese for example, it doesn’t even look real! For me I’d much rather have some fine Italian cuisine rather than these 45-thick pizzas with grated arse on them. It’s worse than DICK VAN DYKE’S ACCENT IN MARY POPPINS!

Let’s be honest though… despite the abominations such as the one shown above, I do love this show and I love you America!
 

Wrestling with insomnia…

Wrestling with insomnia…

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Even with a digital clock in my room I can still hear the monotonous drones of a second hand working its way round the vicious circle of my sleeplessness. Chained to the bed in a straitjacket of my own inner-turmoil I toss and turn searching for the answers to release me from this incarceration of insomnia, but, sadly (or rather typically), none are forthcoming. In an ideal world I wouldn’t be conscious enough to notice the valuable hours of sleep slowly slipping away in a countdown to inevitable fatigue and agitation the following morning – in fact my shop front should have been well and truly shut hours ago but instead the sleep-stealing delinquents are about doing their worst… and I’m helpless to intervene!

Too confusing to count...

“Why don’t you count sheep?” they’ll ‘helpfully’ suggest “it’ll make you so bored you’ll want to sleep!” Oh hardy harrr Mr. Sagacious! Well, I’ve tried counting sheep many times before but, believe me, it never works – 1 sheep… 2 sheep… 3 sheep… I mean, logically, it should be a simple remedy for my restlessness however the problem I have is that I always end up over-complicating matters. Instead of systematically going: 1 sheep… 2 sheep… 3 sheep… it’s much more chaotic, like this: 1 sheep… 2 sh- no 3 sh- no 6 sheep… where the heck are all these sheep coming from!? Where sanity would normally prevail, I’m left picturing sly ewes slipping under the fence while others hide behind their friends as they leap for freedom! You see, I’m far too busy wondering where the hell the blooming shepherd is who’s abandoned his flock than to be in a relaxed frame of mind to rest my weary head! Actually, d’you know what, I’d like to find the person who concocted this farcical means for curing insomnia and give ’em a good slap round the chops! Ok, maybe that’s going a bit too far. Please forgive me for my extreme anxiety but I didn’t sleep well last night as there was a series of rogue sheep on the loose; filling my darkened sky like fluffy clouds of unease… how I despise them! Come on, surely there must be an alternative?

“Make yourself a nice warm drink!” Mmmmm… warm cocoa… warm milk… warm Robinson’s Blackcurrant… Like with counting sheep, I’m pretty certain that there are many of you out there who find the abovementioned drinks very soothing when it comes to hitting the sack, yes? Well not me. Either I’ve developed some sort of immunity to them or the rascals at Horlicks have laced my hot chocolate with a heavy dosage of e-numbers; knowing full well that I won’t be able to get a good night sleep which, in turn, will turn into a 3 hour, non-stop Angry Birds fest! Not only that but whenever I indulge in a nice warm drink I’m overcome with a sudden urge to reach high into the heavens of the biscuit tin. I don’t know about you but feeling bloated after gorging yourself on chocolate fancies is not the best way to help you to sleep… damn you Horlicks! Come on, surely there must be another alternative?!

Aha, but of course! How could I have been so blind?! Alas, for I have found my saviour in white! A refreshingly new face, an inviting smile bearing the necessary powers to seduce me to sleep. “Who is this force you speak off?”, only the cool side of the pillow! Where have you been all this time? Why have I hidden you away for so long? So many questions needn’t be answered as the most important problem has been solved – my insomnia. Wrestled to the ground I have managed to smother my wakefulness with a the warmer side of the pillow; suffocating it and moulding it into blissful dreaming!

Thank you Billy D Williams, you really have helped me to drift on off to dreamland and for that I am eternally grateful!