Thursday, November 8, 2007


I hope I can find the line between rant and intelligent discourse and stay on the side of intelligence. My instinct with every post is to rant, but I’m going to attempt to keep that to a minimum, say once a week (or so). It’ll be tough. Here goes:

The topic is comfort. The GF and I were discussing this last night in reference to my esteemed co-worker’s courageous battle against her own body (I’ve really got to come up with a good nickname I can use to reference her in case I ever need to write about another co-worker. I will be excepting nominations at the end of this post.) She (the co-worker) asked if, despite having taken her weight loss pill in the morning, it was normal to feel hungry just a few hours later. Having not taken any amphetamines myself that day, I could only reply "Well, I’m hungry, for whatever that’s worth." She then called the (witch)doctor’s office to ask the same question. After she described to them her starvation-diet of the previous 24 hours, they told her that of course she should feel hungry. The difference is, I’m okay with being hungry, because I know that death is not imminent and I know when my next meal is coming. A little discomfort in the mean time will not unhinge me.

Having never struggled with my weight or any other chronic condition (aside from chronic underachievement), I admit I can’t relate to an eating compulsion or any other uncontrollable urge. In certain situations, though, including the one sitting behind me right now, it seems that rather than some kind of addiction to food, some people just aren’t aware that it’s okay to feel a little hungry every now and then. They feel the slightest urge to eat and, like an itch that just has to be scratched, they go looking for food. I could eat again about an hour or two after every meal, but I don’t because I’m not supposed to, nor can I afford it.

I’ll grant them an evolutionary excuse: like any animal, we instinctually get while the gettin’s good. It is in our nature, from back when we didn’t know when the next wooly mammoth was going to come ambling past the cave, to eat our fill whenever we have the chance, and in modern times chances abound. We’re smart enough, though, to be aware that those hunger pangs that are screaming at us to eat another Ho-Ho are basically false signals from a bygone time. You’re not hungry, you just think you are.

I really didn’t mean for this to be a discussion solely on over-eating. Back to the comfort thing: Like when we think we’re hungry and indulge it, we seem to think we are entitled to 100% comfort at all times. When you are sitting at home or at the office and you feel a little chilly, have the courage to just go with it. Put a sweater on and move on with your life. Unless you’re my fish, comfortably ensconced in always 74-degree water, you’re going to deal with fluctuating temperatures now and then. Don’t go for the thermostat; always remember: it’s not the air that’s chilly, it’s you. You don’t need to warm the entire volume of air around you just to warm yourself. Besides, down here in the Appalachian ridge-and-valley, they’re scraping away entire mountains just so you can heat the space under those lovely vaulted ceilings in your home.

In general, we’ve become a race of sissys, always striving to create a flatter, safer, more ergonomically correct 72-degree world. That’s why high-top shoes and boots were invented: our life of perfectly level floors, sidewalks and steps breeds weak ankles. I guess I’d just like to encourage you to appreciate things that make you uncomfortable. I can only tell you how much spending a night out in the cold on a ledge on the side of a cliff at 10000 feet with no water or food and precious little clothing makes you appreciate a thing like a warm bed and a roof. You don’t need to go that far, but sensations, even the uncomfortable ones, are the only things that let us know we’re alive. Let them play out every once in a while.


Courtney said...

It's so funny to read your coworker's blog and then come back and read yours, and then remember that you two have the same job. Hee. But she put a picture of you on there! And she guesses you're her friend! Awww.

Anyway, great post, and I think everyone needs to be reminded now and then that they're not entitled to 100% comfort all the time. Buck up, people. You know I hate being cold, but I feel tougher for living in our cold apartment all winter long.

Courtney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Courtney said...

Yeah, sorry, I messed up on that last comment. Anyway, go read this:

I've been laughing for about 10 minutes.

Chris said...

Courtney: Thanks for the link. That is really funny.

Mickey: This is really radical thinking for 21st century America. What we need is innovation, Mickey. Capitalistic innovation can certainly prevent these discomforts you're suffering.

No, seriously, I think you're spot on. I think that did end up being at least 55% rant, but all appropriate and well state nonetheless.

Jacob said...

It's good to know that I'm not the only one not bothering to read my own posts.

I agree though, although I don't really bother to stay hungry. I really am confused by people who will eat when they're not hungry just because it's time to eat. I'll skip meals if I'm not hungry. I'm a fatass though. My house is set to 65 right now.

Julie said...

Whatever! I like being comfortable.

As to the eating, I've recently tried cutting out my snacks or going longer between meals. I do Ok, but I can't tell that it makes me a better person. All I know is that if I go too long without food I get mean. And that makes Matt uncomfortable, too.