Breaking: You CAN Learn From TV

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“Commercial again?!” I shouted at my television. “What did she do!?” I nearly flung my bowl of soup on the ceiling I was so excited. My fiancé, surprised at my out-of-character reaction, laughed and sat aback widening his eyes so as to say, “Daaaaamn girl!” I collected myself, my soup and what was left of my sanity, and returned to my Monday night post-work couch lounging.

What can I say, I love The Biggest Loser. I was pretty late to the game, which is great because now I have season after season of ready to watch reality just waiting for me to hit play on my Hulu Plus. Yes, there are plenty of ways that we can pick it apart, in that weight loss doesn’t happen for normal people in a vacuum like that, perhaps let them call their kids once in a while, whatever. Overall I like the mega-show.

What I like about it is learning about a very serious condition and seeing real results of progress. How these individuals became morbidly obese range from abuse, depression, and eating disorders, but are often combinations of those and more. I like seeing them get better and work through their issues.

I also like how they know what their goal is and work their asses off to get to it. They certainly would love to win the “quarterrrr of a miiiiiillion dollars” as Allison Sweeny says so Days-of-Our-Lives dramatically. But the real goal is to get better and lose weight. To get healthy. Many of them have serious life threatening conditions, or one is right around the corner, and in this show Jello, Jenny-O Turkey, and the other pretty crappy sponsors are actually putting their money into a decent cause.

For the contestants, it’s plain and obvious they need help. They need to make a change with regard to their physical wellbeing in order to live healthier lives and avoid a premature death.

What about the rest of us? Shifting from physical wellbeing to psychological or emotional, how can we measure how well we are doing? Almost fortunately, when your body is sick and overweight, you can see it and so can everyone else. It’s clear what you need to do.

But when it comes to our inside-our-brain lives, when do we know that we need help? That we need to make a change to get back on track to live healthier, happier lives? Where is the stress-o-meter that clearly conveys to you and the world, “Woah there, Skip. It’s time to take a vacation and calm the fuck down for a week.”

Unfortunately we are left to our own abilities of discernment. What sucks about that is we are likely the worst judges at figuring out when enough is enough and we need to take a little break and work on ourselves. While I certainly mean this in a professional sense, I mean it in just about every other emotional & psychological sense as well.

It’s very challenging in our current American environment to listen to what your psyche is telling you it needs. It’s a busy world out there. Messages about work hard, play hard swirl around us; put in your 40+ hour week, then you deserve to party your weekend away because you deserve to have fun!  Or, I think my favorite one I read recently is, “Don’t listen to your heart, listen to God.” Really? Don’t listen to the inner cries of your soul? There’s no possible way THAT could be listening to God?

All around us there are reasons, easy escapes, even religious commands to silence your inner voice and run to the distractions that circle us. And it is those very distractions that could perhaps be strangling the passions and loves that we left long ago when we let our dreams die and went to college instead.

I was listening to a radio show yesterday as I was, albeit begrudgingly, driving to work on an early Monday morning. It was all about self-employment, my favorite topic, and the host quoted Jon Acuff. It went something like, “Finding your dream job is less about discovering what you love, but about recovering a love you forgot.”

How nice that it rhymes. But he’s right! In the daily grind, the struggle we all have to toil the earth, it is less about the quest of finding that brand new talent that you never imagined you were great at. Rather, it’s that little thing that you loved to do as a kid, ran to in order to survive high school, or did in your free time when the baby was asleep. And when we ignore those things that truly make us happy in the name of being normal, a working professional, or a social butterfly, we can be hurting ourselves and not even know it.

We don’t really know when our psyche is sick, but we know when we are sick and tired. We don’t know which day we will crack, but we see it on the news all the time as we read stories of people who finally do. Every single day is critical in my opinion, every breath we take is precious. Why do we allow ourselves to ignore our inner selves and the real desires we have to fully live?

I tell you, the people who lose 200+ pounds really seem to understand the value of a full life. They can SEE how their lives have been transformed once they start making decisions to be their best selves. I think we need to have the same urgency to get and stay healthy. Our goal may not be a fat stack of cash sponsored by Extra Sugar Free gum, but living the life you were meant to live seems seems like as good a prize as any.

5 Reasons You Love ‘Murica

ImageIt’s hard to pick a favorite holiday, but the Fourth of July is certainly on the top of my list. Who doesn’t love grilled corn, flowing BBQ sauce, pool parties and blowing shit up. It’s a glorious day to celebrate and reflect on how rad it really is to be an American.

So in respect to Old Glory, I bid this list of why we fucking love it here so very much.

#5 We Invented Hot Dogs

Throw it in a boiling pot of beer, slather it in cream cheese, douse it in ketchup. Whatever you want to do, the hot dog is as American as hot dogs. Sure, the Germans may have been the first to come up with a phallic shaped meat product, but sausage has nothing on the hot dog. The hot dog is the hero of easy dinners and a savior after a long night pub-crawling.

Not only that, but the hot dog cares about your environment. A mash up of left over pork flesh, the hot dog is the ultimate way to utilize otherwise inedible pig. So really, it’s an environmental super hero, making sure that we don’t waste any part of that little fat animal. Forget the Prius, if you want to make an eco-friendly American statement, eat a hot dog.

#4 We Made the Red Keg Cup An International Symbol of Fun

I have been stopped many times whilst holding a keg cup by someone unfortunate to not have been born in the USA, and they say, “Wow, you all really do drink out of those red cups.” The first time I was told this, I asked them to elaborate. “Well that’s what’s in all the American movies. All the kids drink out of those cups.”

That’s right. Us kids really do drink out of red keg cups. And what better instrument to play flip cup? Beer pong? Quarters? You’re welcome world.

#3 It Really Is Sexy Everywhere You Go

I have not been to all 50 States, because dammit, that’s a lot of states. But of all that I’ve been to, they have been fucking amazing. New York? California? Florida? Washington? Hawaii?! Come on. We really don’t need to leave our borders to get all that you could ever want. I’d immigrate illegally too if I didn’t start here.

#2 Every Holiday Is For Eating

Our title of fattest nation in the world is not a thing we take lightly. We work hard for that. When we are thankful, we eat an entire turkey. When Jesus gets up from death, we eat so much chocolate that we make animal shapes out of it to legitimize the feast. 4th of July? We BBQ, but it doesn’t stop there. We have giant hot dog eating contests, wherein contestants have eaten up to 69 hot dogs in one sitting. I may be a vegetarian, but I can salute such dedication to America’s favorite pastime – eating.

#1 Dubya gave us “’Murica”

Ah, our 43rd President. Author of such phrases as “I didn’t grow up in the ocean.” Or “Thank you, your Holiness. Awesome speech.” Or “I can press when there needs to be pressed; I can hold hands when there needs to be — hold hands.”

With the economy healing and one of his wars ended, you can’t really be thaaaat mad at him anymore. But if you are, here’s one of my personal favorites to make you feel better.

But best of all, he didn’t call us America. He called us “’Murica.” And that, America, is something to be grateful for today on ‘Murica’s birthday.